OnePlus Nord 2 5G review: MediaTek (almost) promoted, but what a CAMERA!

ECOVACS

That the Nord series represents a decisive return of the company to that union between style, performance and economic convenience is a fact. But I admit that, after the various news on the "official marriage" between Oppo and OnePlus, seeing a OnePlus animated by a Mediatek SoC reminded me of two thoughts: the first is related to Oppo, which seems to be leading the reins of a sort of change of course for OnePlus, the second is for Realme (which yes, it is always part of the carousel of brands "related" to Oppo and OnePlus) which, in my opinion, now has all the credentials to become the " new OnePlus ". And let's be clear, this does not mean a downgrade for OnePlus, indeed, and no: there is nothing official in all this, but it is the first thought that crossed my mind. And maybe I'm very wrong.

In short, the reality of the facts is that after all these events I still cannot have clear ideas about the real positioning of Pete Lau's company in the near future, and yes, as most people did, I started very biased when I got my hands on the new one for the first time OnePlus Nord 2 5G precisely because I could not understand the need to abandon Qualcomm in favor of Mediatek.

Fortunately, however, I had to change my mind.

OnePlus Nord 2 5G review

Unboxing

The sales package is in full OnePlus style, that is, a red box with a slightly rubberized and impact surface. Inside there is the following equipment:

  • OnePlus Nord 2 5G;
  • silicone cover;
  • 65W fast-charging power supply;
  • USB data cable - USB Type-C;
  • OnePlus manuals and stickers.

Design and materials

From the point of view of design and materials, with the OnePlus Nord 2 5G the solution of continuity that the company has decided to give to all its products is even more evident. Lines and rear bump chamber are very similar to what we have already known with the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro but, clearly, the sensors are fewer. Both anteriorly and posteriorly, OnePlus Nord 2 5G it is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 5, but the most evident difference with the top of the range of the company lies in the frames of the front display which, among other things, is of the flat type: they are quite evident, but the reality of the facts is that in this price range the situation is this also in the smartphones produced by the various competitors.

As usual for OnePlus, materials and production process are impeccable and if we really wanted to say it all, we could consider the frame of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G even higher than that of the OnePlus 9, which is made of polycarbonate. In short, from the first impact, the feeling you get when you stick the smartphone is of great solidity and right compactness.

OnePlus Nord 2 5G has dimensions equal to 158.9 x 73.2 x 8.25 mm with a weight of 189 grams, it is therefore slightly more compact than the OnePlus 9R (which, let's remember, will not arrive in Italy) and very similar to the original North. In short, it is not very compact, but when you hold it it is very manageable. The design is very pleasant, the metal keys have a great click and the Blue Haze color we have on test is beautiful. It will also be available in the Gray Sierra color, i.e. in opaque gray, and in other markets the company will also distribute it in the Green Wood color which will have a leather-like back cover.

Il fingerprint sensor has been integrated under the display and, as in all the latest OnePlus, it is proves accurate and reliable. And then supported by the 2D facial release which performs very well in favorable lighting conditions and sufficiently in the evening: in totally dark places you will still have no problems with a display brightness above 50%.

Given the price, then, as well as its predecessor OnePlus Nord 2 5G it does not have any IP certification for resistance to water and dust and does not have support for wireless charging. Two shortcomings that, sooner or later, will have to be filled even in the mid-market range and, I admit, perhaps a missed opportunity for OnePlus: if it had thought of integrating at least one of these two features, it would have had a fantastic response from the public. Sin.

Display

The screen of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G use a panel Fluid AMOLED 6.43-inch flat type, capable of guaranteeing resolution Full HD + (2400 x 1080 pixels) with a 20: 9 aspect ratio and a pixel per inch density of 410 PPI. It supports HDR10 + and is able to work with a refresh rate a 90 Hz: however, there is no automatic refresh rate setting mode, and you will have to manually choose between 60 Hz and 90 Hz.

And ok, some might turn their noses up at the absence of 120 Hz, but I've always been of that school of thought that sees 90 Hz more than enough for the vast majority of people. But, here we go again, if those of OnePlus had thought of “pumping” the refresh rate of the screen a little more, they would have had a not indifferent killer feature from them.

