- Excellent display
- Comfortable in hand
- Very neat interface
- Good performance
- (5G compatible)
- Night shots and macro mode very perfectible
- No IP68 certification
- Neither micro SD nor jack
The OnePlus North allows OnePlus to reinvest the mid-range segment with a smartphone that wants to offer a high-end user experience at a moderate price. Here is our full test to find out if the device lives up to its promises.
The OnePlus Nord is a smartphone with an intriguing name, but with enticing DNA. Indeed, it sells at an affordable price while promising to make the best use of the know-how acquired by OnePlus during the years when the brand has gone to explore the high end. Some speak of a homecoming while the manufacturer prefers the expression “ new start ”.
Anyway, we necessarily needed a full test of the OnePlus North … and, without going all the way, here it is.
OnePlus nord VIDEO REVIEW OF THE ONEPLUS NORTH
ONEPLUS NORD TECHNICAL SHEET
Model OnePlus North
OS version Android 10 Q
Manufacturer interface OxygenOS
Screen size 6.44 inches
Definition 2400 x 1080 pixels
Pixel density 408 dpi
Technology Super AMOLED
SoC Snapdragon 765G
Graphics Chip (GPU) Qualcomm Adreno 620
Random access memory (RAM) 8 GB, 12 GB
Internal memory (flash) 128 GB, 256 GB
Camera (back) Sensor 1: 48 Mpx
Sensor 2: 8 Mpx
Sensor 3: 5 Mpx
Sensor 4: 2 Mpx
Camera (front) Sensor 1: 32 MPX
Sensor 2: 8 MPX
Video recording 4K @ 30 IPS
Wireless Wi-Fi 5 (ac)
Supported bands 2100 MHz (B1), 800 MHz (B20), 1800 MHz (B3), 2600 MHz (B7), 700 MHz (B28)
Fingerprint sensor Under the screen
Ports (inputs / outputs) USB Type-C
Drums 4115 mAh
Dimensions 73.3 x 158.3 x 8.2mm
Weight 184 grams
Colors Black, blue
ONEPLUS NOR (D) BAD
The OnePlus North is one of those smartphones that does not attempt anything innovative in terms of design, but that we appreciate precisely for this choice of a traditional aesthetic. At 400 euros, its goal is not to revolutionize the industry with a truly original aesthetic – it’s more the business of the high-end – but rather to put into practice the know-how acquired by the brand over the years. time.
In other words, the OnePlus North does not surprise, it just wants to please in hand. However, we must admit that the task is rather successful. The telephone seduces by its dimensions which avoid excess. We can’t speak of a really compact device, but it offers an interesting compromise between a size that can be used with one hand and a fairly large screen. Its weight of 184 grams also works in its favor: without being a featherweight, it is far from being as bulky as several models of all brands and ranges combined too often around 200 grams. Note, however, that the OnePlus 8 is a little lighter.
On the front, the OnePlus North offers a flat screen surrounded by a relatively thin black frame – but thicker at the chin level – and pierced by a double bubble at the top left. To be gossip, we could regret the fact that the immersion in the screen takes a hit, because, on certain scenes of certain videos, this small black space stands out a little more and catches the eye. Let us qualify this remark by recalling that everyday it is not really a nuisance. If this large punch bothers you, it will be mostly a matter of taste – and we have to admit that a simple small hole would have been much more discreet.
The good feel in the hand that we talked about above is reinforced by the glass surface that covers the back of the OnePlus Nord and the well-rounded corners. The quadruple rear photo module is housed in the upper left corner vertically. There is a slight protrusion, but this does not make the smartphone really wobbly. There is indeed a small imbalance that is forming, but we have seen much worse. A word about the sky blue color of our test model. This is a little out of the ordinary and will no doubt appeal to many people, but unfortunately it gets dirty a bit quickly.
