[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]brute performance
The lightning-fast OxygenOS system
strong photos and videos.
65 watts and long battery life.
strong price/performance[/i2pros][i2cons]Plastic frame
The ineffective ultra-wide-angle camera
There is no 3.5mm jack for headphones.
No memory expansion[/i2cons][/i2pc]
The first OnePlus Nord last year was good, but the Nord 2 should be even better! More performance thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI and a flawless camera with the Sony IMX766 including OIS are the outstanding specifications. But is the OnePlus Nord 2 really “uncompromising”?
The OnePlus Nord 2 is now built with flagship components, has solid software in the form of OxygenOS, and will not be any more expensive. Officially, it starts at 39,990 Tk with 8/128GB of storage, while the larger version with 12/256GB is available for 44,990 Tk.
So, do we have the “flagship killer” of 2021 here? The smartphone has now accompanied me for a good 3 weeks in daily practical use. In the test, we find out how good the Nord 2 actually is and where compromises have to be made.
The flagship ambitions of the OnePlus 2 become clear with the switch to the new design. The rear main camera is framed in the device’s color and presents the two “large” sensors separately. The bezels around the display are correspondingly narrow, and we have retained the popular volume profile slider on the right.
In this country, the OnePlus Nord 2 is available in two color variants. Unfortunately, the version with the back made of green artificial leather (“Green Wood”) does not appear with us.
The first Nord smartphone has already shown the way in terms of materials, and the OnePlus Nord 2 also comes with a plastic frame. On the other hand, the frame also feels “cheaper”. Glass remains on the front and back, which also transitions into the frame in a neatly rounded 2.5D manner. But the colored part of the camera unit at the back is also made of matte plastic.
With the mix of materials, the 4500mAh battery, and a 6.43-inch display, the dimensions of the Nord 2 are below average. It measures 158.9 x 73.2 x 8.25mm and weighs 189 grams.
On the underside of the frame are the speakers, a USB-C (2.0) connection, and a SIM slot for two nano SIM cards. There is a second noise-canceling microphone at the top, and the second loudspeaker and various sensors are installed in the frame toward the display.
The volume rocker is on the left of the OnePlus Nord 2, and the power button and volume profile slider are above it on the right. With this, you can quickly switch between “ring”, “vibrate” and “silent”.
The OnePlus Nord 2 feels great in the hand because it is a bit more compact and has a flawless finish. The frame is also stable enough—you can’t bend the Nord 2 in normal use. There is no need for an official IP rating.
But the smartphone passes “water & durability” tests, according to the manufacturer. The competition in this category doesn’t have much more to offer, apart from perhaps a metal frame. The Nord 2 does not stand out positively.
In addition to the OnePlus Nord 2 with the protective film applied, the black box also contains a decent plastic case with a matte “North” arrow, the Warp Charge 65W power supply, and a USB-A to USB-C cable. In addition, there is the usual slip of paper, a welcome letter, and brief instructions.
The official protective covers include the well-known sandstone case in black and blue-orange (previously only in black), which offers a lot of grips. There is also “Doodle Chaos”: the variant is known as the OnePlus 8T (Quantum Bumper Case). But it turns out to be very colorful with the Nord 2. In terms of quality, however, all three cases are impeccable.
For the OnePlus Nord 2, there is no progress in terms of the built-in display. We have a bright AMOLED panel with Full HD+ resolution and 90 Hertz, but an even higher refresh rate or even a QHD display is reserved for higher price ranges at OnePlus.
The display measures 6.44 inches diagonally at the front and has a 20:9 format. At the top left is the front camera in a 4mm diameter punch-hole notch. The edge between the display and the frame is narrow and measures just 2.5 mm left, right, and above and 4.5 mm below.
The resolution is Full HD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels) and the Nord 2 achieves a sharp pixel density of 410 pixels per inch. If necessary, the display is also very bright and can be read perfectly in the sun. With 1010 lux, the Nord 2 is on par with many flagships.
Only the even smoother 120 Hertz is retained in the top models from OnePlus. With the Nord 2, you have the choice between 60 and 90 Hertz and “dynamic”, with which the smartphone decides for itself depending on the content.
The budget flagship is also certified with HDR10+ and Widevine L1, which means that Full HD streaming (e.g., Netflix and Disney+) can be used. On the Nord 2, OnePlus does not include a DC dimming option for sensitive users.
The color reproduction and contrast of OxygenOS are factories set to be strong as usual. In the settings, however, you have the option of customizing the color display. You have the choice between “Vivid” (P3 mode) and “Mild” (sRGB as well as the free choice of the display color temperature between cold and warm).