Anyway, even in this OnePlus Nord 2 5G the work done by the company is excellent. The color balance is extremely faithful, the contrast is good and the maximum brightness is more than sufficient even in direct light conditions. In short, absolutely nothing can be criticized for the panel used in the OnePlus Nord 2 5G.

However, there is one detail that I did not like very much, but which is now the norm in this price range: the frames. Because yes, they are quite marked, but they are slightly asymmetrical above and below. And I know, it's really a particular of poco count, but a psychopath like me notices it right away. And if you are not satisfied with the color calibration you can always go to the settings and manage it as you wish.

Within the dedicated menu, in fact, we find lots of personalizations such as the management of the ambient display, edge lighting, Dark mode and much more.

Hardware and Performance

We then come to the part of OnePlus Nord 2 5G that will certainly arouse curiosity the most: the hardware. Because yes, by now everyone is aware of it, we are talking about the first smartphone with which the company has abandoned Qualcomm, in favor of MediaTek. Under the body of the new OnePlus Nord 2 5G there is a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI, that is an “optimized” version (also thanks to a collaboration between the SoC manufacturer and OnePlus) of the already known 1200 focused, as the final acronym suggests, on artificial intelligence.

And before talking about raw numbers and performance, it is right to underline what are the new functions that those of OnePlus have managed to integrate thanks to this processor: none. But let me explain better. In fact, with the integration of AI also in the MediaTek SoC, in the OnePlus Nord 2 5G the company was able to integrate all those features already present in the latest devices produced in collaboration with Qualcomm: in the new mid-range of the brand, in fact, despite the processor changes, functions such as AI Photo Enhancement, AI continue to be present Video Enhancement, AI Color Boost and AI Resolution Boost. And while it might seem obvious to some, it's actually not a thing to do poco.

But to evaluate the performance of this new processor, you have to proceed step by step. First we will talk about benchmarks and numbers, then move on to the real user experience. OnePlus Nord 2 5G will be available in two configurations, one with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory, the other with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal memory. Both versions use LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 3.1 memories and do not support memory expansion via microSD.

According to the numbers, the performance of the MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI is a little below that of the Snap 870 5G we saw in the OnePlus 9R. In GeekBench, for example, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G scored 805 in Single-Core and 2551 in Multi-Core, compared to 959 in Single-Core and 3067 in Multi-Core for the Snap. In 3D mark, however, the result is almost on par: OnePlus Nord 2 5G scored 4192 with an average of 25.10 fps, versus the 4222R's Qualcomm score of 25.30 with an average of 9 fps. Which immediately suggests that, in terms of gaming performance, the two processors are practically on the same level.

What left me rather perplexed is the result of the AnTuTu stress test, with which a significant overheating of the device was highlighted, like a fluctuating management of clock frequencies which, apparently, does not depend on thermal throttling . As you will notice from the graph above, the MediaTek has managed frequencies and relative "peak" performances since the beginning of the test, when the temperature was poco above 30 degrees, to then reach and exceed 40 degrees by a lot.

Leaving aside the numbers, however, one thing must be said: from the point of view of performance there is nothing to say about this OnePlus Nord 2 5G. You want for the software optimization of the OxygenOS 11.3, you want for the good job done by MediaTek, the feeling you get when using the new mid range of OnePlus is that of using a device of a higher range. Everything flows beautifully, the animations are fluid and never suffer from microlags, and the gaming experience is also very pleasant, probably also thanks to the artificial intelligence of the MediaTek, which optimizes the GPU and memory management while playing. .

Okay, I probably would have liked to see the OnePlus Nord 2 5G equipped with LPDDR5 RAM memories, but I am more than convinced that the performance of Pete Lau's new smartphone is more than enough for the vast majority of people.

The audio is also decidedly good, which is guaranteed by a stereo system (which uses the ear capsule): the sound is powerful, with a good yield and a good balance of frequencies, although there is always a tendency to favor the highs a little more. and the mids. Overall, however, I was more than satisfied. The performance of WiFi 6 is also good, which is able to connect and take advantage of all the available bandwidth.