The fingerprint reader is placed in the screen and it would have benefited from being positioned a little higher for easier access to the thumb, too bad. To the right, the Alert Slider, recognizable by its rough feel, overlooks the unlock button. We will come back to this very expensive latch to OnePlus later. Look at the left edge to find the volume keys. Finally, the USB-C port is at the bottom, next to the dual nano SIM drawer, but don’t waste time looking for the 3.5mm jack or microSD slot, there isn’t one.
Although it is said that rain falls more regularly in the Nord department, this OnePlus is not IP68 certified for water and dust tightness. A representative of the brand tells us, however, that a few drops will not be enough to disrupt the proper functioning of the phone and that protections have all the same been integrated to protect the internal components more or less. In the past, the brand has often explained this choice not to have its products certified, because this would generate costs that it did not want to pass on to the final price.
FLAWLESS ON THE SCREEN
The OnePlus Nord’s 6.44-inch Full HD + AMOLED display is really neat for a phone in this price bracket. If the brand was able to make some compromises here and there, the quality of the panel is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Already, the fluidity provided by the 90 Hz mode configured by default does not go unnoticed and delivers a tasty impression of speed. WE love. However, if you prefer the traditional 60 Hz (to save battery for example), you just have to go to the “Advanced” menu of the display options.
Also count on a perfect contrast thanks to the AMOLED and its black pixels off. In addition, the brightness of the screen will never fail you since it peaks at a dizzying peak of 724 cd / m² to shine as bright as the stars indicating the North. You will not have any difficulty distinguishing what is displayed on the screen.
However, these are not the only qualities of the slab. Our probe and the CalMan software from Portrait Displays allow us in particular to see that the OnePlus North benefits from a careful calibration, even in its default configuration (“vivid” mode).
In terms of the variety of colors displayed, the rendered copy is more than satisfactory. We can thus observe a coverage of the sRGB space up to 152% which is not bad already, but the screen also covers 102% of the DCI-P3 which is more difficult to manage. To put it more simply, the OnePlus North knows how to display a plethora of colors and that enhances the pleasure of our eyes.
By the way, the phone isn’t west on displayed color fidelity either. Indeed, it is estimated that an ideal average Delta E is less than 3, that of the phone tested here is very close with an index of 3.07. For example, the white displayed by the panel is very close to the white supposed to be displayed.
Finally, and still in its default configuration, the smartphone has a slight penchant for cold tones with a temperature measured at 6900 K when the ideal is rather at 6500 K. If you wish to remedy this detail, the parameters of device display let you fine-tune your preferences. In particular, you can adjust the gauge to slightly warmer values in order to find the perfect balance.
Anyway, in general terms: the screen of the OnePlus Nord is really very good.
THE DELIGHTS OF OXYGENOS
OxygenOS is one of the favorite interfaces of the Frandroid editorial staff, but also of our readership . Suffice to say that this is a great strength of this OnePlus North which, by the way, benefits from Android 10. The user experience exudes fluidity in each of its aspects, whether in the animations or when switching from one application to another. This is undoubtedly partly due to the hardware onboard the phone, but software optimizations certainly play a big role in this beautiful proposition too – in addition to the refresh rate at 90 Hz.
Interesting point: OnePlus changes its policy here and chooses to preinstall Google Messages and Google Phone rather than its in-house customers. The manufacturer explains himself that this improves the speed of execution of his smartphone even more. Personally, these are apps that I use on all smartphones and so I find my account there – as probably a lot of people. Obviously, you are free to choose your preferred default service, we are on Android after all.
items to suit your tastes. To do this, simply go for a walk in the aptly named “Personalization” section from the device settings. On this screen, you will be able to choose the font, the appearance of the app icons, and adjust how the colored elements should stand out.
Also have fun modifying your locked screen with small touches (animation of the fingerprint reader, the clock or the wallpaper). This is also where you can activate dark mode. Indeed, and it’s a bit of a shame, this feature is not accessible from the quick settings panel as on many interfaces. You have to go to “Preset theme” and choose “Dark nuanced”. It will even automatically change the appearance of the buttons – but you can always re-edit that to your liking. Small flat: the mode of use with one hand is still not available.
