OnePlus Nord could be joined by an even cheaper sibling

OnePlus Nord
(Image credit: OnePlus)

The OnePlus Nord was once known in shorthand as the OnePlus 8 Lite for fairly obvious reasons: it was expected to be lighter than the company’s recent flagship, both in terms of specs and its drain on the wallet. But now it looks like there may be a Lite version of the Lite handset, as a mystery OnePlus device has appeared on Geekbench.

First spotted by Abhishek Yadav on Twitter, the listing refers to a smartphone with the model number BE2028. While earlier listings for the OnePlus Nord (AC2003) point to a device clocked at 1.8GHz with 12GB RAM, this new page shows a clock speed of 1.71GHz and 6GB RAM. 

That could, perhaps, be the upcoming 5G-capable Snapdragon 690 processor, rather than the 765G powering the OnePlus Nord. The single-core performance (609 vs 612) is pretty similar between the two, but in multi-core tests it’s more clear cut: 1,728 for the BE2028 against 1,955 for the AC2003.

So what’s going on here? Well to clear up one possible misconception right away, this definitely isn’t a sign that the OnePlus Nord is going to be less well specced than the initial rumors predicted. While a now deleted tweet from Qualcomm’s EU account didn’t specify which Snapdragon 5G chipset the OnePlus Nord would be using, OnePlus’ Carl Pei has told our sister site TechRadar that it will indeed be the Snapdragon 765 CPU powering things. 

Two other possibilities remain. The first is that there’s going to be a OnePlus Nord Lite with slightly cheaper internals. Whether this would be an alternative handset for everyone, or a version specifically for markets where the company needs to keep prices lower to have any chance of success is open to speculation.

The less exciting other option is that this is just an older prototype of the OnePlus Nord with less ambitious specs built in. That would make it interesting as a curiosity, but irrelevant to the here and now. 

All will be revealed soon: OnePlus has confirmed that the Nord will be unveiled at an online event on July 21, and the company has even developed an app to watch along with AR extras on the day. 

Other than the possible surprise inclusion of the mystery BE2028 handset, we’re not expecting too many surprises from the Nord itself: a Snapdragon 765G powered, 6.4-inch device with a 90Hz refresh rate, a 4,300mAh battery and a quad camera array on the back. In other words, the upcoming Pixel 4a should be worried, provided OnePlus remembers its affordable roots... 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.