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OnePlus Nord N100 review: A little too little for 200 euros

OnePlus Nord N100 review
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2020 TechnikNews)

The OnePlus Nord N100 has an RRP of only 200 euros and offers, among other things, a 5.000 mAh battery, 90 Hertz and stereo speakers. Sounds good doesn't it? Yes, but unfortunately you have to make some compromises.

In the following lines you will find out which compromises have to be made, whether the price is reasonable and whether I can recommend it to others.

Haptics, design & processing

The OnePlus Nord N100 is anything but a small smartphone, but it lies surprisingly well in the hand and is also relatively pleasant to use. In addition, it feels really good for a smartphone with an RRP of 200 euros. The reason for this is that matt plastic is used on the back, which is much easier to care for and less prone to fingerprints than plastic with a high-gloss finish. The slightly more expensive one Little X3 NFC or Live Y70 do not feel so comfortable and high quality with their shiny backs.

Let's stay with the back for now and focus on the only color, Midnight Frost, which always looks a little different depending on the incidence of light. In certain situations it shimmers slightly bluish, which looks quite chic in connection with the matt material. But that's a matter of taste, just like the camera hill in the upper left corner, which contains three sensors. It only protrudes slightly from the case, which means that the smartphone hardly wobbles when it is on the table when it is operated. If we turn the smartphone around, a huge display appears, which is only interrupted by a small punch hole in the upper left corner. The display bezels could be a bit smaller for 200 euros, especially the lower edge of the screen.

Last but not least, we dedicate ourselves to processing. The keys sit firmly in the case and have a decent pressure point. Otherwise, the case of the Nord N100 makes a very stable impression, even if it rarely creaks.

Display - light and shadow

The display has a diagonal of 6,52 inches and unfortunately only has a resolution of 1.600 x 720 pixels (HD+). This is an IPS panel, which supports a liquid refresh rate of 90 Hertz as a special feature. This has a positive effect, especially when scrolling, and for such a cheap smartphone, that's really commendable. I like that, but what I don't like at all is the selected resolution. We end up here with a pixel density of only 269 pixels pro inch and that is clearly not enough even in this price range. In everyday life, individual pixels can be seen, which is the case with other smartphones with similar prices, such as the Little M3 or X3 NFC, is not the case.

Otherwise the display is fine. Color reproduction, brightness and viewing angle stability could of course be significantly better, but they are reasonable for the price of 200 euros. You just can't expect more.

Software - nice, simple OxygenOS

The software has always been one of the strengths of all OnePlus smartphones and so it is with the Nord N100. OxygenOS is simple, looks chic and has been spruced up with some useful additional functions. For example, you can adjust the accent color of the system to suit your taste. Furthermore, OnePlus also has a very good night mode, an eye protection mode in which the blue light of the display is filtered out and great gesture control. There is no always-on display as of mid-January.

Android 10 is currently still in use, but an update to the latest Android version should be available soon, which should be the first and at the same time the last. Yes, you read that correctly, the N100 is actually only supposed to receive an Android update. That is extremely unfortunate and will almost certainly not do the longevity of the smartphone any good.

Performance - just a Snapdragon 460

Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460, which is supported by 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of flash storage. The latter can be expanded by up to 256 GB via a micro SD card.

Day-to-day performance is neither good nor particularly bad, but I would have expected more. Apps start and close fairly quickly, but there are always stutters and delays, which is particularly noticeable with the integrated gesture control. It's not totally bad and you can get by with it, but for 200 euros you can expect a lot more. The built ProIn my opinion, zessor has no place in this price range, because with the Poco M3 you can get a better one for 50 euros less Proprocessor. Not to be forgotten is the Poco X3 NFC, which is equipped with the significantly better Snapdragon 30G for 732 euros more.

Battery - definitely the highlight

When it comes to the battery, the OnePlus Nord N100 is convincing across the board, which can already be seen on paper. It has a proud capacity of 5.000 mAh and can be charged with up to 18 watts. In contrast to some more expensive smartphones, the right power supply is of course included.

