OnePlus Nord 2T Review — A balanced all rounder at an affordable price
OnePlusNord 2T launched at a starting price of ₹28,999.
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MediatekDimensity 1300 5G SOC.
- Nord 2T features a 4500 mAh battery with 80W SuperVooc charge support.
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Price and Availability
OnePlus Nord 2T is available in two variants — first, a base variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage starts at ₹28,999. Then there is a variant with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage available at ₹33,999. You can buy the Nord 2T from Amazon and OnePlus's official website.
OnePlus has redeemed itself with the Nord 2T 5G, especially in design. Let me start with the returning alert slider. A fan favorite for a good reason, this practical hardware choice has been missing on the latest Nord series smartphones, namely Nord CE and Nord CE2 Lite. And yes, OnePlus did get some heavy flack for it. But, to me, it's not just the clean OS experience that makes a OnePlus device unique, but also little quirks like these. So, yes, it's here, and it works as effectively as it always did; there is no easier way for changing your ringtone profile.
Moving to the actual design language for the device, the Nord 2T comes across as a fusion between the Nord 2 and OnePlus 9RT. It's the same form factor as the Nord 2, but the in-hand feel is premium like that of 9RT. The device feels heavier than the original Nord 2, but it's not bothering; it feels like a solid smartphone. I have big hands and did not face any issues using the device, even with single-handed use. However, users with small hands might have to use both hands more often than not.
The variant with me is in the Gray Shadow color, a shade lighter than the hacker black we see on the 9RT. With a micro bidding texture, the finish on the back reminds us of the sandstone finish on the OnePlus 1. It's not glossy but has a texture that does not sustain smudges and is easy to clean. There is another jaded blue color available for the device, but I would suggest sticking with gray shadow; it looks different and has a utility factor to it.
As for the build quality, we know - there is a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and back, which protects it against scratches. But unfortunately, the device has no official IP rating, just like the Nord 2. So yes, you have to be careful around water with this one. It can handle light splashes but don't get too risky with it.
Like most other OnePlus devices, the Nord 2T also uses a familiar and bulky camera module. However, at least this time, they have it justified with three different sensors. Coming back, the camera bump is chunky, and I felt the corners occasionally coming in contact with my hand. However, this problem can resolve with the bundled TPU case. And a third-party case might get rid of it altogether.
Other design elements are generic. For example, on the right side of the device, you will find the power lock and unlock button. In contrast, the left-hand side features the volume rockers. Both these physical installations feel tactile.
Underneath, right next to the USB Type-C charging port, you will find the SIM card tray. Nord 2T is a dual SIM smartphone that supports two nano SIMs. Unfortunately, it lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is a tradeoff for some, but not surprising. The original Nord 2 didn't have one either. Ironically, it is present on the CE 2 and CE 2 lite.
Overall, the Nord 2T is the best-looking Nord so far for me. The color scheme combined with the in-hand feel completes its arch.
OnePlus Nord 2T essentially uses the same display we saw on the Nord 2. It's a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED punch-hole display with an 1800 x 2400 pixels resolution. In classic OnePlus fashion, minimal bezels around the display are always welcome.
On paper, the specs are identical to the Nord 2, but OnePlus claims that the experience is more fluid on this one. Having used the Nord 2 extensively, I can say it's partially true.
The Nord 2 T's 6.43-inch panel is the correct size to watch your TV shows and movies. The screen retains essential details, with the image reproduction being fairly accurate at most times. The black levels are satisfactory, and I have not noticed anything completely off so far. For reference, I watched The Boys Season 3 on the Nord 2T, a show with an equal amount of well-lit and dark frames. With HDR 10+ support, the picture quality only improves, and with most OTT apps supporting HDR10+ content, it is a visual treat.
Heads up, though, turn off auto-brightness while watching content on the Nord 2T. In my experience, auto-brightness usually hampers the experience while watching something.
Also, try not to use the device while lying down; it's heavy. And as it has happened with me, it does hurt when it falls on your face.
The peak brightness on display is 600 nits, making it easier to look at it under direct sunlight. So, no struggle there.
You also get the always-on display option on the Nord 2T, which is extremely useful but does cost you some battery life. I highlight that in the battery experience section.
