The OnePlus Nord isn’t coming to the U.S. beyond a "highly limited" beta program made available after its launch on July 21. But there’s still hope that the mid-range phone will come to the USA.
In an interview with Tom’s Guide, Tuomas Lampen, OnePlus’ head of European Strategy, explained that Europe and India will be used as a form of test area to gauge the appetite for the Nord phone. And if there’s indeed hunger for the Nord — which the rapidly selling-out pre-orders would indicate there is — then the Nord could make it over to the U.S.
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“Part of our strategy is to try out things first on a small scale,” Lampen told us. “We’re launching the Nord in India and Europe first, then taking that feedback from the market for our partner, our community, seeing how they like the device and the going back to the planning table and see what’s the right next step for us.”
“North America is a huge market — very interesting — but now we start this product line in India and Europe and then see when the time is right to expand.”
Lampen didn’t say for certain that the upcoming Nord phone will be the first Nord device to make it to America. But in response to our speculation that if the Nord takes off it would go to other markets including the U.S., he responded: "Yeah that would make sense, wouldn’t it?"
OnePlus Nord: Why not bring to USA?
Given that the OnePlus 8 Pro starts at $899, OnePlus' flagship now comes with a proper flagship phone price tag. Even the OnePlus 8 costs $699, giving it a ticket price that’s still some distance from the likes of the OnePlus 5, which used to start at $479.
So the Nord is a move for OnePlus to go back to its roots and deliver a well-specced smartphone for an affordable price, while at the same time not abandoning its work on premium phones.
The rumors so far point toward the OnePlus Nord sporting a 6.4-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate, a Snapdragon 765G chipset, up to 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, and 5G connectivity. It’s also tipped to have a 4,115-mAh battery, a quartet of rear cameras and a pair of front-facing cameras.
That’s quite a spec sheet for a phone that OnePlus has confirmed will cost less than $500. (And that estimate was provided by the company in dollars, mind you; OnePlus didn't release a figure in euros or pounds, which could end up being a Freudian slip of sorts.)
Plus, there’s a reasonable gap in the U.S. market for a phone like the Nord to fill. There are plenty of mid-range phones, but a lot of them are lackluster.
OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE vs Pixel 4a
Arguably, only the iPhone SE 2020 and Pixel 3a stand out as truly impressive affordable phones in the U.S. The upcoming Pixel 4a is shaping up to be a worthy successor once Google finally gets around to revealing it. But its weaker rumored Snapdragon 730 chipset and smaller 5.8-inch display means it could lose out to the Nord, even though it’s been tipped to cost as little as $349.
The iPhone SE has the fastest processor in its price range with the A13 Bionic, as well as very capable cameras, but there's just a single rear lens and single selfie cam. Plus, the iPhone SE's 4.7-inch screen is puny compared to the rumored OLED panel on the Nord. The Nord will also pack a larger battery and fast charging in the box.
OnePlus Nord T?
As such, the U.S. phone arena is ripe for the Nord. But Lampen noted that while OnePlus is a global company, it’s still a relatively small one, and it’s looking to "grow healthily and steadily" by concentrating on what it’s good at. Essentially, that means learning what works in certain markets initially before expanding once it has the confidence of success.
All this means the there’s a very good chance that Nord-branded phones will eventually land in the U.S. Whether that means a wider rollout of the first Nord phone or perhaps a second-generation Nord handset — Nord T? — remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure: OnePlus hasn’t put the U.S. out of its sights.