In the beginning, OnePlus released only one phone a year. Then two. In 2020, the company has already unveiled six new models (not counting carrier-specific variants) and it’s the last two phones that are now in the spotlight.
The two Nord-series phones are the most affordable OnePlus devices yet, but at what cost? Well, the OLED panels are gone, for starters, replaced by LCD. And the premium chipsets are no more. Let’s have a closer look, starting with the better-specced model.
The OnePlus Nord N10 5G costs €350/£330, which is €50/£50 less than the original Nord (in the 8/128 GB configuration).
That drop in price entails a switch from OLED to LCD, though still a 90Hz panel of essentially the same size and resolution (same pixel count, anyway, remember that the LCD has a full RGB stripe).
There’s also the Snapdragon 690 chipset, which replaces the 765G. The model numbers make it sound worse than it is, the chipset actually falls somewhere between the 765 and 765G chips in terms of performance based on AnTuTu.
The 690 also has a different modem, the X51, which has slower 5G downlink speeds, but it’s not clear if that will be noticeable in real life usage (where theoretical maximum speeds are rarely observed).
The camera is different too – the 48MP main module with OIS is upgraded to a 64MP one, but loses the OIS. The selfie camera goes down to 16MP (from 32MP) and loses the ultrawide lens. The remaining modules (8MP ultrawide, 5MP depth, 2MP macro) are the same.
The battery is essentially the same, 4,300 mAh capacity and 30W fast charging over USB-C. A big thing to note here is that the 3.5mm headphone jack is back and there’s even a microSD slot to expand the storage. In fact, both of the new Nords have jacks and memory card slots.
The other phone being the OnePlus Nord N100. No 5G here as the device is powered by the Snapdragon 460 chipset. The screen is the first in OnePlus history to have sub-1080p resolution, it’s a 720p+ panel with standard 60Hz refresh rate.
The latter part is strange as this is essentially an Oppo A53s, which costs the same and does have a 90Hz display (here’s how they compare). The Oppo is available in Europe too, so the main question is whether you want OxygenOS or can live with ColorOS (or even prefer it).
Speaking of costs, at €200/£180 the N100 is the cheapest OnePlus phone ever and is the first time the company has tried its hand at an entry-level device. But it’s entering a very crowded market.
Availability is an important point to mention – the Nord N10 and N100 will be available in the US while the original Nord is not. Keep that in mind when considering alternatives to the new Nords.