Tag Archives: OnePlus

OnePlus Nord 2 x PAC-MAN Goes On Sale



Announced last week, the OnePlus Nord 2 x PAC-MAN has now gone on sale so we have some tasty pictures of the new phone in all its dot-powered glory, and there’s a few surprises too. OnePlus has gone to town on the cross-over.

The packaging has received the full PAC-MAN treatment with a custom box and inside, there’s the Nord 2 x PAC-MAN phone plus a case featuring the famous ghosts from the game: Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. The back of the phone has been given a light PAC-MAN design and I’m hoping that the back of the phone and the case itself all line up to give a special 3D effect.

OnePlus Nord 2 x PAC-MAN package

During the day, the Nord 2 x PAC-MAN has a subtle back with a few dots and a yellow muncher but at night the rear comes alive with a glow-in-the dark maze with nods to both PAC-MAN and other 80s video games. In a further mod, the alert slider of the phone is now the same dark blue colour as the ghosts when they try to run away from the PAC-MAN after he eats a power pellet. The slider is just about visible in the night shot on the right.

And if ordering direct from OnePlus, there’s a further PAC-MAN bonus – a construction brick-based phone holder that mimics Penrose stairs as seen in designs by Escher. Build it yourself, hold it just right and you’ll have a never-ending staircase complete with ghosts and PAC-MAN. Hours of fun by itself.

In addition to the exterior changes, OxygenOS (that’s OnePlus’ version of Android) has been given a retro makeover. Icons have pixelated for an 80s vibe, wallpapers show off the PAC-MAN game, the camera app has a custom filter and there are a series of challenges to unlock a selection of new content, from wallpapers to ringtones and photo stickers.

And of course, PAC-MAN 256 comes pre-installed for instant gaming action. What did you expect?

The OnePlus Nord 2 × PAC-MAN Edition goes on sale on Tuesday, 16 November, at 1100 GMT for £499 in the UK. A single variant of the device will be sold with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage on oneplus.com and amazon.co.uk.

Yes, it’s £30 more expensive than the standard Nord 2 for the same hardware, but it’s so much cooler.


Waka-Waka-Waka – OnePlus Announces Nord 2 x PAC-MAN



OnePlus have announced a new smartphone special edition and it’s a Nord 2 x PAC-MAN. Waka-waka-waka….Partnering with Bandai Namco, the upcoming Nord 2 will be heavily customised with PAC-MAN themed goodness to celebrate over 40 years of the yellow dot gobbler which first appeared in Japanese arcades way back in 1980.

The Nord 2 x PAC-MAN special edition is customised both inside and out. Round the back, there’s a dual-layer rear cover with the classic PAC-MAN maze on top and a glow-in-the-dark background on the bottom. Yes, this Nord 2 glows in the dark (but regrettably, there doesn’t seem to be a picture of the phone yet). Inside the phone, the OxgenOS UI has been tweaked with PAC-MAN references, and extra features such as games and challenges have been added too. There’s exclusive and hidden PAC-MAN content which will need to be unlocked to see it all.

The OnePlus Nord 2 x PAC-MAN Edition will be sold in a single variant with 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage for 529 €, UK£499 and IN₹37,999, so there’s a small price bump there over the standard price – £30 in the case of the UK.

And if that’s whetted your interest, there’s a chance to win a OnePlus Nord 2 x PAC-MAN Edition of your own with some arcade action. Head to https://pac-man.oneplus.com and play PAC-MAN. It’s got the tunes and the waka-waka-waka but Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde aren’t quite the ghosts they once were.

Still, get a high enough score and you’ll be in with a chance of winning the new phone. OnePlus are giving away three phones along with a free pair of OnePlus Buds Z. Get gobbling – the contest for the phones runs from Monday 8 November to Wednesday 10 November. There are more details on the contest here and it’s only open to residents of Europe or India.


Big Discount on OnePlus 9 Pro in UK



OnePlus LogoIf you’ve been dithering over the OnePlus 9 Pro, this might help make up your mind. On Saturday, there’s UK£150 off via Amazon’s Treasure Truck online, and in person at Westfield Stratford in London over this weekend (16th & 17th October). The Truck will also be at the Arndale Centre in Manchester the following weekend (23rd & 24th October).

