scorecardOnePlus Nord 3 review – The ₹33,999 priced premium smartphone competitor
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OnePlus Nord 3 review – The ₹33,999 priced premium smartphone competitor

OnePlus Nord 3 review – The ₹33,999 priced premium smartphone competitor
Tech10 min read
  • OnePlus Nord 3 is powered by Mediatek Dimensity 900 SoC
  • Nord 3 features a 50MP triple camera set-up
  • The latest Nord starts at a price of ₹33,9999
OnePlus today launched the Nord 3, the latest device under the Nord moniker. Ever since the introduction of the Nord series, we have seen this SKU make its own identity. To the point that we now also see a Nord 2T here, along with the CE 3 Lite. While the CE series is ruthless when it comes to providing standard OnePlus features, the original Nord device retains it all. And that is the case with the latest OnePlus Nord 3. All set with a revised design, and a latest chipset it promises to bring back laurels to the Nord name. It is able to achieve that to an extent, but there are some limitations. I talk about them in my review.

Price & Availability
OnePlus Nord 3 Lite is available in 2 variants. There is a base variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage priced at ₹33,999. Then there is a variant with 16GB of RAM and an extended 256GB of internal storage offered at ₹37,999.

Design

OnePlus Nord 3 sports the new design language we have observed previously on the Nord CE 3 Lite. From the camera casing to the flat edges, it might take a second for you to tell the two devices apart. Of course it becomes clear very quickly that it is a superior device, thanks to the materials OnePlus has put together on the smartphone.

Holding the Nord 3 provides a premium feel which has been missing on the Nord series for a while. The glass sandwich design encased in a metal frame makes the device a treat to hold. The flat edges on the Nord 3 also makes it easy to maintain a grip around the device. I believe Nord 3 is a perfect segway for OnePlus to move away from the curved design language we have seen for a while.

Since this is the flagship Nord we do get to see the fan favorite, alert slider here. Fixed in its familiar placement on the top right edge, it works perfectly. Changing profiles and retaining the satisfactory click you register while using it.


But there are some additions to the device which seem to be on a new checklist for OnePlus. Like the IR blaster, which we also get on the Nord CE 3 Lite and the OnePlus 11R. For someone like me who is too lazy to find the remote for appliances this is a beneficial feature. However some might argue for a 3.5mm headphone jack for it. Yes, you don’t get one here which isn’t surprising at all.

Taking forward the premium feeling of the device, the buttons here are also of top quality. Be it the volume rockers or the power button, they feel solid and responsive to interact with. At the bottom you find the USB Type-C charging port. You will also find the SIM card tray at the bottom, which can house 2 nano SIMs.

The variant with me is in the Misty Green color which is a lighter shade of mint green. I wasn’t very impressed by it initially but it has grown on me since. Yet, I would recommend checking out the black color variant which is a safer choice.

I would like to point out here that the back registers smudges excessively, which is common with this material. You can avoid that with a case, making it manageable. A good news is that this is Corning Gorilla Glass 5, so some minor scratches can be taken care of.

Display

OnePlus Nord 3 features a 6.74-inch AMOLED display with HDR10+ resolution across third party apps like Neflix and Amazon Prime. Before I come to the display quality, I have to mention the minimal bezels we see here. Unlike previous Nord devices where we did see a hint of a chin, Nord 3 trims it all down efficiently. The placement of the front camera bang at the middle completes the look.

As for the screen quality, Nord 3 scores well in this department as well. This shouldn’t be surprising. OnePlus has cracked the code for great displays for a while. Aptly bright to look at, it’s a treat to watch content on it, with accurate color reproduction and sharpness. The black levels are generally favorable, nothing out of order. The bigger screen size also allows us to read text here easily, so if you like to read on your smartphone you are in good hands.

With the HDR10+ support, I was confident that the content here will be punchy, and I wasn’t disappointed. I watched The Boys on Amazon Prime and the experience was pleasant.

Now the display supports a max refresh rate of 120Hz which delivers a snappy experience. Moreover we also get to see dynamic refresh rate feature here which can let the phone switch the refresh rate from 40Hz-120Hz. This feature works reasonably well, and the refresh rate switch in real time works aptly.

However, I preferred keeping the refresh rate at 120Hz throughout my testing.
Of Course the refresh rate also comes in handy for gaming, where you can switch and snap between different environments quickly.

We do get an in display fingerprint sensor here, which works like a regular optical unit. While it takes a split second to unlock the smartphone, it rarely misses out.

We also get an option for always on display, with a classic OnePlus layout. I will cover the customisation options for it in the next section, for now we can establish it is utilitarian. Moreover you can read it under direct sunlight as well.

Software

The OnePlus Nord 3 comes preloaded with Android 13 and is accompanied by Oxygen OS 13.1, staying true to the brand's tradition of delivering a clean and minimalist operating system. Unlike other devices that may bombard you with unexpected advertisements, the OnePlus Nord 3 ensures a seamless user experience with minimal interruptions, featuring only a few OnePlus apps such as the store, community, and Netflix.

While the Oxygen OS provides a polished and clutter-free interface, I personally have reservations about the app icon designs and animations in version 13.1. I preferred the previous circular app icons as they appeared cleaner to me, whereas the current boxy icons can make the screen feel more crowded. Thankfully we can change that, with the customisation options on board.