Beyond that, navigation by gestures is obviously part of the game, and no surprise: it is the one thought by Google. Let’s also mention the Alert Slider, this little latch on the right edge allows you to quickly switch between silent, ringing and vibrating modes. I haven’t been out of vibrate mode since 2015, so I don’t use this switch at all, but at least it doesn’t hamper my daily use and I imagine that it is very practical for those and those who are not in the same situation as me.
Note also that you can configure the long press on the unlock key to call up Google Assistant or display the power menu, while a double press can launch the camera if you wish. OxygenOS also gives you the possibility to define a gesture to be drawn on the screen so that it triggers a particular action.
Note that the internal storage of the OnePlus Nord ranges from 128 to 256 GB, but it cannot be expanded via microSD – the system weighs 20 GB for information. On the SVoD platform side , you will enjoy your video content with an HD stream on Netflix or Disney + thanks to the Widevine L1 DRM support , no problem in that regard. Also, at the time of publishing our review, the device is benefiting from a recent security patch (June 1, 2020), but not the most up to date.
FINGERPRINT READER AND FACIAL RECOGNITION
The fingerprint reader in the screen is really satisfactory. Although it takes a long time to configure – it is even almost reassuring – it is executed fairly quickly. An outdoor sensor would undoubtedly remain slightly more effective, but the OnePlus Nord does not cause any particular frustration at this level and it therefore remains the unlocking method that I recommend.
Facial recognition on the other hand is very fast and works even if your face is somewhat dark. However, this is not a 3D solution and as a result it may pose certain security risks to what is in your phone. Moreover, just after writing these lines, the OnePlus North recognized me while I was wearing a mask. Further proof that it is better not to rely too much on this method.
A MONO SPEAKER (RD)
One of the compromises of the OnePlus Nord compared to the brand’s high-end concerns the audio part: this phone has only one speaker. No stereo therefore and necessarily, the music played in this way does not occupy the space very well despite a strong enough sound power.
Other than that, the sound is pretty clear and well balanced overall, but a bit too smooth – soaring moments in some songs lack a bit of energy to really give you chills. However, this is not bad for all that, we would simply have liked a few more punchy tones.
PHOTO: SOME LIMITATIONS IN LOW LIGHT
The OnePlus North is no exception to the quadruple photo sensor trend that is taking almost the entire industry by storm in 2020.
We are thus left with a main sensor Sony IMX586 of 48 megapixels with a lens opening at f / 1.75. Add to that the following trio:
- 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, 119 degrees (f / 2.25);
- 5 megapixel depth sensor (f / 2.4);
- sensor with 2 megapixel macro lens (f / 2.4).
What about the main sensor? Be careful, get ready to read the obvious: the photos in broad daylight are of good quality for this price range. The brand promised an experience worthy of a flagship and it should be noted that this is above all a commercial discourse. Without going as far as such praise, it’s safe to say that the OnePlus North does a very good job of delivering images that flatter the retina.
The photos taken in this way enjoy a fairly good dynamic and a rather satisfactory level of detail, while the colors can saturate a little. If you find that the phone is doing too much at this level, you can try turning off Smart HDR mode in the camera settings.
At night, the pictures ostensibly suffer from a lack of light. The images are too often plunged into shadow and this is particularly noticeable when one faces a strongly contrasted scene. The noise is also more or less marked (often more than less anyway) and we can clearly feel the limit of the OnePlus North in this exercise. Remember in this regard that it costs only 400 euros and that at this price, even if we expected a little better, the OnePlus North is not disqualified.
There is a night mode to better illuminate the scene, but this option simply pushes the brightness on all the elements of the scene, without worrying about filtering the light sources present in the image. We therefore see more things, but not necessarily in a more pleasant way, especially since the colorimetry suffers a little.
A 48-megapixel mode for taking full-frame photos is offered to capture more detail at the cost of heavier files on storage space. Just remember that this feature is only relevant if the light conditions are favorable to you. In this case, the images obtained are frankly convincing.
