OnePlus’ new Nord includes a 108-megapixel camera and 67W fast charging
OnePlus is today introducing a new smartphone in its mid-range Nord line, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite. It has a terrible name but some interesting specs considering its relatively affordable €329 (£299). It will be available for sale in Europe on April 20 and will also be sold in select markets across Asia, but not in the US.
There’s also a new pair of Nord-branded true wireless earbuds going on sale today called the OnePlus Nord Buds 2. They’ll be available in the US in addition to European and Asian markets.
Topping the Nord CE 3 Lite’s list of attractive inclusions is the 108-megapixel sensor on its main camera. That’s the same resolution (though not the exact same hardware) that Samsung included in its flagship Galaxy S20 Ultra in 2020, though the company has since gone on to include a 200-megapixel sensor in this year’s flagship. . Of course, megapixels are far from camera quality, but high-resolution sensors are more than just a marketing gimmick.
I think this picture is supposed to illustrate the phone’s 120Hz refresh rate. Image: OnePlus
The second spec worth paying attention to is the fast charging speed of the Nord CE 3 Lite, which goes up to 67 W. This is enough to charge its 5,000 mAh battery to 80 percent in 30 minutes , which isn’t too shabby at this price point. That’s slightly more than double the 33W fast charging offered by last year’s Nord CE 2 Lite, and is even higher than the 65W offered by last year’s model, the OnePlus Nord CE 2.
If you think the naming of OnePlus’ Nord line is getting a little confusing, I don’t blame you. At least in Europe, the range now consists of three levels, the standard-numbered Nord (like the original Nord, Nord 2 and Nord 2T), the descending “Core Edition” or CE Nord, and then the more affordable “CE Lite” devices . Meanwhile, US Nord devices get a different naming scheme resulting 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.
Nord CE 3 Lite in gray and lime green. Image: OnePlus
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 mid-range Snapdragon 695 processor with 8GB of RAM and, in Europe, comes with 128GB of storage. There is also microSD support for cards up to 1 TB. Although it technically has 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 “lossless 3x zoom” without the need for a separate telephoto lens. It’s available in gray or lime green and will receive two years of Android software updates plus an additional year of security updates.
The Nord CE 3 Lite comes with a headphone jack, but it also has stereo speakers equipped with technology that allows them to “boost up to 200 percent,” according to OnePlus. It seems as absurd as Spinal Tap’s infamous amps cranking it up to 11. Apparently, this claim refers to the optimizations OnePlus has made to double the perceived loudness of the Nord CE 3 Lite’s speaker hardware. Visually, the Nord CE 3 Lite’s LCD screen is 6.72 inches in size, with a 1080p resolution and a 120 Hz refresh rate.
The Nord Buds 2 have a similar chunky design as their predecessors. Image: OnePlus
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 headphones are available today in the US and Europe for $59 / €69 / £69, which is a slight price increase from the $39 / €49 / £49 price last time.
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 off ANC and get seven hours from the buds (same as last time) or 36 including the case (out of 30 hours). It has 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 line has been solid, with flaws that are more forgivable at their mid-range price points. I’ll be interested to see if the Nord CE 3 Lite continues this trend.