You’ll know that we are big fans of OnePlus at Rapid Reviews, so we were very excited to get our hands on the brand new Nord 2 5G. The original Nord was a fantastic handset, so the Nord 2 5G has a lot to live up to. Did it do this? Read on to find out.
Operating System: OxygenOS 11.3 (based on Android™ 11)
CPU: Media Tek Dimensity 1200-AI
GPU: ARM G77 MC9
RAM: 6GB/8GB/12GB LPDDR4X
Storage: 128GB/256GB UFS3.1
Battery: 4500mAh Dual Cell Battery
Motor: X-axis linear motor
Warp Charge 65
What’s in the Box?
You’re getting the OnePlus Nord 2 5G handset, and thankfully OnePlus continues to include a charger and cable in the box and a case. You’ll also find a SIM tray ejector tool and a note from the Nord team. You’re also getting a pre-applied screen protector.
Design and Build
First things first, the alert slider is back! If you’ve read my Nord CE review (and if you haven’t, why not?), you’ll know that I was very disappointed to find that the alert slider was missing. Thankfully, OnePlus have corrected this with the Nord 2. It’s such a useful feature for me, so it’s great to see it back!
The Nord 2 feels very well made and has a reassuring weight to it, not light, but not too heavy. The front and back are made from Gorilla Glass 5, and the sides are plastic or fibreglass reinforced polymer. Either way, it looks and feels good. Just a quick heads up, the Nord 2 doesn’t have an official IPX rating, so you’re going to want to be careful around liquids.
The handset that I reviewed came in a Gray Sierra finish, which I thought looked neat. Something that I found very nice was how the OnePlus logo is etched into the back of the phone. I haven’t noticed this on previous OnePlus phones that I’ve reviewed, and it’s something that I’d like to see included on other handsets moving forward.
One thing missing on the Nord 2 is the headphone jack. As it’s on the Nord CE, I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t on the Nord 2. With OnePlus releasing a brand new set of wireless earbuds, it could be a way of nudging people to make a purchase. I’m hoping to review the new earbuds soon, so keep your eyes peeled for a review of those.
Thanks to HDR video support, the 6.43-inch Full HD OLED screen looks nice and is great to watch videos on. The 90Hz refresh rate is fairly standard for mid-range phones around this price point and less, but it still allows for a smooth experience when navigating the phone.
I’ve recently been away with my family at Legoland Windsor, so to put the Nord 2 and its 4500mAh Dual Cell Battery to the test, I decided to use it as my main device. I ensured that the phone had 100% battery when I began our long journey to London.
Throughout the day, I used the Nord 2 to take many photos and videos, used the Legoland app to read the queue times, found restaurants, make contactless payments, read reviews, used Google Maps to find our hotel, entertained the children with a bit of Netflix whilst waiting for food, and of course, played Pokémon Go.
At one point, towards the end of the day, I got a little concerned that the battery would run out. Fortunately, when we returned to the hotel about 9:30 pm, I still had about 15% battery life. I really did put the phone’s battery to the test and am confident that it would get the average user through the day.
If you are concerned about the battery life, fear not. Thanks to the Warp Charge 65, you can fill the battery life from 0 to 100% in around 15 minutes! This really is incredible!
In a change from using Snapdragon processors found in all of its other handsets, the Nord 2 sports a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI processor. I’ve been impressed with the performance of the Snapdragon powered OnePlus phones, so I was a little unsure what to expect from the MediaTek chipset. Luckily, within a few hours, my fears were allayed.
My review handset came with 12 GB RAM, and this, combined with the processor, makes for an excellent user experience. Apps loaded quickly, multitasking was no bother, and gaming was enjoyable. I honestly was very impressed with how this handset performed.
The OnePlus Nord 2 comes with Oxygen OS 11.3 installed, and it builds on the excellent features of previous iterations. It remains a clean, seamless, easy to use operating system. I discovered a few small tweaks that include a new, more concise settings menu layout, a new adaptive sans font, and a swoosh alert when clearing all notifications.
The gaming app has been improved, as has the always-on display. Improvements in the gaming app include ultimate mistouch prevention. I found this a useful feature when gaming. It allowed me to completely focus on the game without worrying about pulling down the quick settings menu or interacting with notifications. Another new feature is game filters which add screen filters to your games.
I feel like I’m repeating myself when talking about the cameras on the OnePlus phones that I’ve reviewed. That is to say, they’re great.
On the rear of the phone, you’ll find a three-camera setup. The primary lens is a Sony IMX766 50MP lens, the same one found on the OnePlus 9, and then there’s an 8MP Ultra Wide lens and a 2MP Mono lens. On the front, there’s a 32MP SONY IMX615, which is the highest found on a OnePlus phone yet.
While you don’t get the Hasselblad features found on the 9 Series phones, you get AI scene enhancement mode. This recognises lots of different scenes, for example, flowers, greenery and blue sky. The AI then sets to work, automatically choosing the colour, contrast and definition. The result is a fantastic photo with minimal effort. Another AI feature is AI Zoom when viewing your photos in the gallery. This allows you to zoom into your photos up to 8x. I haven’t found a use for this feature yet, though.
The night mode setting works very well, and I was able to take some great photos with minimal light. The photo of the tomato plant that you can see in the slideshow below was taken in near darkness.
As well as taking amazing photos, the Nord 2 is also capable of shooting great videos, up to 4K 30 fps. There’s also a really snazzy dual video mode that lets you record using the front and back cameras simultaneously. This would be a useful feature for vloggers. Another new feature is the video enhancement engine; it is supposed to enhance the resolution and boost colours. I can’t say that I noticed a vast difference in my testing, but I will continue to test this.
2 Becomes 1?
For me, the Nord 2 is an excellent midrange phone and provides enough upgrades from the excellent Nord to justify an upgrade.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
You can find out more about the OnePlus Nord 2 5G on their official website.
If you enjoyed this phone review, you can read our others here.