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OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G hands-on review

Introduction

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is the latest smartphone from OnePlus and also the cheapest in the company’s current lineup. Meant to be the entry-level option for customers in Europe and India, the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is very similar to the Nord N20 5G that is being launched in North America. A European launch is expected soon as well.

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is based on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G platform and comes with a 120Hz display, triple camera system, and a large 5000mAh battery with 33W SuperVOOC fast charging. The closely related OnePlus Nord N20 in the US has a smaller battery and a 90Hz AMOLED display, but otherwise, the two phones are very similar.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
OnePlus Nord N20 5G

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G • OnePlus Nord N20 5G

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G specs at a glance:

  • Body: 164.3×75.6×8.5mm, 195g; Glass front, plastic frame, plastic back.
  • Display: 6.59″ IPS LCD, 120Hz, 1080x2412px resolution, 20.1:9 aspect ratio, 401ppi.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM6375 Snapdragon 695 5G (6 nm): Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 660 Gold & 6×1.7 GHz Kryo 660 Silver); Adreno 619.
  • Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 8GB RAM; UFS 2.2; microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot).
  • OS/Software: Android 12, OxygenOS 12.1.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 64 MP, f/1.7, 26mm, 0.7µm, PDAF; Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4; Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4.
  • Front camera: 16 MP, f/2.0, (wide), 1/3.0″, 1.0µm.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 1080p@30fps; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
  • Battery: 4500mAh; Fast charging 33W.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); 3.5mm jack.

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is dropping in a segment that is ruthlessly ruled by Xiaomi and OnePlus sister brand Realme. For OnePlus to succeed, the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G will have to be quite the standout. Let’s see how the phone performs.

Unboxing

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G comes with a fairly basic package. The phone supports 33W charging, and a corresponding 33W charger ships with it, along with a red USB 2.0 cable.

A clear silicone case is also included.

Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Design

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G has a relatively simple and unassuming design. The back of the phone has a plastic cover with a two-tone finish. The area around the camera bump has a glossy, striated finish. The rest of the back has a matte finish.

Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

The sides of the phone are also made out of plastic and feature flat edges throughout. On the right is a sunken power button with a fingerprint sensor built-in. On the left are the power buttons. There is no alert slider as seen on other OnePlus phones.

Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

The front of the phone has a flat display and a display glass of unknown origin. We managed to get a few scratches on the display after a few days of use so long-term reliability seems a bit suspect. OnePlus also seems to have skimped out on the oleophobic coating as the glass gets covered with smudges very easily and is hard to clean.

Below the display, the phone has a prominent chin area. The cutout for the front camera is also quite large.

Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

The phone has modestly large proportions coupled with a portly 195g of weight, which could make it difficult to handle for those with smaller hands.

The build quality and finish of the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G are good. Despite the all-plastic nature of the build, things like material quality and panel gaps were impressive. However, the phone has no ingress protection rating and we also didn’t find any rubber gasket around the SIM tray, meaning very little has been done to protect the phone from dust or water.

Display

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G has a 6.59-inch, 120Hz 2412×1080 resolution LCD. The display has full coverage of sRGB and Display-P3 color spaces.

Through the display settings, OnePlus lets the user pick between the Vivid (Display P3) and Natural (sRGB) presets. You can also manually adjust the white point with a slider.

Display settings - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Display settings - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Display settings - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Display settings

While we didn’t do any official color testing, it was clear that the default white point was too cool and did not adhere to any particular color standard. Using the slider to make the display warmer also didn’t work, as even the warmest setting was still too cool to reach 6500K. Therefore, it’s basically impossible to get perfectly accurate colors on the phone using the available options.

The device has some HDR capability. While you cannot play HDR content in apps like YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video, we were able to transfer some HDR10 files and play them locally on the device. Given the limited nature of the LCD panel, the HDR videos looked pretty much like SDR, so we don’t think the lack of HDR support in streaming apps is a big loss.

As for the refresh rate, OnePlus has a rather loose definition of what it considers 120Hz. Sure, the panel can go up to 120Hz and it can even maintain that in many apps. However, most of the apps we used caused the display to permanently switch to 90Hz while the app was open.

This included popular apps like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Telegram, Gmail, Spotify, YouTube, and even the default Google Messages and Phone apps. As long as you are in the app, the display will stay at 90Hz.

Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Things get even worse with some other apps, which are only limited to 60Hz. This includes basically every browser except Chrome (which runs at 120Hz), Google Photos, Maps, and Amazon Prime Video.

Oddly enough, some other apps worked just fine at the full 120Hz. This included Netflix, Apple Music, Flamingo, and every other app that comes pre-installed. It’s basically a game of roulette every time you install an app because you have no idea what frame rate it would run at.

