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OnePlus Nord CE 5G review: OnePlus did it again!

OnePlus Nord CE 5G cover picture
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2021 TechnikNews)

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G does not follow the "original Nord", but forms a new "Core Edition" category. What the smartphone can do and how it fares against the original Nord TechnikNews.NET tested
Many thanks to OnePlus Germany for providing the test device

Design and workmanship

The Nord CE is very much based on the design of the Nord, which I mean positively. I really liked the design of the Nord last year. The biggest criticism of mine, the double punch hole, has also been scaled down to a camera. My test device is in the color "Blue Void", which I really like. The "smurf blue" is slightly purple on the sides, which gives the color a futuristic look. The workmanship is also successful again, the device is made of high-quality plastic. On the one hand, this is negative, because glass feels more valuable in everyday life, but it is also positive, so the back cannot break quickly. The Nord from last year had a glass back and if you “feel it” you will notice a difference. But since the plastic is made of very high quality, it doesn't notice the difference.

Display

The display is identical to that of the Nord on paper. 6,43" Full-HD+ AMOLED with a refresh rate of 90 Hertz. And, are there differences to the Nord, at least in everyday life? no The displays are identical. On the one hand, this is good, since the Nord's display was very good for its price, on the other hand, about a year later, there is strong competition from Xiaomi. The Poco F3 or Redmi Note 10 Pro already offer 120 Hertz and AMOLED for less than 300 euros. I will return to these devices in my conclusion. In general, however, the following applies to the display: sharpness is successful (no individual pixels are visible), black values ​​are good thanks to OLED and maximum brightness is surprisingly bright for a mid-range device. The display was easy to read on a beautiful summer's day, even in strong sunlight.

OnePlus Nord CE 5G hardware

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G doesn't inherit the Nord's Snapdragon 765G, instead it comes with the new "Snapdragon 750G". Is that bad? nope Of the Prozessor is on par with the 765G in benchmarks and performs just as well in everyday use. The only difference is a slightly better GPU and 8nm vs. 7nm on the 765G. Apps and games run smoothly and together with the 12 gigabytes of LPDDR4 RAM in my test device, they only had to be reloaded in exceptional cases. Of course there is still a difference whether a flagship or mid-rangeProprocessor is installed, but 95% of all smartphone users will be satisfied with the performance. The memory of my test device is 256 gigabytes, the other configurations have 128 gigabytes of UFS 2.1 memory.

The fingerprint sensor is also back under the display and works reliably. The Nord CE takes over the basically good hardware of the Nord for a cheaper price. But a lot is already missing. There is the "slider" for muting. This is a trademark for OnePlus and makes the devices simply positively different to use than all other smartphones. Unfortunately, OnePlus did not install this in the North CE. The fingerprint sensor is celebrating a surprising comeback. This sits on the lower left side of the device and can be used for music playback. What I'm also missing is a stereo speaker. The mono speaker is "okay", but stereo would have been nice. But I assume that this will only be withheld from a "Nord 2". The vibration motor was unfortunately not taken over from the Nord, which works from the Nord CE, “cheaper” when typing, that's why I issued it after two or three days.

OnePlus Nord CE 5G: cameras

The main camera of the Nord CE has been increased to 64 megapixels. The ultra wide angle camera is identical to that of the north and instead of a 2 megapixel macro or camera for depth information, a “mono sensor” was installed.
I really like the main sensor. Colors are natural and the sharpening is good even without "64 megapixel mode". So far I haven't really been impressed by such "48, 64, 108 megapixel" modes, but OnePlus has managed to produce much better images with the mode. In my test photos of the rhododendron, only a few details can be seen with "normal" camera settings. 64 megapixel photos show a significantly higher sharpness with non-moving objects and a steady hand. But as soon as I proWhen I tried to photograph a moving car or a running dog, the images quickly became washed out. For such photos, the normal mode is enough.

The ultra-wide-angle camera was already "okay" with the OnePlus Nord, a year later it is no longer above average. The focus and the dynamics are still good, but the sharpness is no longer good, especially at the edge of the picture. Then there is the mono camera. If I look at a data sheet and see “2 Megapixel XLZ” then it looks like a data sheet prettier to me. Yes, this is also the case with Nord CE. At least it's not as bad as in the north. Three such cameras were installed there. The mono camera is nice for black and white recordings, you will probably not use it often in everyday life. The money could have been saved to install stereo speakers, for example, or a better vibration motor.

Videos:

Videos can be recorded in 1080p up to 60 FPS and 4K with 30 FPS. The 1080p recordings, which I will recommend to most, are very successful. Beautiful colors, good stabilization and possible with all cameras. The 4K recordings are sharper, but not (yet?) possible with the ultra-wide-angle camera. The stabilization is also slightly worse and the videos are of course larger due to the memory. Who really much and "pro"professional" films, he should rather use a OnePlus 8 etc. However, the Nord CE is easily sufficient for everyday videos.

OnePlus Nord CE 5G battery:

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G's battery is very good. Compared to the Nord from last year, the battery has been increased from 4115 milliamps to 4500 mAh. According to OnePlus, the charging time should be the same because they have improved their “Warp Charge 30T” charging technology to a “30T Plus” version.
Even under very heavy use, I couldn't get the battery empty. Even 5 hours of SoT (screen time) could not empty the battery. If this battery is empty, it will be recharged within 32 minutes from 0-70% thanks to "Warp Charge 30T Plus". The quick charger is included with a high-quality USB-C cable.

Software:

The software running on the OnePlus Nord CE 5G is the latest Android version 11 with its own "Oxygen OS" UI. This is expected to be replaced with Android 12 in August-September. OnePlus promises two years of software upgrades and three years of security updates. This is a very important step for me, because software upgrades are becoming more and more important in a time of a lot of electronic waste.
Oxygen OS is a hotly debated Android skin. Some love him, some don't like him. Personally, I tend to "love" more. It's not my favorite UI, but it's definitely one of the better ones. The software runs quickly, offers many customization options and offers many of its own apps. Functions like "Zen Mode" encourage concentration and the "Canvas" creates a background image of you based on an image.

At the end...

The OnePlus Nord CE is a good smartphone for less than 300 euros, but you can also get the Nord (in the same configuration) for 339 euros (10 euros more). Which smartphone should you buy now?

I would say North CE. For me, the Nord CE is a “2021 remake” of the Nord from last year. display, ProThe processor and the cameras are at least on par with the Nord, the battery and the software are even better. The user should take the at least two other upgrades (Android 12 and 13) with them. But what I really miss are stereo speakers and a better vibration motor. The mono camera is superfluous, the money could have been invested in one of the criticisms.

Xiaomi has been officially represented in Germany since last year and is putting a lot of pressure on the price. You can get one for as little as 300 euros Poco F3 or for about 230 one Redmi Note 10 Pro. On paper, these have stronger hardware. But how does Xiaomi / OnePlus not manage that?

1. Xiaomi installs bloatware on the device (but this can be removed directly), OnePlus does not. OnePlus also does not display any advertising in the software.

2. Xiaomi only offers one year of software upgrades for most devices, OnePlus 2 - 3 years. It looks different with Google. For the price, these offer rather weaker hardware, but 3 years of upgrades (directly on the launch day). OnePlus is right in the middle. A balanced hardware, a balanced software and a balanced price.

As the strongest competitor it will be Samsung's A52 5G apply, these also offer a balanced hardware / software ratio and a good price.

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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 301 articles and made 32 comments.

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