The offer is for the OnePlus 9 Pro 8GB / 128GB version which brings the price down to UK£659.99 which is an absolute steal for a top-end phone powered by the Snapdragon 888 and a glorious 120 Hz Fluid Display screen. It’s one of the best phones of 2021, with camera sensors co-engineered by Sony and tuned by Hasselblad. Even I can take decent photos. There’s super-speedy charging with Warp Charge 65T both wireless and wirelessly.

OnePlus fans able to visit the Treasure Truck in person in Westfield Stratford can try out the OnePlus 9 Pro in person and take part in competitions to win prizes including OnePlus merchandise such as the Urban Traveller backpacks and the much sought after OnePlus Watch Cobalt Limited Edition.

To sign up for Amazon’s Treasure Truck, go here: http:/.www.amazon.co.uk/gp/TTOneplus . The online offer is good until 9pm (21:00) on Saturday and there’s only one per customer.


The Nord 2. A New “Flagship Killer” from OnePlus?



OnePlus LogoOnePlus’ 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.


Hands-On with the OnePlus Nord CE 5G



OnePlus LogoThe OnePlus Nord CE 5G drops into the crowded mid-range market where there’s no shortage of competitors wanting to take your money. OnePlus pitches the CE as “Core Edition” focussing on key features requested by its user community: “Heavy on features, light on price” says OnePlus. Obviously, there’s 5G in the CE, but what else does this new Nord offer? Let’s take a look…

Back view of OnePlus CE 5G smartphone showing sea green colourThe Nord CE 5G arrives in a black cardboard box with Nord branding picked out in reflective navy blue. There’s a clear contrast between the Nord’s black box and the red boxes reserved for the higher-end models. Opening the box reveals the CE 5G phone itself, along with a semi-transparent bumper case, a SIM tray tool, a few small manuals, a Warp charger and a USB charging cable.

Unwrapping the Nord CE 5G, it’s clear that it continues OnePlus’ current design cues which stretch back at least as far as the 7 series. There’s nothing unexpected here – flat glass front, pinhole camera top left, power button on right, USB C on the bottom, smooth curved back with attractive colouring, vertical triple camera array. It’s largely by the numbers. What’s different? There’s no alert slider but the 3.5 mm headphone jack makes a return to the smartphone. I think the restoration of the jack is a good move at this price point: my daughter prefers wired headphones as she’s less inclined to lose them and if she does, they’re cheaper to replace.

Sizewise, the CE 5G is within a millimetre or two of most recent OnePlus handsets at 159 mm x 74 mm, but it’s only 7.9 mm deep, making it the thinnest OnePlus since the 6T. Weighing in at 170 g, it’s lighter than the Nord by 14 g, though you’re unlikely to notice the difference day-to-day. The back of the CE 5G is polycarbonate rather than glass and it doesn’t quite feel as premium as I’d like but the Blue Void colour is lovely. It’s very similar to the Glacial Green of the OnePlus 8 but as you rotate the phone from the back to the front, the curved edge of the back takes on this lovely purple tone. There are other colours, Charcoal Ink and Silver Ray, but I’ve not seen them in the flesh. The Silver Ray version is only available with the large memory capacity (12 GB + 256 GB)

Front view of OnePlus CE 5G showing home screenTurning on the CE 5G begins to show off the lovely 90 Hz Fluid AMOLED 6.43″ display (2400 x 1080 pixels, 410 ppi). It looks good, it’s fast and it has the controls of its more expensive siblings – screen calibration, refresh rate, vision comfort, reading mode. I do like the dynamic wallpapers that OnePlus offers and the Nord CE 5G comes with a couple of new ones that show off the display when the phone is unlocked.

In terms of sound, I’ve mentioned the return of the headphone jack, which is a good thing for a large chunk of the possible purchasers of the CE 5G. For speakers, there’s only the one at the bottom next to the USB C port. “It’ll do” is about as best as I can muster. It’s quite loud but playing music above two-thirds volume will start to distort the speaker and don’t expect much bass.

Powering the Nord handset is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G Mobile Platform to give it the full title. Simplistically, this is a perfectly acceptable workhorse platform that offers some improvements over the 765G in the Nord. In day to day use, it’s a fine processor and keeps up with most activities. Will it run Fortnite? Yes, it does run Fortnite reasonably well, but there are definitely times when it stutters and all you can do is pray that it’s not at an inconvenient time. However, I have won a solo Battle Royale on the Nord CE 5G so it’s not a big deal. For something a bit more gentle, Pokemon Go runs beautifully. For the nerds, the phone scored 639 single-core and 1798 multi-core on Geekbench 5, putting it in amongst the Pixel 4, the Xiaomi Mi 9 and the Samsung Galaxy A51.