The only good thing about all of this is that unlike other OxygenOS 12.1 phones we have seen so far, the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G does not fluctuate its refresh rate within an app as you use it. It sets the refresh rate as soon as the app launches and sticks to it. This means scrolling through apps like Instagram was actually smoother on this phone than it is on the OnePlus 10 Pro, which as we have covered in a dedicated article, has major issues with its display refresh rate.

Another good thing about the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G display is that it also supports 48Hz and 50Hz refresh rates. The display will then identify when you are playing 24fps or 25fps video content and automatically change its refresh rate to match it, so you get consistent and correct frame pacing. Funnily enough, this is the only OnePlus phone to have this feature and it’s the cheapest one they make.

The implementation is a bit iffy because it doesn’t change the refresh rate right away and may occasionally snap out of it and set itself incorrectly to 60Hz but most of the time it works. We tried it with YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video and it worked in all of them.

Finally, the display has good viewing angles and a decent contrast ratio for an LCD panel. The brightness is usually adequate but can get washed out under very bright sunlight.

Overall, the actual display on the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is perfectly adequate for the price. However, OnePlus has once again messed up the refresh rate algorithm on its phone, which results in a subpar experience.

Battery

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G has a 5000mAh battery. While we didn’t do any official battery life testing, the phone would easily last over a day in our testing.

Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

The phone supports 33W SuperVOOC fast charging and comes with the respective charger in the box. In our testing, the phone took 75 minutes to charge from 1%-100%, with the phone charging exactly 50% in the first 30 minutes and 20% in the first 10 minutes. It’s obviously not the fastest charger on the market or in its own segment but we think it’s adequately quick.

Audio

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G has a single loudspeaker on the bottom of the phone. The speaker does not sound very good with a thin, reedy sound that also has audible distortion in it upwards of 70% volume.

The phone also has a headphone jack. The audio quality through the jack is good but there isn’t a lot of power coming out of it. This leaves out most big headphones and even with some IEMs we were approaching close to 80% volume. Still, it’s a good thing to have and something we have come to sorely miss on basically every other phone these days.

Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Unlike more expensive OnePlus phones, the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G does not get Dolby Atmos. Instead, it has Real HD Sound by Dirac. It has similar presets for video, audio, and gaming content as Dolby Atmos and can work for both loudspeakers and wired/wireless audio.

However, even though there is no official Dolby Atmos software processing feature, we were able to playback video files with AC3 and Dolby TrueHD codec, meaning the device still had the codecs installed.

Software

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G runs on OxygenOS 12.1 on top of Android 12, so you are getting the latest version of both out of the box even on this relatively budget phone. The company has promised two major Android updates and three years of security updates for this device.

We have aired our grievances about OxygenOS 12.1 in the past so we won’t dwell on them much further. Aside from questionable design decisions, the OS is also buggy and we ran into issues almost every day while using this phone. It is something we have come to expect with every OnePlus phone now, and we would honestly be shocked if it actually worked normally for once.

Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

In terms of pre-installed apps, there is the usual mish-mash of first-party and Google apps pre-installed. Both of these have grown in number over the past year and not all of them can be uninstalled. There are still two file managers on this phone, one each from OnePlus and Google, and the same goes for the gallery apps.

OnePlus is now also including a Themes store on its phones. Here, you can purchase wallpapers, ringtones, fonts, and themes for your device.

Since the phone does not have an OLED display, OnePlus has omitted the always-on display feature from the settings. You can just enable double-tap to wake to quickly see your lockscreen but there’s no way to have a persistent clock appear on the screen.

OxygenOS 12.1 Launcher - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
OxygenOS 12.1 Launcher - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
OxygenOS 12.1 Launcher - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
OxygenOS 12.1 Launcher - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

OxygenOS 12.1 Launcher

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G has a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor. The sensor was very frustrating during our testing. Right off the bat, the setup process was annoying as it makes you move your finger around and doesn’t realize when you do so. After setup, the sensor keeps finding dead spots on your thumb while scanning, even if you’ve scanned that area during setup. And if you just lift your thumb and put it back, the same area works fine the second time.

Eventually, something changed and the sensor started working normally but the first few days were deeply frustrating.

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G also has a lesser quality vibration motor. The haptic feedback is very generic and imprecise, which makes it unpleasant to use. It’s still fine for general vibration for calls and notifications but we had to disable it for all other haptic feedback.

Settings and features - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Settings and features - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Settings and features - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Settings and features - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Settings and features - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Settings and features

OxygenOS 12.1 has a lot of gesture-related features. You can set up gestures to turn the display on or off or open specific features. There are multiple gestures for screenshots, which lets you take a standard, selected, or scrolling screenshot. The phone can also auto receive calls when you put it up to your ear or switch to the earpiece if the speaker is on.

