What is good, what is bad and what can be improved with the North CE 2- Technology News, Firstpost
Ameya DalviOct. 22, 2021, 12:41 p.m. IST
OnePlus surprised most of us by launching the Nord CE right between the first North and the North 2. While a more affordable OnePlus phone is always welcome, the company has probably gone a little too far to keep its price down. low. A certain contempt for the competition was also evident in the way things turned out. After using the phone for a few months, and with the added benefit of using the Nord 2 a lot, it’s time to share the experience with you.
This time around, we’re going to step away from our usual review format and take a quick look at what’s good and what isn’t by detailing seven key aspects of North CE. We’ll also share our thoughts on what his successor can do better – if there is one.
OnePlus Nord CE: Design
The North CE design has flashes of the North Prime, especially the rear profile. While the design is sleek, the company has gone for a plastic back instead of glass, which will be much more prone to scratches. To OnePlus’ credit, it doesn’t look like glass and is virtually smudge-free. The shiny plastic frame does attract a few fingerprints, however. Thanks to all this plastic, the weight of the phone is controlled at 170 grams. More importantly, the Nord CE is quite thin and is less than eightmm thick.
The rear camera layout is similar to its predecessor, with one less camera module. The front camera cutout is thankfully much smaller due to a single camera like on the Nord 2, as opposed to the capsule shaped cutout for two cameras on the North. A popular OnePlus feature is missing here – the alert slider. That said, an old feature that has been missing from OnePlus phones for years is emerging – a 3.5mm headphone jack.
OnePlus Nord CE: Display
Much like the other two Nord phones, the Nord CE sports a 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED display with a 2400 x 1080 resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. But unlike those two, the display here doesn’t is not HDR10 + compatible. Most of the competition has switched to 120Hz refresh rate displays, but 90Hz is still pretty smooth. Color reproduction and sharpness are generally good, especially in Natural mode, but don’t add anything special to the table in this segment.
OnePlus Nord CE: hardware and performance
This is where the North CE looks a bit like a downgrade from the first North. OnePlus opted for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750 on the North CE, which looks like a lowering of the Snapdragon 765 on the North. While the Snapdragon 750 isn’t significantly less powerful than the 765, OnePlus has had a full year to go for something better. For example, the Nord 2, whose performance is much better in comparison thanks to the SoC Mediatek Dimensity 1200.
The Nord CE is generally lag-free in everyday tasks, but it feels sluggish when using the camera and a few other apps. And this despite our test unit being equipped with 12 GB of RAM. To put it in figures, the Nord CE scores 641 and 1835 respectively in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core benchmarks. In comparison, North managed scores of 613 and 1942, while North 2 dominated with scores of 815 and 2762 in the same tests. The CE performs reasonably well in the PCMark Work 3.0 benchmark with a score of 8366, almost 300 higher than even the Nord 2.
In the 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan benchmark, the Nord CE is below the North by more than 500 points, with the two scoring 2590 and 3092 respectively. In the 3DMark Wild Life benchmark, the Nord 2 explodes the CE with a score of 4218 against a meager 1113. There is also a huge difference in the average frame rates (25.3 against 6.7). Moral of the story, the North CE is not ideal for serious games.
OnePlus Nord CE: camera performance
The camera department is probably the weakest aspect of the North CE. While it boasts of a 64 MP main camera as opposed to the 48 MP or 50 MP units of its more illustrious cousins, performance is nowhere in the same league. It also lacks optical image stabilization (OIS). The output is decent in good lighting but starts to lose detail quickly as soon as the light fades. Dynamic range is good, but photos look a bit soft and with less than ideal detail.
There’s no telephoto here, the zoomed photos are digitally zoomed in, and you need a steady hand to get usable photos. The lack of OIS doesn’t help either, and there’s noticeable blurring in some shots. Make sure you click on a few extras. The second camera is an 8 MP ultra-wide camera which is average at best, like most 8 MP ultra-wide cameras. The third camera is a 2 MP depth sensor and helps in taking portraits, which are okay on this phone.
