Yes, you read this right, already, within an hour of its launch, the new OnePlus Nord is a success. OnePlus could’ve launched the Nord alongside the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro in March and it would’ve been relegated to being a stocky companion phone – but the fact that they gave it its own launch and marketing campaign, it has already made so much buzz that it has rattled a multitude of smartphone brands that never had to compete with OnePlus before. As Xiaomi has learnt the hard way, creating a premium positioning from a value-oriented positioning is challenging. However, for the Nord, the case is the opposite. OnePlus is taking its premium positioning and bringing it down to a lower price point. The specs literally don’t matter on the Nord. It has won the battle in the PR conversation alone, but now that has launched, I can tell you that this is a solid phone in its own right. It is no watered down savant which uses the OnePlus premium positioning the way Samsung has misused its stature in the market with the Galaxy A series.
- It can walk the talk with its specs. The Snapdragon 765G chip with 12GB RAM (DDR4X) and 256GB UFS 2.1 storage in a package that’s costing less than Rs 30,000 screams a lot of value. Then you add an AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and pretty decent cameras, you have a pretty tanked package. Sure, it still may not be the cream of the cream thanks to the presence of older phones like Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro, and Realme X3 Pro, but it sure is the shiny new thing that sings out of the box.
- While OnePlus’s cameras are deemed pedestrian for a phone like the OnePlus 8, when the same primary camera makes its way on a phone that’s 33% cheaper, then it becomes excellent. That’s the vibe I’m getting initially from the OnePlus Nord. Yes, it is a quad-camera package on the back, but most people will care for the wide-angle and the ultra-wide-angle sensors only and they are looking decent out of the box. Software updates are likely to make them even better.
- Yes, software updates are a thing on OnePlus phones. They get updates at a manic rate. In fact, even older phones are serviced for a very long time. Recently, the OnePlus 5 also got an update to Android 10. This phone will last and going by the software experience, it feels sublimely fast and smooth. OnePlus has also removed its own call and messaging apps and replaced them with the Google equivalents which are there on Android One and Pixel phones. This makes this phone even more secure.
- The design of this phone is a tad derivative, but at the same time it is ergonomic, compact and that new Blue Marble colour just makes my heart warm up. This colour will remind people of the old Nokia Lumias or the iPhone 5C which was also in such a cyan like colour. Looks wise, it also seems to be a rip off of the Oppo Reno 3 Pro, but most people will not care, as it is solid, premium in feel and with unique colours.
- The one concern on this phone was the panel. One feared that OnePlus could skim on the display quality, but thankfully that hasn’t happened. This is a superb display for the price and I’d say it is right up there with the panel on the OnePlus 7T. It is sharp, large enough at 6.44-inches, vivid as an OLED screen should be with the high refresh rate thingy and flat which makes it more ergonomic than even the OnePlus8.
When you do the math on this — one is looking at a winner which could be one of the best selling phones of the year. Sure, the battery life is up in the air but I can assure you it will likely be excellent. Yep, this new Nord is a winner.