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OnePlus Nord CE 2 review: I expected a bit more

OnePlus Nord CE 2 cover photo
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2022 TechnikNews)

With the OnePlus Nord CE 2, OnePlus is launching the successor to the OnePlus Nord CE. We tested the smartphone.

Scope of delivery of the OnePlus Nord CE 2

The scope of delivery of the Nord CE 2 includes the fast charging cable and a case. Very nice, not every manufacturer does that anymore.

Design and workmanship

OnePlus is known for always changing, i.e. doesn't really have a uniform design through their Product range through. So it was almost surprising that the Nord 2 was based on the design of the OnePlus 9 or OnePlus 9 Pro has remained faithful. You have this with the OnePlus 10 Pro discarded anyway, but partially continues the design in the CE 2. The CE 2 is more like a OnePlus Nord 2 / OnePlus 9 than its predecessor.

But with the CE 2 you can already see the influence of Oppo (same group) on the brand. Because the camera bump protrudes a little from the housing, but looks "cast" into the back. Because the CE 2 is identical in design and hardware to an Oppo Reno 7 (in India) or the newly introduced Find X5 Lite. What is OnePlus very proud of? The device is super thin. At 7,8 mm, it is the thinnest device since the OnePlus 6. Nevertheless, there was still room for a 3,5 mm jack connection.

Display

The Nord CE 2 has a 6.4” small display with Full HD+ resolution, AMOLED technology and a 90 Hertz refresh rate. Perplexed: the chin of the display is even larger than that of its predecessor. Apparently they use the same panel as the Nord 2. That could be the reason for this design decision, as much as it bothers me. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, HDR 10+ is supported.
With a maximum of 595 nits in sunlight, the display is also pleasantly bright and the content is easy to read. However, since the display has not received any "upgrade" from its predecessor and there are already devices like the Redmi Note 10 Pro (here my test) that offer AMOLED 120 Hertz for under 250 euros, it's not really anything special.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 display

The Nord CE 2's display is more identical to the Nord 2 than last year's CE (Image: TechnikNews)

Hardware

But what is new and special? Definitely the Proprocessor. With the MediaTek Dimensity 900, a MediaTek SoC is used in a OnePlus device for the second time, which is technically comparable to a Snapdragon 778 (e.g. in the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE or Realme GT Master Edition). The device is only available in one variant, with 8 gigabytes of LPDDR4 RAM and 128 gigabytes of internal memory.

ProprocessorMediaTek Dimensity 900
RAM8 gigabytes of LPDDR4X
storage128 GB UFS 2.2
Display6,4″ Full HD+ AMOLED 90 Hertz
Cameras64 + 8 + 2 (16MP front)
Accumulator4500mAh + 65W SuperVOOC

But what if you want more storage? In fact, OnePlus is installing a microSD card slot in a device for the first time. The internal memory can be expanded by up to 1 TB.
As a result, the device runs very smoothly in everyday use. We didn't experience any stuttering in apps like Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, so MediaTek has definitely become competitive with Qualcomm. This has already been noticed very strongly with the OnePlus Nord 2 and is hereby clarified.

But what you really notice are the little things. For example the vibration motor, which is light years behind that of the Nord 2. That really annoyed me, if you take a lot from the other devices, then please do something like that. The mono speaker is okay, especially for watching YouTube videos, but stereo sound on the Nord 2 is a lot more pleasant.

Camera

Although the camera design on the back has been given a new coat of paint, the lenses inside are identical to those of the Nord CE. We still have a 64-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel lens for ultra-wide-angle shots, and a 2-megapixel camera for macro photos (the Nord CE was designed for mono photos). The front camera sits in a punch hole in the left corner of the display and has a resolution of 16 megapixels.

The cameras themselves are not bad, but they are far inferior to the Nord 50, which is only 2 euros more expensive. The Nord 2's main camera takes significantly better photos, especially in low light, even though the CE 2's software has been improved. The better lens of the Nord 2 is particularly noticeable in the sharpness, in the details. The colors and grayscale are balanced.

The CE 2's ultra-wide-angle camera can only be used in good lighting conditions. Noticeable losses are particularly noticeable in the details and sharpness. So if you don't necessarily need the 119 degrees of information, then use the main camera. The same applies to the 2 megapixel lens, which promises “macro shots”. This has nothing to do with the Find X3's lens Pro or the Realme GT 2 Pro to do and is merely a gimmick.

Accumulator

The highlight of the device for me is the battery and the quick charge. OnePlus has installed a 4500 mAh battery, which can be recharged with a fast 65 watt "Super Vooc". In practice, the device lasted without ProBlock out a day of intensive use, easily 1,5 days. So if you can charge from time to time, with 65 watts in 41 minutes from 0 to 100, you shouldn't use the battery of the device Proget problems. That's one of OnePlus' great strengths, and it's also reflected in this device proplay without a hitch.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 charging

The Nord CE 2 charges with 65 watts (picture: TechnikNews)

Software of the OnePlus Nord CE 2

The Nord CE 2 uses OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11 as software and will get two OS updates and three years of security patches. It's a shame because Android 12 has been available to everyone since the end of October and its "sister device", the Find X5 Lite, launches with Android 12. OnePlus told us that an update to Android 12 will follow "in the summer", Android 13 seems to be the last update then. The software itself is clear, thanks to the high refresh rate, everything runs smoothly on the display. You can find more details in my Nord 2 or Nord CE test report.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 software

Unfortunately, Android 2 is still running on the Nord CE 11 (screenshot: TechnikNews)

Conclusion on the OnePlus Nord CE 2

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is not a bad smartphone, but you will definitely be happier with the Nord 2. Because with an RRP of 349 euros, the price is *higher* than the current street price of 339 for the Nord 2. The device has better performance, a better camera, a better vibration motor and also fast 65 watt charging or the 90 Hertz display. So I can't recommend the device for the RRP under any circumstances, for 300 euros you could have a look at it.

Buy OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 will be available from March 10 for €349 in Gray Mirror and Bahama Blue colors.

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Nils Ahrensmeier

Nils is very interested in mobile devices such as smartphones, wearables and headphones. He has been writing since 2019 TechnikNews - especially news and reviews. In his spare time he plays drums and piano or pursues his hobby, athletics.

Nils has already written 302 articles and made 32 comments.

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Aditya

Those pictures are looking good, I am really impressed by this Mediatek supported smartphone.

Peter

Hello Nils. Thanks for the test and tip with the Nord 2. Did you shake in the after shots or why are they so out of focus and slightly blurred?