Well-known, mass-produced goods from China usually lack one thing: Passion! Attention to detail often falls prey to red ink at Xiaomi, Oppo, and other similar manufacturers. The OnePlus Nord 2T proved in this review that the high-wire, balancing act between high-quality design, a cool operating system, and low price is possible. Let's go to my review of the first Nord T model!
- Good performance without overheating issues
- Fast charging
- Partly terrific picture quality
- High-quality components
- Triple camera with a pointless sensor
- No microSD support
- Not that value-for-money
- No IP certification
The OnePlus Nord 2T in a nutshell
The Nord 2T is a mid-range smartphone with the best price-to-soul ratio on the market! The manufacturer, which is a subsidiary of Oppo, retains nice quirks like the alert slider button and the pretty OxygenOS skin, pairing those to great overall performance across all areas. The hardware can handle current mobile games that run on the highest graphics settings, while the camera captures out great-looking pictures with a bit of trial and error.
Details like a high-quality build, a crisp vibration motor, and loud stereo speakers do not get forgotten or removed. Only the "triple" camera with its 2-megapixel monochrome sensor brings back memories of OnePlus' familiar mid-range price reduction efforts. The lack of a microSD memory card slot is also a major drawback for a smartphone that is equipped with only 128 GB of storage space by default. I would also have liked to see IP certification included.
All that said, for $450, it's not a price-to-performance monster like the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G, but if you are looking for a very charming mid-range all-rounder, the OnePlus Nord 2T is the right choice.
Design & Display
The Nord 2T offers a 6.43-inch AMOLED display with FHD resolution and a 90 Hertz refresh rate. OnePlus offers a flat screen that has very narrow bezels, all coming in a casing that has dimensions measuring 159 x 73 x 8.2 millimeters while tipping the scales at 190 grams. There is no IP certification included, but the iconic alert slider button at the right edge of the chassis is there, with two colors: "Gray Shadow" and "Jade Fog" to choose from.
What I liked:
- Beautiful, fluid AMOLED panel.
- High-quality build.
- Practical alert slider button.
- Great stereo speakers & crisp vibration alert.
What I disliked:
- No IP certification.
- No adaptive frame rate (only 60 or 90 Hertz).
With a 6.43-inch AMOLED display including Full HD resolution and a 90 Hertz refresh rate, OnePlus unfortunately no longer blows anyone away in the mid-range segment. Nevertheless, the panel, which is mainly surpassed by the competition in terms of refresh rate, is suitable for all purposes. It is easy to adjust focus on subjects when taking pictures under bright conditions, while mobile games and YouTube videos look great.
I would easily say the same about the Nord 2T's chassis. The smartphone has a high-quality build, offering its own style and the typical alert slider button that is typically OnePlus on the right side. Everything is manufactured to a high standard and looks much fancier than the bargain kings from Xiaomi's sub-brands. Even the vibrating alarm and the super-loud stereo speakers are impressive despite the $450 price tag.
Unfortunately, OnePlus disappoints with two details in the Nord 2T: On the one hand, there is no IP certification to protect it against minor splashes or an accidental drop into shallow water, while on the other hand, there is no microSD memory card slot. Missing out on the latter can be considered by some as a major drawback due to the standard internal memory configuration of 128 GB and it being a mid-range device.
Software: OxygenOS remains (charming)
The OnePlus Nord 2T comes with Android 12 right out of the box, of which the in-house OxygenOS skin is based upon. This sets the smartphone apart from its Oppo counterparts and makes it look much more youthful and playful compared to ColorOS. The command center known as "Shelf" and the good gaming mode round off the overall positive impression.
I would like to keep this segment about its software short, because we already published a detailed review of OxygenOS. However, I have to point out that OnePlus only promises two major Android updates and three years of security updates for their mid-range devices. Thus, the manufacturer lags behind the promises of Samsung and Xiaomi for smartphones that fall under the same price range. That's simply too bad!
Performance: Triple-A games at maximum graphics
The Nord 2T was designed as a performance model of the Nord 2 range. OnePlus upgraded the SoC from the Dimensity 1200 chipset to its successor, the Dimensity 1300. That bump in silicon allows you to play current triple-A mobile games at the highest graphics settings in everyday use. The 2T also offers a choice of 8 GB or 12 GB of RAM for multitasking purposes, which can be virtually expanded. Internally, there is a choice of either 128 GB or 256 GB of storage.
What I liked:
- Enough power, even for gamers.
- Hardly any performance loss under a permanent load.
- Fast storage standards.
What I disliked:
- Competition offers greater performance.
- No microSD slot.
