The OnePlus Nord was announced today, and it's a really impressive device that is priced at around $400 USD (it's not available in the US, so this is converted pricing). Which puts the OnePlus Nord in-line with the iPhone SE (2020) and the unannounced Pixel 4a. The Pixel 4a has been rumored to cost either $349 or $399, so it's still a good competitor for this range.
OnePlus basically took the OnePlus 8, changed up the processor, and switched out the telephoto lens for a depth sensor, and dropped the price. Sure there are some other changes here, like the second front-facing camera. But for the most part, those are the big changes. And coming in at €399, makes this an absolute steal. One might even say that it's Android's iPhone SE. So how exactly did OnePlus kill the iPhone SE (2020) and the Pixel 4a? Let's talk about it.
OnePlus Nord still sports some impressive specs
OnePlus has always been all about the specs. Using the fastest chipset, the most RAM, the most storage, etc. Their MO has been speed. But with the OnePlus Nord, they swapped out Qualcomm's most powerful chipset, for its second-most powerful chipset, the Snapdragon 765G. It's still a very capable processor that clocks in at 2.4GHz.
On top of the processor, OnePlus Nord also comes in with up to 12GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage internally. Those are specs you may not even find on a $1,000+ smartphone. Let alone other phones that are around $400. For instance, the Galaxy S20 Ultra comes with 12GB of RAM but not 256GB of storage, and it cost $1400 at launch. Though it's worth noting that the 12GB/256GB OnePlus Nord is not $400, it's closer to $500, but the point still stands.
Then there's the battery. It's a 4115mAh capacity battery. Larger than the iPhone SE (2020) and likely larger than the Pixel 4a – we all know how Google loves putting tiny batteries in its smartphones. Which means that you're going to get some incredible battery life here. Since the Snapdragon 700-series is really good on battery efficiency, and the display is full HD+ this time around.
Though Warp Charge 30T is also available for some fast charging on the OnePlus Nord. We're talking up to 70% charge in just 30 minutes.
It can beat the Pixel 4a camera in some ways
There's high hopes for the Pixel 4a camera, considering the Pixel 3a was the same as the more expensive Pixel, but it was missing the Pixel Visual Core. And the OnePlus 8 series couldn't even stand up to the Pixel 4 in the camera department.
The OnePlus Nord, however uses mostly the same camera setup as the OnePlus 8 series. Which is a good camera, but not quite the same level as the Pixel, and probably a step behind the Pixel 4a.
However, OnePlus Nord has a few different cameras to play with, and if the leaks of the Pixel 4a are correct, it will only have one. OnePlus Nord comes with a 48-megapixel main sensor, as well as a 8-megapixel ultra wide and a 2-megapixel macro sensor. There's also a 5-megapixel depth sensor available for adding some bokeh to your photos. The macro sensor is likely going to be useless. Sure macro photography is fun, but at 2-megapixels, the quality won't be good. As we saw on the regular OnePlus 8.
So you're going to get a decent camera experience from the OnePlus Nord, but it won't beat the Pixel 4a, completely. In some areas, like having different shots you can get, it's a better option though.
Storage for dayz
The real selling point for the OnePlus Nord is definitely the storage. While yes, it does start at 64GB like the iPhone SE (2020) and likely the Pixel 4a, but that's in India only. In Europe, that price comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. So it's double the storage compared to the iPhone SE (2020) for the same price. That's huge for those that store a lot of stuff on their smartphone.
With 128GB of storage, you'll be able to have plenty of space for storing music offline, as well as storage for pictures and video, and of course plenty of app space. It's always better to have more storage than you need, so you don't need to worry about running out of space.
The achilles heel for OnePlus Nord is where it's going to be available
We're impressed with just about everything the OnePlus Nord can do, and has under the hood. But the achilles heel for the OnePlus Nord, is availability.
It won't be coming to the US. It is only going to be available in India and Europe, unfortunately. This is a phone that would sell pretty well in the US, we feel like. Just look at the iPhone SE (2020) and the Pixel 3a numbers from last year. Those sold really well, and OnePlus has the recognition in the US now, to also sell well. But for some reason, OnePlus has decided not to bring the Nord to North America.
Meanwhile the Pixel 4a, likely won't be available in India. However it will be available in the US.
OnePlus may have decided not to bring the Nord to the US because of the Pixel 4a and iPhone SE (2020) being available for the same price. Seeing a company like OnePlus compete with Google and Apple would be pretty tough, but not impossible. It's probably smarter for OnePlus to not go down that path this year, during this economic downturn and the global pandemic. But next year, it could happen.
The OnePlus Nord had the recipe to kill both the iPhone SE (2020) and Pixel 4a, but the lack of availability in the US is going to keep it from happening.