The ultra wide-angle mode is nothing very extraordinary. It obviously allows you to capture more elements in the scene, without overdoing the distortion effect on the edges, but the sharpness is necessarily a notch below.
In daytime photos, you can feel the same slight penchant for color saturation (it’s always pleasant to watch) while in ultra-wide-angle photos at night… you really don’t see anything.
In portrait mode, the OnePlus North makes a copy that is both honorable and largely perfectible. The face of the person photographed is fairly well put forward, well detailed. Unfortunately, the intensity and especially the precision of the bokeh effect would benefit from being refined, some locks of hair are thus regularly misinterpreted and therefore blurred.
The macro mode is supposed to allow you to take pictures of very close objects. This mode of shooting, like on many cameras, is unfortunately not very relevant. It’s hard to get a sharp image – especially since it’s only 2 megapixels – and you get nicer results with the main sensor.
In selfie, the main sensor on the front of 32 megapixels saves the details of the paperclip rather well, without zeal.
You can also switch to the 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle if you want more of the scenery or for group shots.
In video, the OnePlus Nord can shoot up to 1080p at 60 fps.
You also have the option to record content in 4K 30 fps. There is also a second option of the same ilk, but filming in 21: 9 to approach a cinema experience.
Finally, a notable fact for a device in this price segment, selfie videos at 4K 60 fps are possible on the OnePlus Nord.
GOOD 30 FPS ON FORTNITE, LESS GOOD 45 FPS
To run the OnePlus North, its manufacturer relies on a Snapdragon 765G , a Qualcomm chip designed especially for mid-range models with the intention of offering a solid experience on video games – hence the suffix G for gaming .
Thus, it is with curiosity that we discover the existence of a 45 fps mode on Fortnite – I had so far only known 20, 30 and 60 fps on this title – which augured good games on this affordable device. In fact, we take advantage of 45 fps, but unfortunately the experience is not really stable. As soon as there is a little animation, a little action, we drop to around 30 images displayed per second.
However, stability is better than a high fps rate, so I recommend going to 30 fps to enjoy more enjoyable sessions. Indeed, at this level, the OnePlus North hardly encounters any more concerns in terms of fluidity, it’s much nicer.
Top 1 Fortnite
The OnePlus North was the scene of my first Top1 on Fortnite
Note also that the phone heats up considerably when it is running at full speed. In the middle of summer, it can make your hands sweat. Nothing too bad, but we are clearly not on the temperatures of the North Pole (hahahahaha…).
On Call of Duty Mobile , you can enjoy a smooth experience with graphics and frame rate set to “super high” mode. In other words, the OnePlus North knows how to use its SoC well.
Finally, the above benchmarks show us that the OnePlus Nord shows quite decent power compared to other models equipped with the same chip, it even outclasses some. A device with a Snapdragon 865 will obviously do much better, but will also cost significantly more.
The 4115 mAh battery is satisfactory to hold easily throughout the day, without however guaranteeing a record autonomy. The OnePlus North is one of those smartphones whose endurance is not necessarily the first quality that is obvious, but which are far from bad in the matter. In fact, the device will satisfy the vast majority of users and it will really take a long time to use the device at full speed to see it run out of steam quickly.
Otherwise, consume videos on YouTube, go take some pictures, surf the web to cheat your boredom, send a few messages here and there, all with 90Hz mode activated. You won’t have to worry about how many percentages you have left as the end of the day draws near. Prolonged sessions on greedy apps like Fortnite or TikTok will have a much bigger impact, however, but don’t expect the battery to melt like snow in the sun.
For example, a 30 minute long game of Fortnite in 90 Hz mode with the graphics pushed to the limit consumes a little more than 10% of battery on average. A rather honorable observation.
On our custom ViSer test protocol, the OnePlus Nord (still at 90 Hz) held for exactly 9 hours and 58 minutes. Here, the score is not very impressive, but as said a little above, the phone shows signs of weaknesses when it is used relatively extensively. However, the exercise to which it was subjected precisely simulates active use of the telephone by linking a batch of applications and actions one after the other. In addition, you can still switch to 60 Hz in order to consume less.
