OnePlus Nord CE 2 review: What's New

OnePlus Nord CE 2 review: What's New
OnePlus Nord CE 2 

The Nord CE 2 has been designed very carefully by OnePlus. Hardware changes other than fast charging haven't been made, and Android hasn't been updated either. Despite the Nord CE 2's solid fundamentals, there are far better alternatives available in this category, so buying it makes no sense.

What's New:

  • 90Hz AMOLED display.
  • Dependable hardware inside.
  • Smooth operation every day.
  • Added 65W fast charging.

No change for Some:

  • Big similar to Nord CE.
  • Still on Android 11.
  • without stereo.
  • Strictly average cameras.
  • Limited software upgrades.
One year later, the Nord CE 2 continues this trend. OnePlus hasn't made any noticeable hardware changes to the Nord CE, instead of focusing on the design of the device. Fast charging at 65W and a microSD slot are the two new additions. However, are these enough to offer the Nord CE 2 a competitive edge in its category? We'll find out.

OnePlus Nord CE 2: The Design

OnePlus Nord CE 2 The Design
OnePlus Nord CE 2 The Design

Nord CE 2 is clearly different from Nord CE 2. One notable difference is the design. Compared to last year's Nord 2, this year's Nord 3 has a new design for the rear camera housing. Instead of the oblong housing, the camera is housed on a larger island, with large rings surrounding the primary 64MP sensor and the wide-angle 8MP sensor.
In general, I like this kind of camera layout, but it looks garish on the Nord CE 2. The reason for OnePlus to choose this design is likely related to the fact that the Nord CE 2 is not a OnePlus device.
In the same way as the Nord N series, the Nord CE 2 is actually a rebranded Reno 7 5G device from OPPO. You'll notice similarities between the two devices as soon as you see them side-by-side.
OnePlus phones have had an alert slider for 7 years now, and the Nord CE 2 does not have it. If you look at its design, you can tell whether one of OnePlus's phones is an entirely new design (albeit influenced by its BBK siblings) vs a rebranding.
Let us examine the rest of the design of the Nord CE 2 now that you know its origin. Depending on the angle of the light it catches, Bahama Blue's color shifts between two shades. Despite the glossy finish, the back of the board is made from polycarbonate and looks like glass. Plastic is also used for the sides, which have a glossy finish.
Power and volume controls are located on the right, a 3.5mm jack is at the bottom, and the SIM card slot is on the left.
The device now has a microSD slot in addition to the two SIM cards. OnePlus said they added the feature to the Reno 7 because most users who migrate from Nexus phones to the Nord CE series use microSD cards - it has nothing to do with it having a MicroSD slot.

OnePlus Nord CE 2: The Display

There aren't many differences between the Nord CE 2 and last year's Nord CE about the screen. It features the same 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh, and it is protected by Gorilla Glass 5. It's easy to customize the color balance to your liking, but there are a few instances where it skews toward cooler hues by default.
In addition, although HDR10+ is advertised on the screen, it does not support streaming services. It is similar to what we have seen on other BBK-based midrange phones over the last 12 months, where Netflix and Prime Video default to SDR content. A 90Hz refresh rate is not used by games, so high refresh rates are reserved for social media, browsers, and general UI navigation.
This phone is a rebranded OPPO device, which is one of the reasons for the lack of stereo speakers. Stereo sound isn't available on the phone, so watching YouTube videos or playing games isn't quite as enjoyable as on other models.

