The OnePlus Nord is the new affordable smartphone from the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, as it looks to reach more fans by offering a more price-conscious option alongside its flagship tier.
Pre-orders for the OnePlus Nord are currently open, even though the phone hasn’t been formally confirmed, but they’re set to close very soon.
OnePlus Nord is both the name of the firm’s new product line and the first device in the range – the OnePlus Nord smartphone.
The new OnePlus Nord phone has a lower price tag than the OnePlus 8, addressing the concern some fans had about the firm’s big price hikes in recent years as it moved away from its mid-range pricing.
While there was much speculation over the name – with OnePlus Z, OnePlus 8 Lite and OnePlus Nord all being rumored, the latter has now been officially confirmed as the name for the affordable smartphone.
A number of details have been confirmed about the Nord handset recently, some of them exclusively by TechRadar, and we’ve put all the key information below.
Cut to the chaseWhat is it? An affordable (not cheap) OnePlus smartphoneWhen is it out? July, exact date unknownHow much will it cost? Under $500 (around £410, AU$730)OnePlus Nord release date
The OnePlus Nord release date is yet to be confirmed, but it’s close. What we do know, however, is the OnePlus Nord launch date, which is set for July 21.
While we already know some of the details about the OnePlus Nord, the July 21 event – which will be an AR (augmented reality) launch you can watch via a mobile app – will reveal the full details on the affordable smartphone.
The firm held an initial round of OnePlus Nord pre-orders – limited to just 100 units – on July 1 which sold out in just a second. It then followed that up on July 8, and a third final round will happen on July 15 via the OnePlus website.
The OnePlus Nord will be available in Europe and India first, while “a select number of users in North America will also get a chance to experience the new device through a highly limited beta program after launch”.
We don’t have any more detail on the North America beta program at the moment, but we’ll update this page as soon as we hear.
OnePlus Nord price
What we do know is the OnePlus Nord price. OnePlus has confirmed it will be “below $500” (around £410 / AU$730), while CEO and Founder, Pete Lau has confirmed to TechRadar that it will cost €500 in Europe.
That makes the OnePlus Nord comfortably cheaper than the OnePlus 8, which starts at $699 / £599 (about AU$1,100) – which is good, as OnePlus has been teasing the ‘affordable’ handset for a while now.
We wouldn’t be surprised if “below $500” translates to $499, rather than an even lower price tag – but you could always keep your fingers crossed for something cheaper.
OnePlus Nord nameNo longer the OnePlus Z or OnePlus 8 Lite
It is official, the affordable OnePlus smartphone is called the OnePlus Nord.
After several months of rumors surrounding a trio of names – OnePlus 8 Lite, OnePlus Z and, most recently, OnePlus Nord – it was the more bizarre of the three which ended up being the real deal.
We spoke exclusively to Carl Pei, Assistant Head of OnePlus Nord, to find out how the name came about, what it means and why it was ultimately chosen.
OnePlus Nord design and display
We’d gotten our first look at the OnePlus Nord, with an image showing up on Amazon India, and a couple of videos posted by OnePlus showing us glimpses of the affordable handset.
The image leaked on Amazon (below) shows the rear of the OnePlus Nord, and even though the handset itself is a little blurred, it’s easy to make out the OnePlus logo, volume rocker, power/lock key and large camera bump.
Our first sight of the OnePlus Nord (Image credit: Amazon / OnePlus)
Meanwhile, on Instagram, OnePlus posted a video (below) which gives us a brief look at the front of the OnePlus Nord. It doesn’t really give too much away in terms of spec, but fast forward to around the one minute mark of the video to see for yourself.
A week before the OnePlus Nord is scheduled to be unveiled, co-founder Carl Pei showed off the phone in an interview with tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee/MKBHD. Their video chat covered a wide range of issues, including the costs associated with including oft-omitted phone features like NFC and headphone jacks, and how OnePlus’ design priorities mean for the Nord – namely, that it’s very likely to have an AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate.
But the highlight was seeing the first official look at the Nord (below):
(Image credit: MKBHD)OnePlus Nord power and interfaceExclusive: Nord will feature Snapdragon 765G chipsetExclusive: Nord will be a 5G enabled smartphone
OnePlus has exclusively confirmed to TechRadar that the Nord smartphone will come with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G chipset.
That’s the same chip which we saw perform well in the LG Velvet, and its inclusion means the OnePlus Nord is also 5G enabled.
While not confirmed, we expect the OnePlus Nord to run Android with the firm’s Oxygen OS interface over the top, which brings with it features and customization options on top of Google’s core operating system.
OnePlus Nord camerasExclusive: OnePlus Nord will have flagship level camerasConfirmed to have four rear and two front camerasA recent leak suggests a 48MP main snapper
OnePlus itself has now confirmed that the OnePlus Nord will have four cameras on the back and two on the front. It hasn’t yet detailed the specs, but Carl Pei, Assistant Head of OnePlus Nord, exclusively told TechRadar that the handset will have “a flagship-level camera”.
Leaks may have filled in the specs gaps though, as according to one source the four rear cameras will include a 48MP main one, an 8MP ultra-wide one, a 5MP macro one, and a 2MP depth sensor.
