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21 Jul 2020

OnePlus Nord review: similar to the OnePlus 8, but far cheaper

The unusual OnePlus Nord offers a healthy range of features for a surprisingly low price

Following on from the launch of the OnePlus 8 series earlier this year, OnePlus has unveiled the headline model in its new range of affordable smartphones - the OnePlus Nord.

OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei took to a virtual stage this afternoon as the smartphone company hosted the 'world's first AR (augmented reality) smartphone launch'.

The Nord's uniqueness to the brand's roster doesn't just stop at its name - it features the most cameras ever on a OnePlus smartphone and is the cheapest phone the brand has launched since the OnePlus 3 hit the shelves in June 2016.

We're told the OnePlus Nord offers 'pretty much everything you could ask for', but is that really the case? Keep scrolling for a closer look at the Nord's key features and see whether you're better off opting for another mid-range model altogether.

Read on for more, head straight to our OnePlus Nord review, or see which models impressed in our tests with our round-up of the best mobile phones.

OnePlus Nord vs OnePlus 8: spot the difference

OnePlus loyalists will be pleased to hear that the OnePlus Nord preserves a lot of the features that we've previously seen on the flagship OnePlus 8. However, the Nord is significantly cheaper.

Here's an overview of the differences between the OnePlus Nord and OnePlus 8:

OnePlus NordOnePlus 8
OnePlus Nord
OnePlus 8
Screen size6.44 inches6.55 inches
Display resolution (pixels)1,080 x 2,4001,080 x 2,400
Rear cameras48Mp, 8Mp, 5Mp, 2Mp48Mp, 16Mp, 2Mp
Front cameras32Mp, 8Mp16Mp
ProcessorSnapdragon 765GSnapdragon 865

OnePlus Nord vs OnePlus 8: display

The difference between these two siblings is next to nothing on paper. The 6.55-inch display on the OnePlus 8 is 0.11inches bigger than the 6.44-inch screen on the OnePlus Nord.

Both smartphones have a Fluid AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate - which tells us how many times the screen refreshes per second. They run at Full HD+ resolution (2,400 x 1,080).

OnePlus Nord vs OnePlus 8: battery life

Again, there's only a minor difference between the two.

The OnePlus 8 takes the win in this battle thanks to its 4,300mAh battery that's slightly bigger than the 4,115mAh battery on the OnePlus Nord. Although every mAh of capacity helps, the difference may not be noticeable enough to warrant the extra cost.

OnePlus Nord vs OnePlus 8: Ram and storage

Both models are available in two configurations. The cheaper, standard model comes with 8GB of Ram and 128GB of internal storage, while the pricier alternative gives you 12GB of Ram and 256GB of storage to play with.

OnePlus Nord vs OnePlus 8: cameras

This is where you'll see the biggest difference - the OnePlus Nord has more lenses than any other OnePlus smartphone.

It comes with a quad rear camera array that features a Sony IMX586 48Mp main lens, an 8Mp ultra-wide-angle lens with a 119-degree field of view, a 5Mp depth sensor for portrait mode pictures and a 2Mp macro camera for close-up shots.

The front of the OnePlus Nord houses the remaining two lenses, consisting of a Sony IMC618 32Mp main lens and an 8Mp ultra-wide-angle lens.

The OnePlus 8 has a more modest four cameras in total. The rear camera setup includes a 48Mp wide-angle lens, 16Mp ultra-wide-angle lens and 2Mp macro camera. You'll find a single 16Mp wide-angle camera on the front of the phone for snapping selfies.

OnePlus Nord vs OnePlus 8: processors

Judging by the OnePlus Nord's much kinder price tag, there was bound to be a big sacrifice somewhere. In this case, we're turning our attention to the less advanced processor.

The OnePlus Nord is powered by a Snapdragon 765G chipset, a popular choice in mid-range 5G smartphones this year. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 8 houses the Snapdragon 865, which has advanced capabilities such as 8K video capture - the Snapdragon 765G typically allows up to 4K.

OnePlus Nord vs OnePlus 8: price

This is the biggest differentiator between the two smartphones, so you'll want to pay attention if you're on a tight budget.

The OnePlus Nord starts at £379 (8GB Ram, 126GB storage) while the OnePlus 8 originally launched at £599 for the same configuration. Considering that there aren't a huge number of differences between these two models, you might wonder why it's worth paying so much more for the OnePlus 8.

Read our full OnePlus Nord first look review and OnePlus 8 first look review for all the juicy details.

Other key rivals to the OnePlus Nord

The OnePlus Nord is 5G ready, which sets an incredibly high standard considering its price.

With six cameras, a palm-stretching display and the same amount of Ram as mobiles that cost twice as much, the OnePlus Nord is certainly on the heels of its mid-range competitors.

But we've seen plenty of impressive mid-range phones recently, so you might want to consider one of these instead.

TCL 10 Pro (£399)

TCL made a name for itself with the launch of the 10 Pro, which features a 6.47-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display and a whopping five cameras in total.

As well as having a larger display than the OnePlus Nord, this TCL model also has a bigger battery (4,500mAh). However, it doesn't support 5G.

Motorola Edge (£530)

Motorola stepped into the world of 5G with the launch of the Edge in May this year, giving a more affordable alternative to 5G devices such as the Samsung Galaxy flagships that also tout the technology.

This Android-powered mobile trumps the OnePlus Nord with its massive 6.7-inch display, but with one front camera and a much higher price, it's a difficult choice.

Is this smartphone a proven Which? Best Buy? Check in with our full Motorola Edge review.

Realme X50 Pro 5G (£569)

The Realme X50 Pro 5G is far pricier than most of the other models on Realme's roster.

Its display is identical to the OnePlus Nord's in size and resolution. This Realme model also has the same number of cameras, but led by a 64Mp rear lens, it just about surpasses the Nord on paper.

See how this smartphone fared in the Which? test lab with our Realme X50 Pro 5G review.

New OnePlus Buds take aim at Apple Airpods

It just wouldn't be a 2020 smartphone launch without the announcement of a new accompanying set of earphones.

This time, the OnePlus Buds take centre stage as the brand's first truly wireless headphones that claim to deliver high-quality audio playback.

The brand makes some bold battery claims - it says that with only 10 minutes of charging in the OnePlus case the Buds will last for 10 hours, and once charged to full capacity can survive for 30 hours of your favourite music and videos.

With stiff competition from all angles, including Samsung with its Galaxy Buds as well as Apple's AirPods, our tests will reveal whether or not it can compete.