OnePlus’ gesture navigation remains poor. The phones have a hard time distinguishing between a swipe from the edge of the display or someone simply scrolling up and down, which results in a lot of accidental back gestures. We still recommend using navigation buttons on these phones.

Overall, OxygenOS 12.1 has a good amount of features built-in. However, it can still be quite buggy at times and the general look is far too similar to ColorOS on Oppo and Realme phones with very little in common with previous OnePlus phones. OnePlus has said it will be going back with OxygenOS 13 but we will just have to wait and see how that turns out.

Performance

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor. In India, you get a choice of 6GB or 8GB LPDDR4X memory but in Europe, you are limited to just 6GB. The storage is limited to 128GB UFS 2.2 everywhere, although there is microSD support for further expansion.

The performance during our testing was not very good. The phone does feel quite slow at times, which ironically is pronounced by the 120Hz refresh rate. There is a notable delay in opening or switching between apps and even just navigating through the phone’s settings. When scrolling through apps, it almost feels like you have a slow internet connection as the phone takes a while to load and display new content.

Of course, all of this is a matter of perspective. We are used to more powerful devices so this delay is definitely noticeable to us. For someone upgrading from a lower-end device or even buying their first smartphone, this wouldn’t really be that big of a deal.

However, our experience is on a new device after a fresh reset. The experience is bound to get worse as the device ages and the storage fills up. It’s not something we can test but absolutely worth keeping in mind when making your purchase decision.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    2832
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    2801
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    2335
  • Poco X3 GT
    2310
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
    2157
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    2063
  • Realme 9 Pro
    2020
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
    1956
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    1812

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme 9 Pro+
    814
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    787
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    771
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
    728
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
    694
  • Realme 9 Pro
    694
  • Poco X3 GT
    693
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    688
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    641

AnTuTu 9

Higher is better

  • Poco X3 GT
    578505
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    527663
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    506432
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
    436640
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    416031
  • Realme 9 Pro
    401894
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
    399306
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    391770
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    382902

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Poco X3 GT
    38
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    28
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    28
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    23
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
    19
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
    17
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    17
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    17
  • Realme 9 Pro
    16

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Poco X3 GT
    44
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    33
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    33
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    27
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
    24
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
    20
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    19
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    19
  • Realme 9 Pro
    19

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Poco X3 GT
    68
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    49
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    49
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    41
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
    35
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
    30
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    30
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    30
  • Realme 9 Pro
    29

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Poco X3 GT
    74
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    56
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    56
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    45
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
    40
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
    35
  • Realme 9 Pro
    35
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    34
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    34

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Poco X3 GT
    97
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    69
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    68
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    56
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
    51
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
    43
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    41
  • Realme 9 Pro
    41
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    40

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Poco X3 GT
    116
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    78
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    77
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    68
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
    61
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
    48
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    47
  • Realme 9 Pro
    47
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    46

3DMark Wild Life Vulkan 1.1 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Poco X3 GT
    3991
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    2491
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    2477
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    2296
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
    2036
  • Realme 9 Pro
    1211
  • OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
    1209
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    1204
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    1103

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G supports the virtual memory feature. This essentially uses a page file on the device storage to use as system memory when you run out of it and you can choose how much storage to allocate. While this may seem useful, we recommend against using it as you will notice a rather large drop in performance every time the device swaps back and forth between the much faster RAM and the significantly slower device storage.

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G also has a performance mode that we have seen on OnePlus phones post-OxygenOS 11.3. This maxes out the clock speeds on the CPU at all times instead of ramping them up and down gradually based on demand. We didn’t see any difference in performance when enabling this, neither in everyday use nor in benchmark results.

The Snapdragon 695 chipset has somewhat limited media capabilities. The chipset struggles to play 4K content so apps like YouTube are only limited to playing up to 1080p resolution. We tried playing some local 4K files and while files up to 24fps played okay, higher frame rates caused the player to drop frames.

Lastly, the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G isn’t really suitable for gaming. The performance just isn’t there and you are not going to have a good time with demanding titles. It is, however, perfectly adequate for simpler 2D games or older 3D games.

Camera

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G has a triple camera system on the back. This includes a 64MP f1.7 main camera, 2MP f2.4 macro camera, and a depth sensor. This means, for all intents and purposes, the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G has essentially just a single usable camera on the back. On the front is a 16MP f2.0 camera.

Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

The camera application is somewhat basic, taking into consideration the hardware on offer. There is a full pro mode, for example, but there’s no option to capture images in RAW. You can zoom in but it’s all done digitally. The video recording is capped at just 1080p 30fps in all modes. There is, however, a night mode as well as a portrait mode.

