OnePlus Nord is a 'good-enough' phone for the masses — thanks to this feature

OnePlus Nord back
(Image credit: OnePlus)

Typically when OnePlus releases a new Android phone, it’s all about delivering flagship-level performance for less than the competition. But the OnePlus Nord, which will cost under $500, is different.

The company’s new mid-range phone won’t have the sheer horsepower of the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, but it’s designed to the masses and not spec heads. In a new interview with Android Authority, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei says that the Nord is a “good-enough product” that should live up to the company’s user experience standards.

One of the key ingredients to making the OnePlus Nord a reality — and a better product than the mid-range OnePlus X from 2015 — is Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 765G chip. 

This processor is designed to deliver solid performance when performing everyday tasks, and it supports 5G connectivity. This is an important distinction between the OnePlus Nord and the reported Snapdragon 730 chip in the upcoming Google Pixel 4a. The $399 iPhone SE 2020 also lacks 5G.

According to Qualcomm’s page on the Snapdragon 765G, it “unites 5G and AI to power select premium-tier experiences for gamers across the globe.” This includes an Adreno 620 GPU that promises 10% faster graphic rendering compared to the Snapdragon 765. Gaming actually comes up quite a bit, which fits the younger audience OnePlus is going for with this phone.

Pei told Android Authority that “we really believe that putting this 765G processes here is the right thing for a product at this price point. It can now deliver the experience we wanted to deliver.”

And while OnePlus is aware of the concern around adopting a mid-range chipset, Pei says that the data coming in following a few product teases for the OnePlus Nord looks encouraging so far. 

One way OnePlus can make the Nord feel faster and more responsive than other affordable Android phones is its own OxygenOS, which rides on top of Google’s Android 10. In general, we’ve found OxygenOS to be one of the best selling points of OnePlus’ handsets.

For example, the OnePlus 8 includes a an improved universal dark mode, intuitive gestures, lots of customization options and Live Wallpapers. We would expect a similar OxygenOS experience on the OnePlus Nord. 

OnePlus is expected to reveal more info on the OnePlus Nord July 7. Although US availability will be limited, this device looks like it has the potential to be one of the most compelling sub-$500 phones of the year. 

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.