The low-cost OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is jacked, sharp, and fast, but not everyone can get it
The newest contender for the title of 2022's best mid-range phone is officially here at last, and although it's arguably not as flashy or as powerful as the likes of Google's Pixel 5a, Moto G100, or Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G definitely has enough strong points to at least pop up on many bargain hunters' radars.
Probably the greatest strength of this hot new 6.43-inch device is its starting price, undercutting those of its aforementioned rivals, but that's only if you can actually purchase the convolutedly named Nord CE 2 (5G), which will not be possible in key markets like the US.
A smooth display, a winning design, and a familiar-sounding camera setup
Advertised under the catchy tagline "a little more than you'd expect", the 5G-enabled OnePlus Nord CE 2 is indeed pretty slim and sleek for a handset in its price bracket.
There's no way the shiny back is made from real glass, but at first glance, this thing looks decidedly premium, due in no small part to its eye-catching Gray Mirror and Bahama Blue paint jobs, as well as a razor-thin 7.8mm profile.
That makes the Nord CE 2 5G considerably slimmer than last year's "regular" Nord 2 variant, an engineering feat made that much more impressive by the unchanged 4,500mAh battery capacity. On top of that, the Fluid AMOLED screen of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G is also impressively unchanged, with the same resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels and silky smooth 90Hz refresh rate support offered by the Nord CE 2.
Despite retaining the 6.43-inch panel size as well, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is a tad taller overall than the Nord 2, with a rather chunky "chin" negatively impacting the premium vibe of the modern hole punch design.
Interestingly, the rear-facing camera module looks radically different from what the Nord 2 and especially what the first-gen Nord CE have going for them, even though the actual imaging sensors don't exactly sound groundbreaking.
We're looking at a primary 64MP shooter here accompanied by an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens and 2MP macro sensor on the back of the Nord CE 2, which is almost precisely what the Nord CE offers in the rear camera department. The same goes for the single 16MP selfie cam, which is downgraded from a 32MP sensor on the Nord 2.
A lot of raw speed for a great price
Powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 900 processor, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is obviously no match for today's flagships... or yesteryear's Dimensity 1200-based Nord 2. But at a base price of £299 in the UK and €359 across many other European markets, this bad boy is pretty much unrivaled in the speed department.
That goes for both 5G speeds and charging speeds as well, with an absolutely insane 65W SuperVOOC technology taking care of the latter aspect to (purportedly) deliver "up to one day's power in just 15 minutes." For comparison, Samsung's extravagant Galaxy S22 Ultra beast is barely capable of reaching 45W charging speeds.
The spec sheet almost perfectly blends new and old standards of the mobile industry as a whole, with both a microSD card slot and headphone jack present and a generous 128 gigs of internal storage space paired with solid 6 and 8GB RAM options.
In case you're wondering, the costlier and overall higher-end OnePlus Nord 2 5G lacks both a microSD card slot and 3.5mm headphone jack, so you have to praise the company for its courage (pun definitely intended) to go back and essentially admit the error of its 2021 ways here.
One small flaw we absolutely have to highlight before wrapping up is that Android 11 still runs the software show out the box (in its OxygenOS derivation), which reminds us that the Nord 2 has yet to receive an official Android 12 update. That's not very encouraging as far as the new Nord CE 2 is concerned either, of course, but if it doesn't bother you that much, you should know pre-orders will kick off early next month across the old continent.