The OnePlus Nord was a huge hit for OnePlus, netting the company’s highest day-one sales ever, and selling over a million handsets in the UK alone. We’re still waiting for the phone to get a true sequel, but in the meantime, the new Nord CE 5G seems well placed to take (almost) everything that worked about the original and offer it up for a little cheaper.
With a price starting from £299/€299 – it’s launching in Europe and Asia, but will skip North America – the Nord CE (which stands for 'Core Edition', if you were wondering) is £80/€100 cheaper than its predecessor.
Despite that, you’re still getting a 6.43in, 90Hz AMOLED display, a larger 4500mAh battery, ever-so-slightly improved Warp Charge 30T Plus charging, and a similar set of RAM and storage options as before.
The tweaked camera setup is arguably improved too: a 64Mp, f/1.8 main camera (up from 48Mp at the same aperture last year), paired with an 8Mp ultrawide and a 2Mp mono lens. That third lens won’t be of much interest to anyone, however, as it just helps slightly improve black-and-white photography; similar to last year's Nord, the depth sensor and macro shooter of which were equally uneventful.
On the front, the dual selfie camera of 2020's Nord has been downgraded to a single 16Mp front-facing camera, but that won’t matter much to most. The cut-backs don't stop there, however.
The Snapdragon 750G chipset used here may be more recent, but it’s lower spec than the 765G used in the original Nord – though it still supports 5G, as the phone’s name suggests.
The bigger change for many will be build quality: there’s no more Gorilla Glass protection, the trademark OnePlus alert slider is gone, and the phone’s rear and frame are now both made of plastic.
That’s a shame, but there’s a trade-off: the CE 5G is much lighter, at just 170g, and at 7.9mm thick is the thinnest OnePlus phone since 2018’s OnePlus 6T - despite still squeezing in a headphone jack.
The Nord CE isn't the first Nord to follow up the original – the even cheaper N10 and N100 also launched last year, while the company has also teased the release of a budget Nord N200 in North America soon, instead of the CE.
The Nord CE 5G is available in three colours: Blue Void, Charcoal Ink, and Silver Ray. It starts from €299 for 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, £299/€329 for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, or £369/€399 for 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.
UK sales start from 3:25pm today, with pre-orders from the OnePlus website exclusively for OnePlus Community members until midnight on 12 June. Sales on Amazon UK also start today, with Three stocking the phone from Friday before the phone's wider release on 21 June. In India full sales start a little earlier, on 16 June.
Check out our full guide to where to buy the Nord CE 5G for more details and the best deals so far, and check out episode 69 of our weekly podcast – Fast Charge, where we give our honest takes on everything the Nord CE 5G has to offer: