Best OnePlus Nord CE 5G Review – The Core Experience

OnePlus Nord CE 5G: starting at Rs. 22999 in India. OnePlus’ Nord smartphone was launched last July as the most affordable option in its OnePlus range.

It was launched at a time people were cautious about spending too much and were one of the first smartphones to offer 5G for less than Rs. It cost 30,000.

OnePlus now offers the OnePlus Nord CE 5G which is a lower price and still has three rear cameras.

The first thing that comes to mind when you see the name Nord CE 5G? OnePlus claims it stands for “Core Edition”, since it covers everything one might need in a smartphone.

What exactly is the core experience and what would you miss if you had the OnePlus 9R instead? To find out, I tried the OnePlus Nord CE 5G.

OnePlus Nord CE5G Price in India

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G starts at Rs. The base variant, which comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, is priced at Rs. 22,999 in India. The Rs. 22,999 mid-spec variant, which has 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, is available.

The mid-spec variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage is priced at Rs. 24,999, while top-of-the-line 12GB RAM, 265GB storage variants are priced at Rs. 27,999.

All three versions are available with dark Charcoal Ink. You can also get the 8GB version in Blue Void.

You can choose from these options as well as the exclusive Silver Ray option if you select the 12GB RAM model. For this review, I am using the Blue Void top-spec version.

OnePlus Nord CE5G Design

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G looks great and reminds me of my original Nord, especially in Blue Void. It feels solidly constructed and is easy to hold.

The phone is slim at 7.9mm thick and weighs 170g, which makes it lighter than other smartphones I have tested. The Nord CE 5G feels well balanced. It is also curved along its sides, making it easier to hold.

The display measures 6.43 inches and has a camera hole at the top left corner. The bezels are thinner around the top and sides, while the chin is slightly bigger. The Nord CE 5G’s frame is made of plastic. All buttons are located near the center.

The volume and power buttons are located on the left, while the power button is on your right. These buttons are easy to reach without having to move the phone around.

OnePlus has made the alert slider a trademark feature over the years. On the left is also the SIM tray. It can hold two Nano-SIMs, but has no microSD card slot.

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

The Nord CE 5G has a 3.5mm headset jack. This was not available on the OnePlus Nord. It is located at the bottom, along with the USB Type C port and loudspeaker. You will see only two elements on the phone: the OnePlus logo at the center and the triple camera module at the top-left corner.

Although the camera module protrudes slightly, it is not a problem. Blue Void’s review unit was matte at the back, which helped it resist fingerprints well.

The Nord CE 5G’s 4,500mAh battery is slightly larger than the one found in the original OnePlus Nord. The phone supports fast charging at 30W and includes a Warp Charge 30T charger.

Software and specifications for OnePlus Nord CE 5G

The Nord CE 5G is similar to the OnePlus Nord and has some unique specifications. Its big, 6.43 inch AMOLED display boasts full HD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh speed. This is a huge plus. The display also features an In-Display Fingerprint Scanner and Asahi Dragontrail Glass for protection.

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor, which is also used in the Samsung Galaxy M42 5G, and the Xiaomi Mi 10i. The base Nord CE 5G has 6GB RAM, while the top-of-the-line model comes with 12GB RAM. I was able to test it out myself.

This smartphone only offers two storage options, 128GB or 256GB. The Nord CE 5G supports Bluetooth 5.1, dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, and six satellite navigation systems. Dual 4G VoLTE and 5G connectivity are supported.

OnePlus’ reputation has been built largely on its simple software experience. The Nord CE 5G is no exception. This phone runs OnePlus’ OxygenOS, a custom OxygenOS that is built on top of Android 11. My review unit was running April Android security patches.

However, I received an update for May security patches and a few bug fixes as I was using it. The OxygenOS interface is very polished.

I found the phone easy to use. OxygenOS is a great option for those who like stock Android and a clean interface. Potential buyers may be pleased to hear that OnePlus promises two years of Android upgrades and three years of security updates.

There are a few preinstalled Google apps and OnePlus apps on the Nord CE 5G, but they can be removed if necessary. I didn’t get bombarded by notifications from any app. The Nord CE features an LED display that lights up for any incoming notifications.

You can also use the Game mode to block incoming calls and answer calls while you’re gaming. You also have shortcuts to WhatsApp, Instagram, and Telegram. However, I was unable to find a way of reassigning these. This mode allows you to block incoming calls and notifications and prioritize games over other apps.

OnePlus Nord CE5G Performance and Battery Life

OnePlus Nord CE 5G was easy to use and didn’t surprise me. The phone was very quick to load apps, and the 12GB RAM made multitasking easy. I was able to switch between multiple apps without having to wait for my phone to load them all again. It is also small enough to be used one-handed.