According to a leak from an ‘OnePlus insider’ meanwhile, the OnePlus Nord will feature both a 32MP sensor and an 8MP one on the front. OnePlus has confirmed one of those cameras is a 105-degree ultra-wide, and we believe that to be the 8MP shooter.
While some sources, such as those above and the tweet below, were right about the number of lenses, others have been shown to be wrong.
pic.twitter.com/nvQBMV1pryJune 15, 2020
For example, a surprise tease of the phone on a talk show suggested it would have three rear cameras, which is one fewer than we now know it has.
Other OnePlus Nord leaks and rumors
A previous OnePlus Nord render (below) gave us an idea of the phone, and it actually showed a phone that doesn’t look all that different from the main OnePlus 8 series.
There’s with a ‘punch-hole’ cut-out central to the top of the display, rear cameras in a bump to the left of the device, and seemingly no 3.5mm headphone jack.
The leaked OnePlus Nord render (Image credit: @OnLeaks / 91mobiles)
We’ve also seen live hands-on pictures of the phone, that generally seem to back that render. The screen is flat, which is a change from the other OnePlus 8 devices, but the picture didn’t show the back of the phone.
Just before the OnePlus 8 announcement a huge leak laid bare all three phones, including a ‘Lite’ device. This leak said the ‘Lite’ handset – which is now called the OnePlus Nord – would have a 6.4-inch screen, 48MP + 16MP + 12MP rear camera combination, 16MP front camera and 4,000mAh battery.
We’re not convinced by any of this, as the same report also said it would have a Mediatek 1000 chipset – which we know for a fact is not true. But a more recent leak supported a 48MP main shooter in a quad rear camera setup, so some elements of that rumor set may be true.
A big OnePlus Nord specs leak points to the now-confirmed Snapdragon 765G chipset, along with 6GB of RAM, a triple-lens rear camera with 64MP, 16MP, and 2MP sensors, a 16MP front-facing camera in a punch-hole, a 6.55-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, 128GB of storage, an in-screen fingerprint scanner and a 4,300mAh battery with 30W fast charging.
Having said that, another leaker has said these specs are wrong, so we’d take them with a serious side of salt. Indeed, an even more recent leak said the OnePlus Nord will have a dual-lens front-facing camera with a 32MP main sensor and an 8MP wide-angle one, both in a cut-out in the top left corner of the screen.
The latest big OnePlus Nord leak does line up with most other recent leaks and confirmed details. It states that the OnePlus Nord has a 6.44-inch 1080 x 2400 screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of storage.
The snapper meanwhile is said to include a 48MP f/1.75 main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, a 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor, and a 2MP f/2.4 macro sensor. On the front there’s said to be a 32MP main and 8MP wide-angle camera. These camera specs all match earlier leaks.
Finally, the leak points to a 4,115mAh battery, 30W fast charging, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, and Blue Marble, Gray Onyx, and Gray Ash colors.
In other news, an earlier benchmark test listing for what seems to be the OnePlus Nord suggests it could have as much as 12GB RAM, which is a surprising amount for what we imagined to be an affordable phone. That said, the leak above lines up with it.
The same listing suggests the phone will have 5G connectivity and a Snapdragon 765G chipset – two aspects which have already been confirmed for the handset.
OnePlus Nord: what we want to see
Before we started hearing about the OnePlus Nord officially, we put together a list of things we’d like to see. Here’s some of what we wrote about:
The OnePlus 8 Pro’s rear cameras (Image credit: Future)1. Triple camera combo
If a smartphone has a main, ultra-wide and telephoto lens, it gives you versatility to take photos in a range of different situations. However, most budget smartphones lack the telephoto camera instead favoring a macro or depth-sensing snapper, meaning they aren’t great for long-range pictures.
We’d like to see the OnePlus Nord come with these three cameras, so the device is great for photography in a range of situations. It’s unlikely, since the base OnePlus 8 missed this combo, but we can dream.
OnePlus 8 had a 90Hz screen (Image credit: Future)2. A 90Hz display
While new top-end and even mid-range smartphones are starting to pack displays with 90Hz or even 120Hz displays, affordable devices are rather late to this party, and it’d be no surprise if the OnePlus Nord had a ‘standard’ 60Hz screen.
However, as people who have used 90Hz or even 120Hz screens will attest, they can be great to use, as it makes scrolling content smoother whether that’s on social media or swiping between menus.
The OnePlus 8 had a 90Hz display so the Nord won’t beat that, but we’d love the affordable phone to match it, especially as currently almost all affordable phones have 60Hz displays.
OnePlus 8 Pro was a 5G phone (Image credit: TechRadar)3. 5G connectivity
Like with high-refresh-rate screens, there are no 5G phones on the market at time of writing that are truly ‘affordable’, as even the 5G phones with the lowest price tags are actually mid-ranged in price, and with only okay specs too.
For the plenty of people looking to get 5G connections without having to spend loads of money, a 5G OnePlus Nord would be great – 5G contracts tend to be expensive enough as it is without the handset being pricey too.
Until the launch of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite later in 2020, OnePlus would have a monopoly on the affordable 5G phone market if the Lite had the connectivity.