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OnePlus Nord CE 5G: OnePlus announces Core Edition smartphone

10 Jun 2021
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OnePlus boosts battery size, changes the name and cuts the cost of its mid-range Nord phone

We were impressed with OnePlus’ return to the budget smartphone arena last year and the Nord brand is back in 2021 with the OnePlus Nord CE. The new 'Core Edition' model comes in at an even cheaper price than last year’s Nord with prices starting at a mere £299, and it doesn’t skimp on the features either.

Technically speaking, the Nord CE isn’t quite the cheapest phone OnePlus makes – that honour falls to the £129 Nord N100 – however, £299 still just about falls into the budget smartphone category these days.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best budget smartphones to buy

OnePlus Nord CE 5G: Specifications, price and release date 

  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G processor
  • 8GB/128GB or 12GB/256GB (RAM/storage)
  • 6.43in, 90Hz, Full HD AMOLED display
  • Triple rear cameras: 64MP (f/1.79) main; 8MP ultrawide; monochrome
  • 16MP front camera
  • 5G connectivity
  • 3.5mm headphone jack(!)
  • Colours: blue or black; silver on higher-spec only
  • Prices: £299 (8GB/128GB); £369 (12GB/256GB)
  • Availability: 21 June from Amazon, John Lewis, Three and OnePlus.com

OnePlus Nord CE 5G: Key features

As you’ll surmise from a quick scan of the features list above, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G is stacked with premium features. There’s 5G connectivity – thanks to the phone’s Snapdragon 750G 5G processor – with a triple camera array featuring a 64MP (f/1.79) main camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera with a 119-degree field of view and a monochrome sensor. The phone is the slimmest handset OnePlus has produced since the 6T, too. 

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G has a large 4,500mAh battery that can charge from 0% to 70% in 30 minutes, is available in blue or black (the silver colour is for buyers of the higher-spec 12GB/256GB phone only) and runs OnePlus’ Oxygen OS 11, which is based on Android 11.

That’s all pretty good for a £299 phone, but arguably the standout feature is the phone’s large 6.43in 90Hz AMOLED Full HD display. If it lives up to the standards of the previous Nord, this should deliver vibrant colours and smooth visuals. There’s also support for HDR10 and HDR10+ content, so movies, TV shows and games should all look great.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best budget smartphones to buy

OnePlus Nord CE 5G vs OnePlus Nord: What’s the difference?

In truth, aside from a larger battery, there isn’t much to choose between this year’s Nord CE and the plain old Nord from last year. Both phones have 5G courtesy of mid-range Qualcomm chipsets and although the CE uses the more recent Snapdragon 750G, performance should be very similar.

The Nord CE has one fewer camera at the rear – lacking the depth camera of the original – but hits back with a higher resolution of 64MP versus the Nord’s mere 48MP. I can’t imagine that this will make a huge difference to image quality, however, especially as I rather liked the OnePlus Nord’s camera when I tested it last year.

READ NEXT: OnePlus Nord review – OnePlus goes back to basics

OnePlus Nord CE: Availability and prices

The big attraction with the Nord CE isn’t that it’s a huge upgrade – it clearly isn’t – it’s that the price at launch will undercut the Nord’s launch price by an eyebrow-raising £80.

That alone should be enough to ensure OnePlus will ship a bundle of these handsets when it goes on sale from 21 June.

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