OnePlus’ Nord smartphone has been tremendously successful in Europe and today the company announced its successor, the Nord 2. As is OnePlus’ style, the phone’s been comprehensively teased for several weeks with the tagline, “
Pretty much everything you could ask for” and resurrecting the “flagship killer” moniker from the early days of the brand. Bold claims. Let’s see if they’re any way justified.
The Nord 2 sits atop OnePlus’ mid-range devices, below the OnePlus 9 but above the Nord CE 5G and N-series of phones, so I think we should be expecting a well-specified device with quality materials that most smartphone users will be pleased to use. That’s confirmed by OnePlus CEO, Pete Lau, who says, “The OnePlus Nord 2 5G reaffirms our commitment to sharing great technology with the world. With advancements in smartphone technologies even in the mid-range, we are now able to deliver premium experiences on more accessible devices. We are confident the Nord 2 is a worthy successor to the original OnePlus Nord.”
Taking a look at the specs, the biggest news is that the Nord 2 has a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI CPU inside. For those unfamiliar with MediaTek, it’s a Taiwanese firm and is the third largest fabless IC designer in the world with chips in thousands of products round the world. The Dimensity 1200 is MediaTek’s top of the line ARM chipset and the AI suffix indicates that this is special “artificial intelligence” variant for OnePlus. In terms of performance, OnePlus expect the Dimensity 1200-AI to boost CPU by 65% and GPU by 125% in comparison with the original Nord and to be on a par with the Google Pixel 5 and the Samsung S21.
In terms of RAM and storage, there will be three variants (but not all will be available in all territories) – 6 GB+128 GB, 8 GB+128 GB and 12 GB+256 GB. The 6 GB+128 GB option is not expected to be available in the UK
On the screen front, the Nord 2 sports a 90 Hz Fluid AMOLED display measuring 6.43″ with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels (410 ppi) which matches the screen seen in the CE 5G but is slightly smaller than the one from the 9. There’s no substantial difference from the screen on last year’s Nord in terms of spec, though the new Dimensity 1200-AI chipset intelligently enhances the display of photos and videos to make them look their best.
As would be expected, the Nord 2 supports 5G offering nearly 3 Gb/s in perfect conditions and there’s the usual dual-SIM tray for those looking to have, say, separate personal and business SIMs.
Round the back, it’s an offset triple-camera array with a 50 MP Sony IMX 766 sensor for the main camera with OIS. This camera sensor was used in both the 9 and 9 Pro for the ultrawide, so it’s a top notch unit. In addition, there’s an 8 MP 119.7° field of view wide-angle camera with EIS. The third lens is a 2 MP monochrome unit for black-and-white fun. On the front, the selfie cam is a massive 32 MP IMX615 Sony sensor which will give some excellent selfie shots as it’s one of the largest front-facing cameras in the OnePlus range.
The camera app supports Nightscape for taking photos in low light conditions down to 1 lux and the Dimensity 1200-AI provides additional enhancement recognising 22 different photo scenes in order to adjust the settings for the best possible shot. The Nord 2 offers Dual View Video too, recording both the front and rear cameras simultaneously. Great for creative types or those wanting to indulge in a bit of adrenaline pumping action (though it might be a good idea to get a protective case first….)
Powering the Nord 2 is a 4,500 mAh battery which takes advantage of Warp Charge 65 and will charge 0 to 100% in 30 mins. Both battery size and charging speed are a step up from the original Nord. As expected, it’s a USB C port on the bottom, but while there’s no 3.5 mm audio jack, there are stereo speakers. Size-wise, the Nord 2 is 159 x 73 mm x 8.25 mm which is pretty much the same size as the original Nord and the CE 5G. It weighs in at 189g, give or take.
Speaking of the back, the Nord 2 has a lovely feel to it, with a cool glass texture. There are three different phone colours – Gray Sierra, Blue Haze and Green Woods. Sadly, the Green Woods isn’t coming to the UK but may be available in other countries. The Gray Sierra version is slightly different from the other two, with changes to the antiglare glass to make it feel thinner.
The Nord 2 comes with OxygenOS 11.3 which is based on Android 11 and OnePlus is now committing to two major Android updates and 3 years of security updates. I think that’s great to hear and in an increasingly resource-aware world, it means that you could be using the Nord for three years without worry. Being OxygenOS 11, the Nord 2 comes with many of the same software features as its older siblings, the 9 and 9 Pro.
Let’s talk pricing….
OnePlus Nord 2
8 GB + 128 GB: GB£399 in Blue Haze and Gray Sierra
12 GB + 256 GB: GB£469 in Gray Sierra only.
The Nord 2 will be available to pre-order now from both OnePlus and Amazon, with first deliveries expected from 26 July onwards. Orders from OnePlus will come with Google Stadia Premiere Edition bundled in as a free gift too. The Nord 2 will go on general sale in all channels including John Lewis, Three and O2 from 28 July.
So far, what I’ve seen looks good. The Nord 2 is a step up from the original and continues to slot in neatly below the OnePlus 9. With the 9 priced from £629, there’s clear water between the two in pricing and I’m struggling to think of the differences: 120 Hz screen, wireless charging, Hasselblad camera tweaking…there’s not much really. Is it a “flagship killer”? Not in the sense of having unbeatable specs, but definitely in terms of thinking about what’s really relevant in your phone and what it’s worth.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be sent a OnePlus Nord 2 for review: see below for an unboxing and early first impressions. I’ll follow the video up with a further review after I’ve used it for a couple of weeks.
Thanks to OnePlus for providing the Nord 2 for review.