Weekly poll: the OnePlus Nord 2 promises the flagship experience on a budget, can it deliver?

Peter, 25 July 2021

Here are those words again, "flagship killer". Can the OnePlus Nord 2 that was announced earlier this week really help you break that expensive habit of buying pricey flagships?

Well, it has a flagship battery - 4,500 mAh with Warp Charge 65 support, just like the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. A full charge is achieved in just 30 minutes and should last you for two days. There's no wireless charging, though.

It has a flagship camera too, one of them, at least. The 50MP IMX766 sensor (which was used in the 9-series ultrawide cameras) is now in the main role and it has Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). The actual ultrawide-angle cam on the phone is a much less impressive 8MP module. And there's no telephoto camera so digital zoom is all you get.

OnePlus Nord 2's best features: 65W charging OnePlus Nord 2's best features: Large camera sensor with OIS OnePlus Nord 2's best features: 90 Hz HDR10+ AMOLED display
OnePlus Nord 2's best features: 65W charging • Large camera sensor with OIS • 90 Hz HDR10+ AMOLED

It has a decent display too, a 90Hz Fluid AMOLED panel with HDR10+. Though the last OnePlus flagship that ran its screen at 90Hz was the vanilla OnePlus 8. So far we see several pieces of a flagship, but some other pieces are missing.

The same goes for the software support - OnePlus will delivery two OS updates and 3 years of security updates. This was the norm before the 8-series arrived, which will get three OS updates and 4 years of security patches. Again, a flagship experience, though from a couple of years ago.

The custom Dimensity 1200-AI chipset holds great potential - it is built on MediaTek's "Open Resource Architecture", which allows makers to tweak chips (just the 1200 for now) to their needs. It's not quite the same level of control that Apple, Samsung and Huawei have over their chips, but it's an exciting development.

You can check out our review to see how the 1200-AI performed - long story short, it's comparable to the Snapdragon 870 found inside the OnePlus 9R, though in some tests it is closer to the Snapdragon 860. Flagship chips indeed, though not top of the line in 2021.

Weekly poll: the OnePlus Nord 2 promises the flagship experience on a budget, can it deliver?

The OnePlus Nord 2 will sell for €400 for the base 6/128GB version (give or take a few euro, depending on local taxes). This is the same price as the original Nord, despite rumors of an increased price tag.

That said, you can find a Snapdragon 860-powered phone for around €200, e.g. the Poco X3 Pro. A Snapdragon 870-based phone can be yours for around €300, the Poco F3. Both have 48MP 1/2.0" sensors in their main cams, however, compared to the 50MP 1/1.56" sensor in the Nord 2. And they top out at 33W charging. On the other hand, both have 120Hz screens (one LCD and one AMOLED).

Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro Xiaomi Poco F3
Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro • Xiaomi Poco F3

The €500 Realme GT offers the faster Snapdragon 888 chipset on top of a 6.43" 120 Hz Super AMOLED and a 4,500 mAh battery with 65W charging. The main cam has a 64MP 1/1.73" sensor. None of these have OIS on the main camera, however.

Dimensity 1200 phones are rare for now, but Xiaomi and Realme have a couple of options on the way. In India there's the Realme X7 Max 5G, which has a 120Hz 6.43" Super AMOLED display, 64MP 1/1.73" camera (no OIS) and a 4,500mAh battery with 50W charging. The base 8/128GB model will set you back INR 27,00, compared to INR 30,000 for the Nord 2 (there is a 6/128 GB model too, which is INR 28,000).

Realme GT 5G Realme X7 Max 5G
Realme GT 5G • Realme X7 Max 5G

And don't forget that you can have the OnePlus Nord CE for €300. It has a less powerful chipset (Snapdragon 750G), its 6.43" 90Hz AMOLED lacks HDR10+ support, the 64MP camera isn't as nice (smaller sensor, no OIS) and the 4,500 mAh battery charges at only 30W. But it's €100 less.

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
Realme GT 5G

So, what do you think - does the OnePlus Nord 2 live up to its "flagship killer" tagline and does it have a place in your pocket?


Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 19 Aug 2021
  • YTx

Overall the Poco F3 does seem better value if camera isn't a big deal for you. You get a better screen, higher screen refresh and touch sampling rate

  • bob
  • 31 Jul 2021
  • m2d

i still can't vote, it say's - An error occured. If you are using incognito mode, try to disable it. You didn't give a link to their site poll either, oh an i have no idea what incognito mode is, it's not a feature on vivaldi. As ...

Why would I want to fill my phone with pointless apps for websites? I already have an app to access GSMArena content and it came with the phone -Chrome. Stop excusing bad practices.

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