OnePlus Nord 2 5G, analysis: the second generation improves (almost) everything

The original OnePlus Nord was surprised for being the first mid-range mobile in a long time and for managing to gain a foothold in the problematic segment formed by mobiles between 300 and 400 euros, becoming a benchmark in its category…

With this OnePlus Nord 2, the brand has tried to go further, setting itself the goal of placing this model as a “flagship killer” of those that OnePlus used to launch years ago.

But the reality is different: the OnePlus Nord 2 is not a flagship, nor does it need to be a fantastic terminal, and without a doubt, a perfect evolution compared to the original version launched in 2020.

OnePlus Nord 2 5G analysis

With a more refined design, —almost— top-level performance, the same excellent screen, and high-quality main cameras, the Nord 2 is a great candidate for the best mobile for less than 400 euros and one of the best mid-range of 2021.

Although it will not be as easy as its predecessor to conquer the market, this year, it does not have the Pixel 4a in front of it —nor does it have its successor, which we are still waiting for today—, but it does have models like the POCO F3 or the realme GT, which offer screens with higher refresh rates for and more powerful processors, as well as more versatile and complete camera systems. To this, we must add that the OnePlus software is no longer a differential feature as it was in the past, something that could end up torpedoing the possible success of what, otherwise, would have many ballots to become the massive mid-range bestseller in 2021.

  • OnePlus Nord 2 5G opinion and score
  • Price and where to buy the OnePlus Nord 2 5G
  • Where is the OnePlus Nord 2 5G located?
  • Datasheet
  • Design and display
  • Hardware and performance
  • Battery and charging
  • Software and expertise
  • Cameras

OnePlus Nord 2 5G opinion and score

OnePlus Nord 2, view and note from Andro4all
Should you buy the OnePlus Nord 2?
In favor
  • Good screen quality
  • High performance
  • Good main camera
  • Correct autonomy and speedy charge
  • Sometimes inconsistent software
  • Complementary cameras somewhat lower
  • Only two years of updates
Conclusions The OnePlus Nord 2 improves many aspects of the original OnePlus Nord while keeping the same price. It stands out for its screen, smooth performance, and battery management. Its main chamber places it at the doors of the highest range.
Punctuation It is not a flagship, nor does it need to be.

Price and where to buy the OnePlus Nord 2 5G

The OnePlus Nord 2 is available from the end of July through the company’s official store.

Its price starts at 399 euros in the 8 GB of RAM model with 128 GB of storage and goes up to 499 euros with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. Both models can be chosen in gray and blue .

Likewise, it is also possible to buy it from other authorized resellers, such as Amazon, where it is probably more probable to find the device at a discount once some time has passed since the moment of its presentation.

Where is the OnePlus Nord 2 5G located?

Four years had to pass since the failed OnePlus X for the Chinese firm to dare to launch its second high-end mobile. And seeing the success of the OnePlus Nord may now, OnePlus regret waiting so long.

For that reason, now the brand has not hesitated for a moment to launch the second generation of the model that changed everything in the company’s catalog. The OnePlus Nord 2 5G is the second installment of an increasingly large family, which not too long ago welcomed the Nord CE, a somewhat cheaper model with more humble features.

With this model, the company aspires to repeat the success of the original model launched in July 2016, maintaining the same recipe but seasoning it with a series of improvements aimed at transforming the OnePlus Nord 2 into the flagship killer. This concept has long been strategy marketing, mainly due to the price escalation of its flagship models.

Where is the OnePlus Nord 2 5G located

We have been able to test the OnePlus Nord 2 over the last few weeks, and if something is clear, it is a better and more complete model than the model launched last year. And knowing what OnePlus achieved with the original Nord, that’s saying a lot.


OnePlus Nord 2
Dimensions 158,9 x 73,2 x 8,25 mm
189 grams
Screen 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED
2400×1080 pixels
410 PPI
90 hercios
Processor MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI
RAM 8/12 GB
Operating system OxygenOS 11.3 based on Android 11
Storage 128/256 GB
Cameras rear
-50 MP Sony IMX766 OIS f/1.88
-Ultra gran angular de 8 MP sub EIS, 119.7°
-2 MP monochrome
-32 MP Sony IMX615 EIS f/2.45
Battery 4.500 mAh
65W fast charge
Others Bluetooth 5.2
On-screen fingerprint reader
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, NavIC
USB 2.0 Type C
Alert Slider
Dual 5G SIM

The Nord 2 looks like a slight evolution of the original Nord on paper. And as we go through this analysis, we will see that although the bulk of the changes introduced by the brand could be considered incremental, the reality is that they all form a more complete and balanced set –if possible– than the one that we were in the generation launched in 202.

Now, is that enough to steal the prominence of realme, Xiaomi, POCO, and other kings of the mid-range?

