OnePlus Malaysia will be launching a brand new smartphone in Malaysia really soon. It’s called the OnePlus Nord CE 2 and it’s a mid-range device with support for 5G. Now, it was launched globally last month, but it wasn’t until recently that we finally got our hands on this brand new smartphone.
So, what is it?
For starters, its the successor to last year’s Nord CE 5G, which was a smartphone designed to be the company’s affordable mid-range smartphone. The Nord CE 2 builds on that with a different processor and a brand new look. However, that particular processor choice might not be what OnePlus fans will like.
That’s because for this model the company has traded the Snapdragon SoC for a MediaTek Dimensity 900 processor. Now, this wouldn’t have been such a bad thing, but the problem is that it isn’t even the newest Dimensity 900 processor MediaTek makes because that would be the Dimensity 920.
Still, it is an upper-midrange chip, and it is also mated to 8GB of LPDDR4x memory and 128GB of UFS2.2 internal storage. If that’s not enough, you can expand storage via a dedicated microSD card. Yes, that means you won’t have to trade one of your SIM cards to get expandable storage—you can have your cake and eat it too.
Keeping the lights on is a 4,500 mAh battery. By 2022 standards, that’s not really very big. I would definitely have liked to see a 5,000 mAh cell in this phone, but on the upside you do get 65W fast charging thanks to the phone’s support of SuperVOOC. Oh, and OnePlus even included the fast-charging brick in the box, imagine that in 2022.
Up front, you’re looking at a 6.43″ Full HD+ AMOLED display pushing a resolution of 2400×1080 pixels. It also has a refresh rate of 90Hz, which I personally think is a really nice sweet spot to be at. As a result, this screen looks quite nice. It’s vibrant, punchy and has pretty good viewing angles too. It is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 to boot. But, the oversized chin does make it look a little dated by 2022 standards.
For photography, the smartphone gets a triple camera setup at the back, plus a 16MP f/2.4 selfie shooter up front. The main camera system consists of a 64MP f/1.79 wide camera, an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera as well as a 2MP f/2.4 macro camera. Nothing super impressive from a mid-range device, and my initial impressions of the camera quality puts it right smack in the middle of mediocre.
It’s not a super impressive smartphone then?
Well, yeah it’s quite uninspiring when you glance at the specs. But, there are a couple of things I do like about the smartphone, the first of which is obviously the software. Oxygen OS is one of the main reasons why people still buy OnePlus devices, because let’s be real the phones stopped being “super affordable bang-for-buck” devices a while back.
The clean stock-like Android experience is still really nice to use and, personally, really nice to look at. And if we’re on the topic of things that are really nice to look at, I think the Nord CE 2 is also quite tastefully designed.
I love this particular Bahama Blue colourway because I think it manages to straddle the line between being eye-catching without being garish—if you know what I mean. It’ll turn heads, but at the same time it doesn’t cross into that line of being a ah beng smartphone, which is something I can definitely appreciate.
The treatment on the back and how they’ve done the colour also looks quite unique because the phone’s colour seems to shift really easily depending on the lighting of the room around you. It’s not a “colour-changing” smartphone, or anything like that, but the way the light reflects off the back of the device alters the tone of the blue in very pleasing ways. Though, it is quite the fingerprint magnet.
I also appreciate the way they’ve done the whole Find X3 Pro “organic camera bump” look but with a translucent module instead. Even though the phone doesn’t feel very expensive in the hand, it is still really nice to look at, and quite comfortable to hold thanks to its curved frame and back.
Wired headphone users will also be glad to see that there is a 3.5mm headphone jack on this device. But, the trade-off here is that the phone doesn’t have stereo speakers. There’s still a good amount of volume, but seeing a smartphone that will likely be priced above RM1,300 ship without at least an earpiece stereo speaker setup in 2022 feels kind of weird.
What’s the verdict then?
First impressions? I think it’s quite the looker, but beyond that, it definitely feels like it as strayed far from the “never settle” mantra you see everywhere. In fact, settling seems to be what this phone is all about especially given the context of 2022 and what some of its other rivals are doing.
It has a slightly outdated processor, it doesn’t have a particularly large battery and it doesn’t have a particularly impressive camera either. It reminds me a lot of the Oppo Reno 7, and for good reason because if you take off the OnePlus badge and styling, I don’t see much of anything separating the two.
The one thing that could redeem this device would be its price point. But, given the fact that it’s predecessor retailed from RM1,399, I doubt this will be more affordable. Yes, that’s still RM600 more affordable than the 256GB Reno 7, why wouldn’t you just pick up the Realme 9 Pro+ instead? That phone has the newer Dimensity 920 and the flagship IMX766 camera sensor out of the Oppo Find X3 Pro.