The OnePlus Nord series of phones has always provided excellent value for money. Two years ago, the original Nord set and increased the bar for its segment, and since then, we’ve seen the OnePlus Nord 2 (Review) and the OnePlus Nord CE or Core Edition, which has become the new entry point to the entire OnePlus smartphone experience.
The successor to the Nord CE, simply known as the Nord CE 2, has been released by OnePlus. While it still has a low entry fee, it also includes several minor enhancements that should result in a better user experience. The rivalry in this market, on the other hand, has never been more fierce.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 price in India
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 starts at Rs. 23,999 for 6GB of RAM and goes up to Rs. 24,999 for 8GB of RAM. This phone does not come in a 12GB version. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 comes in two storage options: 128GB and 256GB. Unlike the Nord CE, this phone’s storage may be expanded using the specialized MicroSD card slot in the SIM tray. The phone comes in two colors: Bahama Blue and Gray Mirror.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 design
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 has a somewhat more premium appearance than the Nord CE. In fact, it resembles the Oppo Reno 7 in appearance . It still has a plastic frame, but the rear panel, like the display, is now constructed of Corning Gorilla Glass 5. This shiny coating has the unfortunate side effect of being a massive fingerprint magnet.
On the CE variants, the OnePlus alert slider is still missing, however OnePlus has preserved the headphone jack. A USB Type-C connector and a single speaker are also included at the bottom. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 retains its 6.43-inch AMOLED display with a maximum refresh rate of 90Hz, but it also supports HDR10+. The display has a thick chin, and the bezels that run the length of the surface are also rather noticeable. The phone has a great in-hand feel, and it appears to be well-made and strong. It’s small (7.8mm) and light (173g), making it very convenient to use.
When you compare the OnePlus Nord CE 2 and the Oppo Reno 7, you’ll realise how similar they are. Both are nearly the same size and weight, with identical buttons and ports. Even the back camera modules are nearly identical, with the same sensor and LED flash cutouts. Given that OnePlus is now officially part of Oppo, and we’ve seen similar design similarities in the past, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 specifications
The OnePlus Nord CE 2’s specifications have improved, and this phone shares a lot of similarities with the Oppo Reno 7. It has a MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC, which is more powerful. However, more than the improved performance, I’m pleased to find that India now supports eight 5G bands, compared to just one with the Nord CE.
Other improvements include expandable storage via a dedicated microSD slot on the OnePlus Nord CE 2. Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and 65W fast charging are all supported, up from 30W on the previous iteration. Stereo speakers and an IP certification are still missing from this phone.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 performance and battery life
With the OnePlus Nord CE, performance was never a concern, and it isn’t any different with the CE 2. You get OxygenOS 11.3 out of the box, not 12, which is the same version that came with the OnePlus 9RT . There are numerous shortcuts and gestures to experiment with, and the entire experience is slick and quick. As promised by OnePlus, the Nord CE 2 will receive two years of Android updates and three years of security patches. You also receive Google’s default dialer and messaging apps, as well as the ability to record calls while on the phone.
The in-display fingerprint sensor worked well, and facial recognition was lightning fast. On the OnePlus Nord CE 2’s display, videos looked well in general. The colours were vibrant, with good saturation, and the brightness was adequate. When viewing information with white backgrounds off-axis, I detected a minor blue tinge in select portions of the display, although this wasn’t an issue for most users.
Aside from films, the OnePlus Nord CE 2’s screen looked great for gaming. Even in fast-paced multiplayer games like Call of Duty: Mobile, I found the touch response to be quite good. Although dual speakers would have improved the experience, you may use any wired headphones for lag-free music. After around 20 minutes of gaming, the back of the phone became slightly warm, but not unbearably so.
In my experience, the battery life was excellent. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 has the same 4,500mAh battery as the Nord CE, but thanks to the 65W SuperVOOC charger, you can charge it much faster. OnePlus has dropped the Warp Charge moniker in favour of Oppo’s branding. With my usual usage, I could easily get a day and a half out of a single charge. The Nord CE 2 lasted approximately 22.5 hours in our battery loop test, which entails playing an HD video on a loop with the screen brightness set to 50%. In under 30 minutes, I was able to charge the phone to 94 percent, which is quite fast.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 cameras
The cameras of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 are same to those found on the previous model. On the back, there’s a 64-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera, with a 16-megapixel selfie camera on the front. The camera app has been updated to look more like what we’ve seen on Oppo phones. There’s an AI scene enchantment toggle that’s best left turned off because it tends to oversaturate colours. The Bokeh Flare Portrait filter from the Oppo Reno 7 series is also available for stills and video on the Nord CE 2, albeit the latter is limited to 720p only.
The detail and colours in the photos captured during the day were excellent. The dynamic range of the landscape images was good, and the exposure was managed properly. Even with the AI turned off, the ultra-wide-angle camera tended to enhance colours a little, and textures weren’t as sharp. Close-ups were captured beautifully by the Nord CE 2, with excellent detail and colours. Under favourable lighting, the macro camera was just about acceptable, but don’t expect much more.
Unless I selected Night mode, the cameras failed to catch finer details in landscape images in low light. Without resorting to a long exposure shot, close-ups came out looking better. In both daytime and darkness, the selfie camera performed admirably.
The video capturing capabilities of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 are limited, similar to those of the Oppo Reno 7, which isn’t surprising given how similar the two phones are. The Nord CE 2 can record video in 4K at 30 frames per second, albeit without stabilization. It should be alright if you’re going to be still while shooting, else you’ll have to reduce the quality to achieve smoother footage. While having AI enabled helps with exposure, the video quality suffers, particularly in low light.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is an excellent improvement to the original, and if you haven’t already purchased the prior model, I’d recommend the new one. It’s essentially a cheaper Oppo Reno 7 with fewer bloatware apps, which isn’t a bad offer. The Nord CE 2 features a quality design, solid performance, long battery life, quick charging, and decent still photography cameras. Its video recording capabilities are lacking, but other than that, it’s difficult to find fault.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is far from ideal, and there are a few things that competing phones in this category have that the OnePlus Nord CE 2 does not. These aren’t deal-breakers, but they would have been helpful. For example, the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion is an excellent choice if you require an IP classification for dust and water protection. If you need good stereo speakers, though, the Realme 9 Pro+, which starts at roughly Rs. 25,000, is hard to match.