With the OnePlus Nord, the Chinese smartphone maker had a big hit last year. Does its successor – the OnePlus Nord 2 – also convince? You can read it in this extensive review.
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This is the OnePlus Nord 2 review
After making its smartphones more and more expensive for years, OnePlus chose last year to come up with an affordable midranger again: the OnePlus North. That was a good decision, because the smartphone was received very positively and subsequently quite a success. It is therefore not surprising that the Chinese manufacturer is now coming up with a successor in the form of the OnePlus Nord 2.
From OnePlus Nord 2 improves on its predecessor on several points, but keeps the reasonable suggested retail price of 399 euros. What has been renewed and is the new Nord worth it again? Read more in this review.
Table of contents OnePlus Nord 2 review
Recognizable OnePlus design
The new Nord looks like a typical OnePlus phone and is especially similar to the OnePlus 9 on 9 Pro, which were released earlier this year. The front and back are made of glass and the frame is made of plastic. The housing is not dust and waterproof because an IP certification is missing, but it does feel luxurious. The phone is slippery because of the glass; so it is smart to use a case. Fortunately, a transparent case is included as standard.
The OnePlus Nord 2 is almost the same size as its predecessor, but a fraction heavier. However, you will not notice this difference in practice. The smartphone comes in three colors (grey, blue and green), where we have tested the blue version – as you can see in the photos in this review. We think they look great.
Furthermore, the Nord has 2 stereo speakers, but no headphone jack. The handy one is present alert slider, with which you can easily switch between sound profiles. For example, you can quickly set the device to silent with the slider. This is a nice feature of OnePlus smartphones that we also like to see on other Android phones.
Screen is nice and smooth
The OnePlus Nord 2 has a 6.43-inch screen with a resolution of 2400 by 1080 pixels, which makes for a pixel density of 410 ppi. In short: the display is very sharp and looks sleek. The screen edges are thin (although a thicker bezel is present at the bottom) so that the entire front consists of screen.
Because it is an amoled screen, colors look very nice, the contrast is high and black is really black. The display can be nice and clear, which is nice, because this allows you to see what's on the screen even outside with a lot of sunlight. The screen also has a number of handy tricks: images that are on YouTube in lower quality can be used by the Nord 2, for example upscalen to hd.
The high refresh rate of 90Hz ensures smooth animations, but OnePlus also gives you the option to choose 60Hz. This makes the battery last a little longer. We have not done that because the difference in ‘fluidity' between 60 and 90 Hz is large. The image simply looks better and the phone feels a lot faster if you choose 90Hz.
A difference with the previous OnePlus Nord is that the double selfie camera has disappeared. Where its predecessor still had two front cameras (a normal and one with a larger field of view, so you can capture more), the Nord 2 only has a 32 megapixel front camera. Although the extra selfie camera is quite a handy feature, we did not miss it during our test period.
The OnePlus Nord 2 runs on the new MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor and therefore not a chip from Qualcomm, which the company normally opts for. In comparison, last year's OnePlus Nord had a Snapdragon 765G processor. The Nord CE – which is admittedly slightly cheaper – has a Snapdragon 750G chip. The Nord 2 processor is further assisted by 8GB/12GB RAM and 128/256GB storage, depending on which version you choose.
According to OnePlus, the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 is faster than its predecessor, but we would not call it a huge progress. The Nord 2 is a bit smoother than the North CE from earlier this year, but here too the differences are not very large. This makes little difference, however, because the Nord 2 is nice and powerful and runs apps and games effortlessly.
As is often the case with phones in the middle segment, you occasionally see a small hitch, but otherwise the smartphone is very nice to use. Apps start up quickly, multitasking is fine and you can also play games well. The Nord 2 further supports 5G and is therefore ready for the future, although we in the Netherlands will have to wait a little longer for the real benefits of the new network.
The fingerprint scanner of the OnePlus Nord 2 is also fine. It is – just like its predecessor – under the screen and it works excellently. You only have to put your finger on the screen for a very short time and the phone unlocks. You can also use facial recognition, but because this option is much less secure, we prefer to choose the fingerprint scanner.
Android 11 and OxygenOS is a nice combination
Out of the box, the OnePlus Nord 2 runs on Android 11 with the OxygenOS shell of OnePlus over it. If you read previous reviews on Android Planet you know that we are fans of the OnePlus software. OxygenOS is very similar to the stock version of Android and does not add unnecessary features. As a result, the whole works fine and everything is nice and clear.