The in-display fingerprint scanner was easy to use and took only one attempt to unlock my smartphone. It’s easy to use the AMOLED screen and the smooth 90Hz refresh rate makes it enjoyable. The speaker is not bottom-firing, but it is adequate.

I tested the Samsung Galaxy M42 5G recently, so I had an idea of how the Snapdragon 7500G should perform. My OnePlus Nord CE 5G unit scored 391,813 points in AnTuTu. It scored 639 points in single-core and multicore GeekBench 5 tests.

In GFXBench, it achieved 59fps and 17fps respectively in the T-Rex- and Car Chase tests. The OnePlus Nord CE 5G scored 2,737 points in 3D Mark Slingshot OpenGL. Although this is slightly less than the Galaxy M42 5G score, it has a higher resolution display.

Call of Duty Mobile on my OnePlus Nord CE 5G ran at High presets for graphics and frame rate. It was easy to use and there were no hiccups. After 25 minutes of playing, I noticed a 7 percent drop in battery level.

Although the Nord CE felt slightly warm, it was not too hot. The Nord CE 5G can handle popular games and apps on your smartphone.

Let’s now talk about the battery life. The default refresh rate of the Nord CE 5G is 90Hz. I didn’t change it during my review period. The Nord CE 5G ran for 19 hours and 59 mins in our HD video loop test.

This is an impressive score considering its battery capacity. With the refresh rate reduced to 60Hz, the Nord CE 5G may be able to provide a slightly longer battery life.

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

The OnePlus Nord CE supports fast charging and comes with a 30W Warp Charge 30T Plus charger.

The charger charged the phone from 0 to 67 percent in just 30 minutes. It can also charge it fully in approximately an hour. Although it isn’t the fastest smartphone charger we’ve ever seen, it’s still far faster than the Galaxy M42 5G.

OnePlus Nord CE5G Cameras

The OnePlus Nord CE comes with a triple camera setup. The OnePlus Nord CE has a 64-megapixel primary camera, an Omnivision sensor with f/1.79 aperture with EIS, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 120-degree field-of-view; and a 2-megapixel black-and-white camera.

It also has a 16-megapixel camera that can take selfies with an aperture of f/2.45. It has a simple interface and I tried out all the shooting modes. The AI was able to detect what I was doing and suggested other modes.

The smartphone default uses pixel-binning to produce 16-megapixel photos, despite having a 64-megapixel primary camera.

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G was able to take some great photos in daylight. These images looked amazing on the AMOLED screen. It was able to capture fine details in the foreground, and text was easily legible at 100 percent magnification.

Although the ultra-wide angle camera has a larger field of view, it does not have a better image quality. Also, the sides of the photos appeared to be warped.

The main camera captured textures well and close-up shots were sharp. The Nord CE 5G was also able to separate the background well. Portrait mode does not allow me to adjust the blur level before taking a photo.

When the smartphone is ready to take a photo, it displays the ‘Depth Effect. It had excellent edge detection and a nice depth effect.

Low-light photos were average. While the Nord CE 5G can keep noise under control, you still see the grain in the final output. Nightscape is enabled so that the phone can take eight exposures and combine them into one image. The entire process takes around 7-8 seconds.

These images are brighter and bring out more detail in the shadows. Nightscape photos also had better textures. To stabilize a Nightscape shot, the phone will crop into the frame. Nightscape can be used with the ultra-wide-angle camera, but it is very subtle.

While selfies were sharp, skin tones were slightly off for shots taken outside. Indoor shots were fine.

The phone can also take selfie portraits and has excellent edge detection. Even with masks, it could recognize faces. It was able to detect faces even in low light and fine grain is only visible at 100 percent magnification.

Video recording speeds of 4k30fps were achieved by the primary camera, and 1080p 60fps by the selfie-taker. The footage was stable at both 1080p and 4K in daylight, with very few shakes.

The phone attempts to stabilize footage but the video quality suffers in low light. This is evident in the output.

Verdict

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G is a capable phone that can handle all your demands. It also has a clean software experience. OnePlus also offered two years of software updates and three years of security updates to sweeten the deal. This should keep your phone current until you decide to upgrade.

The three-camera setup is capable of handling basic tasks. And, considering the price, daylight photos are not too difficult. This phone’s low-light performance could use some improvements. The OnePlus Nord CE 5G delivers the core experience promised.

It is also affordable, so it’s easy to recommend it. The variant I reviewed cost Rs. 27,999, and it doesn’t provide the same value as the entry-level model.

You can either consider the OnePlus Nord or wait for its successor, which is rumored soon. The Mi 11X, which offers better performance, is worth a little more.

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