What’s the first name that pops in your head when you think of flagship killers? It might be Xiaomi now, but it all started with OnePlus. While things went a little off-track, this ideology is being now taken ahead by the company’s Nord series, which is expanding: we recently saw the launch of the Nord CE and it’s time for the ultimate Nord successor, the Nord 2. Also Read - Confirmed! OnePlus 9T series not launching, but there’s OnePlus 9 RT coming soon
The Nord 2 is finally here and it ain’t just a minor upgrade: the on-paper details make it a flagship killer in true sense. And if you were hoping for something similar to how the existing Nords in India look, you are in for a treat, for here’s some design refresh too. Also Read - OnePlus, Oppo unified OS to launch in 2022, will debut on OnePlus 10 flagship phone
So, do we finally have a flagship killer that is our benchmark in the arena? Is it the one that OnePlus can use to uphold its credo? I got hold of the Blue Haze OnePlus Nord 2 and after a few hours with it, here’s what my initial thoughts are. Also Read - Best 12GB RAM phones for gaming to buy in September 2021
OnePlus is one of the smartphone makers that pay attention to detail. The phones always manage to look good despite the infamous mention of plastic in them. The Nord 2 gives me the vibes. It is a well-made phone that speaks quality. While some might take a jab at the phone’s plastic build, the phone is all in for premium. The use of plastic allows for a well-distributed weight (it weighs 189 grams) and makes for comfortable usage. From the in-display fingerprint scanner to all the physical buttons, everything is reachable with one hand.
The plastic frame is sandwiched between the glass display and the glass back. My blue-coloured Nord 2 is a combination of the glossy and satin finish, which doesn’t let smudges or dust stop by. The front gets a 6.43-inch screen with thin bezels and a punch-hole cutout. The good part is that it comes with a screen protector that can be helpful until you get a sturdier tempered glass on.
The looks will remind you of a OnePlus 9 or a OnePlus 9R for that matter. A camera hump with two big camera housings, a punch-hole flat screen, a middle-placed OnePlus logo at the back, and the blue shade OnePlus phones have worn a number of times and is proprietary to the Nord phones. It also weighs the same as the OnePlus 9R.
It might be borrowed but for a Nord phone, it still is a new dress that can be fancied by many. Although, I would like OnePlus to start experimenting with new designs for its Nords too.
The phone package includes an in-box USB Type-C port charging cable, a 65W charging brick, and thank god for a transparent cover that tags along. There are two more interesting things: Apple-inspired brand stickers and an entry card to the Red Cable Club.
The Nord 2 gets a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI chip, which can be considered a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 counterpart. In our previous reviews of the Oppo Reno 6 Pro 5G and even the OnePlus 9R, we have found that both the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 and Snapdragon 870 chips are capable performers. The Nord 2 is expected to follow the trail and so far, it is doing justice to the chip. Although, I am yet to figure out more about the AI bits that are specifically highlighted on the chip name.
The phone comes with up to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which in today’s age is quite apt.
Now the attractive part is the camera department. On-papers, it has been significantly upgraded. There’s a 50-megapixel main camera with a Sony IMX766 sensor (also seen as an ultra-wide camera on the OnePlus 9 Pro) with support for OIS. The second one is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens, and the third member of the rear camera bump is a 2-megapixel mono lens. The front camera stands at 32-megapixel. These numbers, coupled with a number of camera features (Nightscape Ultra, AI enhancements, Dual-view Videos, and loads more) appear like quite a proposition but require more testing. Although, my initial experience is more about saturated outputs on the part of both the rear and front cameras.
It sources its juice from a 4,500mAh battery that supports 65W fast charging. OnePlus is one of the companies that offer pretty good fast charging solutions and this is seen on the Nord too. The phone was able to reach from 7 per cent to a full 100 in about 30 minutes.
A surprise too
Here’s some newness. This time, we get OxygenOS 11.3 based on Android 11 with some hints of ColorOS. While this merger was supposed to work in the background, the effect is seen on the forefront too. As a result, the camera app UI, Settings menu, and more have taken on the ColorOS colours. Plus, there’s also the option to disable the app drawer. While some might dislike this transformation, my experience has been clean and smooth. It remains to be seen how it manages during my usage in the days to come and whether or not the addition of ColorOS bothers me.
Among others, the in-display fingerprint sensor is quick, dual speakers are pretty loud, and Face Unlock works well too.
OnePlus Nord 2 first impressions
The OnePlus Nord 2 starts at Rs 27,999 and with what it offers, looks like a sweet deal. Some premium-ness and powerful performance under Rs 30,000 is what OnePlus’ vision has been based on and the Nord 2 has the capacity to take it forward. Plus, it makes the OnePlus 9R look overpriced.
It can, by all means, compete with rivals like the Realme X7 Max 5G and the Mi 11X. But, is it the phone one would choose over these competitors under Rs 30,000 right now? We will try to find the answer in our review that will be up soon. Stay tuned to this space for that.