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OnePlus Nord 2 Review - Impressive 5G phone at a mid-range price, no questions asked

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A month past our Unboxing and First Impressions, we are now ready to share our full review of the OnePlus Nord 2.
OnePlus Nord 2 Review - Impressive 5G phone at a mid-range price, no questions asked
OnePlus Nord 2 in Blue Haze

In our first impressions, we mentioned that OnePlus Nord 2 is looking to be one of the most compelling smartphones under the PHP 22K starting price tag.


Under the hood, it uses a custom-developed MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI octa-core processor with Mali-G77 MC9 GPU and is available in two variants of 8GB/128GB, and 12GB/256GB. This is the first OnePlus device to pack in an SoC other than one from Qualcomm.

How well does it deliver? Let's find out.

Multimedia Experience

AMOLED 90Hz screen!
AMOLED 90Hz screen!

In front, OnePlus Nord 2 features a 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate display. It's bright, vibrant, and sharp as expected. It boasts a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels which is sufficient to make tiny text look nice and sharp. It is coupled with a single punch-hole housing the selfie camera placed on its upper left.

Fluid AMOLED is always nice!

There is an "eye comfort" mode as well as a system-wide dark mode, both accessible in the control center. At maximum brightness, it is bright enough to be visible under direct sunlight.

OnePlus Nord 2 display supports 10 points of multitouch allowing better UI interaction. We did not notice a delay, misread taps or gestures.

The dual bottom-firing stereo speakers produce excellent sound with great maximum volume enough to fill up to an almost large-sized room. It doesn't suffer from audio distortion even at the loudest volume. 

Meanwhile, the microphone recording of the OnePlus Nord 2 is clear even up to a meter away from the phone. Its noise cancellation is great, we don't have complaints about the voice quality we get from this phone.

Cameras

Triple rear cameras
Triple rear cameras

OnePlus Nord 2 sports a triple camera system of 50MP f/1.8 Sony IMX766 ultra-wide-angle with OIS + 8MP f/2.25 119-degree ultra-wide-angle with EIS + 2MP f/2.5 mono + LED flash. 

The stock camera app comes with the following modes: night, video, photo, portrait, dual-view video, slo-mo, time-lapse, movie, expert (pro), ultra-resolution, and panorama.

The Expert (pro) mode allows for control of ISO (100-6400), Shutter Speed (1/8000s to 32 secs), White Balance, focus, and exposure compensation (+-3 stops). 

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight
Daylight
Daylight wide
Daylight wide
2x zoom
2x zoom
5x zoom
5x zoom
10x zoom
10x zoom
Portrait (bokeh)


Indoor
Indoor
Indoor wide
Indoor portrait
Indoor portrait
Close-up
Close-up
Bokeh (portrait)
Bokeh (portrait)
Night
Night
Lowlight wide
Lowlight wide

As expected, it shoots great photos with sharp and nice details under daylight using either the main or wide cameras.

There is an on-screen option for 2x zoom, but note that OnePlus Nord 2 doesn't have a zoom lens. This means that the 2x zoom is based on digitally cropping the shot. Its zoom results are good but its 10x zoom is far from great.

For indoors, it produces detailed images as well and has a very responsive tap to focus feature. The portrait mode for the bokeh effect is great, the camera app instructs us to move further away from the subject until it can read the subject pretty well. It has a nice subject-to-background separation. 

Mid-range photography king!

In low light, using the photo mode and auto shoot produces satisfactory images. The night mode can help you see in the dark, we suggest using it when you need it. Although the night mode results in brighter, more vibrant, and more detailed images. 

Overall, the OnePlus Nord 2 main camera results are great for the price. Note that it also got a total of 116 points from camera benchmark authority DxOMark. And we think that what DxOMark said is true. 
32MP selfie shooter
32MP selfie shooter

The single punch-hole camera sports a 32MP shooter. It carries all the modes similar to the main camera's.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Daylight portrait (bokeh) selfie
Daylight portrait (bokeh) selfie
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie (bokeh)
Indoor selfie (bokeh)
Low lightselfie
Low lightselfie
Night mode selfie
Night mode selfie

The selfie camera produces detailed photos with sharp and vibrant colors both outdoors and indoors. We also liked its portrait mode, it results in a nice separation.

It kind of had an issue in low light. The color isn't as vibrant and the overall quality is only good. But, with the night mode, the taken selfie is much better—brighter, more detailed, and more vibrant.

The main camera can capture up to 4K at 30fps and 1080 at 30/60/240fps with gyro-EIS Users can also switch between the ultra-wide, 1x, and 2x camera in both photos and video modes.

Meanwhile, the front camera can capture up to 1080p at 30fps with gyro-EIS as well.

We like the dual-view video feature. There's no need to get two smartphones taking a scene since you get both sides of the story using this stock camera's feature.

Performance

As mentioned earlier, this is the first Nord smartphone to pack in an SoC other than one from Qualcomm. To recap, it packs a custom-developed MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI octa-core processor with Mali-G77 MC9 GPU. We were loaned with the 8GB/128GB variant.
Stellar AnTuTu benchmark score!
Stellar AnTuTu benchmark score!

