OnePlus’ new Nord includes a 108-megapixel camera and 67W fast charging
OnePlus is introducing a new smartphone to its midrange Nord lineup today, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite. It’s got a terrible name but some interesting specs considering its relatively affordable €329 (£299) price point. It’ll be available for sale in Europe on April 20th and will also be sold in select markets across Asia but not the US.
There’s also a new pair of Nord-branded true wireless earbuds that are going on sale today called the OnePlus Nord Buds 2. They’ll be available in the US in addition to European and Asian markets.
Top of the Nord CE 3 Lite’s list of eye-catching inclusions is the 108-megapixel sensor in its main camera. That’s the same resolution (though not the same exact hardware) as what Samsung included in its top-of-the-line flagship Galaxy S20 Ultra in 2020, though the company has since gone on to include a 200-megapixel sensor in this year’s flagship. Obviously, megapixels are far from the be-all and end-all of camera quality, but high-resolution sensors are more than just a marketing gimmick.
The second spec worth paying attention to is the Nord CE 3 Lite’s fast-charging speeds, which go up to 67W. That’s enough to charge its 5,000mAh battery to 80 percent in 30 minutes, which isn’t too shabby at this price point. It’s a little over double the 33W fast charging offered by last year’s Nord CE 2 Lite, and it’s even higher than the 65W offered by last year’s step-up model, the OnePlus Nord CE 2.
If you think the naming of OnePlus’ Nord lineup is getting a bit confusing, I don’t blame you. In Europe at least, the range now consists of three tiers, the standard numbered Nord (like the original Nord, Nord 2, and Nord 2T), the step-down Nord “Core Edition,” or CE, and then the even more affordable “CE Lite” devices. Meanwhile, US Nord devices get a different naming scheme that results in devices like the Nord N300 and Nord N20. “OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite,” as a name, is just a mess, especially since most people won’t have that background.
Anyway, back to the Nord CE 3 Lite (whose name is technically the Nord CE 3 Lite 5G, but come on). It’s powered by a midrange Snapdragon 695 processor with 8GB of RAM and, in Europe, comes with 128GB of storage. There’s also microSD support for up to 1TB cards. Although it’s technically got a triple camera setup, the secondary cameras are a less exciting two-megapixel macro and two-megapixel depth assist. OnePlus says the resolution of the main sensor means it can offer a “3x lossless zoom” without needing a separate telephoto lens. It’s available in gray or lime green, and will get two years of Android software updates plus an additional year of security updates.
The Nord CE 3 Lite comes with a headphone jack, but there are also stereo speakers equipped with technology that lets them “be increased up to 200 percent,” according to OnePlus. It sounds about as absurd as Spinal Tap’s infamous amps that turn up to 11. Apparently, this claim refers to the optimizations OnePlus has done to double the perceived loudness of the Nord CE 3 Lite’s speaker hardware. Over on the visual side, the Nord CE 3 Lite’s LCD screen is 6.72 inches in size, with a 1080p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.
Alongside the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite, OnePlus has also announced a follow-up to last year’s OnePlus Nord Buds called the OnePlus Nord Buds 2. The big new feature here is support for active noise cancellation. The Nord 2 earbuds are available today across both the US and Europe priced at $59 / €69 / £69, which is a slight price bump from the $39 / €49 / £49 pricing last time around.
Outside of ANC, the Nord Buds 2 offer a similar set of features to the original Nord Buds. You get five hours of battery life from the buds themselves with ANC on, rising to 27 including the case. Turn ANC off, and you get seven hours from the buds (same as last time) or 36 including the case (up from 30 hours). There’s an IP55 rating for dust and water resistance, and the buds are available in gray or white.
While OnePlus’ recent flagship phones have been a bit hit or miss, its Nord lineup has been solid, with flaws that are more forgivable at their midrange price points. I’ll be interested to see if the Nord CE 3 Lite continues this trend.