OnePlus Nord 2 vs Nord CE 5G vs OnePlus 9 Specifications Compared – Is this the best alternative to a flagship phone?

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Yesterday OnePlus announced their latest Nord 2. I am not a huge OnePlus fanboy but based on its specification and price, I think it could be one of the best options on the market right now.

Priced at £399, available on Amazon, this is the first phone to feature one of the custom MediaTek Dimensity 1200 5G chipsets, has a 6.43-inch 90Hz AMOLED display, 65W fast charging, and perhaps most impressively of all (for me) is the inclusion of the 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor for the primary camera.

OnePlus Nord 2 5G (UK) - 8GB RAM 128GB SIM Free Smartphone...
  • A Mightier Flagship Camera - 50MP AI Triple Camera...
  • Maximum Warp - A day's power in 15 minutes; 65W...
  • Faster and Smoother - The MediaTek Dimensity...
  • So good it Hertz - 6.43" Fluid AMOLED Display with...

Typically, at sub-£400 or even below £500, a phone will be hobbled with one of its main features, which is often the camera.

However, the 50MP Sony IMX766 is an extremely competent sensor and is the same sensor that is used on the flagship Oppo Find X3 Pro.

The MediaTek Dimensity 1200 5G should also offer flagship-like performance, and considering how demanding the Snapdragon 888 is for power, I think I would prefer a phone with either the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 or alternatively the SD780 or SD870. This particular MediaTek chipset has also been customised specifically for OnePlus to offer improved AI performance. This helps the phone with AI photo and video enhancement as well as a more intelligent smart ambient display to ensure the best brightness at all times.  

Are there any better alternative options?

The justification for my opinion is that I can't think of a better alternative at around £400 and I find £400 a particularly attractive price point. Expensive enough to get a great spec, but no so expensive that it feels like a huge and stressful investment.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G is by far the closest competitor I can think of. It is priced the same, has a slightly larger 90hz AMOLED display the SD780G should offer similar performance, but not quite as good. The battery is fractionally smaller, but charging is much slower at 33W. The camera is well specced with the same 8MP ultra-wide then a 5MP macro, but the 64MP 1/1.97″ 0.7µm primary sensory is unlikely to compete with the Sony IMX766, which is 50 MP, f/1.9, 24mm (wide), 1/1.56″, and 1.0µm.

I am quite fond of the OPPO Find X3 Neo, its RRP is too high, but you can pick up the UK model new on eBay for £519, but that's still £120 more than the OnePlus, which is quite a large difference.

What about the current OnePlus phones?

Looking at the current OnePlus range, they have padded out their product range so much they have options straddling either side of the Nord 2 in prices. The Nord CE 5G is just £269, available on Amazon, or the OnePlus 9 is £519.

For a start, the OnePlus Nord 2 is a massive generational upgrade. Last year, the Nord was definitely one of the best options for an upper mid-range phone, but it had close competition with the Realme X50 and TCL 10 5G, plus others.

The chipset and camera upgrade on this phone take this to a different level.

The OnePlus 9 is worthy of consideration, the SD888 will offer better performance (but worse battery). Then you have the benefit of two great cameras with the ultra-wide using the IMX766 and the main camera using the 48MP Sony IMX689. However, only the camera spec difference would tempt me with the OP9 over the Nord 2 and I am not sure that it is worth £120.

OnePlus Nord 2 5G vs Nord CE 5G vs OnePlus 9 Specifications

OnePlus Nord 2 5GOnePlus 9OnePlus Nord CE 5G
Display6.43 inches
2400×1080
90Hz
6.55 inches
2400×1080
120Hz
6.43 inches
2400×1080
90Hz
ChipsetMediatek Dimensity 1200 5GQualcomm Snapdragon 888Qualcomm  Snapdragon 750G
RAM8GB / 12GB8GB / 12GB6GB / 8GB / 12GB
Storage128GB / 256GB
No microSD
128GB / 256GB
No microSD
128GB / 256GB
No microSD
Rear Camera50 MP, f/1.9, 24mm  1/1.56″, 1.0µm
8 MP, f/2.3, 119˚
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
48 MP, f/1.8, 23mm  1/1.43″, 1.12µm,
50 MP, f/2.2, 14mm  1/1.56″, 1.0µm, AF
2 MP, f/2.4, (monochrome)
64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm 0.7µm
8 MP, f/2.3, 119˚
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
Front Cemera32 MP, f/2.5, 1/2.8″, 0.8µm16 MP, f/2.4, 1/3.06″, 1.0µm16 MP, f/2.5,  1/3.0″, 1.0µm
Wi-FiWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 5
USBUSB Type-C 2.0USB Type-C 3.1USB Type-C 2.0
3.5mmNoNoYes
IP RatingNoNo/Maybe (some models IP68)No
Battery4500 mAh4500 mAh4500 mAh
Charging65W wired 65W wired 30W wired 
Price £399£519£269

Overall

I think it is quite clear I have a positive impression of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G. If I were to buy a phone right now, this is probably what I would go for. I am too tight to be forking out £900 plus on a flagship phone when this offers a similar experience for half the price.

Sadly, OnePlus don't like me, so unless I do actually buy it, it is unlikely I will be reviewing it.

Last update on 2021-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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