Camera app - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Camera app - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Camera app - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Camera app - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Camera app - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Camera app - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Camera app

Image quality

The 64MP quad-Bayer main camera captures 16MP stills. The images are a bit on the softer side and the level of detail is unimpressive. We are not sure if the images are impacted by the quality of the lens or subpar image processing.

Another issue with the images is the blurring of moving objects. Capturing foliage almost always results in blurred leaves as they move in the wind and the image processing seems incapable of keeping up with the motion. This further affects the level of detail in the images.

Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/1750s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/544s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/955s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/1699s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/371s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/473s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/130s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/1245s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/201s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/477s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/192s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Main camera daylight - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/1264s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Main camera daylight

The color reproduction was also less than ideal. The colors may seem pleasing at first but it’s only because the camera oversaturated them slightly while also going with a warmer color temperature for daylight images. The colors don’t necessarily look bad per se but they also aren’t accurate.

The dynamic range was surprisingly good. The camera has good control over the highlights and also handles the shadows a lot better than other recent OnePlus phones we have reviewed.

Going back to the topic of lens quality, the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G camera cannot gracefully handle being hit by bright lights at angles. There is very prominent flaring visible in some of the images and it doesn’t always manifest itself as artistic, aesthetically pleasing shapes but more as washed-out colors in parts of the frame.

Without a RAW capture mode, we didn’t have much use for the pro mode, aside from occasionally correcting the white balance when the camera strayed too far from reality. A RAW mode would have also let us see how much of the issue with the detail is because of the lens or the image processing.

The camera has a 64MP capture mode but as we have seen in the past these are simply upscaled from the sensor’s native resolution, which in this case is 16MP. This means you don’t really get any additional detail for shooting in this mode and the files simply take up more space on the phone.

64MP mode - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/196s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
64MP mode - f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/521s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

64MP mode

The 2MP macro camera is the same as the one we have seen in previous OnePlus phones. It’s just really poor quality and absolutely not worth using.

Macro camera - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Macro camera - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Macro camera - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Macro camera

Low light performance without night mode isn’t very good. Night mode, however, works really well here and the images go from being unusable to surprisingly decent.

Night mode off vs on - f/1.7, ISO 17996, 1/10s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Night mode off vs on - f/1.7, ISO 24993, 1/17s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Night mode off vs on - f/1.7, ISO 17996, 1/10s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review
Night mode off vs on - f/1.7, ISO 23176, 1/17s - Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

Night mode off vs on

Finally, let’s talk about the video. The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G can capture only 1080p 30fps video from the main camera. The 1080p video simply does not have the amount of detail it can have and look quite soft and a bit blurry as a result. The electronic stabilization does a decent job of stabilizing vertical movement but there’s still some horizontal movement left in walking videos, which looks like the footage is oscillating sideways as you walk.

Overall, the camera on the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is okay. The lack of an ultra-wide could be a deal-breaker for some people and it’s odd that OnePlus decided to leave out this feature, considering there are cheaper phones out there with it. We would have gladly traded both of the remaining two cameras on the back for a single ultra-wide considering they bring absolutely no value to the table. But they are cheaper to implement and inflate the spec sheet, so here we are.

Conclusion

Rumor has it that a European launch of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is impending and the expected launch price is €300.

The 128GB/6GB version of the device is already available on AliExpress for around $300 or on Amazon India for INR19,999 (around $250).

However, it’s bound to meet some serious competition from team Xiaomi. For the same sort of price, you could get the Poco X4 Pro 5G or any of its identical siblings – the Indian Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G or the global Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G. They all offer an OLED display and a better set of cameras along with faster charging.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G (India)
Xiaomi Poco X4 Pro 5G

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G (India) • Xiaomi Poco X4 Pro 5G

We are already past the point of recommending OnePlus phones over the competition for their software. That ship sailed with the launch of OxygenOS 12 and we think Xiaomi may even have an edge now with its consistent looking and more stable MIUI 13.

Verdict

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is an entry-level phone for OnePlus and one of the cheapest they have released, so it’s not fair to be too hard on it. Even then, there’s not much about it that stands out or is noteworthy in any way. While the phone isn’t expensive it also doesn’t feel great value. In fact, some things like the 120Hz display (which often runs at just 90Hz) and the triple camera system (of which only one is usable) even make you feel a bit shortchanged.

Oneplus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review

In the end, the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is an okay entry-level phone from OnePlus. But they will have to do more if they want to stand out in this segment.

Pros

  • Large battery
  • Headphone jack & microSD slot
  • Main camera has punchy colors and wide dynamic range.

Cons

  • Max refresh rate varies from app to app
  • No ultra-wide camera
  • No 4K video recording or playback
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