A few smart features for the display are integrated with the “AI” Dimensity 1200, but not all of them can be found in the settings for the OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro. For videos, there are the image enhancers “image sharpener” and “color booster”. Otherwise, there are the usual suspects in the settings:
always-on display with different themes, an adjustable schedule, or only as an “inactivity display” (tap on the black screen to activate). However, the AOD consumes 7% of the battery over the course of the day.
The OnePlus Nord 2 can be operated using either the classic Android buttons or swipe gestures. However, a few functions have been dropped with OxygenOS 11.3 – but new ones have been added elsewhere. All in all, solid fare with the built-in AMOLED and appropriate for the price range, but not a highlight on the Nord 2 here either!
At least since the Redmi K30 Ultra with Dimensity 1000, we’ve been waiting for the top processors from MediaTek. But until now, there simply hasn’t been a global version of a smartphone with a density chipset. With the OnePlus Nord 2, this is changing!
The OnePlus Nord 2 relies on the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 and adds the abbreviation “AI” to it for a few smart software features. The octa-core is manufactured using the 6nm process and relies on a fast Cortex-A78 Prime Core with up to 3 GHz.
There are also three more with up to 2.6 GHz and an energy-saving cluster made up of four Cortex-A55 cores with up to 2.0 GHz. As a GPU, we have the ARM-Mali G77 MC9.
The Nord 2 has either 8 or 12GB of LPDDR4x memory and 128 or 256GB of UFS 3.1 memory. The RAM achieves data rates of 53 GB/s and the storage space achieves a read/write speed of 1979 MB/s. An excellent result.
With 680,000 points in the AnTuTu benchmark, the Dimensity 1200 “AI” simply beats the Snapdragon 865 – last year’s top model. Only the higher-clocked Snapdragon 870 comes in at just over 700,000 points.
Let’s make it simple with the result: There is more than enough computing power, no matter what task the OnePlus Nord 2 is asked to perform. Only the Poco F3 currently offers even more power at a reasonable price.
There is also another factor that is currently causing a lot of fuss, sparked by the Snapdragon 888. In the synthetic benchmarks, thermal throttling occurs rapidly here: the performance/clock rate has to be reduced so that the smartphone does not get too hot.
With the computing power, the Nord 2 with the Dimension 1200 is not entirely unaffected by the issue. But here, after a good 20 minutes of benchmarks, we only get to the point where the Nord 2 drops to a good 80% of its performance, but then stays there.
In practice, it doesn’t get that far. After an hour of gaming in the sun, we are at almost 40°C in the upper left corner, but there are no stutters or lags.
Main Prize: MediaTek’s Flagship CPU! Even if some people have not yet been able to shed their general aversion to MediaTek, simply need the Qualcomm prestige, or are crying out for a custom ROM, the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 “AI” is the absolute main prize for the OnePlus Nord 2!
But there is already light on the horizon when it comes to “alternative software” because it might be possible after all & there is already a working Google Camera Mod. The processor is brutally fast, but it also works efficiently and is battery-friendly thanks to the 6nm manufacturing process. Also, it doesn’t get too hot in the “continuous fire” salute to Qualcomm.
With the Nord 2, Oneplus focuses on the main camera. So deliberately placed against the quad-camera trend! OnePlus incorporates the Sony IMX766 sensor into the Nord 2.The 50MP sensor is also used, for example, in the OnePlus 9 models as an ultra-wide-angle sensor or even in the Oppo Find X3 Pro, a “real high-end device”, as the main sensor. You don’t save the OIS for the IMX766 either.
But with the other sensors of the triple camera, The ultra wide-angle sensor is also in the Nord CE and with 8MP it is already a significantly cheaper model. The third-party only supports the software. The 2MP “mono lens” is used for bokeh shots or filters. Not much has changed on the front camera compared to the first Nord: from the Sony IMX616 to the IMX615, also with a 32MP resolution.
The camera setup of the OnePlus Nord 2 in detail:
When it comes to the software, the OnePlus 9 flagships boast the expertise of the camera manufacturer “Hasselblad”. We don’t have the marketing for the Nord 2, but the fine-tuning of the camera software is also noticeable here.
Daylight shots belong to the simple categories, and a high-end device does not yet deliver the leap in quality here. Accordingly, the OnePlus Nord 2 with the Sony IMX766 also takes pictures “with the left”. Nice here: Compared to the older devices from the manufacturer from last year, you have new image processing.
The colors are now much more realistic and the contrast does not have to constantly show what it can do. Nevertheless, you have a crisp sharpness with many details.
