OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G could be a game changer for cheap phones — here's why

oneplus nord ce 3 lite
(Image credit: OnePlus)
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite specs

Price: £299/€329
Screen size: 6.7-inch LCD (2400 x 1080)
Refresh rate: 120Hz
CPU: Snapdragon 695
Storage/Expandable: 128GB/Yes
Rear cameras: 108MP (f/1.7) main; 2MP depth; 2MP macro
Front camera: 16MP (f/2.4)
Battery size: 5,000 mAh
Charging speed: 67W
Size: 6.5 x 3 x 0.33 inches/165.5 x 76 x 8.3mm

The Nord lineup from OnePlus already includes some of the best cheap phones out there, so the arrival of a new model promising premium features at a not-so-premium price certainly grabs our attention. And at £299 — a little bit less than $375 at the current exchange rate — the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite figures to draw plenty of interest when it arrives April 20… if you’re in the right part of the world. 

Besides a name that doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite features a 108MP camera that offers more than double the megapixels found on the main camera of the Samsung Galaxy S23. Megapixels may not be everything, but that's a noteworthy feature on such a low-cost camera phone.

Here's what else we know about the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite and why we're eager to try out this budget phone when it ships later this spring.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite price and availability

As noted above, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite debuts at £299/€329 for a model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. There is a hybrid SIM/microSD slot if you wish to expand the amount of storage on the phone.

The phone is set to ship in Europe and Asia on April 20. There's no U.S. availability listed at this point, though it's not unheard for OnePlus to eventually bring Nord devices to the U.S. under a different name. For now, though, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite is only slated to come out in other parts of the world.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite: Under the hood

Once you look past the 108MP main camera, the other OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite highlight is the phone's support for fast charging, which is a staple of OnePlus phones both inexpensive and otherwise. In the case of the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite, you'll be able to charge the device's 5,000 mAh battery at 67W speeds — twice as fast as the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite's charging speed.

At 67W, the new Nord phone should be able to get a drained battery to an 80% charge after half-an-hour. While not as fast as the OnePlus 11 flagship — that phone is almost fully charged after 30 minutes thanks to its 80W speed — it's still an impressive claim we're looking forward to testing.

oneplus nord ce 3 lite

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Of course, compromises have to be made somewhere for a phone at this price. The OnePlus Nord CE 3 features a mid-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor that's not going to smash any performance benchmarks. A 6.7-inch display features only 1080p resolution, though you can boost the refresh rate to 120Hz. We're guessing that's not an adaptive refresh rate, though.

In what feels like a retro twist, the CE 3 will feature a headphone jack but OnePlus has also promised dual stereo speakers with a “200% Ultra Volume mode”. The phone will be available in two colors, Chromatic Gray and a far more exciting Pastel Lime.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite: Outlook

Bargain hunters in the U.K. will be eager to see if the main camera on the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite can stand up against other low-cost camera phones. (Sadly, the macro and depth sensors that make up the rest of the rear camera array are far less exciting.) And we'll be ready to test the phone to see how well it mixes a handful of premium features with a low overall price.

The only other question hanging over the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite is whether the phone will make it to America, joining other low-cost Nord devices like the OnePlus Nord N300.

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Andy Sansom
Trainee Writer

Andy is Tom’s Guide’s Trainee Writer, which means that he currently writes about pretty much everything we cover. He has previously worked in copywriting and content writing both freelance and for a leading business magazine. His interests include gaming, music and sports- particularly Formula One, football and badminton. Andy’s degree is in Creative Writing and he enjoys writing his own screenplays and submitting them to competitions in an attempt to justify three years of studying.