In terms of aesthetics, the OnePlus Nord 3 reintroduces the signature OnePlus features, allowing you to customize themes, colors, font styles, wallpapers, and even fingerprint animations. If you prefer a stock experience tailored by the manufacturer, you'll be satisfied, but if you enjoy personalizing your device, you'll have ample opportunities to do so.

I also like the appearance of the drop down menu on the Nord 3, which has the traces of a stick Google OS but with a OnePlus twist. This is what I call a tasteful adaptation.

We also get some quality of life features here which you might or might not use. Like the Omoji, a virtual avatar of yourself. With pretty much all the social media apps providing you with one, I doubt if anyone will tap into this. But there are some favorable features as well - like the shelf that provides you quick access to your favorite apps. Widgets on OnePlus devices are always a strong point and we do get them here as well.

Like many other manufacturers, OnePlus is committed to delivering future updates, and the Nord 3 is no exception. Users can expect to receive Android updates for the next two years, ensuring that the device remains up to date and a worthwhile investment for the majority of users.

Performance:
The OnePlus Nord 2T is equipped with the powerful MediaTek Dimensity 9000 5G processor, an upgrade from the Dimensity 1300 found in the Nord 2T. This new chipset delivers impressive performance.

The device I have includes 16GB of RAM, which can be expanded by an additional 12GB through RAM extension. Essentially, you can utilize the device's internal storage as additional RAM, particularly beneficial for resource-intensive apps like games. The 256GB internal storage on my review variant should be ample for most users.

During my ten days of usage, I haven't encountered the need for more RAM. The base 16GB RAM is sufficient for handling multiple applications. In my experience, apps like Instagram remained stable for up to a day without any frame drops or lag. However, heavier apps like COD: Mobile may occasionally shut down after extended usage.

Regarding gaming performance, I made the Nord 3 my primary gaming device for the past week, focusing on games like COD: Mobile and Asphalt 9. Starting with COD: Mobile on UHD settings, the performance was on par with or even better than the Nord 2T. The game ran smoothly with a high frame rate and no noticeable choppiness or frame drops. After approximately 45 minutes of continuous gaming, the phone started to warm up, which can be attributed to the metal edges.

Next, I switched to Asphalt 9, and the performance remained consistent and comparable to what I observed in COD:Mobile.

The review variant I have features 256GB of internal storage, which should be ample for heavy users. However, a lighter user can opt for the 128GB variant.

I also ran a Geekbench 6 score on Nord 3. The single-core score on the device is 851 and the multi-core score is a respectable 2968.


Battery life is where things become more nuanced with the Nord 2T. The smartphone is equipped with a 5000mAh battery that supports 80W SuperVooc charging. According to OnePlus, it can charge from 1-70% in 15 minutes and reach 1-100% in 27 minutes.

In my experience, the charging times were close to the claims. The 1-70% mark was reached in 18 minutes, while reaching 100% took 35 minutes. These numbers were achieved with mobile data enabled and an active internet connection. It's worth noting that OnePlus has certified the charging safety, ensuring a reliable and enjoyable charging experience.

On a light usage day without gaming, I found that plugging in the device at night was sufficient. For users primarily engaged in social media and not performing demanding tasks, the battery should easily last a full day.

Camera

OnePlus Nord features a triple camera set-up. The primary camera boasts a 50MP Sony IMX 890 sensor, with optical image stabilization. Alongside, there is an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 2MP macro sensor.


When shooting in natural or ample lighting conditions, the Nord 3 produces commendable image results. The images exhibit excellent detail, with colors mostly accurately representing the subjects in the frame. Although reds can sometimes affect the outcome negatively, the Nord 3 effectively handles them.



It is safe to say that the Nord 3's image quality surpasses its predecessors in terms of overall performance. Portrait shots with a single subject in the frame appear solid, with precise edge detection. However, when multiple people are included in the frame, the camera tends to struggle a bit.

The 8MP ultra-wide angle lens offers a 112-degree field of view, effectively expanding the frame to capture more of the surroundings. Switching between lenses causes minimal color shift, ensuring a consistent visual experience.


The 2MP macro sensor produces remarkably crisp images, especially when the frame is completely lit. Low lighting conditions might require you to adjust the frame multiple times.

The camera also supports 4K video recording at both 30 and 60 frames per second, delivering satisfactory performance for basic usage. However, if your intention is to create content with your device, it may not be the optimal choice. The Nord 3 offers additional features like dual video mode, which proves helpful for vloggers.

The audio recording quality is satisfactory, and the built-in microphone effectively cancels out external noise to a significant extent.


As for the front camera, it is a 16MP shooter that tends to tone down natural colors, resulting in slightly undersaturated output. However, disabling the default AI processing can yield improved results.

Verdict
OnePlus Nord 3 can be deemed the OnePlus for all, providing you a standard experience the brand is famous for. With a solid display, optimal performance, and a respectable camera set-up it is an easy recommendation for people looking for a balanced device.

But, if you want more vanity, like a curved display and a slightly better camera performance you can check out the Realme 11 Pro or Pro Plus.





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