Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review: A bridge between the old and new world of OnePlus

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OnePlus had the perfect strategy to enter a segmented smartphone market. When the company started, it created a novelty item with invite-only purchase and low prices beating the flagship segment. Slowly it began to include more people in the fray and by its seventh iteration of its flagship, the company was well positioned to upset the big players. He had created a niche for himself, with brands like Marques Brownlee swearing by the brand. Over time, flaws began to appear in his approach. The mid-segment categories have not performed as well and the higher categories are far from the competition. There seems to be a gradual weaning.

The new Nord CE 2 Lite is a bridge between two worlds: the old and the new.

Design

It’s believed that OnePlus hasn’t tinkered with it over the years, it’s the standard phone design and it’s more characteristic of the Nord series. It looks a lot like the iPhone SE series. Glasses are visible but limited. The phone is heavier than expected, it has a simple bar design, with a camera bump on the back. The bump isn’t as pronounced, so on flat surfaces the phone is stable. The plastic has a matte quality, but the area adjacent to the camera is textured and flashy. Personally, not a favorite. The gradation is nice, but the texture is an issue. There’s a power button on the right, which doubles as a fingerprint reader. The placement is perfect, even for someone with small hands. On the left, we find the volume buttons, once again well within reach. OnePlus has done well to provide both a headphone jack and a USB Type C point. The fingerprint scanner on the side is fast and very responsive and better than most in-screen scanners.

Filter

The front camera is prominent on the screen, with a cutout on the side and a halo around it. Noticeable at first, it eventually fades into the user experience. Nord has done a great job with their phone screens, and this one is no exception. The refresh rate goes up to 120hz (variable, of course) and the brightness is good.

The colors are pronounced. There were a few spots that created a problem, but overall the screen worked well for viewing videos. Automatic brightness adjustment takes a while, but this can be fixed with a software patch. At night, the screen light was a bit bright for my liking, but otherwise, compared to the competition, the Nord performs better.

Camera

Over time, camera setups have become more complicated. There are three rear cameras, a main one with a 64 MP 1.7 aperture; a 2 MP depth assistant with a 2.4 aperture and a macro lens with the same specifications as the depth camera. Actual quality is good in daylight with some OnePlus-specific issues. The colors are too pronounced and there is too much smoothing. Depth cameras end up doing the intended job, but fall short. Zooming causes a lot of pixelation. The front camera has a similar issue with color correction and smoothing.

Battery life

This is where the phone’s thickness and 5000mAh battery life come to the rescue. In average operations, a day and a half is an easy autonomy for the phone, can even extend up to almost two days or so. Heavy use and gaming will reduce it to a day-to-night charge. The GPS drained 11% of the battery in one hour. There were no heating issues, which was welcome.

User experience and performance

Oxygen OS is one of the best operating systems in the business and OnePlus did the install justice. The operating system is pretty clean with very little bloatware, not one you would remove from the phone. Transitions are smooth. The shelf was an irritating feature, but you can turn it off. In terms of performance, the phone had little throttling. The Snapdragon 695 performs well for multiple tasks, but there were issues when putting too much load on the phone. For a midrange device the processor works well, I would suggest the 8GB version not the 6GB one.

Price

At Rs 21,999, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite is priced at a sweet spot of mid-range phones. A few discounts and the phone is a good buy for those in the market, unless you’re looking for a lightweight device.

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