The OnePlus Nord CE 5G is the latest addition to the OnePlus range and will appeal to people on a budget as it is now the most affordable model. OnePlus promises to provide the OnePlus core experience with Nord CE 5G, as it covers all the basics one would look for. However, the higher options are priced similar to the original OnePlus Nord, which is designed to serve a higher class on the market. So, is the new Nord CE 5G worth the money or is the original Nord a better device? I compare Nord CE 5G with the original Nord to find out.
OnePlus Nord CE 5G vs. OnePlus Nord price
The new OnePlus Nord CE 5G starts from Rs. 22,999 for the base version with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Higher versions with 8GB RAM / 128GB storage and 12GB RAM / 256GB storage are priced at Rs. 24 999 and Rs. Respectively 27 999.
The OnePlus North on the other hand it has prices starting from Rs. 24,999 for 6 GB RAM 64 GB storage option, although this was not easily accessible. The 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage option is priced at Rs. 27,999, while the 12 GB RAM / 256 GB storage option is priced at Rs. 29,999. This model has just been discontinued, but it appears that a refresh based on leaks and rumors may soon come.
Nord CE 5G is more affordable than starting prices, but things are starting to overlap if you are looking for more RAM and storage space.
OnePlus Nord CE 5G vs. OnePlus Nord design
OnePlus Nord CE 5G and OnePlus Nord use slightly different design approaches. Take both smartphones and you’ll notice that the OnePlus Nord feels more premium thanks to its Corning Gorilla Glass 5 rear glass panel. The Nord CE 5G has to settle for a plastic back. You can confuse one device with another, but an easy way to tell them apart is by designing their camera modules. While both smartphones have pill modules, Nord has a four-camera setup, while the Nord CE 5G has only three cameras.
OnePlus Nord CE 5G is slightly taller than the older Nord, but both felt comfortable to use with one hand. The buttons on both devices are located low enough on the side to be in place. Nord has a warning slider, like all other premiums OnePlus phones, but the new Nord CE 5G misses it. On the other hand, Nord CE 5G has a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which is quite convenient to have.
Both of these smartphones have one speaker and a USB Type-C port on the bottom. Nord has its SIM tray at the bottom, while the Nord CE 5G has it on the left side of the frame. These two smartphones have only a secondary microphone at the top.
The display of the OnePlus Nord measures 6.44 inches, and that of the Nord CE 5G is approximately the same at 6.43 inches. The displays of both phones have a refresh rate of 90Hz. However, the OnePlus Nord receives Corning Gorilla Glass protection, while the Nord CE 5G receives Asahi Dragontrail protection. Both smartphones have built-in front cameras, with Nord having a dual front camera, while Nord CE 5G has one.
Nord is significantly heavier by 184 grams compared to the Nord CE 5G, which weighs 170 grams. This is surprising given that the Nord CE 5G has a larger battery of 4500 mAh compared to the 4 115 mAh battery in the original Nord.
OnePlus Nord CE 5G vs. OnePlus Nord specifications and Software.
OnePlus offers AMOLED displays on both of these smartphones. These panels have Full HD + resolutions and a refresh rate of 90Hz. Both have built-in fingerprint scanners that are easy to reach and work well.
The specs sheet is where you’ll see big differences, the Nord CE 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor, while the OnePlus Nord is powered by a Snapdragon 765G. The latter is based on a 7nm process and has a slightly higher clock speed.
Both of these OnePlus smartphones are available in 6GB, 8GB and 12GB RAM options. The new Nord CE 5G offers 128GB and 256GB of storage options, while the older Nord offers 64GB of the (now discontinued) base model.
You get support for dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, 4G VoLTE and 5G on both models. Both are devices with two SIM cards and lack a storage extension. You get support for 30W fast charging on both devices. Nord comes with a Warp Charge 30T charger, while Nord CE 5G comes with a newer Warp Charge 30T Plus.
OnePlus Nord comes with OxygenOS 10, but worked with OxygenOS 11 during this comparison. OnePlus Nord CE 5G comes with OxygenOS 11 out of the box. Both smartphones promise two years of software updates and three years of security updates, so Nord CE 5G has the advantage here as it is newer.
Since both smartphones work with OxygenOS, 11, you will get almost the same software experience on them. The user interface is clean and I didn’t find many pre-installed applications on any device. OnePlus has added features like Game Mode to OxygenOS, which allows you to play games without being interrupted by incoming calls and messages.