The OnePlus Nord comes with a very efficient 30W fast charger that goes from 10 to 60% in 30 minutes and an additional half hour is enough to reach 100%. Note, however, that wireless charging is not compatible with this phone.
GOOD CALL QUALITY AND 5G
The OnePlus North is compatible with all the French 4G frequency bands and in the Paris region, the Orange network has never been difficult to capture.
- To go further
- Which is the best mobile operator, Bouygues, Free, Orange or SFR?
Even better, the phone also supports the 5G network , but only on sub-6 frequency bands: n1, n3, n7, n28 and n78 (the only one not reusing the 4G infrastructure already in place). Thus, the device does not work with millimeter waves, but they will not arrive in France until a second time.
The call quality offered by the OnePlus North is very good for its price. As I was making a call near a large, crowded Parisian boulevard, my caller heard no traffic noise surrounding me – except a short, hard-to-camouflage siren for a telephone microphone. He simply told me that my voice seemed more muffled the moment I spoke before reaching a normal level, probably enough time for the machine to detect which sounds should be attenuated or not. A small compression of the voice was however noticeable.
Finally, for geolocation, the blue dot on Google Maps identifies me with precision on each of my trips. We can say that the OnePlus North does not lose the compass.
ONEPLUS NORD PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The marketing of the OnePlus North is scheduled for August 4, 2020. Two versions are available: the first equipped with 8 GB of RAM and a storage space of 128 GB is displayed at the recommended price of 399 euros. You have to add 100 euros to the bill and therefore go up to 499 euros for the 12/256 GB version.
The OnePlus North is entitled to two colors: sky blue and gray.
Where to buy the
ONEPLUS NORTH at the best price ?
THE VERDICT OF ONEPLUS NORTH
The design of the OnePlus North is very well mastered. Without trying to be original, it allows you to enjoy great comfort in hand thanks to its fairly contained dimensions and its neat touch. The double punch of the screen may however hamper some while we can regret the lack of IP68 certification even if the brand promises that the phone does not fear the first drop of water.
The screen of the OnePlus North is a real success. The display quality combined with the 90 Hz mode is attractive at first glance. Hat, it’s very clean.
With each release of OnePlus device, OxygenOS proves that it is one of the best Android interfaces. Intuitive, fluid and rich in customization, it still needs to fine-tune tiny details to be perfect.
The OnePlus Nord is not inherently bad in photos, but it could clearly beef up its game on low-light shots, while the macro mode was frankly dispensable. We still appreciate the good quality of the daytime images and the rather interesting 48-megapixel mode.
Thanks to a well-used Snapdragon 765G, the OnePlus Nord offers a very satisfactory power to guarantee smooth games on your mobile games (as long as you do not go for 45 fps on Fortnite).
In terms of autonomy, we are not dealing with a champion here, but this phone is quite capable of holding a whole day with conventional use. However, you will need to monitor the battery level a little more if you embark on long, power-hungry gaming sessions. Fortunately, the fast charger is quite effective.
Final review score 9/10
We highly recommend the OnePlus North for the many qualities it deploys in a relatively affordable price segment. Let’s say it right away, this smartphone represents a very tempting quality / price ratio. Without trying to revolutionize its world, the telephone provides the essentials very well and is really pleasant to use. However, you have to put up with the few small caveats it shows.
Let’s list its strengths first. The OnePlus Nord has a mastered design, an excellent AMOLED and 90 Hz screen, an extremely neat interface, a fairly large power and a satisfactory autonomy. Add to that the 5G compatibility and its tempting entry price, and you have a very positive picture.
On the flip side, we still have to deal with photo performance that can be improved in low light (this is the camera’s greatest weakness), a lack of IP68 certification and a mono speaker. However, despite these few imperfections, the OnePlus clearly stands out as a very good reference in the mid-range.
- Excellent display
- Comfortable in hand
- Very neat interface
- Good performance
- (5G compatible)
- Night shots and macro mode very perfectible
- No IP68 certification
- (Neither microSD nor jack)