Everytime there’s a new OnePlus phone in town, the hype train chugs along at warp speed. With the Nord CE, OnePlus is trying to appeal to the masses with a package that is aimed at young users; or so that its marketing materials may want you to believe! The Nord CE is a highly watered-down version of the original Nord that many people still adore. The price is still in the same vicinity as the OG Nord. Also Read - Top camera smartphones under Rs 20,000 in August 2021: Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, Moto G60 and more
That puts up a question: How important is 5G and OnePlus to you that you have to overlook the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max? From where we see, the Redmi phone is more affordable, has better features that matter right now, and good enough basics. It lacks 5G support but is that a big deal? Also Read - Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite NE rumours surface, hint Snapdragon 778G at the helm for India
While we are yet to get our review of the Nord CE out, we pit it against our sub-Rs 20,000 segment hero to see whether it’s worth buying. Also Read - Redmi Note 10T, Note 10 price in India hiked by Rs 500: Check new prices here
OnePlus Nord CE vs Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Design is a subjective matter, and I will leave you to your sense of judgement. The OnePlus Nord CE is a hurrah to the designs of yesteryears with a pill-shaped rear camera hump and a minimal design. It looks simple and despite the plastic unibody construction, OnePlus seems to have got most of it right. The 3.5mm headphone jack is present but the signature OnePlus Alert Slider is gone. The display has narrow bezels and just a single cutout for the front camera.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is flamboyant in comparison. There’s heft to its build, thanks to a glass rear body and chunky camera bits hanging out like an expensive phone. The glass allows for either smudge-free matte finishes or a reflective glossy finish. The chrome inserts add to the character of this phone. The display has narrow bezels and a small cutout for the front camera.
Both phones have AMOLED displays but it is the Redmi that has a bigger 6.7-inch Full HD+ display with a refresh rate of 120Hz and peak brightness of 1200 nits. The OnePlus Nord CE gets a smaller 6.4-inch display with only 90Hz refresh rate. That said, the Nord CE has an in-display fingerprint sensor while the Redmi gets a power key-mounted unit.
Specifications at a glance
By virtue of its pricing, the OnePlus Nord CE is the more powerful of two phones here but only by a small margin. The Snapdragon 750G on the Nord CE can leave the Snapdragon 732G of the Redmi in the dust on benchmarks. However, real-world performance doesn’t differentiate much between these two. Mobile gamers could barely see the differences between these chips. We have seen Snapdragon 750G-equipped phones not putting up much of a difference in gaming performance over a Snapdragon 732G-equipped phone.
The main difference is 5G support: the 750G gets it whereas the 732G lacks it. That said, OnePlus only offers support for a single N78 5G band on the Nord CE. With 5G yet to come to India, users will have to hope that the N78 band is supported. Cheaper 5G phones like the Realme 8 5G and Oppo A74 5G support more 5G bands.
Another difference between these two is software. The Nord CE gets OnePlus’ OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11: an experience revered by critics and fans alike. The clean nature of the OS with minimum visual drama and tasteful customization options do appeal to many but OnePlus has started putting up more of its first-party apps these days.
Plus, the update situation is no more the same as it used to be with OnePlus devices of the past. The Redmi gets Xiaomi’s MIUI 12.5 with Android 11, offering umpteen number of customization options and lots of visual flair. Whether you like it or not is up to you but MIUI surely is a feature-rich experience that can be tailored to anyone’s need.
The Redmi has an advantage with its stereo speaker setup, something which the Nord CE 5G lacks. Both have headphone jacks and both have USB-C ports for data transfers and charging.
The Nord CE has a 4500mAh battery with support for 30W fast charging; OnePlus claims a 0-70 percent journey in 30 minutes. While it’s battery life is subject to testing, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max had impressed us with its near-2 days of battery life. The 5020mAh battery can conserve its power efficiently with the help of a smart MIUI. The 33W fast charger takes around an hour to do a full recharge as well.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max hasn’t left our attention since its launch for its impressive camera performance. The 108-megapixel camera can do wonders in good lighting whereas the 5-megapixel macro camera makes itself more useful than ever. The 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera is decent and the depth camera does a good job along with algorithms to come up with good-looking portrait photos.
The Nord CE 5G falls short on paper only. It has a 64-megapixel main camera sensor along with an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a monochrome third camera. We are yet to test this out but the setup doesn’t appear as versatile as the Redmi. If the past is anything to indicate with the Nord’s cameras, this could come across as inadequate. Keep an eye for our camera review of the Nord CE 5G here.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max starts at Rs 18,999 for the base version with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. OnePlus sells the Nord CE 5G base version at a price of Rs 22,999 with the same 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. In fact, for Rs 2,000 less than the price of a base Nord CE, you can get the top-end variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage
If we are to compare the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max and the OnePlus Nord CE 5G spec-to-spec, there’s a clear advantage to the Redmi for now. The Nord CE has 5G and a technically superior Snapdragon 750G chip but there’s no 5G in India yet. Moreover, the Redmi, despite being cheaper, offers a more versatile camera setup, a better display, a better build, a larger battery, and faster charging. The higher pricing of the Nord CE adds a cherry on the Redmi’s cake.
Hence, if you are interested in getting the OnePlus Nord CE, think again and figure out a question: do you really need 5G and the OnePlus branding? Additionally, keep an eye here for our full review of the Nord CE 5G soon.