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OnePlus Nord: What you need to know about the fabled Pixel 4a rival


The OnePlus Nord (previously dubbed OnePlus Z or OnePlus 8 Lite) is the company’s next affordable mid-range smartphone. Here’s everything we know about the budget handset so far, including the reported release date and price.

The OnePlus Nord is the brand’s heavily-rumoured rival to Apple’s iPhone SE 2 and Google’s yet to be released Pixel 4a.

The Nord is set to be a spiritual follow up to 2016’s OnePlus X. The X was the company’s most recent attempt at a mid-range handset and ended up being one of its year’s best affordable Android phones.

The X truly outdid its affordable price tag with a premium design with ceramic and onyx finish options and flagship specs more often seen on phones twice, or even three, times its worth. This is why we have high hopes for the phone following in its footsteps. The OnePlus Nord could easily swipe the title of best mid-range, or even budget, phone of the year if it sticks to this formula and pulls the same tricks.

We’ve collected all the latest leaks and rumours about the OnePlus Z/OnePlus Nord in this guide. Read on to discover everything you need to know about the OnePlus Nord, including its expected price, release date, specs and more.

Related: OnePlus 8 Pro review

OnePlus Nord Name

OnePlus has officially announced the name of its new budget phone will be Nord and you’ll be able to buy it soon in Europe and India, with some users in America able to get it through a limited beta process.

Little else concrete is known about the Nord as of yet, but you can read on for everything we’ve gleaned so far about the phone’s release.

OnePlus Z/OnePlus Nord release date

During an interview, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said he wants to return to making great all-rounders at unbelievably low prices. This, along with the recent confirmation that OnePlus is working on a more affordable line of phones, would lead us to believe that the rumoured OnePlus Nord is coming sooner rather than later.

Carl Pei has also tweeted with the same hashtag, with a claim that OnePlus is going to “rock the boat again”.

Both these tweets point to OnePlus doing something big and we say re-entering the budget space that made them popular to begin with is pretty big. Well, hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer…

Android Central reports that the phone will be released in India on July 10, with no date given for a UK or USA release. India remains the largest market for OnePlus and it makes a lot of sense for the brand to unveil a more affordable phone first in that territory.

An India launch would also line up with Lau’s announcement that the next affordable OnePlus phone will be coming to India and Europe first. This is to allow space for refinements and to give the company time to gradually scale up production, though Lau did not provide a specific date beyond that piece of info.

Lau’s announcement also began with a header stamped with the phrase “new beginnings”, so we’re pretty confident Pei was talking about the budget smartphone when he tweeted it was time to rock the boat again.

We’ll have to wait for official confirmation to see if they’ll be further launches later or if this will be the sole launch for the phone.

OnePlus Z/OnePlus Nord price

The OnePlus 8 is currently the cheapest option in the brand’s range, costing £599/$699. Being a more-budget friendly option, the OnePlus Z is certain to undercut this price and is surely likely to retail nearer the £419 ($399) price established by the new iPhone SE, which is likely to be its biggest single rival.

Considering OnePlus was once known for its seriously low-priced handsets it’d be great to see them once again try and make this sector it’s own.

This appears to be confirmed by Twitter tipster Ishan Agarwal, who amongst other claims seems to have ascertained that the OnePlus X will retail at “around £400 in the UK”.

OnePlus Nord design

We first saw renders of the handset all the way back in December 2019, when its name was presumed to be the OnePlus 8 Lite. It still seems likely that this is what the finished product will look like:

As you can see, it will have a bulky camera module on the rear panel, which has a glossy finish, while a punch-hole camera features at the top of the screen. A little surprisingly (not to mention disappointingly) for a phone at this price point, it appears to lack a 3.5mm headphone jack – so Bluetooth or USB-C will be your only options.

OnePlus Z

Image Credit: TrueTech

Thanks to TrueTech we’ve also spotted a candid snap of the OnePlus Z in the wild. The image shows a device with a large, flat screen and a cut-out selfie camera at the top of the screen, similar to the renders above.

OnePlus Nord screen

The OnePlus Nord is reputed to have a 6.4-inch AMOLED display, which will include an under-display fingerprint scanner for secure unlocking. Agarwal adds that the screen will have a 90Hz refresh rate, which would represent quite the coup for a handset at this price point; this enhanced specification should ensure smoother scrolling that matches last year’s OnePlus 7T Pro flagship.

As seen in the images further up the page, this screen appears to be flat rather than curved around the edges, which many customers will see as a plus point due to its practicality, rather than the premium feature that curved displays can sometimes be perceived to be.

OnePlus Nord camera

Judging from the video above, that large camera module houses just two sensors (plus the flash) despite its considerable size. Reportedly this set-up consists of a 48-megapixel main sensor, plus a 12-megapixel secondary snapper (likely to be an ultrawide lens), but conspicuously lacking a depth sensor, telephoto lens, or macro camera.

In the past, OnePlus cameras have not performed quite as well as the rest of the package, relatively speaking, but it seems promising that this device appears to share the same camera set-up as the OnePlus 8, minus the macro camera that we described as “rubbish” in our review. Overall we found that camera set-up to be good for a mid-ranger, so we reckon it’s likely that the OnePlus Nord will perform well given its price point even though there might be better snappers out there for your money.

Related: Best camera phones

OnePlus Nord specs

We’ve also got a strong idea of the other specs to expect from the OnePlus Z. Ishan Agarwal, as quoted earlier, expects that this phone will miss out on the Snapdragon 865 chipset toted by the other units in the range. Not only does this mean it will miss out such high performance but could also miss out on 5G connectivity.

In its place, the OnePlus Nord said to have a MediaTek chip; this manufacturer is usually associated with budget phones, so it could fall short of the high performance for which OnePlus is widely recognised. While the price point seems predetermined to compete with the iPhone SE, this is a way that it will fall far short of Apple’s handset, which boasts a powerhouse A13 Bionic chip.

On top of that, 91mobiles and @OnLeaks report that the device will boast a 4000mAh battery, an impressive capacity that should ensure decent levels of endurance; and when it’s time to recharge, the same source claims that it will boast WarpCharge 30T technology to get juiced back up quickly.

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