The OnePlus Nord captured our attention when it launched in 2020 as one of the best cheap phones around. The handset offers a well-rounded set of features, including a high quality OLED display, nice design, 5G and fast charging at an incredibly affordable price.
Now, OnePlus has unveiled the Nord CE. This offers a similar host of great features – for even less. Read on to find out how the Nord CE 5G compares to the regular OnePlus Nord.
Pricing and availability
You’ll be able to pick up the Nord CE from June 21. The 8GB/128GB model is priced at £299, while the 12GB/256GB version will be £369.
The original Nord launched last summer and has already undergone a price drop on OnePlus’ website. The 8GB/128GB version which was £379 is now £329, while the 12GB/256GB model has been reduced from £469 to £419. However, the Nord CE remains the cheaper option of the two by £30-£50.
Screen and design
The Nord CE features a 6.43-inch fluid AMOLED display (2400×1080) with a 90Hz refresh rate, while the Nord boasts an ever-so-slightly larger 90Hz 6.44-inch fluid AMOLED display (2400×1090). Both phones offer a choice of face unlock and an in-display fingerprint sensor.
When it comes to design, the Nord CE measures 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9mm and weighs 170g, making it the slimmest OnePlus phone since the OnePlus 6T. The original Nord is smaller but less slim at 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm and is heavier at 184g.
Both phones come with USB Type-C ports and dual nano-SIM slots. The Nord CE also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack, which the Nord doesn’t have. Both phones come in three colour options – the Nord CE in Blue Void, Charcoal Ink, Silver Ray and the Nord in Gray Onyx, Blue Marble, Gray Ash.
Specs and camera
The Nord CE is powered by the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G chipset and the Adreno 619 GPU. The phone comes with 6GB, 8GB or 12GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB storage.
The OnePlus Nord is also powered by a mid-range Snapdragon chip, the 765G 5G.
“This might not have the benchmark scores of an 865, however nothing I have tried seems to slow this phone down”, wrote Deputy and Mobile Editor Max Parker in our review of the OnePlus Nord. “Bouts of PUBG, Call of Duty Mobile and taxing games play without a hitch or dropped frame rate and everything feels smooth and fluid when you’re doing daily tasks”
The Nord also features the Adreno 620 GPU and comes with a choice of 8GB or 12GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB storage. Both the Nord and the Nord CE feature support for 5G, Bluetooth 5.1 and run OxygenOS based on Android 11.
When it comes to cameras, the OnePlus Nord has an abundance.
The Nord CE, on the other hand, features three cameras on its rear – a 64-megapixel main sensor (f/1.79), an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor (f/2.25) with a 119° field of view and a 2-megapixel mono lens (f/2.4). There’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera on the front and the rear camera can capture 4K video at 30fps and has super slow motion and time-lapse modes. There’s also Nightscape, which allows you to take clearer images at night.
The setup pales, at least on paper, in comparison to the original Nord, which packs four cameras on its rear and two on the front.
There’s a 48-megapixel main sensor (f/1.75), an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle sensor (f/2.25) with a 119° field of view, a 5-megapixel depth sensor (f/2.4) and a 2-megapixel macro lens (f/2.4) on the back, and a 32-megapixel main sensor and a 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens on the front for ultra-wide selfies.
While we were impressed by the 48-megapixel lens and enjoyed the addition of the ultra-wide front camera on the Nord, some of the sensors did seem less necessary. We noted in our review that we would have preferred the 5 and 2-megapixel sensors be swapped out for something more useful, such as wireless charging.
Like the CE, the Nord is capable of capturing 4K video at up to 30fps with its rear camera and supports super slow motion, time-lapse and Nightscape modes.
The Nord CE comes with a 4500 mAh battery, 385 mAh larger than the original Nord’s 4115 mAh battery. That said, the CE is still apparently capable of charging in the same time despite its bigger size thanks to its Warp Charge 30T Plus fast charging. This enables the phone to go from 0 to 70% in just half an hour.
The original Nord features Warp Charge 30T, which lets it go from 0 to 50% in 23 minutes.
At £30-£50 less (depending on the RAM and storage you opt for), the Nord CE offers a lot of value for money. The phone is slightly slimmer and lighter than the original Nord, has a larger battery, includes the coveted headphone jack and features a larger 64-megapixel main sensor.
The Nord, meanwhile, offers a larger camera array with an ultra-wide angle camera on the front that makes taking selfies with multiple people much easier. The phone also boasts fast performance thanks to the Snapdragon 765G. We’ll have to wait to see if the 750G chipset powering the Nord CE can keep up with the 2020 Nord’s speed.