Moving on, the experience is favorable but nothing that helps us differentiate this screen from the one on Nord 2. The difference starts to show up when you interact with the panel.
This aspect has got to do with the revised MediaTek Dimensity chipset onboard. While Nord 2 never missed a beat regarding interaction, it did have some sloppy edges. 2T eliminates those. The experience so far has been wholesome, with the panel not missing out on a single command. Swipe, gestures, tap, or pinch- I am yet to observe any glitch or a miss.
This experience is also translated to gaming. The 90Hz refresh rate, while being a bit outclassed given the 120Hz panels we see on mid-rangers these days, holds up well. The motion switches to the axis, and reflexes are quick in action and reaction. The graphics are fluid, and the screen does justice to the game visually.
Unfortunately, there is no adaptive refresh rate feature on 2T, which I especially missed while switching between social media and casual web surfing. You can either set it up on the standard 60Hz refresh rate or take it up a notch with 90Hz. I suggest sticking with the higher refresh rate for a more fluid experience.
We also get an in-display sensor on the Nord 2T, unlocking the phone in a snap. But, you do have to exert some amount of pressure on it. A light tap mostly doesn't do the job. An observation I have made with every Nord device since last year.
Complimenting the display is a dual speaker set-up on the Nord 2T 5G. Amply loud, it does add a flair to your viewing experience, and you can skip on pairing your earphones with this one.
Software & UI
OnePlus Nord 2T 5G runs on Android 12 out of the box, paired with Oxygen OS 12.1. Keeping up with the brand's legacy, the OS is clean and minimalistic. Apart from some OnePlus apps like that of a store, community, and Netflix, there are no surprising ads to hamper your experience.
While the Oxygen OS experience is as clean as possible, I am still not a big fan of the app icon designs and animations we see on 12.1. I, for one, miss the older circular app icon designs; they looked cleaner to my eyes. While the boxy app icons can be shrunk, they still give a cluttered feel. This is a subjective issue; that being said, it does not hamper the user experience in day-to-day usage.
Aesthetically, we get back OnePlus's signature features. The smartphone lets you tweak themes, colors, font styles, wallpapers, and even fingerprint animation.
AdvertisementI usually like to go around with the stock experience that a manufacturer has curated for the consumer, and with that, I was satisfied. But if you want personalizations, you can go to town with this one.
Another hot topic of debate with newer OnePlus devices is the shelf that comes down with a swipe on the top right. This UI feature has received mixed reactions. As mentioned in my Nord CE 2 Lite review, it also takes some time to adjust, but from there, it's a smooth sail. It is a better version of the drop-down menu we are accustomed to, with added prompts like a step counter and even widgets for emails.
With most manufacturers promising future updates, OnePlus has also sailed the same boat. As a result, the Nord 2T will be getting Android updates for the next two years, making it a safe investment for most general users.
The OnePlus Nord 2T is powered by MediaTek Dimensity 1300 5G processor. An upgrade from the Dimensity 1200 we saw on the Nord 2, the new SoC packs a punch.
The device with me packs in 12GB of RAM, which can be expanded by an additional 7GB with RAM extension. Simply put, you can use the device's internal storage as RAM to hold on to heavier apps requiring faster computing. Case in points - games.
However, in my five days of usage, I have yet to experience the need for more RAM. The 12GB base RAM is sufficient for handling multiple applications, mainly social media and light games like temple run. In my experience, apps like Instagram have stayed put for upto a day without any frame drops or a lag. However, the situation is not similar for heavier apps like BGMI, which might shut down more often than not after a while.
Touching upon gaming performance, I made Nord 2T my primary gaming device for this week. The games in question were - BGMI and Asphalt 9.
Starting with BGMI- playing the game on UHD settings, the performance was at par and, in some places, better than the original Nord 2. The game was set on a high frame rate, and the rendering wasn't choppy. I did not notice any stutter or ugly frame drops in these settings.
After about 40 minutes of continuous gaming, the phone did start to warm up, but not to the point that it hampers your experience.
I switched to Asphalt 9 afterward, and the performance was linear and at par with what I observed in BGMI.
