The full reveal and launch of the OnePlus Nord 2 is nearly upon us, and OnePlus has already been teasing new features and details as we draw closer to the budget to mid-range phone’s launch.
So far the OnePlus Nord 2 is looking like a standard evolution over its predecessor the OnePlus Nord, potentially drawing inspiration from the flagship-level OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro. With the new Samsung Galaxy A52 and the rumored Google Pixel 5a incoming, OnePlus will need to ensure it’s brings its A-game to the Nord 2.
So with that in mind, read on for the lowdown on what OnePlus Nord 2 details and rumors we have so far.
OnePlus Nord 2 latest news (updated July 14)
OnePlus Nord 2 release date
OnePlus has confirmed the Nord 2 will be at least revealed on July 22, with a some what vague tweet noting “July 22. #OnePlusNord.”
This is likely to be the reveal date with a release date to follow shortly, but we don’t know that for sure. There’s an outside chance that OnePlus could simply reveal the Nord 2 and release it on the same day.
OnePlus Nord 2 price
We have no specific leaks yet about how much the Nord 2 will cost. The best rumor that we’ve got to go on therefore is what the Nord and Nord N10 cost and when they appeared last year.
The OnePlus Nord, which is sold in the U.K. but not in the U.S., launched in August 2020, with a starting price of £379. The OnePlus Nord N10 followed in November 2020, and sells for £329 or $300. So we can tentatively guess that the Nord 2 will arrive somewhere between summer and fall this year, costing somewhere between $300 to $400 depending on exact specs.
OnePlus Nord 2 design and display
Based on a set of leaked renders from OnLeaks, it looks like there won’t be too large a departure from OnePlus’ most recent phones. There’s still a flat screen at the front with a punch-hole in the top left corner, and a plain plastic back with a rectangular camera bump on the top left, joined together by a metal rail running around the edge of the phone.
OnePlus has confirmed the Nord 2 will sport a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. As such, the Nord 2’s screen is pretty much the same as the 6.4-inch display on its predecessor.
However according to renders that look like they’ve been leaked from official materials, the OnePlus Nord 2 could have narrower display bezels. And the dual front-facing camera appears to have been dropped in favour of a single punch-hole camera.
There has been a question of how you would unlock the Nord 2. The original Nord used an under-display fingerprint scanner, while the OnePlus Nord N10 mounts its scanner on the back, within reach of your index finger. You can see however there’s no sensor present on the back of the phone in the renders. It follows therefore, and is supported by the leaks, that OnePlus will keep the under-display scanner.
OnePlus Nord 2 cameras
The first Nord has four cameras — a 48MP main sensor, an 8MP ultrawide sensor, a 5MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro sensor. However the leaks are saying that the Nord 2 will have one less than that.
So for, OnePlus has only confirmed that the main camera will sport a 50MP sensor and have optical image stabilization. The rest of the camera array is open for debate.
With only three cameras, it’s likely OnePlus has dropped neither the depth or macro sensor, assuming the renders are accurate. Neither of these small sensors is particularly essential, so if reducing the total sensor count means an improvement in photography, that would be a fair exchange.
It’s a similar story on the front. From what the leaks say, there won’t be a second selfie camera for ultrawide shots on the Nord 2, just a single 32MP sensor.
OnePlus partnered with camera maker Hasselblad for the 9 series, an arrangement that will apparently last three years. We don’t know the scope of this agreement, but it would be awesome if Hasselblad provided its expertise to OnePlus’ cheaper phones too.
OnePlus Nord 2 processor and performance
The OnePlus Nord 2 will not use a Snapdragon chipset like its predecessor and will instead make use of the new MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI. OnePlus noted that the chipset’s AI smarts will be used to offer better photos, video and streaming capabilities, such as automatic color and contrast adjustments in photos and HDR boosts.
Since Dimensity chips are less commonly used in smartphones, they’re cheaper to buy, despite offering equivalent performance levels in theory. This could make the Nord 2 cheaper in turn, which would be a crucial advantage among other midrange and budget phones.
In terms of memory, OnePlus looks to be following the original OnePlus Nord. The newest leaks say it will offer either 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, or 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. Either way, it’s fairly generous for a phone at this price.
OnePlus Nord 2 battery and charging
With the size of the OnePlus Nord 2 staying almost the same as the first generation, we might have expected another 4,115 mAh battery inside the upcoming model. However it looks like it’ll be increasing, with leaks claiming the capacity will be boosted to 4,500 mAh.
A trademark of the OnePlus experience is charging speed, so we’d expect a charging brick with an impressive wattage. The Nord and Nord N10 both use 30W wired charging, while the N100 gets a less impressive 18W charger. We will see the same 30W speed again on the Nord 2, at least according to the leaks. We might hope however that OnePlus decides to add its flagship-level 65W charging, seen on the OnePlus 8T and OnePlus 9, to these budget phones too.
OnePlus Nord 2: what we want to see
With many OnePlus Nord 2 details still to emerge, we can’t help but hope the phone maker turns its attention to a few critical areas with this device.
Better cameras: OnePlus has often had a problem when it comes to photography. This usually seems to come down to software issues rather than poor quality hardware, but nonetheless means the company’s phones fall behind its major rivals in a key area. It would be fantastic if OnePlus leveraged its Hasselblad partnership to improve the cameras on Nord devices, but perhaps a more realistic dream would be for OnePlus to transfer what it learned about software image processing with the OnePlus 9 to the new Nord.
30W charging minimum: Compared to other phones in the segment of the market, the OnePlus Nord and Nord N10 charge much faster. The iPhone SE and Google Pixel 4a, for example, only charge at a sluggish 18W in comparison. This is why the Nord 2 needs to keep this feature or get even faster.
The reason we’re a touch concerned is that the Nord N100 uses an 18W charger like the iPhone and Pixel. It’s acceptable for a phone of this price, but sacrifices one of OnePlus’ trademark speed-focused features.
The ideal situation would be for OnePlus to give its latest 65W charging system to the Nord 2, but we’d settle for 30W again since it should still give the phone an advantage compared to its Apple and Google rivals.
A balance of low pricing and high performance: Pricing is very competitive around mid-range phones. An extra $50 makes a difference when your competition costs around $300 to $400. As a result, companies don’t have the budget to fit these phones with all the latest bells and whistles. They have to prioritize certain features above others, or end up with a high-quality phone that’s too expensive to be competitive.
OnePlus historically offers powerful components for the asking price, but large quantities of RAM and high refresh rate displays are not always a priority for people buying this type of phone. The Nord 2 needs to walk a tightrope between directly competing with the Pixel 4a and others on price and its tendency to offer better features.
Hopefully OnePlus can figure out the right balance to make people feel like they’re buying what they need and paying a good price for it.