In recent years, there has been a trend towards a steady increase in prices for flagship smartphones. In the end, this also affected OnePlus, which has always offered relatively affordable mid-range devices with the highest possible specifications. However, in the spring of 2020, OnePlus unexpectedly released a full-fledged flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 8 Pro, which became the most expensive in the history of the brand. The base model OnePlus 8 is slightly cheaper, which is inferior to the “Pro” version in many respects. A kind of “semi-flagship”. And in the second half of 2020, OnePlus created a big buzz around the new OnePlus Nord. With this model, the company has returned to its roots by offering pre-flagship features with a very budget price tag.
In appearance, both the OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus 8 look expensive. They both have a Gorilla Glass cover – glossy for the Nord model and matte for the 8. But if you take these smartphones, then you’ll immediately feel that the flagship has a metal frame. The OnePlus Nord is simpler, so the frame is plastic here.
Neither smartphone has a 3.5 mm audio jack, but there is a proprietary slider for switching sound modes on the right next to the power button. The SIM tray and USB-C port are located on the bottom of the case.
And curiously, the large OnePlus 8 is slightly lighter and thinner than the compact OnePlus Nord. With a case length of 160 mm, the flagship weighs 180 g, while the Nord is 2 mm shorter, but 4 g heavier. Also, the more expensive version has stereo speakers and a very mild vibration response.
The block of the main cameras in both cases is vertical. The cutout for the front is made in the form of a hole in the upper left corner of the display.
Speaking of displays. The OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus 8 are equipped with stunning Full HD + AMOLED panels that occupy almost the entire front surface of the smartphone. The frames are as narrow as possible on all sides. But the Nord is smaller diagonally, so it has a slightly higher pixel density.
The aspect ratio is 20 to 9. This is a common standard now, although still not all games and video content are designed for such an extended format. For ease of use, there are different display modes available: Night, Reading, and Video.
The sweep frequency of 90 Hz is supported. Optionally, you can always switch to standard 60 Hz to save battery power when a smooth interface is not required.
Both smartphones have an optical fingerprint scanner under the screen. It works quickly and accurately. It is much more convenient to use if we compare it to some models where it is combined with the power button or located somewhere in the back next to the cameras.
The main difference is that the OnePlus Nord has an absolutely flat screen, without bends at the ends. This eliminates the problems of accidental clicks and color distortion at the edges of the image. But of course, the OnePlus 8’s rounded display looks more premium.
In terms of their software and functions, the difference between these two smartphones is also minimal. The OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus 8 run the practical OxygenOS proprietary interface, based on Android 10. It’s something new compared to other companies’ shells that are overloaded with unnecessary programs. The OxygenOS interface is very easy to use, so you quickly delve into navigation and settings.
OnePlus promises that the system updates will arrive within 2 years after release, and vulnerability fixes are guaranteed for 3 years. In other words, the OnePlus Nord offers a flagship level of software support, but is significantly less expensive than the OnePlus 8.
The only noticeable difference is that the newer OnePlus Nord has Google counterparts installed instead of the proprietary applications for SMS and dialing.
Shooting quality is usually the very point that sets flagships apart from powerful mid-range smartphones. But in the case of the OnePlus Nord, it’s not that simple. Its main camera has optical stabilization and the same 48 megapixel resolution as the OnePlus 8. However, in the standard mode, the frames are too contrasty and bright as they were made specifically for social networks. It can be explained by the fact that the Nord was initially targeted young audiences.
But the OnePlus 8 has twice the megapixels in its ultra-wide-angle camera. Every smartphone also has a 2-megapixel macro misunderstanding, and the Nord model is also equipped with a 5-megapixel depth sensor. It is a pity that even the flagship was left without a telephoto lens. it would be an order of magnitude more useful than a macro camera with a ridiculous 2 megapixel.
The OnePlus Nord’s trump card is the dual front camera with 32 and 8 megapixel sensors. The second camera is with an ultra-wide viewing angle, which is useful for group photos. The OnePlus 8’s front camera resolution is 16 megapixels.
Both smartphones can record videos in maximum quality 4K / 60 frames per second and slow-mo in Full HD / 240 frames per second. However, only the flagship OnePlus 8 is capable of accelerating video recording up to 480fps, but then the quality drops to 720p.
The performance of the OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus 8 smartphones does not cause any complaints. Yes, they have different processors, the power of which differs significantly in synthetic tests, but in practice you absolutely don’t feel this. The Nord opens apps a fraction of a second slower. The lag can only be noticed when running very heavy games. And if you do not compare specifically, then when using the OnePlus Nord, you will never have a desire to buy something more powerful. The smartphone meets the needs of most users.
Each model has the same options for the amount of built-in memory. This is 8 or 12 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage for files and applications. The flagship has a slightly faster memory type, of course. Unfortunately, memory cards are not supported, but this is a common problem with all OnePlus smartphones.
However, both models are already equipped with 5G modems, ready to go as soon as local cellular operators begin rolling out next-generation networks. All modules of wireless communication and satellite navigation from the OnePlus Nord correspond to the flagship. This is NFC, Bluetooth version 5.1, dual band Wi-Fi. Although only the OnePlus 8 received support for the newer Wi-Fi 6 technology. Positioning is available through GPS, Glonass, and others.
Both the OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus 8 provide roughly the same battery life of 1-2 days. The energy consumption depends on the intensity of the smartphone use. Enabling an increased screen refresh rate of 90 Hz reduces the battery life by 1 hour. At 60 Hertz, the smartphones work actively for more than 10 hours with a connection to the LTE network.
Wireless charging, alas, is not provided, but it is much more important that fast charging technology is supported. And a powerful 30W power adapter is included with every model! According to official figures, the OnePlus Nord can charge 70% of its 4115 mAh battery in half an hour, and the flagship OnePlus 8 gains 50% in 22 minutes, but it has a 4300 mAh battery. The OnePlus recommends that you only charge your smartphone with the original adapter to prolong battery life.
Let’s see what the users of these smartphones have to say. What are their subjective pros and cons.
The OnePlus nord
- The camera normally shoots only during the day. There is not even a telephoto lens, so you can forget about optical zoom.
- There’s not waterproof, plastic body frame.
- I would like to have a 3.5 mm jack and a slot for memory cards.
- It’s still a budget phone.
The OnePlus 8
- A full recharge takes over an hour. It’s not 55 minutes, as in the advertising.
- The camera is of average quality. 48 megapixels do not offer an advantage. Maximum 12 MP.
- It has some high radiation value. Samsung usually has 2-3 times lower SAR.
The OnePlus nord
- Very high quality and large OLED screen, 90 Hz.
- It has a clean interface, close to the standard Android, without ads and a bunch of obscure programs.
- There is compatibility with 5G, it will come in handy in the future.
- There are ultra wide-angle cameras front and back.
- Amazing, loud headphone sound with Dolby Atmos plus.
- Excellent battery life.
- Convenient OxygenOS interface. Fast understandable, nothing annoying.
- A smart phone in every way. Moved from iPhone Pro Max.
The OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus Nord differ in price by almost 2 times. The Nord model lets you experience flagship features and performance for little money. Here is the support for 5G networks, which are not yet known when they will be put into operation, and super fast charging, a cool set of cameras, a fairly powerful processor, huge amounts of memory. Of course, the OnePlus Nord is not a full-fledged replacement for flagships. It’s just a very cool public sector employee. The OnePlus 8 is better in many little things, but the main question – is it worth overpaying for them?