OnePlus Nord 2 promises big budget features without breaking the bank

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OnePlus has unveiled its latest handset, the Nord 2 5G. As the name suggests, the smartphone is the sequel to last year’s OnePlus Nord, which became the Shenzhen-based firm’s best-selling handset in Europe after its launch in July 2020. In the UK, the OnePlus Nord become the best-selling phone on Amazon during its launch month.

OnePlus clearly wants to recreate that success with the sophomore entry in the Nord range, which sits below the flagship OnePlus 9 (£629) and OnePlus 9 Pro (£829). With the Nord 2 5G, OnePlus is promising to deliver “everything you could ask for” in a phone. And honestly, looking through the list of features and the price tag… they might be dangerously close to delivering on that marketing tagline.

First up, Nord 2 has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display. Like its pricier siblings from OnePlus, it has a 90Hz refresh rate, which makes system animations and scrolling appear much smoother, and should ensure fast-paced games are even more frantic. There’s also a clever AI Resolution Boost feature, which will upgrade everything you’re watching on YouTube to take advantage of the Full HD resolution on the display.

OnePlus Nord 2 5G is borrows liberally from the pricier OnePlus 9 series. It’s 50MP main camera – complete with Sony IMX 766 sensor and Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) to remove shakes from video and blurriness in low-light photography – can be found in the camera array on the OnePlus 9 series. The 50MP Sony IMX 766 brings 56 percent larger sensor than the first-generation OnePlus Nord, enabling more light to be captured for well-lit photos and videos.

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Crucially, that extra light should really make a different in low-light scenarios. To boost the images from the sensor, Nord 2 also includes an enhanced Nightscape mode, dubbed Nightscape Ultra, which OnePlus claims is clever enough to shoot bright, useable photos in incredibly dimly-lit environments with a meagre 1 lux of illuminance – that’s the same amount of light emitted from a single candle. In other words, OnePlus Nord 2 should be able to capture some brilliant photos on the next Date Night.

Powering everything is the latest flagship chipset from MediaTek, the Dimensity 1200 AI. This slight variation on the standard MediaTek chipset was developed in collaboration with OnePlus to bring a host of AI-enabled advancements to the camera. AI imaging technology enables the above photo and video enhancements, but can also be used to boost all viewed content into HDR-quality for enhanced results.

For stills, AI Photo Enhancement is capable of recognising up to 22 different photography scenarios and automatically adjusts the colour tones and contrast to ensure photos are optimised for maximum quality even at night and in other low-light environments.

Meanwhile, when it comes to videos, the AI Video Enhancement feature enables live HDR effects in real-time during recording. This helps to improve image quality and enhance the colour range and colour accuracy of videos, resulting in better shadow detail, highlight retention and greater dynamic range.

On the front, OnePlus Nord 2 comes equipped with a 32MP camera, which is capable of detecting five faces at a time to improve photo quality.

One of OnePlus’ trademark features – its lightning-fast charging – also makes an appearance on the new Nord 2. While there’s no wireless charging available, you likely won’t miss it all that much given that OnePlus Nord 2 5G can charge from 1% to 100% in under 30 minutes.

There’s also Wi-Fi 6 support included, dual SIM for those who want to avoid roaming charges when travelling, Gorilla Glass on the front and back, and although there’s no official IP rating for dust and water resistance – OnePlus says it has conducted its own internal tests and Nord 2 should easily withstand a splash or two.

Nord 2 is also equipped with OnePlus’ latest operating system, OxygenOS 11.3, which offers the same “fast and smooth” experience found on the flagship handsets. Nord 2 will arrive with two-years of software updates guaranteed, and three-years of security patches.

OnePlus Nord 2 5G starts from £399 in the UK, which will bag you a model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of non-expandable storage. Upgrade to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for £469. John Lewis, Amazon UK, Three, O2, and OnePlus’ own online store will be stocking the new handset.

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