OnePlus’ new midrange Nord smartphone has a lot to love

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OnePlus is ready to tap into the mid-range phone market.
Image: OnePlus

OnePlus has been hitting it out of the park with its last few smartphones. However, all of those devices have been in or near the flagship range—in terms of both specs and price. Now, for the first time since it launched the ill-fated OnePlus X in 2015, OnePlus is trying to break into the mid-range market.

Its attempt comes in the form of the Nord, a smartphone that shares much of its DNA with the far more expensive OnePlus 8. It will retail for about $480.

Meet the OnePlus Nord

OnePlus’ most recent attempt at making an affordable, high-quality smartphone has plenty of features to love. Key among them is its sharp 1080p OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. That’s a top-tier feature you can’t expect to find in many mid-range devices.

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Speaking of the screen, it won’t feature the rounded edges of the OnePlus 8. That might make it feel a little less premium. However, some users actually prefer the simplicity of a flat screen over the crack-prone curves.

The Nord also features sub-6Ghz 5G capabilities. This puts it in select company as one of only a few mid-range phones to support the new network protocol. Meanwhile, it gains power quickly thanks to OnePlus’ Warp Charge 30T fast charging.

Another feature that makes the Nord stand out—especially at this price point—is its 48-megapixel main camera sensor. Notably, this is the same sensor found in the OnePlus 8, the company’s flagship phone released earlier this year. The Nord arguably has an advantage over the 8 thanks to an additional dedicated depth camera. That does come at the cost of a wide-angle lens with half the resolution of the 8’s.

Up front, the Nord is even more impressive. It features two front-facing cameras, including an 8-megapixel ultrawide sensor with a 105-degree field of view. Though the hole-punch is twice as big it delivers a better angle for taking group selfies or pictures with more background.

Of course, there are a few compromises that keep its price lower than the aforementioned OnePlus 8. The most notable is the fact that the Nord runs on a slightly slower Snapdragon 765G processor. That isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker since the 765G is still a very good chip.

When Will the Nord Be Available?

The Nord will be available in both blue and gray when it launches. A less-expensive model will ship with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The higher-end version includes 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It is worth noting that the latter costs almost $600, putting it close to being out of mid-tier range.

The Nord will go on sale starting August 4 in Europe. For the United States, OnePlus is planning on running a limited beta launch. Given the fact that the smartphone industry as a whole has been hit hard by COVID-19, it will be interesting to see how OnePlus chooses to market the mid-range phone.

It will need to compete with similarly-priced devices like Samsung’s Galaxy A51, which also offers flagship-like performance at a fraction of the cost.

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