OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G Review: A Dependable Option

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The OnePlus Nord series has undeniably been a triumph for OnePlus, allowing the brand to secure a distinct space in a market where budget-oriented brands are intensively competing. As a strategic move to further solidify its stance in the sub-30K segment, OnePlus introduced the Nord CE3 5G in India.

This device is positioned as a core-edition variant within the acclaimed OnePlus Nord series, drawing inspiration from the recent OnePlus Nord 3 5G launch. Like its predecessor, the Nord CE3 5G shares several key features, including a 50MP triple camera setup, a robust 5,000mAh battery, 80W fast charging capabilities, and a vivid 120Hz refresh rate display, among other notable attributes.

Priced at Rs 26,999 and above, the OnePlus Nord CE3 5G seems to present itself as a comprehensive smartphone package. Is this phone worth the price? Let’s find out the answer in our full review.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G Review Snapshot

Editor’s rating: 3.8/5

Design

Display

Software

Performance

Camera

Battery

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Pros

  • Good Display
  • Adequate Performance
  • Long-Lasting Battery
  • Competent Camera

Cons

  • Plastic Build
  • Missing Alert Slider
  • Lowlight Photography

OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G Price


oneplus nord ce 3 5g review: Design

OnePlus offers a distinctive design in its affordable Nord series phones, and the OnePlus Nord 3 continues this trend with its two circular islands at the back. This design seems to have worked well for OnePlus Nord lineup as many people like. Even though the Nord 3 looks like the older Nord phones, a lot of people I showed it to really liked how it clean look as compared to the flashy gradient back covers that we see more often in mid-tier phones. It looks more subtle and nice.

The Nord 3 is made from glossy plastic, but it looks like it’s made from glass because of a neat trick with how it shines. This makes it seem fancier. The phone is small and easy to hold because of its flat edges. It has two islands for the cameras on the back, and there’s a flash too. On the bottom, there’s a place to plug in a charger, a speaker part, and a spot for the SIM card. At the top, there’s something called an IR Blaster that can control things like a remote. On the right side, there are buttons to make the sound louder or quieter and a button to turn the phone on and off. They put these buttons where you can easily reach them.

But there are a few things that aren’t as great. The Nord 3 doesn’t have a special button that the older OnePlus phones had. This button made it easy to switch between different ways the phone makes sounds without touching the screen. Also, the shiny back of the phone gets fingerprints on it very easily. If you want to keep it clean or protect it from damage, you can use the case that comes with the phone.

oneplus Nord ce 3 5g review: Display and audio

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G comes equipped with a 6.7-inch 10-bit fullHD+ AMOLED display that boasts HDR10+ certification and 2,160Hz PWM dimming. The display’s adaptive refresh rate, ranging from 60Hz to 120Hz, aims to provide a seamless experience while conserving power. However, the practical implementation falls short of expectations.

In practice, the dynamic refresh rate struggles to perform as intended. Despite being set to auto mode, the display often sticks to 120Hz within the interface and frequently drops to 60Hz even in apps that could benefit from the smoother 120Hz experience. While manually selecting the higher refresh rate does improve matters, the display tends to hover around 90Hz in most applications. Notably, this fluctuating refresh rate doesn’t significantly impact the device’s battery life.

On the positive side, the display itself is impressive. It offers vivid colors, ample brightness, and responsiveness. With its 20.1:9 aspect ratio, the display is thoughtfully sized for a comfortable everyday experience. Adding to the experience is OnePlus’s O-haptic technology, which employs an X-axis linear motor to deliver natural-feeling vibrations.

For content enthusiasts, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G boasts Widevine L1 certification. This ensures smooth streaming of FHD content on platforms like Netflix. However, it’s important to note that HDR capabilities are absent in the current version of the device.

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G features dual speakers that deliver loud enough stereo sound. These speakers are enhanced by Dolby Atmos, providing a wide soundstage for an immersive audio experience. The phone also supports Hi-Res audio through both wired and wireless connections. However, there are a few notable omissions. Despite the solid audio features, the absence of a 3.5mm audio jack for wired accessories is a missed opportunity in this core-edition smartphone.

OnePlus nord ce 3 5g review: Cameras

Equipped with a flagship-grade 50-megapixel main sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 2MP macro lens on its rear, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G offers a comprehensive camera setup. The front houses a 16MP camera. Primarily, it’s the main sensor that contributes to the device’s imaging prowess. Despite lacking optical image stabilization, it performs well across diverse lighting conditions.