In normal mode, we got a score of around 582K in AnTuTu. However, when we turned on the high-performance mode, we got a whopping score of 676,432 in AnTuTu Version 9.0.12-OB! 

The custom-developed MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI is a BEAST!

Meanwhile, we got 829 (single-core) and 2656 (multi-core) scores in the GeekBench benchmark app. Note that turning on the High-Performance Mode can cause easy draining of the battery.
GeekBench and 3DMark Wild Life benchmark scores
GeekBench and 3DMark Wild Life benchmark scores

In the 3DMark Wild Life benchmark, the phone managed an impressive 4168 overall score and an average frame rate of 25 fps.

The MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI was built as part of a collaboration between MediaTek and OnePlus. In our overall experience, the OnePlus Nord 2 has very good sustained performance both in raw and high-performance modes. Notably, MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI is worthy of being in a flagship smartphone, and Nord 2 is lucky to have it.

MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI is a flagship-worthy SoC!

Mobile games like Call of Duty and PUBG load quickly with no noticeable speed issues. Below are the default settings we got upon opening these mobile games:
Call of Duty
Call of Duty
PUBG
PUBG

OnePlus Nord 2 has Face Unlock and an optical-type of In-display fingerprint scanner. Both are responsive and we're grateful for the fingerprint scanner since it's more usable these days because face masks are required. 
Battery settings
Battery settings

Inside, it packs a 4,500mAh battery paired with a 65W Warp Charge via USB-C. There is no wireless charging support.

Strong battery life!

Using the PCMark Battery Benchmark Test, we got a total of 18 hours and 21 minutes running time from 100 percent down to 19 percent. 
Great battery!
Great battery!

In real-life usage, the OnePlus Nord 2 was able to sustain us a day. This includes texting, some calls, social media, and casual gaming. I'm a battery-conscious person so only a day of usage is an issue for me. Good thing, charging takes only 30 minutes from flat to full! So this makes it up for the battery stamina.

Incredibly FAST charging!

In terms of connectivity, the WiFi, Bluetooth, and 5G connectivity are stable. We were able to test its 5G capability using a Smart Postpaid SIM with Signature Plan S. Inside my house at around 6:30PM, I was able to get the below result via speedtest.net.
OnePlus Nord 2 5G speed test result
OnePlus Nord 2 5G speed test result

In case you're looking for it, the famed OnePlus alert slider is present.

OnePlus Nord 2 runs on Android 11 with OxygenOS 11.3. For us, it's one of the cleanest versions of Android available. There is no bloatware, it is super easy to use, gestures are responsive, and it is rich in features.
Android 11 with Oxygen OS 11.3
Android 11 with Oxygen OS 11.3

For our nitpicks, we wish this smartphone didn't have a plastic frame to make room for wireless charging support. I personally don't mind if this doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack but a handful of people might be looking for it. We wish it has a slot for storage expansion as well as an IP rating for dust and water resistance.

Pros - Attractive design, AMOLED display, flagship-level SoC, FAST charging, alert slider, great cameras, stereo speakers, clean UI, the affordable price tag
Cons - No 3.5mm headphone jack, no IP rating for water & dust resistance, no wireless charging, no storage expansion

OnePlus Nord 2 Specs

Display: 6.43-inch Gorilla Glass 5 protected Fluid AMOLED screen w/ 90Hz refresh rate, FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 409 ppi
CPU: 3.0GHz 6nm Custom MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-G77 MC9
RAM: 8GB/12GB LPDDR4X
ROM: 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1
Back Camera: 50MP f/1.8 Sony IMX766 wide-angle w/ OIS + 8MP f/2.25 119-degree ultra-wide-angle w/ EIS + 2MP f/2.5 mono + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 32MP f/2.45 Sony IMX615 w/ EIS
Battery: 4,500mAh w/ 65W Warp Charge 65
OS: Android 11 w/ OxygenOS 11.3
Connectivity: WiFi 6, 5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.2, OTG, NFC, GPS (L1 + L5 dual-band), GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, NavIC, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, face unlock, stereo speakers, USB-C, Colors: Blue Haze, Gray Sierra
Dimensions: 158.9 x 73.2 x 8.25 mm
Weight: 189 g
Price: PHP 21,990 (8GB/128GB), PHP 25,990 (12GB/256GB)

Verdict

Impressive 5G phone at a mid-range price
Impressive 5G phone at a mid-range price

The OnePlus Nord 2 is easily an excellent 5G smartphone at a mid-range price. It's my first time reviewing a OnePlus handset and this did not disappoint.

Although it has a plastic rear, it looks more expensive than the price it calls for. OnePlus Nord 2 is well made, performs impressively, and has a vibrant AMOLED screen. Although there are a few features we wish this had, it offers most of what makes the best phones great.

By the way, the primary camera is really good.

Do you agree with us?

Build/Design - 4.5
Multimedia Experience - 4.5
Cameras - 4.5
Performance - 4.5
Average - 4.5/5
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