OnePlus Nord CE 5G vs. OnePlus Nord performance
OnePlus Nord CE 5G and OnePlus Nord have powerful processors and you will not notice any delay or stuttering during regular use. Since both smartphones have a refresh rate of 90 Hz, the user interface felt super smooth and responsive. The AMOLED panels on both devices are good to watch and you get the option to tweak the output on them.
I had the best versions of Nord and Nord CE 5G, which made it fair to place these devices by reference. In AnTuTu, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G scored 391,813 points, while Nord lagged slightly behind 383,134. In the GeekBench 5 single-core and multi-core tests, the OnePlus Nord scored 592 and 1,822 points, respectively, while its younger brother ran 639 and 1830. In the 3DMark Slingshot benchmark, Nord again managed to lead by 4,537 points, while Nord CE 5G was not behind with 3,902 points.
I found the OnePlus Nord CE 5G to be a bit more energy efficient than the OnePlus Nord. This was evident in our test for HD video circuits – Nord lasted only 14 hours and 30 minutes, while Nord CE 5G lasted 19 hours and 59 minutes. Charging time was slightly less for the Nord CE 5G, as the phone was fully charged in one hour, with Nord reaching only 93 percent at the same time. Overall, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G handles most performance parameters better.
OnePlus Nord CE 5G vs. OnePlus Nord cameras
OnePlus Nord CE 5G and OnePlus Nord use different approaches to cameras. Nord has a four-camera setup, while the new Nord CE 5G has a triple camera setup. Let’s look at the sensors before we continue. Nord has a 48-megapixel Sony IMX 586 sensor with OIS as the main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. OnePlus Nord CE 5G on the other hand has a main camera with a 64-megapixel Omnivision sensor and EIS, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera and a 2-megapixel monochrome camera.
For the selfie, the OnePlus Nord has a dual camera setup consisting of a 32-megapixel main camera and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera. Nord CE has only one 16-megapixel selfie shooter.
The daylight shots taken with the two smartphones looked good, but the Nord CE 5G had a slightly brighter output. When enlarging the images, Nord was the one who had the better details. It was the same with the ultra-wide cameras on both phones; Nord CE had a slightly brighter image, but the detail of the shot taken by OnePlus Nord was better. The photos taken with both phones have a distortion on the side.
The close-ups were almost identical for the two smartphones, but the Nord CE 5G managed to achieve slightly better details and you can get good enough quality with the main camera to not forget to have a macro shooter with low resolution. For the portraits, both smartphones were able to detect the edge well, but both lacked the option to set blur levels before shooting. The portraits made with OnePlus Nord were sharper, but the color tone was slightly deviated. The shot made with Nord CE 5G was not so sharp, but there were more accurate colors.
In low light, it was the OnePlus Nord that scored a better shot. The photos looked brighter and the objects in the shadows were more visible. With Nightscape activated, both smartphones need 6-7 seconds to take a picture. It was OnePlus Nord that managed to get better photos of Nightscape.
Selfies and selfie portraits were better with the Nord CE 5G, as the phone was able to measure light correctly in most conditions. OnePlus Nord was far from skin tones, which helped Nord CE win easily.
In terms of video quality, Nord and Nord CE 5G are neck and neck when it comes to 1080p frames. There was a slight glow in both sets of shots, and neither phone went on convincingly. However, Nord is taking the lead with 4K frames, as it has found that it is better stabilized than what Nord CE produces. Low light video also handles slightly better than Nord, while Nord CE shots are not well stabilized.
After testing OnePlus North (Review) and OnePlus Nord CE 5G (Review) side by side, I was surprised to see that the differences between them are not as big as I expected. You will hardly notice any difference between these devices while using them. In terms of build quality, it is the OnePlus Nord that feels more superior, in line with its price. You get the Nord warning slider, but there is no 3.5mm headphone jack.
While the Nord CE 5G has a slightly larger battery than the OnePlus Nord, the battery life is significantly better. You could stay out of the charger longer with the Nord CE 5G and it also charges faster. Take one of the two smartphones and you won’t find a huge difference in the camera’s performance in daylight, but Nord was better in low light.
Although I was hoping for better prices for the Nord CE 5G, it seems to offer better value than the older OnePlus Nord. Unfortunately, OnePlus has now officially discontinued Nord, so even if you’re willing to spend extra on the slider for a warning and a better fit and finish, this is no longer an option. However, I think this paves the way for the highly auditory successor to the North, who seems to be worth the wait.