Powering the phone is a 4,500 mAh battery which easily gave me a day of use as long as I wasn’t burning through it with non-stop gaming. Even the battery does get a bit low, the supplied Warp 30T Plus charger is supposed to get the battery from 0% to 70% in 30 minutes. In my test run, it didn’t quite hit the 70% mark in the half-hour, but it was literally only a few minutes behind. The charger itself has a USB A socket, so the charging cable is USB A to USB C.

Cameras….The Nord CE 5G officially has three cameras on the back and one selfie camera around the front. The smartphone uses the same camera app as all the other OnePlus phones as far as I’m aware and offers time-lapse, panoramic, slow-motion, video, photo, portrait and nightscape and pro modes. Starting with the selfie cam, it’s a 16 MP Sony IMX471 that OnePlus has used many times. I feel it takes good enough selfie photos with reasonably accurate skin tones. For the rear, there’s a 64 MP main camera, an 8 MP ultra-wide with 119° field of view and a mono 2 MP unit that’s mainly used for depth sensing (as far as I know). The brand of the camera sensor is not revealed in the specs.

To review the rear cameras, I took a few photos to see how they turned out. Overall I was happy enough with the snaps but there are a couple of issues. First, colour saturation could be stronger: here’s my cat on a red blanket. The red of the blanket is way stronger than it appears to be in the picture.

Next, on ultrawide shots, even with ultra-wide lens correction turned on, you get this kind of motion blur effect on the edges of the shots. You can see it in the picture below. Again the colours of the flowers could do with just being that bit brighter too.

These would be my main two concerns, but I did take some other pictures that I’m really quite pleased with. I thought it handled close up shots better than panoramic ones. That bee has some load of pollen…

 

 

I think it would be fair to say that the Nord CE 5G takes photos that are acceptable without being outstanding.

Lastly, the CE’s OxygenOS 11 is based on Android 11 with OnePlus keeping tinkering to the minimum but adding value where it can. That’s the OnePlus way and to extend that value, the company is committing to 2 years of software updates and 3 years of security updates.

Clearly, the Nord CE 5G has loads of other features that you’d expect as standard: Wi-Fi bgnac, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, GPS, in-display fingerprint reader, dual SIM slot and so on. Rather than review each in turn, I’ll simply confirm that everything is as you’d expect.

Let’s talk about covers…OnePlus sent four bumper covers with the Nord – black, blue, purple and creme. They’re flat colours with flecks of straw through them. Again, using my daughter for her opinion as a prospective purchaser, she liked the purple one but thought that golden glitter mixed in would’ve been much better. I’m with her on this one. These will be priced at GB£17.99 when they’re available.

For most territories outside of the Americas, the CE 5G is the fourth Nord device alongside the Nord, N10 5G and N100. If you are looking to understand where the Nord CE 5G fits in the OnePlus line-up, it’s below the Nord but above the Nord N10. In terms of base pricing, the Nord is GB£379, the CE 5G is £299 and the N10 is £249, though the N10 has slightly less memory at 6 GB rather than 8G.

The Nord CE 5G comes in two variants for the UK:

  • 8 GB + 128 GB: GB£299 / 329€
  • 12 GB + 256 GB: GB£369 / 399€

So does the Nord CE 5G meet expectations as a “Core Edition” focussing on what’s really needed without all the frippery? On the whole yes: 5G, great screen, powerful enough processor, day-long battery life, fast charging, 2 years of software updates, lovely colour. There’s plenty to like but there are some negatives: the rear cover could be better though once the phone is in a case, it’s not noticeable, and the camera does have some failings. Overall, the Nord CE 5G is a good all-rounder without being exceptional. The snag is that there’s plenty of competition to consider as well. If you like it, the phone is on sale from the OnePlus store.

Thanks to OnePlus for supplying the Nord CE 5G smartphone for review.


OnePlus Apps – Clipt, TagHost, WellPaper



OnePlus LogoOnePlus are well-known for their successful range of smartphones but what’s less well known is that they have a small but growing collection of handy Android apps – Clipt, TagHost and WellPaper – produced by their software development team, OneLab Studio.

Mauve Clipt LogoSelected TextStarting with Clipt, it’s a handy clipboard tool that let’s you copy’n’paste between your mobile devices and your PC’s Chromium-based browser. In addition to the Clipt app on the Android devices, you need the complementary Chrome extension, plus access to Google Drive to get it all working smoothly.

