OnePlus Nord 2 test: performance close to the top at an average price | Smart phones

The Nord 2 is OnePlus’ latest mid-range smartphone that offers near-top performance but at half the price of its flagship devices.

Priced at £ 399, it sits below the £ 629 OnePlus 9 and £ 829 9 Pro and follows the success first north.

However, its lower cost doesn’t make the Nord 2 small. This is a large smartphone with a 6.43-inch 90Hz OLED display that looks good value for money. The front and back are made from the old scratch resistant Gorilla Glass 5, not the latest Victus significantly harder, and the sides are plastic with a metallic finish.

oneplus north notice 2
The device looks simple and understated, and feels sturdy and well-made despite the plastic sides. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

The Nord 2 is one of the first devices of the Chinese smartphone brand since he merged his activities with his big brother Oppo, sharing development resources for hardware and software. Both brands belong to Chinese conglomerate BBK Electronics, which also owns the Vivo, Realme and iQOO brands. Together, the five brands make BBK the world’s largest smartphone maker by volume.


  • Filter: 6.43 inch 90Hz FHD + AMOLED (410ppi)

  • Processor: MediaTek dimension 1200-AI

  • RAM: 8 or 12 GB of RAM

  • Storage: 128 or 256 GB

  • Operating system: OxygenOS 11.3 (Android 11 / Color OS 11.3)

  • Camera: triple rear camera: main 50 MP, ultra-wide 8 MP, mono 2 MP; 32MP selfie camera

  • Connectivity: 5G, dual sim, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2 and location

  • Water resistance: no rating

  • Dimensions: 158.9 x 73.2 x 8.3 mm

  • Weight: 189g

Almost top-flight performance

oneplus north notice 2
Fully charging the phone with the included 65W USB-A to USB-C power adapter took about 40 minutes. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

The Nord 2 is one of the first consumer smartphones to use MediaTek’s flagship Dimensity 1200 processor, instead of the one made by mainstream Qualcomm. MediaTek has until now been known for creating cheaper, less power-hungry chips for budget devices, but has recently improved its game, trying to compete on a par with Qualcomm.

On paper, the Dimensity 1200 performs similarly to last year’s best Qualcomm phone chip, meaning the mid-range Nord 2 is about as fast as the best Android smartphones in the world. ‘last year and significantly faster than the north of last year. The result is a very fast smartphone that handles games and other intensive tasks better than most mid-range competitors.

Battery life is slightly below average and lasts 34 hours between charges, meaning it continues from 9 a.m. on the first day to 7 p.m. on the second day, with the screen used for less than five hours between charges. the charges. Note that active use of data services on 5G had a greater impact on battery life than competing phones with Qualcomm chips.


OnePlus says the Nord 2’s battery should maintain at least 80% of its capacity for 1,000 full charge cycles. Longevity is facilitated by the optimized charging system. The battery can be replaced (£ 12 plus tax and labor) and the smartphone is usually serviceable by OnePlus in the UK.

The company offers an exchange program for its own phones and competitor models. He has not commented on the use of recycled materials in his smartphones. OnePlus does not publish environmental impact assessments but published a sustainability report for 2020.

OxygenOS 11.3

oneplus north notice 2
The software has plenty of customization options, but it’s pretty polished right out of the box. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

The Nord 2 is one of the first OnePlus smartphones to run a new version of the company’s OxygenOS software – now a customized version of ColorOS from Oppo, based on Android 11 with Google services. It is still one of the fastest and best versions of Android available.

OnePlus offers software support for three years from release for the Nord 2, including two years of Android version updates plus an additional year of bi-monthly security updates. Samsung offer four years and Apple offers five for their respective phones, so OnePlus still has some work to do.


oneplus north notice 2
The main camera on the back is good, the other two aren’t great. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

The back of the phone has three cameras: a 50-megapixel main, an 8MP ultra-wide, and a 2MP mono, the latter of which can be safely ignored.

The main camera shoots images at 12.6 MP as standard and performs very well, producing crisp, well-balanced images in good lighting with HDR enabled. Low-light performance is equally good with the dedicated Nightscape mode producing usable shots in very dark scenes and marking a significant advance over last year’s North. The video capture was nothing fancy but was perfectly solid.

The ultra-wide camera is decidedly average, however; gentle on detail even in good light and struggling in low light conditions. There’s no optical zoom camera on the Nord 2, but the 2x digital zoom was surprisingly usable. There’s also no macro mode, and the camera struggles to focus for close-up images.

The 32MP front camera is very good, capturing an almost frightening amount of detail on the face in good lighting. I recommend activating one of the different beauty modes if you don’t want to see all the wrinkles and blemishes.


Reviews on OnePlus Nord 2
There is a fast and accurate fingerprint scanner under the screen to unlock the device. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian
  • The phone comes with a preinstalled screen protector and a good clear rubber case.

  • The 65W AC adapter does not support USB-PD and therefore cannot quickly charge other devices such as laptops or tablets.

  • Bluetooth performance was not as strong as some of the competition, meaning I had weaker interference with real wireless headphones when used in congested areas.


The OnePlus Nord 2 costs £ 399 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or £ 469 with 12GB / 256GB.

For comparison, the Oneplus 9 costs £ 629, the 9 Pro costs £ 829, the Xiaomi mi 11 costs £ 649, the Google Pixel 4a costs £ 349 and the iPhone SE costs £ 399.


The Nord 2 strikes a good balance between cost and high-end features in the mid-range.

It looks more expensive than it is, is well made, performs well, has a fast OLED display, and a great fingerprint scanner. The battery life is solid if not fantastic and the plastic body will mark more if you drop it, but most will still put it in a case.

The main and selfie cameras are good, but the others aren’t, and there’s no official water resistance rating. You also only get three years of disappointing software support lose a star.

Benefits: smooth, good performance, good 90Hz screen, good software, fast charging, fast fingerprint scanner, alert slider, reasonable camera, lower cost.

The inconvenients: only three years of software support, no optical zoom, not the strongest display glass available, no water resistance rating, plastic frame, USB-A charger.

Reviews on OnePlus Nord 2
OnePlus signature alert slider on the side is useful for quickly silencing the phone. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

Other notices

Leave a Comment