The Nord 2 does have a number of apps from OnePlus itself, such as a file manager, gallery and weather app, but they work fine, are quite handy and are not in the way. You can also simply remove most applications. Furthermore, you have a lot of options to customize the software. Think of the colours, which icons you do or do not see in the notification bar and whether you want to use the always-on display.
The update policy of OnePlus is also fine. The company promises that the Nord 2 will get two major Android version upgrades: to Android 12 and 13. In addition, security patches are released for three years and OnePlus often releases them every other month. This means that the Nord 2 is not supported as long as the most expensive OnePlus devices, but the update policy is fine in this price range.
Cameras: a step forward
A lot has changed on the camera front. Where the original OnePlus Nord had no fewer than six cameras, the Nord 2 ‘only' has four. There are three on the back, including a 50 megapixel main camera, which is borrowed from the OnePlus 9. The camera has optical image stabilization (as with the previous Nord) so that you also have sharp pictures if your hands are shaking.
The photos taken by the Nord 2 are beautiful: colors look natural, there is a lot of detail and the contrast is fine. The smartphone also holds its own in poor light conditions, partly because the lens collects more light. This makes images sharper, but the improved night mode also helps a hand – more about that in a moment.
The OnePlus Nord 2 also has an 8 megapixel wide-angle lens, with which you can take extra wide photos. This is done with a field of view of 120 degrees, so that you capture much more than with the main camera. The wide-angle lens is a handy feature and works well, but you can see a difference when you compare the photos with those of the primary camera.
Colors look slightly lighter and faded, but the difference in detail is especially noticeable. Photos are simply less sharp and you notice that when you zoom in on images. This is partly because the resolution is not that high. In the dark, the results of the wide-angle lens are mediocre: the camera is not very bright and then it is difficult to deliver good pictures.
Then it is smart to use the improved night mode (Nightscape Ultra), because it works surprisingly well. With the wide-angle lens, you can see that the function makes snapshots a bit clearer and a fraction sharper. You shouldn't expect miracles if you combine the night mode with the wide-angle lens, but it certainly helps.
With the main camera, the differences are impressive at times: a mediocre, dark photo suddenly turns into a much better picture, almost as if the photo was taken during the day. We have noticed that the night mode is not always consistent: sometimes photos really get better, and sometimes we prefer to choose the original image. Especially because images are sometimes stored too bright.
The third camera on the back is a 2 megapixel monochrome lens. It works together with the main camera and is intended to take black and white photos or add other filters. As we also in the OnePlus Nord CE review writing, this lens hardly adds anything because you can give snapshots all these effects with a photo editing app. A macro or depth camera is missing, but we are not sorry about this.
Battery fills up very quickly (and lasts a long time)
One of the nicest features of the OnePlus Nord 2 is the Warp Charge 65 fast charging technology. We know this function from the OnePlus 8T, 9 and 9 Pro and ensures that the smartphone charges from 0 to 100 percent in just half an hour. After fifteen minutes on the power, the Nord 2 is already full enough to get through (almost) the whole day.
The battery of the OnePlus phone is also larger (4500 vs 4115 mAh) than with its predecessor and has quite a long breath. If you use the smartphone normally – and, for example, regularly check WhatsApp, watch YouTube videos and browse a lot – then you can easily reach the end of the day.
With us, the battery percentage at the end of the day was often still about 30 to 40 percent. Light users may be able to go two days without charging, but for most people, they should connect the OnePlus Nord 2 after a day and a half.
All in all, the bottom line is that you never have to worry about the battery of the Nord 2. It lasts a full day and once it's almost empty, it's full again in no time. Wireless charging is also missing, but we don't see this feature much in the middle segment. So we can live with that.
Conclusion OnePlus Nord 2 review
OnePlus once again delivers an excellent midranger with the Nord 2. Actually, there is not much to criticize about the smartphone: the cameras are of course not as good as with more expensive top devices and the hardware is not as powerful, but perfectly fine. In this price range, the smartphone does exactly what you would expect.
The device is nice and fast, has a nice screen and nice software. Very nice is the good battery life and super fast charging. That makes the OnePlus Nord 2 again highly recommended, especially because it is nicely affordable at 399 euros.
Buy OnePlus Nord 2
Have you become enthusiastic after reading this OnePlus Nord 2 review and do you want to buy the smartphone? The new device has a suggested retail price of 399 euro and for that you get the 8/128GB model. The version with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage will cost 499 euro. The OnePlus Nord 2 is from July 28 for sale in the Netherlands.
In the overview below we list all available options for you. In the OnePlus Nord 2 price comparison, we collect the best deals and current prices. For example, you can choose a separate OnePlus Nord 2, or the Nord 2 in combination with a subscription.
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