The Nord N100 simply cannot be emptied. In my everyday use, I always got through 1,5 days easily and mostly 2 days were not at all Proproblem At the end of the day, with a screen-on-time of 5 to 6 hours, I usually had about 50 left Procent battery left. When only using the WLAN, up to 14 hours were no total Proproblem These are extremely impressive values ​​and definitely the highlight of the smartphone.

Camera - oh dear

The manufacturer installs a 13 megapixel main camera on the back and there are also two additional sensors, each with 2 megapixels, which are responsible for macro shots and depth effects. The front camera has a resolution of 8 megapixels.

The main camera delivers rather disappointing results for 200 euros, which is mainly due to the image sharpness. Almost all of the photos that I took with the N100 miss many details and the blurring is extremely evident at the edge areas. Color rendering and dynamic range are okay, but also not on the level of a Poco X3 NFC. As soon as the lighting conditions get worse, the quality also decreases visibly. The recordings are way too dark, too blurry and miss some details, which is mainly due to a lack of night mode. In conclusion, it can be said that the photo quality of the main camera does not do justice to the price of 200 euros. Even the cheaper Poco M3 delivers slightly better results and I don't even want to start with the X3.

With the macro camera, I can actually repeat exactly what I said in my review about the ZTE Axon 20 5G mentioned. The images lack both saturation and sharpness.

I was actually very satisfied with the front camera. Faces are reproduced too softly, but the image sharpness is quite impressive.

Test photos of the OnePlus Nord N100

Let's take a look at a few test photos. The following images are unprocessed, but compressed without loss in order to keep loading times and memory consumption of the website low.

Other - great speakers

My highlight in addition to the excellent battery life are the built-in stereo speakers. For 200 euros this is almost unique, especially because the manufacturer only uses a mono speaker in the more expensive Nord. The sound quality can convince across the board. They are loud enough and deliver a nice sound. Sure, current high-end smartphones sound a lot better, but for 200 euros I was really pleasantly surprised. In addition, headphones can be connected via the built-in 3,5 mm jack connection.

As good as the speakers are, the built-in vibration motor is just as bad. This feels very cheap and doesn't sound very good either. A Poco X3 NFC is noticeably better here.

Of course, we also have to look at the fingerprint sensor. This sits on the back, is easy to reach and unlocks the device quickly and reliably. Overall, I was satisfied here.

Summary

The OnePlus Nord N200 simply offers a little too little for 100 euros, especially when compared to the competition. The camera has enormous weaknesses and the display or the performance couldn't really convince me. The battery life and speakers are excellent, but they are also with the M3 and X3 from Poco, so I can't really think of any reason to recommend the OnePlus Nord N100 for 200 euros.

In the meantime, however, the price has dropped a bit, you can currently get it for 170 euros. In my opinion, that's still a bit too much, especially when the aforementioned M3 is available for less money. If the price drops to 150 euros in the near future and you attach great importance to the software and the speakers, then you are welcome to buy it, but otherwise I would rather recommend a Poco M3. Or you can spend a little more money and go for the much better Poco X3 NFC, Redmi Note 9 Pro or Realme 7 5G. These also have the advantage that they will almost certainly be provided with updates for a longer period of time.

Overall, I would have expected a little more from the OnePlus Nord N100 and I don't understand how OnePlus was able to bring this smartphone to the market for 200 euros. I am curious how the Nord series will continue this year and I hope you will make a little more effort with the successor to the N100.

Buy OnePlus Nord N100

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Fabian Menzel

Fabian has been part of since mid-September 2020 TechnikNews and regularly provides the site with various news, but also with some test reports on smartphones. It's a lot of fun for him and he's extremely grateful to have such a great team at his side. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to music and occasionally taking photos with his Huawei P50 Pro.

Fabian has already written 249 articles and left 22 comments.

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