Design and display

With the original OnePlus Nord, the company created a mobile with an easily distinguishable design from the older brothers of the OnePlus eight series. And it succeeded… at the cost of building a somewhat bland design lacking in personality, too similar to that of the rest of the smartphones in its segment available on the market at that time.

This year, however, the Chinese firm has followed a different path. The OnePlus Nord 2 is a OnePlus that is part of the same family that the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, and the aesthetic similarities are more than reasonable.

Design and display

Starting at the back, we find the classic rectangular camera module so typical of the OnePlus 9, with two sensors arranged vertically inside two large holes that, at first glance, make the cameras seem more significant than what they are.

Just below, we see another two holes, this time arranged horizontally, intended to house the third additional camera and the LED flash.

The module in question only protrudes a few millimeters from the rear of the terminal, enough not to be annoying. Even so, as is usual with terminals that incorporate the camera on one side, the device “dances” when used on a flat surface, such as a table.

Design and display 1

The back of the device is made of glass, and it comes in several different finishes. In Spain, it is possible to find it in gray and blue. The latter is the one that we have been able to test, and unlike the other finish, it has a shiny glass that attracts dirt, fingerprints, and scratches very easily.

The chassis surrounding its body does not use aluminum as it does in the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. The lack of lines for the antennas reveals a plastic material like the one we already saw in the original Nord. Despite this, the device does not feel any less “premium” or pleasant in hand.

In that sense, it must be said that the Nord 2 is a comfortable phone, which without being part of the compact mobile segment, at least is more manageable than the 6.67-inch that currently flood the medium and high ranges.

Design and display 2

The front of the Nord 2 is occupied by a 6.43-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD + resolution and a refresh rate of 90 hertz. It is the same screen already present in the original Nord, which is good news since that was precisely one of the strengths of the company’s previous mid-range terminal.

It is a perfect quality screen, bright, with vivid colors -although too saturated for my taste in the “Intense” color mode-, and covered by a glass that does an excellent job of avoiding the reflections. It is also completely flat, another point in favor. Overall, it’s a perfect display, with 90 hertz sitting exceptionally well by providing an even smoother experience.

The panel is surrounded by reduced margins on its sides and top, with a more pronounced chin and a hole in the upper left corner. Said hole is precisely one of the significant changes that we find when comparing it with the OnePlus Nord, where there were two front cameras instead of one.

It is not the most careful design of the mid-range. Still, the OnePlus Nord 2 has an aesthetic line consistent with the design language of the Chinese company, and without taking risks, OnePlus has managed to build a device that convinces from the first moment that is held in hand.

Hardware and performance

Something is changing at OnePlus. Since the merger process with OPPO, we have seen more and more movements by the company; some of them applauded, and others – the vast majority – viewed with some suspicion.

One of these movements has been to use, for the first time, a MediaTek processor in one of its phones after years of exclusivity for Qualcomm. The Nord 2 mounts a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI, a slightly modified version of the Chinese chip’s current reference chip.

It is a high-end-oriented processor, manufactured in a 6-nanometer format and with eight cores inside, including cores capable of running at a maximum frequency of 3 GHz.

The brain is backed by 8 or 12GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of non-expandable. The model that I have been able to test over the last few weeks corresponds to the most advanced version, with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage.

Hardware and performance

Of course, it is a smartphone with an integrated 5G modem, which supports 5G SA and NSA networks. 5G connectivity is also available on the two SIM cards that the Nord 2 allows you to use simultaneously.

As expected, this set of specifications provides a more than solvent experience in the OnePlus Nord 2, offering a performance very close to that of the company’s high-end.

The user interface moves very freely. As usual in the brand’s terminals, speed is one of the reference hallmarks of the device in any scenario, regardless of how demanding the application or game is in front.

The GPU. Based on our tests, it is likely that models such as the POCO F3 or the realme GT, both with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series processor, can provide slightly better performance in certain scenes, especially those that require more support. However, the differences on a day-to-day basis will be almost invisible to most.

One plus point for this Dimensity 1200 is the excellent job of keeping the heat at bay. Unlike the Snapdragon 888, the MediaTek chip doesn’t overheat as frequently, which is a problem that the original Nord suffered from.

Battery and charging

To all of the above, we must add a 4,500 mAh capacity battery, slightly larger than the original Nord – hence the increase in thickness and weight compared to last year’s model.

The autonomy was correct in the Nord, and in this Nord 2, it can be considered good, as it allows it to withstand a day and a half of use, exceeding 6 hours of screen on.

In any case, this is probably the most variable section of the analysis since the experience will depend to a great extent on each user based on the use that each one gives to the device.

The devilish charging speed that allows the 65W Warp Charge system to be reached does not vary in any case, the same present in the brand’s most expensive mobiles. Thanks to it, it is possible to recharge the entire battery in less than 40 minutes.