The product page also brags directly about the strong “AI” capabilities that come “live” through the Dimensity 1200. This includes clearly automatic HDR with the well-known dynamic contrast and also an AI/KI mode.
It reliably recognizes the respective motif and clearly enhances the color reproduction. Not with the impressive effect on the landscapes and buildings, but take a look at the close-ups.
If you use interpolation to 50MP instead of pixel binning, the file size increases from 5MB to around 17MB. During the day with good light conditions, you can dare the change: The OnePlus Nord 2 offers photos with even higher detail density and a little less dynamic range in the picture. In the twilight, 50MP is no longer worthwhile, since the picture is visibly too dark.
Excellent timing for the OnePlus Nord 2 with the Sony IMX766 sensor.Literally, because you actually get the white dots in the sky photographed on a clear night. With an f/1.88 large aperture, 1.0 m pixels, and OIS, we have what is probably the brightest mid-range camera!
In addition, the new “Nightscape Ultra” night mode can now also show what it gets out of the Nord 2. You wouldn’t expect anything different from the top processor: the time it takes for the recordings to be processed in the separate night mode is no longer than with Snapdragon flagships.
The night shots are just damn good! Here we have hardly any ISO noise, high sharpness, and strong colors. Some of the images are even brighter than the eye perceives without exaggerating the brightness in the sky. So the sky stays nice and black without drifting into the bluish hue.
Another small feature is the tripod mode, with an exposure time of up to 45 seconds. In the practical test, it also worked with “hanging up” on the wall, but the subject was just too bright to gain an advantage.
In the close-up shots, it can quickly happen that the Nord 2 warns you to keep your distance. The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro would automatically switch to the ultra wide-angle sensor directly. We did not install a dedicated macro sensor with a resolution that is far too low in the mid-range flagship.
This means that you can only get about 30 cm close to the subject, otherwise the focus will not find its way. Until then, however, there is no problem, and the OnePlus Nord 2 presents us with excellent sharpness in close-ups. The flowers also show exactly these colors in real life!
Up until our two Hasselblad models, portraiture wasn’t OnePlus’ forte. The problem was simply that the person/subject in focus was also photographed too out of focus. This has been taken care of, and solid bokeh shots are now presented.
The motif is staged here in terms of color and high contrast. The software can quickly separate the foreground from the background and signal this via a green field in the camera app. Every now and then mistakes creep in (e.g. crook of the arm).
You had to save on the ultra wide-angle camera to stay under the 44,000 Tk mark. There is probably no other way to explain the 8MP sensor. Of course, the extra large recording area is a nice bonus, but depending on the subject, you have to weigh up when it’s worth doing without the quality of the main camera sensor.
With the Nord 2, the images are already significantly worse. This is partly due to the lower resolution, which makes textures muddy, and partly to the paler color. The software does its best here, but it cannot save everything. At least the sharpness hardly falls off at the edge, which makes the ultra-wide shots “difficult to digest” – you managed that relatively well.
Does this mean that the ultra-wide-angle sensor becomes even more useless at night? The night mode surprised me even more here than with the bright Sony IMX766 main sensor. What “Nightscape Ultra” enables the 8MP sensor to do at night is almost uncanny. With such a good main camera, you won’t always notice a difference, but the test shots are quite good!
We already had a resolution of 32MP with the first OnePlus Nord, but pixel binning didn’t exist even then. So the Nord 2 continues to take fairly large selfies, both in terms of file size and, fortunately, in terms of field of view. A much wider range is recorded here than with the 16MP Sony IMX471 of the OnePlus flagships.
The quality is also a class higher here. An extremely large number of details are recorded, and the background also remains relatively sharp. The colors have also returned to a more natural look. Of course, if you don’t want that, you have various embellishments to choose from.
The front camera also gets a lot of attention at night. Of course, you can record bokehs with the front camera again, but there is also a front flash that lights up the display extra brightly in white.
For the first time, we also have a night mode for the Sony IMX615. While it’s harder to keep your arm still when taking selfies, you can capture more light. However, the use is only worthwhile in significantly darker areas.
When it comes to moving pictures, it is best to limit yourself to the powerful Sony IMX766. The resolution is a maximum of 4K/30 fps or 1080p/60 fps. The stabilization also works reliably at these resolutions. On the one hand, good software stabilization (EIS) is available for this, while micro wobbles are intercepted by the OIS.
So is the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 “AI” the star in the OnePlus Nord 2 or the Sony IMX766? In the triple cam at the back, the focus is clearly on an excellent main sensor, with the front camera also delivering well. If you simply want to take the best possible pictures with the main camera, quickly and easily, you will get exactly what you are looking for here.
