OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G, analysis: OnePlus’s Trojan horse to conquer the mid-range
OnePlus launched in 2022 with a mobile of the highest range, the OnePlus 10 Pro, but it has not yet left China. The one presented in international lands was the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G, a mid-range that points the way due to its excellent balance in hardware, software, and design. We have tested it, and we can corroborate it: it is one of the best phones.
The renewed commitment to the mid-range within the Nord family comes to compete with brands that have become strong in that price segment, which ranges from 200 to 400 euros. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G stays closer to the second limit than the first, but it offers much more than what can be expected at first glance. He doesn’t have much to envy his older brothers, At least for the experience it provides.
An attractive and compact design despite the plastic construction
The Nord family is the most accessible of OnePlus; this is noticeable inside the mobiles and on the outside: the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G offers a polycarbonate body that is finished off by the back of the same material. The result is a mobile with a pleasant touch, which appears solid despite this contrast with the plastic and, above all, keeps the lines contained thanks to its compact size. At least by today’s standards, of course.
On the hand, the touch is pleasant, and the grip does not become excessively slippery; all the buttons are at the level of a comfortable press (it does not offer an Alert Slider selector), and the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G includes a headphone jack, it boasts a double SIM and also SD memory expansion. All with a weight that, although it is not light, is not annoying either.
Except for the screen, it is a mid-range mobile: OnePlus offers a 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED panel with excellent quality, sharpness, and color representation. Good viewing angles and the experience is fluid. It reaches the refresh rate of 90 Hz (it significantly contributes to the fluidity mentioned above), and it maintains the great contrast of AMOLED. It looks good enough in most conditions, both in twilight (the minimum brightness could be less) and under the sun (the readable screen that would not despise an extra intelligence either).
In the field of sound, we find certain chiaroscuro. If we go to the wrong side, we must highlight the regular performance of its external speaker: unique, with shrillness above medium volume and a specific canned sound (although very loud). On the good side, OnePlus does an excellent job with audio through headphones, both wired and wireless: 3.5mm jack, good sound quality, balanced bass and treble, some bass boost, and better software Real HD Sound (manages to enhance the richness of the audio). In terms of Bluetooth codecs, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G has SBC, AAC, aptX (HD, Adaptive, and TWS), LDAC, and LHDC.
It is not the first mobile that we tested with the MediaTek Dimensity 920, an SoC that goes a long way for the range to which it belongs. It enhances to a large extent the great experience with the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G: it is swift, it can handle any application, it does not heat up excessively or during long gaming sessions, and it even runs the titles by increasing the graphic requirements at high levels.
We have been testing the phone with the usual Genshin Impact and PUBG. In the first one, we adjusted the graphic settings to the maximum without running into lags, heating, or lack of power; the second did not allow us to activate beyond the medium level, always with a high-speed operation and without appreciable graphical errors.
Decent photography by day and too fair at night
Our protagonist shows off the diversity of cameras as an added value, something familiar even in the mid-range to which it belongs. It also flaunts numbers for the primary sensor: 64 megapixels, with an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera. Given the range to which it belongs, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G does not include mechanical image stabilization (OIS). It offers software stabilization (EIS), with decent performance in stabilized video recording.
It does not have a bad photographic experience due to a lack of camera options (including expert mode, although not saved in RAW) or general results. It does not entail a problem during the day, and with sufficient light; As the lighting decreases, the shots suffer, even activating the night mode.
Auto HDR improves the dynamic range at the cost of applying excessive contrast, with a tendency to leave s darker areas somewhat underexposed (and burned areas that concentrate a tremendous amount of light). White balance does not always keep the scene natural. And the lack of detail is appreciated with some zoom, even outdoors and in good lighting.
Night mode processing can go from artist to unrealistic shots.
As the light falls, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G sees its photographic capabilities hampered until it obtains shots with excess watercolors, even with the naked eye. The night mode does not usually improve the captures even if it does manage to bring more light from the scenes, always at the cost of raising the ISO and achieving unrealistic captures on more occasions than it should.
The processing does not finish maintaining the naturalness of the shot: OnePlus tends to saturate the greens and apply a specific warm tone in the white balance (sometimes even cold). When the lighting is uniform, it tends to wash out the image.