In well-lit conditions, the primary 50MP sensor captures 12.5MP images with commendable detail and vibrant colors. While dynamic range could be better, leading to occasional blown-out highlights and shadow areas, overall image quality remains satisfactory.

The 8MP ultra-wide sensor provides a 112-degree field of view, although it exhibits distortion at the edges and some color inaccuracies. The 2MP macro sensor doesn’t deliver exceptional results.

In low light, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G performs reasonably well. While autofocus isn’t as swift as the OnePlus Nord 3 due to the lack of a dedicated sensor, the 50MP primary sensor still manages to capture decent shots with appreciable detail. The phone’s night mode also proves dependable.

Portrait mode offers solid edge detection, yet subtle distortions might appear on zooming in. Selfies and video calls benefit from the 16MP front-facing camera, which captures natural skin tones and respectable facial detailing.

oneplus nord ce 3 5g Review: Software and Performance

Powered by OxygenOS 13.1, built on Android 13, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G presents a user interface reminiscent of OPPO’s ColorOS, distinguishing itself with the absence of third-party apps or ads. A notable strength lies in the software’s extensive customization options. The software offers a wide selection of wallpapers and themes to choose from. There are options to change app icons’ shape according to personal preference. The device commits to future-proofing by guaranteeing two major Android updates and three years of security updates.

Under the hood of the OnePlus Nord CE 5G lies the Snapdragon 782G processor, an enhanced iteration of the Snapdragon 778G chipset that has already powered numerous mid-range smartphones. True to its reputation, this chipset delivers reliable performance. The latest offering manages to handle day-to-day tasks with ease.

Throughout my usage, multitasking was a breeze, presenting no notable challenges. Regular tasks were effortlessly managed. However, I did encounter some performance hiccups while simultaneously editing high-end files on the Inshot app and running resource-intensive applications such as Instagram and Genshin Impact in the background.

Popular titles like Battlegrounds Mobile India ran seamlessly with default HD graphics and a “High” frame rate setting. When it came to the more demanding game Genshin Impact, the phone automatically adjusted to lower graphics settings to ensure smooth playability. I observed slight stutters during intense combat sequences when I manually increased the graphics settings for improved visuals. In Genshin Impact, I chose the 60fps option with low graphics to enhance responsiveness.

What impressed me was how the phone managed to maintain optimal temperature control even after 40 minutes of gaming, with only minor warmth on the back panel. The battery level dropped by a mere 10 percent, showcasing remarkable efficiency. Nonetheless, it’s advisable to avoid gaming while the device is charging, as this combination places significant strain on the phone, leading to notable heat generation.

oneplus nord ce 3 5g review: Battery and Charging

With a capacious 5,000 mAh battery at its core, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G offers an impressive battery experience. On a full charge, the device easily powers through at least a day and a half of intensive usage. Moderate users might even extend this duration.

The icing on the cake is its fast charging capability. Within just 15 minutes of charging, you can expect to reach around 60 percent battery capacity. This means you’re almost always in the clear, free from the worry of a depleted battery. The battery performance remains resilient even when pushing the device to its limits, such as using resource-intensive apps like Slack, Google Chrome, Instagram, and more.

Review Verdict: Should you buy the OnePlus Nord Ce 3 5G?

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G stands as a noteworthy upgrade over its predecessor, excelling across most categories with only minor room for improvement. After a week of usage, it’s evident that the Nord CE 3 5G delivers seamless performance, dependable battery life, remarkably rapid charging, and camera results worthy of social media acclaim. Criticisms are few and far between for this new OnePlus device. Clearly, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 firmly positions itself as a reliable performer in the sub-Rs 30,000 price bracket.

As the OnePlus Nord CE 3 5G enters the sub-30K market alongside competitors like the POCO F5, Motorola Edge 40, and Realme 11 Pro Plus, users find themselves in a favorable position with a range of capable options to select from. Amid this diverse lineup, the Nord CE 3 is a reliable choice for OnePlus enthusiasts, ensuring a satisfying experience for those dedicated to the brand.

Reasons to buy

  • Good Display
  • Adequate Performance
  • Long-Lasting Battery
  • Competent Camera

Reasons To Not Buy

  • Plastic Build
  • Missing Alert Slider
  • Lowlight Photography
Deepak RajawatDeepak Rajawat
Experienced technology journalist with over 7-years of experience. Before embracing online journalism, he has worked with several legacy publications including print editions at Hindustan Times and The Statesman. He also has a keen interest in Sports, which he used to cover with equal enthusiasm in his early career.

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3 Comments
Sathish Mechy
Sathish Mechy
@sathish_mechy
9 months ago

Great review 👌

Reply