OnePlus Nord 2 is the latest offering from the brand in India, bringing to consumers a mid-range option to jump on its bandwagon. The Nord 2 tries to imitate the premium OnePlus 9 series but keeps the price in check for those who cannot afford the high-end models. With a few cutbacks, the Nord 2 balances the spec-sheet with strong hardware in its price range. In this article, we explore how Nord 2 fares against its asking price in India.
OnePlus launched the Nord 2 starting at Rs 27,999 for 6GB+128GB model and goes higher from there to Rs 29,999 for 8GB+128GB and Rs 34,999 for 12GB+256GB, which is the variant shipped to us for review. The Nord 2 comes in Gray Sierra, Green Woods and Blue Haze and we got the latter most hue.
As for specs, the Nord 2 features a 6.43-inch fluid AMOLED display with a 90 Hz refresh rate. With new features such as AI Color Boost and AI Resolution Boost, which improve colors and upscales resolution from popular apps. On the camera front, there's a 50MP AI triple camera with a Sony IMX766 sensor and optical image stabilization (OIS), an 8MP ultra-wide camera with a 119.7-degree field of view, a 2MP monochrome sensor along with a 32MP selfie camera with a Sony IMX615 sensor, the highest resolution front camera on a OnePlus device.
The phone is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI processor, a 4500mAh dual-cell battery with Warp Charge 65 and OxygenOS 11.3. It doesn't have wireless charging, 3.5mm jack or even a microSD card slot.
Design and display
OnePlus Nord 2 is a good-looking phone, with a lot of things going its way - something OnePlus has been consistent with over the years. With smooth curves and clean lines, OnePlus Nord 2 carries OnePlus 9 design philosophy. When compared to the original Nord, the Nord 2 is definitely an upgrade, with Gorilla Glass 5 front and back with plastic chassis. At first glance, the camera module will look like it has been borrowed from the 9-series, complete with two raised sensors on a metal module, which only so slightly protrudes.
OnePlus has evenly distributed the weight, which makes single-hand use easy. The back panel did a fair job at keeping fingerprint smudges at bay, despite having a slightly glossy finish. The dual stereo speakers on the phone are welcome, but the lack of IP rating would make you want to be careful around pools. The speaker delivers good output, but the lack of a 3.5mm jack in this price range sure raises some eyebrows. But OnePlus is seen pushing its wireless audio segment aggressively, so the upgrade is demanded.
Overall, OnePlus Nord 2 is flaunt-worthy and offers an excellent in-hand feel.
Moving on to the display, there's a 6.43-inch display with slim edges and a prominent chin. OnePlus limited the refresh rate of the panel to 90Hz, which would have been better if there was 120Hz upgrade given the competition in the market. Nonetheless, the 90Hz smoothness with OxygenOS refinement makes for a good combination.
With a Full HD+ resolution, the display gets as bright as we'd imagine. Greater visibility, good viewing angles, and true-tone colours make it ideal to stream multimedia content. Under harsh sunlight, the display renders good output. The adaptive brightness is rather a bit sensitive to environment lights, which might force you to manually adjust the brightness at certain times.
OnePlus Nord 2 doesn't make a dent in this space, and some results are riddled with inaccuracies. Since OnePlus has done a remarkable job with OnePlus 9 Pro cameras, we expected the days of criticizing OnePlus cameras were behind us. The Nord 2 is packing some good hardware, but the software optimization seems to be missing the intended mark.
The Nord 2 appears to be over-saturating lush landscapes and sharpening the images more than it should - all without prompt. Switching between the camera lenses, especially the primary 50MP and 8MP ultra-wide, proves the point of inaccuracies in color reproduction. The portrait shots take time to adjust the bokeh on objects but work well with actual humans.
Switching to the selfies, the 32MP camera does a fair job at capturing good selfies, much to the liking of the masses. It can capture a decent amount of details, satisfying portraits with soft bokeh. Even then, OnePlus Nord 2's camera doesn't catch up to other aspects like its design, display and performance.
We were often found using the primary lens for most shots, as they were fairly good. If bright and colorfully rich shots are your taste, the Nord 2 will live up to your expectations. We aren't saying the Nord 2's camera is bad, just that there are better options out there. However, if you look it as a part of the entire package, it might just be enough. The viewfinder is snappy and clicks photos and processing is done in real-time. The night mode works well and impressively also works while zooming in, which comes in really handy.
A few samples are embedded below:
OnePlus has always had its knack in delivering optimum performance and the Nord 2 continues that legacy. The Dimensity 1200 chipset is the hot piece of tech, taking over many mid-rangers. With the 12GB RAM on our review unit, everything seemed flawless - raw power. Your day-to-day tasks are going to be a breeze on the Nord 2, and if you need to unleash the full potential there's a new performance toggle mode, which comes at the cost of battery and some heating. But it is wise to use the performance boost moderately while running demanding tasks, like high-GPU games (CoD Mobile). But the standard mode will be sufficient for most of your tasks, browsing, calls, IMs, multimedia and binge-watching.
OnePlus Nord 2 runs OxygenOS 11.3 based on Android 11 out-of-the-box. We've always liked the refinement and optimization of the OxygenOS. The clean UI, no bloatware or ads, two major Android updates and three years of security updates are surely assuring.
The call connectivity is good on 4G VoLTE, both Jio and Vodafone, in Bengaluru. We alternated between LTE and Wi-Fi, and there's was consistency and range was good.
For security, there's a fingerprint sensor, which is snappy and efficient. There's the less-secure option of face unlock, which takes just a glance at the phone to unlock and go to home screen. Everything on the Nord 2 is so blazing fast, you'll hardly find any reasons to complain.
OnePlus Nord 2 packs a modest 4,500mAh battery, anything bigger would've reflected on the form-factor of the device. But what's really important here is the 65W fast-charging support, which is blazingly fast in powering up your phone. The lack of wireless charging is still a letdown, but it's not a surprise given the price range.
Based on our daily usage (as a primary phone), the phone easily lasts a whole day with 4G/Wi-Fi, a good amount of calls, IMs, emails, social network browsing and multimedia consumption. All this while the default setting is set at 90Hz refresh rate. With 60Hz, the battery can last a bit longer, but using it at 90Hz is worth your while.
Since there was a high-performance mode option in the Nord 2, we noticed the battery would drain sooner, which is why using the standard option was the norm. After having used the phone for over a week, the adaptive battery kicks in to further the phone's battery life, but the difference wasn't significant.
All in all, OnePlus Nord 2's battery with 30-minute to full charge Warp Charge 65 is a strong part of the overall portfolio.
OnePlus has made significant improvements in the Nord 2 over the original Nord. The company is consistent with its offering and the overall package is worth your penny. The cameras are not the strongest, but with a great design, display, impressive performance, solid software and battery, the Nord 2 settles for what you'd demand from a 30K phone. On its own, OnePlus Nord 2 is not a hard sell, and we don't see why it will be flying off the shelves.
But if you're in the market reviewing your choices, the competition is tough. The Poco F3 GT launched recently has some marked improvements at the same price, Mi 11x is worth considering and if you like the OnePlus ecosystem, the OnePlus 9 starting at Rs 49,999.
But again, it's worth noting that the Nord 2 draws a fine line between the mid-range and premium segment and we see why OnePlus wouldn't want to miss out on a popular segment. In fact, if you were considering the Nord CE, the Nord 2 is any day a better buy. The Nord 2 hits just the right chords and the scales are tipped in its favour if the camera is not your absolute priority.