We return to talk about OnePlus with a model that inherits the mid-range features of the NORD series. The protagonist of our review is precisely Nord CE 5G, a device that intends to attack the mid-range market with its design and many small features that make it versatile in many situations. Yet, the most interesting aspect should be the price, 349 USD, but in view of the overall market should be evaluated very carefully.
170g for 7.9mm thick: Nord CE 5G is a device that is appreciated for its compactness (which we will also find in the display) in many ways. In the hand it holds well, is light to the point, but not so much as to make it seem cheap. The materials chosen are still plastic, but despite this the feeling is positive. Beautiful also the color, Blue Void that in our possession, but also available in black and Silver Ray. The reflections that are created are iridescent and we really liked a lot. Also nice is the curvature on the back panel, which makes the device less angular to the touch and also slightly more premium to the eye (as well as emphasize even more the reflections of the color).
On the bottom side we find Type C input for charging and connection, speaker, microphone (second microphone also on the top side) and 3.5mm headphone jack input. On the left side we find the volume buttons and on the right side the power button: both are perfectly balanced, finished and without games for a great feeling when pressed. The typical OnePlus volume mode switch is missing, but given the price we can’t expect too much either.
The 6.43″ panel reflects the compactness we’ve already seen in terms of design. It’s a size we appreciated because it manages to properly manage the relationship between use and utility in everyday life, where the 6.7-6.8″ sometimes feel a bit exaggerated. The resolution is 2400 x 1080 pixels (410 ppi), with an aspect ratio of 20:9 and 90Hz refresh rate. Most importantly, the panel is Fluid AMOLED type, for blacks and contrasts that we appreciated while watching multimedia content and during use. The 90Hz is a good compromise between fluidity and battery consumption, especially in the mid-range market, which is pushing more and more towards 120Hz by now. In terms of brightness we can’t shout at a miracle, with good visibility during the day, but not quite perfect under the sun. In addition, thanks to amoled technology is also present the Ambient Display (simplified compared to other models), but still useful in many cases.
Very positive the presence of the under-display unlock sensor, located on the bottom side, which works very well with excellent fingerprint recognition and an average speed that manages to approach many premium devices.
To run the performance part of the device we find a Snapdragon 750G with Adreno 619: this is a processor equipped with 5G chipset that performs well in the mid-range, not so much in terms of performance, but rather in its balance. The smartphone is used well in everyday life, with some sporadic lag (normal in this range) but is fluid for most applications. Of course if your interest falls primarily in gaming, perhaps it is not the best processor for you (Poco X3 Pro with the Snapdragon 870 might be right for you). However, if gaming use is not the main aspect you’re looking for then for everything else the power of the Snapdragon will be more than enough (remember that when we talk about gaming we refer to competitive games such as Fortnite, PUBG or COD Mobile; for all other games like Temple Run, Candy Crush or similar is good enough virtually any processor).
6GB of RAM close the technical endowment of OnePlus Nord CE (although a 12GB version is available): they are enough for an average multitasking, while for the more intensive one applications fail to stay in memory if we open a lot of them. Finally, 128GB of non-expandable internal memory of UFS 2.1 type should be more than enough to store applications, photos and files of various kinds without worrying too much about filling the memory. On board Android 11 and the OxygenOS 188.8.131.52 manage to run the system very well, perfectly replicating the smoothness you’d expect from a OnePlus smartphone.
The module on the rear side is very similar to those found on the OnePlus 7 and 8 series, developed in length. There are three cameras on board, for a module that sticks out quite a bit on the left rear side (about 1mm):
As usual, the 2MP mono lens is an end in itself, while the two cameras manage to deliver excellent results in terms of sharpness (practically on a par with the 7 Pro series of two years ago), but begin to show some small hiccups in the field of night mode and zoom. Let’s start from the premise that the color calibration is very bright, especially for the green that is not very natural: in general, however, the HDR does a good job in recognizing the scene and returning balanced and well exposed photos. The zoom, due to the lack of optical stabilization, returns photos that are not very sharp and not very enjoyable above 2x: the 10X is in line with many other mid-range devices, but the few that also have optical stabilization are far superior. Night mode works well in ideal conditions: in a dimly lit scene the noise level is low and the performance is good, also considering that the coloring of the photograph in this case is very natural and perfectly reflects the scene in real life. However, in situations where there are lights directed towards the lens, flare and reflections ruin the photo: we don’t know if this is a software aspect to be corrected or something else, but as things stand, if you find yourself with a light source pointing directly at you, the result will not be the best.
The ultra-wide angle camera is good, however its 8MP doesn’t allow for too tight crops on the photos. On the front side we find a 16MP Sony IMX471 lens with EIS and ƒ/2.45: it is located in the pinhole in the upper left corner, with dimensions that are not too exaggerated and do not bother in use. In terms of quality, the face rendering is good, even in complicated lighting situations with shadows on the face or overexposed background. Once again the HDR does a good job in handling these situations, returning photographs of good quality.
The video side with 4K recording at 30FPS or 1080 at 60FPS is perhaps a bit sacrificed without the stabilization and with the switch between cameras disabled with the 60FPS and 4K modes. However, the software stabilization is good and even when walking around you don’t feel too much annoying vibration when recording. At night the noise is clearly visible in the video, while during the day in optimal lighting conditions they are perfectly enjoyable.
4500mAh to make the device last all day is not a few. And the battery side is one of those where the OnePlus CE somehow manages to hit the mark. The Snapdragon 750g manages to be kind on consumption, with a duration certainly higher than the classic North and that gets to easily exceed 7 hours of screen on, even approaching 8 hours, for results that promote this model. Fast charging at 30W manages to provide a good speed, with the battery charging in about 1 hour and 10 minutes from 0 to 100%.
Competition in this price range is fierce and there are other products that potentially surpass this OnePlus as technical specifications. Anyway, what really matters is the user experience and from that point of view the smartphone has always performed very well.
Unlike the Nord N10 5G and Nord N100, which made more than a few users turn their noses up at features that are far from the OnePlus tradition, this Nord CE is a product that definitely carries high the flag of the brand and the Nord family.
The balance between the various tech specs is a real strength, Warp Charge 30T a nice plus and OxygenOS 11 is what really makes the difference. The cameras are okay but I wouldn’t go for this product if they are at the top of your needs list.
As for where to buy, we suggest you head over to the OnePlusGlobal website, they are an official OnePlus authorized site, so buy with confidence, and I think the price of $299 USD is also very beautiful. Get OnePlus Nord CE $50 Off and Free Buds Z Now.
8GB+128GB Version Price: $299 (Original Price $349)
12GB+256GB Version Price: $349 (Original Price $399)