Unfortunately, OnePlus keeps leaving wireless charging out of the picture in its Nord series, and this trait remains exclusive to the company’s top-of-the-line models.

Battery and charging

Software and expertise

About the software of the OnePlus Nord 2, there is much to talk about. And is that it is the first terminal launched by OnePlus after announcing the merger of its software development division with that of OPPO, and therefore, the brand’s first device with software based on ColorOS, the customization layer of OPPO.

That does not mean that the Nord 2 software is a carbon copy of what we can find in OPPO or realme models. OnePlus has taken ColorOS as a base and has implemented its additions under the OxygenOS that the company has been using on its phones since the OnePlus 2.

To the significant changes that OxygenOS 11 already introduced, even more, that arrive with version 11.3 that debuts with this Nord2, many inherited from ColorOS.

The Settings app has been slightly reorganized, with many widgets, new menus, and components, and revamped somewhat typography. Also, scrolling is now faster than in previous versions of OxygenOS so that you can scroll through more content in a list or app with a shorter swipe gesture.

Applications such as the camera are now inherited from ColorOS. A menu has been added for the first time to fully customize the “Always on” mode that OnePlus calls “ambient screen.” In that sense, new styles have been added to this model.

Overall, the experience is still what you’d expect from a OnePlus phone running OxygenOS 11. It’s no longer the “stock” Android-like that it used to be in the past; now it feels more like a version of ColorOS with a look not so oriented to satisfy the tastes of the Asian public, which coincidentally resembles stock Android in some other detail – less and less.

Software and expertise step1 1

OnePlus has decided not to surprise the support it plans to provide for this OnePlus Nord 2: the brand promises to keep the device updated to the latest version of Android for two years and will release security patches for three years. However, it must be remembered that, unlike other brands, OnePlus does not release security updates monthly but rather every two months.

Of course: when talking about the experience, there is life beyond the software, and I am happy to say that the Nord 2 more than meets those little details that, despite going unnoticed in certain situations, add points to the experience when they are good worked.

This is the case of the haptic or vibration motor, probably the best I have tried in mobile of this price, with a precise and firm response.

Also, the audio system has improved significantly compared to the previous model by adding the possibility of playing stereo sound using the device’s two speakers – the earpiece and the main one located on the lower edge – simultaneously. The audio quality is not the best, especially at high volume levels, but it is enough to listen to music, podcasts, or videos without headphones.


Cameras 3

OnePlus announced its Nord 2 with particular emphasis on the photographic section. The company has worked on trying to offer a high-end experience in a mobile phone for less than 400 euros —or less than 500, in the version we have tested—, for example by integrating the primary camera that uses the same 50-megapixel sensor that The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro use the Sony IMX766.

Accompanying this sensor, it is possible to find a secondary 8-megapixel camera with an ultra-wide-angle lens; and an additional 2-megapixel sensor for black and white capture. Given its limited usefulness —if not null—, I will pretend that this third sensor does not exist.

The camera system of the OnePlus Nord 2 has shadows and lights, almost in equal parts. In most cases, I have captured perfect quality images using the primary camera, and the optical stabilizer helps reduce the number of blurred images captured considerably.

Cameras 1

The photos have a marked OnePlus look, with bold colors and slightly lightened shadows to generate more “bright” shots. However, OPPO’s hand when developing the software in charge of processing the captures, since we find a more significant amount of artificial detail added to the photographs than in other OnePlus mobiles.

Auto HDR does an excellent job in most scenes, though it can leave us with images of burnt-out skies when it fails. In any case, the effect is convincing.

Portraits are also good, although I wish the camera didn’t tend to light faces as much. In addition, a longer focal length would allow images to be captured with less distortion, but this time one plus has decided to do without telephoto.

At night, the tremendous amount of detail captured by the camera is again striking, even though much of it is artificial —which is notable, especially when zooming in on the images—. And when the light isn’t enough, the app’s built-in night mode does an excellent job of capturing light where it doesn’t seem to exist.

Unfortunately, almost none of the above applies to the secondary 8-megapixel camera. The images captured with this sensor are much flatter, both in detail and in color, and the truth is that in these two weeks of use, I have not been able to capture a single “usable” image using this sensor.

The 32-megapixel front camera is probably the best I’ve ever seen on a OnePlus phone. Far superior to that of the OnePlus 9 Pro itself.

It can capture highly detailed images, and even portrait mode stands out for its great naturalness in blurring and its ability to capture sharp faces.

In the video section, the Nord 2 can capture clips at 4K resolution and 30 FPS. The quality is good, as is the stabilization, and as a novelty, a dual recording mode that allows you to capture video using the rear and front camera simultaneously.