OnePlus calls its brand new Nord 2 the “flagship killer” and I get why. This phone has some impressive specs and performs well all round, and it’s paired with a reasonable starting price of only £399 here in the UK. It’s designed to offer everything you’d need from a phone without emptying your bank account. A powerful processor, a solid dual rear camera setup, 5G connectivity, super fast charging — and it’s not bad to look at either.
Like the previous Nord — and the cheaper , launched just a few weeks back — the Nord 2 will not be on sale in the US. It’s destined for the UK and wider Europe, where it’ll cost £399 for the version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or £469 with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. For reference, £399 converts to about $540 or AU$740.
But no, it doesn’t really “kill” any flagships. It’s not as powerful as a “true” flagship like the or , nor will its camera skills attract the world’s most demanding photographers. The flagship that I feel is most at risk is , which shares many features with the Nord 2, yet has a much higher starting price of £629 ($729).
I’ve spent a short amount of time with the Nord 2 ahead of its unveiling and here are the five things I like most about this new handset.
A powerful MediaTek processor
OnePlus has typically used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line of processors for its phones but it went with MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200-AI chip for the Nord 2. You’ll notice absolutely no difference in use — it’s still the same as any other Android phone — but you will notice that it’s surprisingly powerful for the price.
While it’s not up there with the iPhone 12 Pro Max in terms of benchmarks, it did beat the Pixel 5 and wasn’t far below the more expensive OnePlus 9. It’s certainly powerful enough for gaming, photo editing and video streaming and navigating around the Android 11 interface is smooth and stutter free.
Which brings me neatly on to five reasons the Nord 2 is great.
Android 11 software
The Nord 2 runs Android 11 at its core, over which OnePlus has slapped its usual Oxygen software. I really like OnePlus’s software as it’s neat, easy to use and doesn’t try and load the phone up with too many bundled services and bloatware. As a result, the phone remains nippy and trouble-free for longer.
It’s particularly important on lower and midrange phones that might not cope as well with being bogged down with services. The result here is a smooth-performing phone that I expect to remain as such for some time to come.
OnePlus says it’s guaranteed to get at least two years of Android upgrades — so an update to Android 12 this fall and Android 13 next year is a given — with an additional year of security updates after that.
Incredible fast charging
The Nord 2 has the same 65-watt fast charging seen on the OnePlus 9 series and it’s amazing. It’ll take the phone from empty to full in only about 30 minutes, which makes it amazing for giving it a quick boost before you head out from home. The 4,500-mAh battery should still give you a day of use from a charge, but when you can recharge so quickly, battery life becomes somewhat less of an issue.
Even better is that a 65-watt fast charger comes in the box, so you don’t even need to scour Amazon to try and find one that’ll put out enough power. What the phone doesn’t have is wireless charging, but personally I don’t see that as a particular problem.
Vibrant, sharp display
The Nord 2’s display measures 6.43 inches and boasts a resolution of 2,400×1,080 pixels, which is sufficient to make even tiny text look nice and sharp. It’s an AMOLED panel, making it extremely vibrant too, which is great for videos, photos or playing whatever colorful game is currently doing the rounds on the Google Play Store.
It has a 90Hz refresh rate which is a touch lower than the 120Hz of the OnePlus 9 series, but I doubt you’d be able to tell any real difference in day-to-day use. It’s silky smooth when scrolling around the interface, but you can also turn it down to a more regular 60Hz, which will apparently help save battery life.
Decent rear cameras
We haven’t done our full suite of camera tests yet, but what we’ve seen from the cameras so far looks good. The main sensor is a 50-megapixel affair — the same one seen in the OnePlus 9’s ultrawide camera. Outdoor images look well-exposed, with plenty of detail and natural-looking colors.
The 8-megapixel super-wide lens is noticeably less detailed, but it too seems capable of capturing good-looking outdoor images. There’s an on-screen option for 2x zoom, but there isn’t actually a zoom lens, so that 2x is based on digitally cropping in to the shot. Results still look good, but it’s worth keeping in mind that you won’t get the maximum quality doing this.
There’s also technically a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor, which, in my opinion as a photographer, is totally pointless. If you want good-looking black and white images, use the regular camera and apps like Adobe Lightroom or Snapseed to have full control over converting to mono. Frankly I feel OnePlus could have pulled this out and lopped another 20 quid or so off the price.
OnePlus Nord 2 specs
|Display size, resolution, refresh rate||6.43-inch AMOLED, FHD+ (2,400×1,080 pixels), 90Hz|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.25×2.88×0.32 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||158.9×73.2×8.25 mm|
|Weight ( Grams)||6.66 oz; 189g|
|Camera||50-megapixel (main), 8-megapixel (wide-angle), 2-megapixel (mono)|
|Processor||MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI processor|
|Special features||5G-enabled, 65W fast charging, 90Hz, dual stereo speaker, face unlock|
|Price (USD)||Approximately $540 (converted from UK price)|
|Price (AUD)||Approximately AU$740|