Meet OnePlus Nord CE 5G - An all-rounder smartphone?

Almost six months after its official release in the country, let's take a look back on OnePlus Nord CE 5G
Meet OnePlus Nord CE 5G - An all-rounder smartphone?
Meet OnePlus Nord CE

To recap, this is the newest affordable 5G-ready OnePlus smartphone in the Philippines. It features a triple camera system, an AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, as well as and an In-Display fingerprint scanner. 

How well does it measure up in being an all-rounder smartphone? Let's find out! 

Meet OnePlus Nord CE 5G

What's inside?
What's inside?

The smartphone arrives in a beautiful all-black box with embossed, neon "NORD" wordings imprinted on top of it along with the OnePlus logo. 

The following are what comes with it: the smartphone itself in the Blue Void colorway, silicone case, USB-A to USB-C cable, 30W Warp Charge 30T Plus wall charger, SIM ejector tool, and paper documents.

The Blue Void colorway features a matte finish in comparison to the Charcoal Ink (glossy finish) and Silver Ray (gradient). OnePlus Nord CE 5G is a beautifully built smartphone and is definitely eye candy. Personally, anyone in my family seeing it for the first time marvels at how pretty it looks.
Blue Void with matte finish
Blue Void with a matte finish

Attractive build!

It has a nice grip and is far from being a fingerprint and scratches magnet but as an OC person, I like my case on.

At the back, OnePlus Nord CE features a triple camera system along with a circular, LED flash, and the OnePlus logo at the center.
Top and bottom
Top and bottom

There's nothing on top beside the first microphone. Meanwhile, the 3.5mm headphone jack, secondary microphone, USB-C port, and single, down-firing grille speakers are placed at the bottom. 

The triple-slot tray is placed on the left side just above the volume rockers. The power button sits alone on the right side of the device.
Left and right
Left and right

As we all know, OnePlus Nord CE comes in three color variants. We were loaned with the Blue Void which means it has a matte finish. Anyone who doesn't know about its price won't think it's only within the price range of PHP 17K-20K. 

OnePlus Nord CE exudes elegance and class beyond its price point, thanks to its design and color. It is lightweight and has a nice grip. 

Upfront, it sports a 6.43-inch 2.5D curved Fluid AMOLED screen w/ 90Hz refresh rate, FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 409 ppi. Yes, 90Hz refresh rate at this price point. As expected, it has a vibrant, crisp, and beautiful display.
Fluid AMOLED display
Fluid AMOLED display

90Hz refresh rate!

I love it very much when it comes to watching my favorite series and just casual browsing. Taking it outdoors is not a problem, too. We didn't have any struggles under direct sunlight.

In terms of speakers, the OnePlus Nord CE is equipped with a single, down-firing grill speaker. It produces a loud sound with little to unnoticeable distortion. We believe it can fill up to a medium-sized room. 

Even though it has a 3.5mm headphone jack, OnePlus has failed to include free earphones in the package. We used our stock wired earphones at home and the sound is good and clear.
Triple rear cameras!
Triple rear cameras!

As mentioned earlier, the OnePlus Nord CE has a triple camera system and they are as follows: 64MP f/1.79 w/ PDAF, CAF, EIS + 8MP f/2.25 119-degree ultra-wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 mono + LED flash. 

The stock camera app has the following modes: time-lapse, panorama, slow-motion, video, photo, portrait (bokeh), nightscape, and pro. There's also an option to turn on the UltraShot HDR feature. This feature learns your environment, and intelligently blends multiple frames into an optimal photo. 

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight
Daylight
Daylight wide
Daylight wide
Daylight 2
Daylight 2
Indoor
Indoor
Indoor wide
Indoor wide
Close-up
Close-up
Outdoor bokeh
Outdoor bokeh
Indoor bokeh
Indoor bokeh
Lowlight
Lowlight
Lowlight with flash
Lowlight with flash
Nightscape
Nightscape

The outdoor shots are sharp with vibrant colors and nice details. The same goes with the wide shots only that the latter is a little saturated and is blurry in some parts. But, overall, OnePlus Nord CE takes great photos in a well-lit environment.

When taken indoors, OnePlus Nord CE still performs great. However, the difference between the colors of normal and wide shots is noticeable. Take a look at these below:

We'd like to commend its tap-to-focus feature. We're able to take this quick, close-up shot with its help. As you can see, the brand (which we're focusing on in this test shot) is crisp and clear leaving the background in a blur. 

OnePlus Nord CE takes beautiful and clean portrait photos! Look closely at the sample shots above.

Beautiful bokeh!

We expected it to be a little challenged when it comes to lowlight areas. Yes, it did, but it still managed to produce nice photos, whether normal or wide shots. Meanwhile, Nightscape mode is pretty okay, usable if you want to see it at night.