As usual, OnePlus packs all current standards into the smartphone when it comes to connectivity, and the package is correspondingly extensive. In addition, there is the combination of a plastic frame and light construction, which impedes reception less than metal, for example.
Two nano-SIM cards fit into the SIM slot at the same time and can be used for dual SIM. With the Dimensity 1200, you can get involved in the new 5G network: SAR: 0.94 W/kg head/1.20 W/kg body DL Cat 20/UL Cat 18
The Nord 2 supports the following LTE and 5G frequencies:
For phone calls, you have the main microphone at the bottom and a noise-canceling microphone at the top, and they work great together. If necessary, the ear loudspeaker becomes correspondingly loud and reproduces the speech clearly. VoLTE & VoWiFi are also supported by the Nord 2.
With the Dimensity of 1200, the other standards are also looking good. The OnePlus Nord 2 connects to local networks via WiFi 6/6ax and also uses 22 MIMO. The reception was excellent in the test and was even 15% better than on the OnePlus 8T. This allowed our DSL line to be fully utilized, and the data rate was still sufficient even two floors down in the garden.
The OnePlus Nord 2 is navigated using the following services: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, and NavIC. However, not with dual GPS, which does not harm the accuracy. In practice, the exact position is accurate to within 2 meters after a maximum of 10 seconds. In the car, the signal was not deterred by normal motorway tunnels. Meanwhile, an electronic compass helps in finding the right direction.
NFC is also on board and is available for mobile payments via Google Pay. The three standard sensors (acceleration, proximity, and brightness sensors) and a gyroscope are on board.
The OnePlus Nord 2 is unlocked as usual via the fingerprint sensor integrated into the AMOLED panel. The sensor is now a little further down, as is the case with the flagships. The “field” for unlocking is brought out either by typing, holding it in your hand, or through the always-on display.
The unlocking process takes less than half a second and works flawlessly with the OnePlus Nord 2. If desired, the front camera can also be used for Face Unlock, or in combination with the fingerprint sensor if you want.
In the meantime, all current OnePlus smartphones have reached a battery capacity of 4500 mAh. The difference is made by the display (resolution and refresh rate) and the processor. Compared to the first Nord, that’s almost 400mAh more, and the Dimensity processors are also proving to be efficient workhorses. The 4500mAh in the Nord 2 is divided into two cells with 2250mAh to achieve the high charging speed of 65 watts.
In the PC Mark Battery Benchmark (calibrated to 200cd/m2), the OnePlus Nord 2 achieves a score of 13 hours and 25 minutes at 90 Hertz. It’s even been 14 hours at 60 hertz. In my almost three-week practical test, a display-on-time of 7 to 8 hours over two days (and one night) was possible. In the streaming test via YouTube, 8–9% of battery capacity is consumed per hour.
The fast charging technology “Warp or Dash Charge” from OnePlus was always fast. In the latest expansion stage, it goes up to 65 watts and this is now also given to the “middle class”. The cheaper OnePlus Nord CE 30 still has to be satisfied with 30 watts.
If the battery runs out during the day, you can quickly recharge it. It goes from a 15% to 75% charge in just 15 minutes, and a full charge takes just 30 minutes. If desired, the Nord 2 can be charged “battery-friendly” or optimized overnight.
A bit questionable: it’s the Warp Charge 65 power supply, but with a USB-A instead of a USB-C port, like all other devices. You can use it to charge other OnePlus smartphones with 65 watts, but power delivery is not supported. For example, you would need an extra power supply for the ultrabook on the go.
Another charging option is PowerDelivery, where the OnePlus Nord 2 only reaches 18 watts most of the time. However, wireless charging is not supported and remains exclusive to the flagships.
The OnePlus Nord 2 is the true “CE-Core Edition”-not of the Nord series, but of the manufacturer’s flagship range! Reduced to the essentials with high-quality components without frills. It doesn’t take much for that: A strong main camera with the Sony IMX766 including OIS and more than enough performance thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 “AI”.
There are also amenities that we are used to from the OnePlus flagships, such as the 65-watt fast charging technology. And of course, the optimized OxygenOS, 5G is generally part of it, but all other current standards are also on board.
The display and ultra wide-angle camera are the OnePlus Nord 2’s main flaws. However, one can hardly blame a bright and good AMOLED panel for “only” having 90 Hertz. The main camera’s results are difficult to criticize.
We have current competition, for example, with the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G or the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G—both are a bit cheaper, but they also have their strengths and weaknesses. It is best to decide for yourself what is important to you—but with the OnePlus Nord 2, you are definitely not doing anything wrong at the moment! The entire package gets a crystal-clear purchase recommendation for just under 39,990 Tk!