OnePlus is known for its affordable flagships, however, the company is trying to attract budget-conscious buyers under its umbrella as well. To do so, the brand recently announced the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite, which it hopes to tease some feathers in the sub-20,000 rupee price bracket. So is the device worth your dollars or would you be better off with a phone from the stables of Redmi or Realme? Well, let’s find out in this review.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite is a convenient option for OnePlus loyalists. However, buyers without an affinity for OxygenOS will find a slew of more refined devices in the Nord CE 2 Lite price segment, including but not limited to the Redmi Note 11 Pro Plus, which, by the way, ships with an AMOLED display and a magnified setup. Stereo sound too.
- OnePlus has a penchant for making stylish Android phones and the company’s latest is no exception to the rule. Nord CE 2 Lite uses a velvety polycarbonate back that has a dual-tone finish. The Blue Tide variant has been submitted for review which uses a matte veneer on three-quarters of the back panel, with the top of the phone (the bits next to the unit’s camera module) using a glossy texture. All said and done, the smartphone looks elegant, and the matte finish is able to prevent smudges as well, which is great. Moving on, the smartphone camera assembly consists of two vertical camera lenses surrounded by a macro sensor and an LED flash unit. Truth be told, the design of the smartphone is reminiscent of other phones from Realme and Vivo. Whatever the case, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite’s sleek design will find plenty of supporters. It is also useful that the body of the unit provides sufficient durability and the frame of the smartphone does not bend or bend either.
- OnePlus got rid of the Nord CE 2 Lite trademark alert slider, which is a problem. What’s more, unlike some competing devices, the smartphone comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner embedded inside the power button. That’s not all, as the device doesn’t come with stereo speakers either. This is quite disappointing, seeing as how most devices in the Nord CE 2 Lite price range offer a dual speaker setup. On the bright side, the smartphone comes with a headphone jack that can be found at the bottom of the phone, along with the unit’s USB Type-C port.
- OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite comes with an IPS LCD display that refreshes at 120Hz and offers FHD+ resolution. Understandably, potential buyers may be tempted by competing brands that offer OLED displays with their devices that give users significantly better viewing angles, richer contrast ratios, and even display vibrant colors. Now, credit where credit is due – Nord CE 2 Lite’s LCD app isn’t too shoddy and the screen gets too bright for outdoor use as well.
- Furthermore, OnePlus offers a plethora of display customization features including the ability to cycle through different color profiles, a temperature slider, and convenient eye-switching. The panel is WideVine L1 certified for HD content on OTT platforms as well, however, it cannot transfer HDR media from apps like Netflix. To make matters worse, the phone’s perforated notch shows a backlight bleeding, which can be a distraction while watching videos on the phone. Fortunately, the screen refreshes flawlessly at 120Hz and the device keeps the browsing experience as smooth as possible.
- In terms of imaging, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite features a 64MP primary sensor supported by macro and depth imaging tools. I was impressed with the performance of the OnePlus Nord 2 camera in the middle class segment. However, the lack of a dedicated wide sensor does not help the case of the phone among budding photographers. Whatever the case, the shots from the primary camera offer abundant detail.
- Colors in the configuration appear a bit saturated but that’s the case with most, if not all competing phones as well. I should also note that I didn’t have any issues with focusing on the device, and the shutter speed of the sensor was fast enough too. There is the usual UHD 64MP mode for capturing higher resolution shots although I usually stick with 12MP shots. Portrait mode shots turned out to be very good with good background separation and a sharp focus on the subject.
- Low-light photos are not the best from the device and the device tends to sharpen the elements in the frame. The viewfinder in particular shows a blurry preview of the scenario as well. Moreover, the custom night mode raises the saturation of the figures to an unpopular level as well. Rest assured, Nord CE 2 Lite can do some tweaks to improve the camera’s performance in low light.
- The macro sensor, like any other 2MP photographer, is not as skilled at compressing information from a particular shot as the main sensor. However, you can get some creative photos with the module that will look good in your Instagram feed. As for selfies, the smartphone outputs self-portraits that can be scrolled with satisfying detail. However, all too often, the subject’s skin tone is displayed incorrectly.
- The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC, which can also be found in a handful of other mid-range phones. Now, my only hope with the chipset is that it’s not geared toward hardcore gamers, and therefore, you’ll have to limit your expectations when running graphically intensive tasks like BGMI At a higher frame rate on the set. However, the average person will have no problems with the phone and the device more than they are able to run several resource-hungry apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Pixlr simultaneously in the background.
- I don’t remember a single instance when the device froze while switching between any of the apps or navigating through dozens of Chrome tabs. Benchmarks are decent enough with Antutu V9.3 packing an overall score of 402,165 and CPU Throttle showing peak performance of 88 percent. As for the BGMIThe phone runs at a maximum frame rate of (45fps) on smooth graphics. In terms of RAM and storage, the Nord CE 2 Lite has options of up to 8GB LPDDR4X and 128GB UFS 2.1 respectively. You can expand it up to 1 TB using a microSD card slot.
- It is understood that OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite is also 5G ready. Now, as now, India’s telecom infrastructure is not compatible with 5G services, therefore, you will have to make do with 4G LTE services on the phone. To that note, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite worked flawlessly with my Jio SIM and I was getting commendable download and upload speeds with the phone.
- As for the software, the device runs on OnePlus’ own OxygenOS 12 which is based on Android 12. Since the company’s merger with OPPO earlier this year, the user interface has included some features from ColorOS. However, the interface is mostly free of bloatware and the tool is easy to use as well. You can read more about the custom look in my colleague’s OnePlus 10R review, so now let’s take a closer look at the device’s battery stats.
- On the battery front, the Nord CE 2 Lite features a standard 5,000mAh cell that can be charged at 33W. I used the phone over the weekend to watch a party moon knight And I went through five 40-minute episodes before the battery went below 40 percent. I consider this to be more than optimal for my daily use. Few games can get you to the charger at the end of the day but with fast charging speeds of 33W, the device can be fully powered from 0 to 100 percent in less than 90 minutes.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite starts at Rs 19999, and for the price, the device brings a plethora of attractive features to the affordable segment. However, the smartphone isn’t perfect and from the unit’s LCD screen to its mono speaker setup, the Nord CE 2 Lite will leave media buffs wanting more.
Fortunately, Nord CE 2 Lite uses a capable 5G-ready chipset that – while not the fastest – is more than efficient at handling everyday tasks. What’s more, unlike the competition, the device also offers a customized puff-free complexion, which is great. All said and done, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite is a decent phone for OnePlus loyalists. However, if you don’t mind a different interface on top of Android, you’ll be better off with the Redmi Note 11 Pro Plus (Review), which offers more refined specs, or the Realme 9 SE 5G (Review), which is powered by a more powerful processor.
Editor’s Rating: 3.5 / 5
- good design
- decent performance
- Clean user interface
- The cameras are not the best
- Mobile gamers should look elsewhere
- Lacks stereo speakers