For my review, I played Call of Duty: Mobile, one of the most beautiful mobile games in the Android world, on the Nord 2T. I was able to crank up all graphics settings and was pleased to be rewarded with a stable frame rate. Thus, the Nord 2T is rather suitable for gaming - especially since the performance hardly decreased under a permanent load. The good heat dissipation is confirmed by the 3D Mark benchmark in the stress test, which simulates an intense 20-minute gaming session.
|OnePlus Nord 2T
|Samsung Galaxy A33
|Samsung Galaxy A53
|Oppo Find X5 Lite
|OnePlus North 2
|Motorola Edge 20
|Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
|3DMark Wild Life||
|3DMark Wild Life Stress Test||
In addition to the SoC performance, OnePlus does not skimp on the memory standards. LPDDR4X RAM is used for the removable storage. Internally, reading and writing is fast via UFS 3.1. However, the fact that there is a maximum of 256 GB of storage space without any room for expansion via a microSD memory card is one of the biggest drawbacks of the new OnePlus mid-range device. This is the beginning of a flagship trend in the mid-range that has to be prevented!
However, looking at the competition for under $450, the Nord 2T does not impress at all despite the good performance. If you are looking for the best price-to-performance ratio, you should take a look at the Poco F4 GT that costs just a couple of Benjamins more!
Camera: Great pictures even without triple camera
At the back of the OnePlus Nord 2T you will find three cameras, two of which you can control in the camera app. OnePlus relies on the excellent Sony IMX766 camera sensor with 50 megapixels for the primary camera, which also sees action in the Xiaomi 12 and Oppo's Find X5 Pro, among others. In addition, there is an 8 MP ultra wide-angle camera and an auxiliary monochrome sensor.
What I liked:
- Top image quality when taken with a bit of skill.
- Beautiful HDR shots.
- Extensive pro and movie modes.
What I disliked:
- Lack of telephoto lens makes for a poor zoom experience.
- Portrait mode looks unnatural.
- Slow motion videos has motion blur.
The fact that OnePlus uses one of the best camera sensors currently in the OnePlus Nord 2T is a very positive point. This is because really good pictures can be coaxed from smartphone with a bit of effort and know-how. Before we dive into the picture gallery, here is a sample photo. In the close-up of the leaf, everything from the sharpness to the colors and the dynamic range really fits!
The solid image quality continues even under difficult lighting conditions like strong contrasts or night shots. Surprisingly for a smartphone belonging to Oppo and that is not optimized by Hasselblad: The pictures mostly look rather natural and do not appear overly post-processed. Except for the portrait mode, which unfortunately does not convince me. Another thing that is on board which irritates me: Oppo's terrible face filters that make you look like an alien.
The ultra wide-angle camera is nice to have, but it does not offer top results with a mere 8 megapixel resolution, resulting in some rather pronounced image distortion at the edges. The Nord 2T has a great wide-angle camera that is completely acceptable in the price range. If you want to get more into the world of photography, you'll also find numerous settings to try out with the Pro and Movie modes.
One more thing since OnePlus explicitly advertises it: there's an ultra slow motion mode that makes it to an impressive 960 frames per second at 720p. I remember times when you still needed an ultra-expensive special camera and lights that could have illuminated a soccer stadium for that. Unfortunately, the quality is also significantly worse. Despite the presence of clever motion detection, nasty motion blurs can be seen, which make the recordings unusable.
Battery and Fast Charging
The Nord 2T has two battery cells, each rated at 2,250 milliampere hours. While you will not notice that in everyday use and can use the full 4,500 mAh, the advantage becomes noticeable during quick charging. Just like in the OnePlus 10 Pro, the manufacturer relies on Oppo's SuperVooc fast-charging technology that works at 80 watts. A matching charger with the legendary red cable is included with the device.
What I liked:
- Promising battery life.
- Charged to 90 percent battery in just 25 minutes.
What I disliked:
- No wireless charging support.
Although I only had the OnePlus Nord 2T for review for a few days, the battery runtimes look promising. If you use the smartphone during the day for Instagram, WhatsApp, telephone calls, and watch the occasional YouTube video, you can expect a runtime of one and a half days. This is the case for most smartphones with battery sizes between 4,500 and 5,000 milliampere hours.
- Interesting read: Does fast charging damage your smartphone battery?
If the Nord 2T runs out of power too early, you can make use of a special feature: SuperVooc quick charging, which works at 80 watts. I have summarized the charging times in the following table.
Charging times OnePlus Nord 2T
The main flaw in the battery category is the exclusion of wireless charging support. However, the charger is included alongside the smartphone upon purchase, which is typical for OnePlus with their signature red charging cable.
Conclusion: Charming instead of imposing
Gone are the days when OnePlus broke new records in the mid-range with a new T model. There are better alternatives for $450 across all features that a smartphone can have. But the manufacturer has matured and created something that I personally miss in many bargain monsters.
The Nord 2T is a charming smartphone with playful details that is simply reliable and makes for a good companion in everyday use. OxygenOS remains youthful and well thought-out, the camera delivers good results thanks to the upper-class camera sensor, and the quick-charging with 80 watts is nothing but practical when the phone runs dry on juice.
So if you can still identify with OnePlus' brand identity, which has been badly tarnished by mergers and rebrandings, then you can strike it rich with the Nord 2T! However, I have to note the rather mediocre software support and the missing microSD card slot as major flaws, not to mention the lack of IP certification.