Low light photography over the North CE is average at best, and the colors of the captured images are often different from the real thing. The pictures are sweet too. Using zoom in low light is not a smart option, as there is a significant loss of detail when you do so. You get a Nightscape mode which greatly improves things when the light is too low, but it takes a good five to seven seconds to capture and process the footage. Objects appear brighter than they are, but images have significantly more detail and clarity. Nightscape mode does not support zooming.
The 16 MP front camera does a pretty good job with selfies. They come out crisp and with natural colors. The front camera also has a portrait mode, which can be random. It often blurs the hair but gets the rest of the subject and separation from the background. The rear cameras can shoot 4K video at 30 fps and 1080p video up to 120 fps. You get EIS to stabilize the images. The output is acceptable for the segment. The front camera can record videos in Full HD resolution at 30 or 60 fps.
OnePlus Nord CE: backup battery
The battery capacity increases slightly compared to its predecessor, which improves the battery life. The 4,500mAh battery lasts for a day and a half of moderate use, which is pretty good compared to the other two Nord’s that last almost 30 hours with similar use. While it does support fast charging, and the included charger manages to charge it in about 65 minutes, which is pretty decent, it’s a good half hour longer than the Nord 2, which also has a 4,500 mAh battery.
OnePlus Nord CE: operating system and user interface
No complaints here yet, except for the weird stuttering in a few apps. You get the right OxygenOS experience at a low price. The Nord CE runs Android 11 with OxygenOS 11. OnePlus is promising two major Android updates and three years of security updates for this phone, which is great.
OnePlus Nord CE: Price and competition
The Nord CE starts at Rs 22,999 for the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant and costs an additional Rs 2,000 for the 8GB RAM variant. I wouldn’t bother with 12GB of RAM on a phone with Snapdragon 750; it is doomed to be wasted. OnePlus has chosen to enter a very competitive segment of smartphones under Rs 25,000, and some serious competition it receives. In fact, he’s surrounded by extremely knowledgeable phones competing for the same share of the pie.
Two options immediately spring to mind in the price range of Rs 20,000 to 25,000 – the Samsung M52 5G and the iQOO Z5 5G. Both phones have a faster Snapdragon 778 chip, larger capacity batteries, and 120Hz refresh rate displays. While the Samsung has a Super AMOLED display, the iQOO has a standard IPS display. If you choose to spend a little more you have the popular SoC-based Mediatek Dimensity 1200 trifecta. The Realme X7 Max 5G, Poco F3 GT and OnePlus Nord 2 are clearly superior phones on all fronts and available at Rs. 30,000.
The Xiaomi Mi 11X has also sold for under 25,000 rupees lately in the festive sales, making it a great option at this price point. The Mi 11X has a flagship-grade Snapdragon 870 as well as an excellent AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate and more. Finally, you also have a few phones after the lower 20K segment CE. The Poco X3 Pro sports a powerful Snapdragon 860 processor, making it a great option for 17K gaming, while the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max offers a 108MP camera and a 120Hz AMOLED display around 20K.
As you can see, the OnePlus Nord CE is doomed to get lost in the crowd. It has a superior user interface compared to others, thanks to OxygenOS. Despite that, I would highly recommend increasing your budget by around Rs 5,000 more and going for the Nord 2, if you are looking for a OnePlus phone in particular. Otherwise, you have one option too many to choose from.
What can improve with the OnePlus Nord CE 2?
I think the bigger question is: should there be a Nord CE 2? If that sounds more like CE, then probably not. So far, OnePlus has performed at a different level than the competition and that’s what made it special. He can’t expect to play Xiaomi’s or Realme’s game and win like that. If he intends to, they must be better equipped. Most aspects of the North CE are correct, with the exception of the decrease in processing power and the camera, and these are the areas the business needs to focus on in the North CE 2.
It makes sense to have a OnePlus phone in the Rs 20,000 to 25,000 range if the North (non-CE) is around Rs 30,000. However, it should look like a OnePlus phone, not something generic with a OnePlus and OxygenOS logo. Maybe the company can use the main camera of an older generation OnePlus phone, like it did with the first Nord (it had the OnePlus 8 main camera). Pair it with a better mid-range SoC and maybe we’ll have something worthwhile. Otherwise, you just need to have a North to dominate the segment every year and let the previous North operate in a lower segment with a price drop.