Overall, we liked the photos that came out of the OnePlus Nord CE. There could be some missing details on several shots but it's easy to ignore. 
16MP selfie camera
16MP selfie camera

Meanwhile, for selfies, this smartphone features a single 16MP front camera. It carries similar modes to the rear camera except for panorama, slow-motion, nightscape, and pro.

Selfie Camera Samples

Gloomy outdoor selfie
Gloomy outdoor selfie
Outdoor bokeh selfie
Outdoor bokeh selfie
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Indoor bokeh selfie
Indoor bokeh selfie
Indoor bokeh two-fie
Indoor bokeh two-fie
Indoor well-lit selfie
Indoor well-lit selfie
Lowlight selfie
Lowlight selfie
Lowlight selfie with screen flash
Lowlight selfie with screen flash

Selfies that were taken in well-lit outdoors and indoors are detailed, sharp, and vibrant. Admittedly, the photos made me look paler than I already am. (haha) Depending on the lighting, there are times where I looked pale, and in some, the color is accurate.

For indoor selfies with artificial lighting, the photos are great as well. I personally love the bokeh effect it creates when in portrait mode. It's clean and makes the selfie better. 

Meanwhile, photos taken in lowlight areas are just okay. Good thing there's a screen flash that makes the selfie look better than without it. 

For videos, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G can take up to 4K at 30fps with gyro-EIS.

Performance

Benchmarks
Benchmarks

The OnePlus Nord CE is powered by 8nm Snapdragon 750G SoC coupled with a choice of 8GB/128GB or 12GB/256GB internals. We are loaned with the 8GB/128GB variant. 

Running it on AnTuTu and GeekBench benchmarks we got 387,895, 640 (single-core), and 1,898 (multi-core) scores, respectively. In the 3D Wild Life Benchmark, we also got an overall score of 1,121.

In real-life usage, OnePlus Nord CE can do only much. There are three times where the phone was hitching in heavy usage. 

Below is the Call of Duty settings we got by default:
Call of Duty Mobile on OnePlus Nord CE
Call of Duty Mobile on OnePlus Nord CE

OnePlus Nord CE is packed with a 4,500mAh battery paired with a 30W Warp Charge. During our usual PCMark Battery testing, it lasted for a total of 15 hours and 16 minutes.

Texting, calling, surfing the web, playing music, and casual gaming can be a day's worth of usage in this device. Charging takes 50 minutes from flat to full using the 30W Warp Charger. 
Android 11 w/ OxygenOS 11
Android 11 w/ OxygenOS 11

The OnePlus Nord CE runs on Android 11 with OxygenOS 11. It's clean with no bloatware.

Connectivity-wise, the WiFi, Bluetooth, and 5G connectivity are stable. We were able to test the OnePlus Nord CE's 5G capability using a Smart Postpaid SIM with Signature Plan S. I was able to get the below result via speedtest.net.

Both the face unlock and the in-display fingerprint scanner is responsive. 

OnePlus Nord CE 5G Specs

Display: 6.43-inch 2.5D curved Fluid AMOLED screen w/ 90Hz refresh rate, FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 409 ppi
CPU: 2.2GHz 8nm Snapdragon 750G octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 619
RAM: 8GB/12GB LPDDR4X
ROM: 128GB/256GB UFS 2.1
Back Camera: 64MP f/1.79 w/ PDAF, CAF, EIS + 8MP f/2.25 119-degree ultra-wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 mono + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16MP f/2.45 Sony IMX471
Battery: 4,500mAh w/ 30W Warp Charge 30T Plus
OS: Android 11 w/ OxygenOS 11
Connectivity: WiFi 6, 5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.1 (​aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, AAC), OTG, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, NavIC, dual SIM (nano)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, face unlock, superlinear speaker, USB-C, Colors: Blue Void (matte finish), Charcoal Ink (glossy finish), Silver Ray (gradient)
Dimensions: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9 mm
Price: PHP 16,990 (8GB/128GB), PHP 19,990 (12GB/256GB)

Quick thoughts

All-rounder mid-ranger
All-rounder mid-ranger

The OnePlus Nord CE is an all-rounder smartphone under PHP 17K. This could be a pretty nice handset for first-time OnePlus users, too.

It's user-friendly with no complications. But, it does its job and measures up to the price it calls for. There are a few noticeable hitches but it's rare. 

For PHP 17K we get a Fluid AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, 8GB RAM, 128GB memory, triple rear cameras, 4,5000mAh battery, 5G connection, and a beautifully built phone.

Do you agree with us?
Meet OnePlus Nord CE 5G - An all-rounder smartphone? Meet OnePlus Nord CE 5G - An all-rounder smartphone? Reviewed by Telenor Editorial on December 19, 2021 Rating: 5

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