OnePlus Nord CE 2: Battery and Performance

Since MediaTek emerged in the mobile semiconductor market 18 months ago, the company has steadily gained ground. OnePlus, Xiaomi, Realme, and Vivo are among the devices developed by Taiwanese manufacturers. That resurgence was partly attributed to its success in undercutting Qualcomm while delivering a similar quality of the hardware.
MediaTek's Density 900 chip is at the heart of the Nord CE 2. Cortex A55 cores running at 2.0GHz. Two Cortex A78 cores running at 2.4GHz. In addition to the Mali-G68, we also get LPDDR4X memory and a Mali-G68.
OnePlus is limiting RAM and storage to 8GB and 128GB, unlike last year when we got the Nord CE with 12GB/256GB. It is more than sufficient to run most applications with 8GB of RAM - even the best Android phones come with 8GB as standard - but the storage could become a limiting factor. However, there is a microSD card slot that lets you expand the phone's storage.
There is no 256GB option due to the phone's placement. Since the Nord CE 2 offers 256GB of storage, OnePlus is substituting the Nord CE 2 for the Reno 7 in its 128GB configuration. You can make your own guesses as to why OPPO wants to launch two phones with two storage options instead of just one.
When it comes to daily use, the Nord CE 2 does pretty well against its immediate competitors.
Social media usage and browsing run smoothly without lag or slowdowns, and while the Mali-G68 is not powerful enough to run visually-intensive games at their maximum settings, it is more than adequate for casual gaming.
The vibration motor is quite good at providing feedback, and the in-screen reader is accurate and fast. I noticed no problems with overheating.
Battery life was comparable to other devices in the BBK portfolio, I got about a day's use out of the 4500mAh unit. A full charge of the phone takes just over 40 minutes with the 65W charger that comes in the box.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 The Cameras
OnePlus Nord CE 2 The Cameras

OnePlus Nord CE 2: The Cameras

Nord CE 2 camera hardware remains largely the same from last year: 64 MP primary lens, 8 MP wide-angle module, and 2 MP macro module.
OnePlus' 32MP front camera debuted this year, so I figured the Nord CE 2 would have the same handset as the Reno 7. However, that is not the case for the Nord CE 2. It comes with the same 16MP sensor as its predecessor.
Since ColorOS is now integrated with the camera, the camera interface has changed from last year. On the other hand, the UI offers the usual array of toggles and filters, as well as access to frequently-used shooting modes.
This year's phone uses the same camera hardware as last year, so the final pictures aren't that different. Daytime shots have great detail, accurate colors, and decent contrast, as well as having a wide dynamic range.
There is noticeable noise in photos of the camera when you use it in low-light conditions; it's hard to focus and it has a hard time focusing in low light. However, there are much better cameras in this category than the one with a dedicated Night mode.
Nord CE 2 lacks the front camera that makes the Reno 7 so great.

OnePlus Nord CE 2: The Software

We're now at a point where OnePlus is actively ignoring OxygenOS 12 in favor of OxygenOS 11.3 instead. Because of this, the Nord CE 2 runs the same base software as the Nord 2 from eight months ago, and it is powered by Android 11.
Nord CE 2 is at a distinct disadvantage since Android 12 has been available for nearly six months now, and most phones in this category offer the latest version of Android out of the box. In addition to that, the Nord CE 2 won't receive any Android updates beyond Android 13 because OnePlus only guarantees two platform updates.
Samsung, Xiaomi, and Realme have all made great progress when it comes to software updates over the last 18 years.
So there are plenty of phones in the same category as the Nord CE 2 that ship with Android 12 and will be updated regularly and have long-term security patches.

Availability and price worldwide

On February 17, 2022, OnePlus announced the Nord CE 2, which will be available in select global markets only. There are two versions available in India: one with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, and one with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage for ($330).
There's an 8GB/128GB model available for £299 ($400) over in the UK. To get your hands on a Nord CE 2 8GB/128GB in Germany or other European countries, you'll need to shell out €349 ($385).
If you want a 256GB model, the Reno 7, the phone on which the Nord CE 2 is based, is your best option. It will soon be available for purchase in global markets in an 8GB/256GB version for $380.
soon be available for purchase in global markets in an 8GB/256GB version for $380.
be available for purchase in global markets in an 8GB/256GB version for $380.
The Nord CE 2 comes in blue and grey colors. For the launch in India, OnePlus offered cashback offers, and there was a free OnePlus Buds Z2 earbud giveaway in the UK, Germany, and other European countries.


The Nord CE 2 has very few advantages, even to OnePlus' usual standards. This phone is virtually unchanged from its predecessor, which places it at a disadvantage - particularly when there are so many great phones to choose from.
This, coupled with the inexcusable software choices, makes Nord CE 2 an unattractive purchase. Instead of the Realme 9 Pro+, if you're looking for a phone under ($330), you should consider the Realme 9 Pro+. This has allowed Realme to stand out from its BBK siblings in 2022, and it continues to do so on the software front.


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