Camera

But let me tell you one thing: the real highlight of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G it is the camera, which we could consider as one of those things that puts the company's new smartphone on a totally higher level than all the other competitors in the same price range. And the reason is obvious: the main camera of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G uses the 766 megapixel Sony IMX50 sensor. And let's talk about a upper range sensor that we have already seen on the OnePlus 9 Pro and even on theOppo Find X3 Pro, whose photographic performances are of absolute level.

Aided by an f / 1.88 aperture lens and an optical stabilizer, photos taken with the main camera of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G they are beautiful, in any light condition. Whether there is a need to use HDR, or there is very little light, the new mid-range of the company is able to take photographs never seen in this price range. And it does so even in low light conditions, where with the new Nightscape Ultra it is possible to take enjoyable photographs even in environments with 1 lux of brightness. In short, the work done by OnePlus with the main camera of the Nord 2 is exceptional: color balance, whites, dynamic range management are excellent, and even the shots taken with the digital zoom are of good quality.

However, things change when shooting with the 8 megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, and the fault lies not only with the sensor clearly a level far from that used in the main camera, but also with an f / 2.25 lens and the lack of the OiS. Let me be clear, the photographs taken with the ultra wide angle of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G they are always of a good standard, but the gap with those taken with the main is very marked.

Then there is a 2 megapixel monochrome camera used to capture the usual information for the optimization of the shots, while the front camera uses a 615 megapixel Sony IMX32 sensor with f / 2.45 optics capable of guaranteeing good selfies, which remain however in the average of the price range in which the smartphone fits.

As for video, the same goes for the photos: when they are recorded with the main one, at the maximum resolution of 4K at 30 fps, the quality is excellent and the presence of the optical stabilizer is more than obvious. However, things change again when using the ultra-wide-angle camera: in this case the EIS does its dirty job, but the difference with the main sensor would also be noticed by a user. poco expert.

Software

Before going into the details on the software, it is important that you know one thing: the company has assured us that OnePlus Nord 2 5G will receive two years of major Android updates and three years of security updates. In any case, the new mid-range is not only the company's first smartphone with MediaTek SoC, but it is also the first device to be animated by the OxygenOS 11.3. A new version of the customization of Android 11, in which the company has not included any significant news from the point of view of functionality, but with which a whole series of optimizations "under the hood" have been made that make the user experience even more fluid.

In OnePlus Nord 2 5G the software continues to be characterized by its typical almost stock aspect and by an out of the ordinary fluidity and speed, especially considering the price range in which you go to insert the smartphone. In daily use you will never notice any bugs or jamming of various kinds and, despite the stock aspect, the interface is full of customizations: the Dark Mode, the Zen Mode, the many always on displays continue to be accompanied by the possibility of customize icons, fonts, animations and many other options.

Battery

From a battery standpoint, however, the MediaTek's OnePlus Nord 2 5G it seems to be slightly better optimized than the Snap of the OnePlus 9R. The battery of both models is a 4500 mAh capable of recharging in about 30 minutes thanks to the fast charge at 65W, but in the cheaper model with medium-intense use I have always obtained an average of about 6 hours e poco more than active display.

A result much higher than about 5 and a half of the 9R even if, it should be remembered, the 9R has a 120 Hz display, more energy-intensive than the 90Hz of the North 2.

Price and availability in Italy

The sale price of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G is 399 euros for the 8/128 version, while for the configuration with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal memory the figure rises to 499 euros. And yes, it's the exact same starting price as the original Nord.

And without going around it too much: OnePlus Nord 2 5G continues to be the smartphone to recommend to relatives and friends, without too many worries. The performance of the MediaTek is more than good for the price range in which the device fits, the quality of the images reproduced by the display is excellent, the materials are of excellent quality and the device is solid and well built.

All those features that would be nice to see even in the mid-range, such as wireless charging and IP certification, are still missing, but the real killer feature of OnePlus Nord 2 5G is its main camera: the quality of the photos taken is far superior to that of all other competitors in the same price range.

The new Nord series smartphone is already available for pre-order on the Official site (you can find it here). Alternatively, the device is also present on Amazon and below you will find the links to the purchase. If you don't see the box correctly, try disabling AdBlock.

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