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Introduction and specifications
OnePlus Nord CE 5G is the new killer in the middle class, or at least that’s how OnePlus markets the handset. And it’s probably not that far off from the truth. Nord CE is not a successor to the original Nord but more of a toned down version of the latter, hence the name CE, which stands for “Core Edition”. The phone holds some of the core specifications that the original Nord brought, including the design that is almost indistinguishable from the first Nord. So instead of replacing it, it is meant to coexist with last year’s North.
Around the € 300 mark, the phone faces stiff competition from left and right, but it also appears to be well-equipped for the job. It has a bright 90Hz OLED screen, a competent Snapdragon 750G, which is only a small step down from the Snapdragon 765G-powered vanilla OnePlus Nord. The base version also comes with 128 GB of internal storage.
One of the main selling points is probably the portability of Nord CE. With a 6.43-inch screen, the phone is on the compact side with a profile of less than 8 mm and a weight of only 170 g.
OnePlus Nord CE 5G specifications at a glance:
- Body: 159.2×73.5×7.9mm, 170g; Glass front, plastic frame, plastic back.
- Screen: 6.43 “Fluid AMOLED, 90Hz, 1080x2400px resolution, 20: 9 aspect ratio, 410ppi.
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM7225 Snapdragon 750G 5G (8 nm): Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 570 & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 570); Adreno 619.
- Memory: 128 GB 6 GB RAM, 128 GB 8 GB RAM, 256 GB 12 GB RAM; UFS 2.1.
- OS / software: Android 11, OxygenOS 11.
- Rear camera: Wide (head): 64 MP, f / 1.8, 26 mm, 0.7 um, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f / 2.3, 119 °; Depth: 2 MP, f / 2.4.
- Front camera: 16 MP, f / 2.5, (wide), 1 / 3.0 “, 1.0 μm.
- Video recording: Rear camera: 4K @ 30fps, 1080p @ 30/60 / 120fps, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 1080p @ 30 / 60fps.
- Battery: 4500mAh; Fast charging 30W, 70% in 30 minutes (announced).
- Various: Fingerprint reader (on display, optical); NFC; 3.5 mm jack plug.
OnePlus was able to squeeze a respectable 4,500 mAh battery inside the phone, which is even a step up from the first North, while retaining the 30W fast charge called the Warp Charge 30T Plus.
As far as cameras are concerned, Nord CE has a 64MP main camera and a secondary 8MP ultra-wide. The third camera on the back is used only for depth information – there is no dedicated macro device. We can not really complain as macro cameras do not add extra value to the camera setups, especially in this price range.
So is Nord CE 5G an intermediate killer? We’re trying to figure it out on the following pages, but one thing’s for sure, even by simply assessing the specification sheet – the device is a well-rounded product with nothing missing from the list of essentials.
Unboxing of OnePlus Nord CE 5G
The phone comes in a fairly standard retail box that contains the usual user manuals, a 30W rated charger, USB-A to USB-C cable and a transparent box.
Our review unit came with a set of bumper boxes from OnePlus itself. They are all made of soft-touch silicone, and some small dust-like golden particles stand out. Needless to say, they also fit perfectly.
However, we would have appreciated a more clean design at least for some of the cases, as we even had a debate in the office as to whether these golden bits on the back of the case are a good touch or too much.