OnePlus Nord 2T review: Minor improvements over the ingenious midranger

In 2022, there are two radically different sides to Oppo’s OnePlus sub-brand. At the end of the premium, it has OnePlus 10 ProA flagship phone with leading-edge specs that strives to deliver truly class-leading performance. But things are going much better for the Nordic group, whose few drawbacks justify the mid-range price tags.

The latest device from OnePlus for Europe is the OnePlus Nord 2T. Pricing starts at £369 (€399, about $458) for the 8GB RAM and 128GB version and goes up to £469 (€499, around $582) for the 12GB RAM and 256GB version. GB of storage (the model I’m using has been used). It’s a device that builds on OnePlus’ usual strengths with 80W fast charging, a 90Hz color OLED display, and a physical wake-up slide switch to navigate silent and vibration modes.

Minor changes compared to last year OnePlus Nord 2. But with a lower starting price of £30, it’s hard to complain about what’s on offer here. In the UK, the OnePlus Nord 2T is available for pre-order starting today and will ship on May 24th.

OnePlus’ Nord lineup has quickly become cluttered and complicated since it debuted just two years ago, and it now consists of roughly two sets of phones: one for Europe and India, and one for North America. Nord 2T falls into the former category and prefers to be considered an upgraded version of last year’s Nord 2 (similar to what OnePlus 8T Compared to OnePlus 8 or the OnePlus 7T to me 7). OnePlus asked if we’d see Nord 3 this year, but it wasn’t willing to reveal its unannounced product roadmap. So 2T is really the northern European flagship at the moment.

So, if the Nord 2T is a spec-packed Nord 2, what specs are really shocked?

From the front, it doesn’t look like much has changed at all. The 90Hz 1080p OLED screen is still exactly 6.43 inches, and there’s still a small hole in the top left with a 32MP selfie camera behind. And while the back of the device might look different – with an odd combination of two camera circuits containing three sensors – the specs for these cameras are exactly the same as last time.

I like the screen of the OnePlus Nord 2T. It feels nice and cool thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate, which is pretty fast for normal phone tasks like scrolling through social media feeds. The whites are bright, the colors are beautiful, and the blacks are black – it’s an OLED panel after all. The in-display fingerprint sensor deals with biometric security quickly and reliably.

The finish on the gray model is oddly slippery.

USB-C – but no headphone jack.

The sound is less impressive. Although the Nord 2T sounds in stereo, it uses a speaker that faces down on one side and its earpiece on the other. The result is a blank and hollow sounding, even if it is able to rise at maximum volume. There’s no headphone jack here, just like last time, and there’s no official IP rating for dust and water resistance.

While I think the Nord 2T strikes a nice balance between having a large screen in a thin and light form factor, I don’t like the color on the gray model. There’s nothing wrong with the phone at this price point having this design in theory (Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back with a plastic frame around the sides). But, in practice, the finish on my review sample is incredibly slippery in the hand. This won’t matter if you’re using the transparent case that OnePlus includes in the box, but it can be annoying to all of you. By contrast, the green version of the 2T appears to have a more standard glossy finish which I’ve had less of an issue with in the past, but I haven’t been able to use it personally.

One obvious spec bumped into is the phone’s processor, but in practice, its benefits seem more to do with battery life than raw performance. The OnePlus Nord 2T uses a MediaTek Dimensity 1300 processor, which is a step up from the Dimensity 1200-AI used in Nord 2. It has a more power-efficient design, averaging just under six hours of screen time. Between charges, it’s up from about five hours last time — despite a similarly sized 4,500mAh battery. I usually put the Nord 2T on at the end of the day with just over 40 percent of its battery left.

Charging speeds are an easy spec improvement to point out, but the differences in practice are less than you might expect. The Nord 2T now supports 80W SuperVOOC wired charging, up from 65W last time, and you can still get the charger in the box. I was able to charge the Nord 2T from zero to 63 percent in 15 minutes and to 100 percent in less than half an hour. For comparison, last year I could charge the Nord 2 from zero to 99 percent in 35 minutes — not much slower.

With its 6.43-inch screen, the Nord 2T is a mid-ranger.

OxygenOS is still a great Android experience.

Nord 2T comes with OxygenOS 12.1, based on Android 12, and the company promises two major Android updates and three years of security updates. It’s not terrible, but it’s a little less than what we’re seeing from the likes of Google, Samsung, and Apple these days: five yearsAnd five yearsAnd six years of security updates, respectively. If you’re hoping to use your mid-range phone for as long as possible, you can use a file iPhone SE or google next Pixel 6A phone It might be a better option.

I still love the OxygenOS method for Android. It looks crisp and clean, and features it offers on top of regular Android (like Optimized charging feature(which prevents your phone from slowing down when charging at 100 percent for extended periods when charging overnight) is useful without getting in the way. Most importantly, it is gentle and responsive to use.

Nord 2T’s camera setup won’t surprise anyone familiar with its predecessor. On the back, there are three cameras: a 50MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP monochrome sensor for black and white shots. No, I also have no idea why OnePlus keeps including these almost useless monochrome sensors, especially when the black and white mode is buried in a submenu in the Camera app. The 32MP selfie camera uses the same hardware as last year.

Similar hardware means you can expect very similar imaging quality here as with the Nord 2. In daylight, the Nord 2T prioritizes a strong look with plenty of contrast. Shadows and highlights jump off the screen, and colors are deep and rich (although not massively so). Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) on the main camera makes it relatively easy to get clear, sharp images of still subjects. Faces look very sharp and bright from the rear camera, but selfies with the low-resolution 32MP sensor are much better and come out clean and crisp.

The same cannot be said about the phone’s ultra-fast shot quality, which is blurry and unsaturated by comparison. And the less talk of a useless monochromatic sensor, the better. It’s a shame that all smartphones are expected to have multiple lenses these days because I’d be really curious to see what the Nord 2T’s camera bump would look like with just one sensor. But I think bad super quality is better than no super space at all.

Even without using the Nord 2T’s night shooting mode, the shots you get from the Nord 2T in low light are very bright, and I like the amount of detail it provides. There seems to be a bit of smoothing to reduce visible noise, but I can’t argue with the overall effect, and the faces end up looking clear and relatively natural. Just don’t expect too much from an ultra-high-resolution camera in the dark, where details completely fall apart.

On the video side, the Nord 2T can shoot up to 4K at 30 fps or 1080p at 60 fps. But in practice, the shots the phone is able to capture are average, and while OnePlus claims it can shoot in HDR, its dynamic range isn’t great. With accurate colors and reliable focus, it’s not terrible, but it’s also nothing special.

Two camera circuits and three camera sensors.

The alert slider allows you to easily put the phone into silent or vibrate mode.

With a starting price of £369, the Nord 2T’s few woes are easy to forgive. This is a phone that is slim in the hand, quick to use, and has a screen that looks great in operation. Battery life is good, charging speeds are better, and the phone feels like a cohesive package.

In typical OnePlus style, the only real thing to compromise with the Nord 2T is camera quality, and it might be worth waiting with the upcoming Pixel 6A if that’s your priority on a mid-range device. Aside from the quality of the camera, doing so will also give you longer software support, which is important if you’re the type of buyer who wants to get the most out of every phone purchase.

The OnePlus Nord 2T isn’t a huge step forward compared to last year’s model. But at this point, it doesn’t have to be that way. It performs well and is a pleasure to use, and if you’re not interested in getting the best camera, it’s easy to recommend…as long as you live in one of the markets where OnePlus actually sells it.

Photo by John Porter/The Verge

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