The internal storage on my review variant is 256GB, which should be sufficient for a heavy user. However, a light user can opt for 128GB.
The battery situation on the Nord 2T is where things get complex. The smartphone comes with a 4500mAh battery, which supports 80W SuperVooc charging. OnePlus claims that we can charge from 1-70% in 15 minutes, while the 1-100% mark is reached in 27 minutes.
The charging time is close to the claims. In my experience, the 1-70% mark was reached in 18 minutes, while the 100% mark took 35 minutes. This is with mobile data turned on and an active internet connection. Yes, these numbers are great, and according to OnePlus, they have the charging safety certified, ensuring the experience is not spoiled. There is also an option for optimized charging, which, after 79%, slows down the charging speed significantly. What I appreciate about it is the fact that we can turn it off voluntarily if we want the phone to charge faster at a particular time.
However, the phone tends to lose battery as fast as it gains. In my personal experience so far, on a heavy day of usage, I was plugging the device in the evening every day. This involved games, emails, and streaming content along with calling.
On a light day of usage, which skipped on gaming, I was plugging in the device at night. However, if you are using it primarily for social media and not demanding any high intense tasks from it, it should easily last a day.
Another observation I made was that the phone loses power rapidly when sitting. This is more prominent with the always-on display, with the phone losing 4% of its charge within 25 minutes. However, the speed of this deduction significantly slows down when the phone goes below 80%.
By saying this, I won't suggest you turn off the always-on display since that's an essential utility. But consider this a heads up.
OnePlus is playing big props on the camera of the Nord 2T. The smartphone comes with a triple camera set-up. The primary camera is a 50MP Sony IMX 766 sensor, which we saw on the previous Nord 2 and the 10R. Then there is an 8MP ultra-wide sensor paired with a 2MP monochrome sensor.
Let's start with the primary camera sensor. OnePlus claims that with the help of a new and improved chip, the camera output is better on the Nord 2T compared to the Nord 2, albeit with the same camera sensor. This claim is 50% true, in my opinion. While the original Nord 2 produced crisp images in well-lit conditions with some saturation in reds, the Nord 2T improves upon it.
In natural lighting or ample lighting, the image results are surprisingly good. The images are well detailed, with colors mostly matching the subject in the frame. However, there were times when the phone did falter with reds, especially indoors and in artificial light.
But in most cases, the images were better than what I saw on the original Nord 2. The issue remains the same with portrait shots, with the edge detection with the bokeh effect holding up well with a single subject in the frame but lagging with multiple people.
The 8MP ultra-wide angle gives you a 120-degree field of view. So yes, it definitely expands the frame to cover more room. Like in the case of Udaipur Fateh Sagar lake, however, the detail might be lost if you shoot something indoors.
Finally, the 2MP mono sensor delivers very crisp portrait shots. Worthy of your Instagram feed. Surprisingly, this sensor is not for vanity but has a practical utility.
The video recording experience is similar to Nord 2. The camera can record 4K videos at 30 and 60 fps, and the performance is suitable for basic usage. However, it might not be the best option if you want to make content with your device. You get additional features like dual video mode as well, which is helpful if you are a vlogger.
The audio recording is satisfactory, and the in-built microphone does cancel out external noise to a large extent.
The front camera is a 32MP shooter that tones down natural colors significantly, delivering under-saturated output. The results do get better with the default AI turned off. Yes, AI is big time here with what I call an AI makeover. You can change your skin tone and even tweak your cheeks. I mentioned it in my previous reviews, I don't particularly appreciate promoting this, but there is a consumer out there who wants this all.
The Nord 2T, while being the 3rd Nord device in the last six months, stands its ground. Unlike its siblings, the CE2 and CE2 Lite, the Nord 2T brings back the original idea behind the Nord moniker. In addition, it is bringing in fan-favorite features at a more affordable price point.
I recommend this to people who want a solid 360-degree experience and standardized OnePlus deliverables for which the brand is famous: clean UI, decent cameras, fast battery charging, and stable performance.
However, if you want to experiment, I recommend the Xiaomi 11X and Realme GT Neo 3. Both the devices are different from the Nord 2T in terms of placement and can be a more exciting option for consumers.
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