Clipt works with four different types of material – text, links, images and files – in slightly different ways but it’s really effective. For sending text and links from your phone or tablet to a PC, Clipt extends the built-in copy’n’paste function to offer a “Clipt” menu option which will push out whatever is highlight. For images, you use the Share to…..Clipt, and for files, Clipt works with the Files app to browse and find files.

On the browser side, the pinned Clipt extension brings in the transferred material almostly instantanously. I can get a picture I’ve discovered on the web on my phone into a Word document on the PC in three taps / clicks. On phone (tap 1) Share to… (tap 2) Clipt and finally on PC (click 3) Paste. It really is that simple.

You can go the other way too. Say you’ve found a funny clip on your PC but you want to send it via WhatsApp on your phone. Copy the link and Clipt will have it ready for you on your phone to simply paste into WhatsApp.

It’s brilliant if you’re one of these people who are constantly juggling PCs, Chromebooks, tablets and phones. I’d really recommend trying Clipt.

TagHost Hash LogoRanked HashtagsTagHost is tool for Instagrammers to see which hastags are the most popular in amongst lots of small but subtle variations. First, find a post on Instagram that’s of interest and then paste it into the TagHost app. The app will extract all the hastags from the post and any post comments below. Once the hashtags have been collected, Tag Host will show how popular the tags are so that you know which ones to use in your own posts. In the example to the right, #watchfam and #watchcollector are hot, #watchtime and #watchfreaks are not. It’s straightforward and keeps your ‘Gram posts tidy but effective.

Three coloured square filters at an angleSquares Show ActivityFinally, WellPaper is a live background which keeps track of your activities during the day and presents them as one of three different visualisations; Composition, Radial and Glow.

Composition is a Mondrian-esque wallpaper that uses rectangles to represent the relative proportion of time spent in each activity area. Radial is a soft blend of colour, almost like an artist’s palette, that morphs during the day. Last, Glow uses concentric rings to show busy-ness.

Concentric RingsWellPaper uses six categories: Lifestyle & Comms, Info & Business, Game, Social, Entertainment and Tools to track and show your use of apps on your phone. Each apps time within the category is further broken down but at present you can’t choose which category an app falls into. For example, Slack might be Social or it might be Business, depending on how you use it.

Regardless of which visualisation you like, you can quickly get an idea of your activity and if you’re over doing it when it comes to your social networking or gaming.

That’s three useful apps from the team at OnePlus. I’d particular recommend Clipt and I have WellPaper running on my OnePlus 9 as I write.


Get Your Game On With OnePlus and Google Stadia



OnePlus have partnered with Google’s Stadia and consequently their latest smartphones will come with a free Chromecast Ultra and a Stadia controller. Stadia is Google’s cloud-based gaming platform and offers instant gameplay without lengthy downloads.

OnePlus has a history of gaming promotions with PUBG and Fortnite taking advantage of fast smartphones and high refresh rates. I think the Bhangra Boogie Emote is still available…

At OnePlus, we are very close with our community of tech enthusiasts and a lot of them are avid gamers, so we know that mobile gamers are looking for a more immersive experience. That’s exactly what we are delivering with this unique bundle. By partnering with Google to offer Stadia Premiere Edition to our customers, we’re able to push the limits of gaming, making the best gaming experience even more accessible for the growing number of mobile gamers”, says Tuomas Lampen, Head of Strategy OnePlus Europe.

Outside of the promotion Stadia Premiere Edition costs GB£89.99, so it’s a good freebie. Google Stadia comes in two tiers, standard (aka Base) and Pro. The Pro tier has a free month trial and then costs GB£8.99 per month and offers an ever-increasing selection of games. If you don’t go Pro, individual games can be purchased as desired. There’s a extensive library of games with recognisable titles – Hitman, Tomb Raider, Hello Neighbor, Final Fantasy – but they do cost roughly the same as titles on other gaming platforms.

Stadia works across Google’s platforms – Android phones, Chromebooks, PC Chrome browser and on the TV via Chromecast. It’s a neat idea, especially if you aren’t wedded to an existing gaming ecosystem. To be fair, there have been some concerns about Google’s commitment to Stadia but as it’s a freebie, I’d take it and play.

The promotion is available to purchasers of OnePlus 9 Pro, 9, 8 Pro, 8T and Nord smartphones in UK, France and Germany from oneplus.com until 30th September.