OnePlus Nord N10 5G is now the cheapest 5G phone around at $299

OnePlus Nord 10 5G
(Image credit: OnePlus)

Since the OnePlus Nord shipped last summer, U.S. phone shoppers have looked enviously at Europe where the mid-range phone with premium features was available, wondering when such a device might reach their country. That time is here, OnePlus announced today.

The OnePlus Nord N10 5G and OnePlus Nord were both unveiled in the fall, with the promise of a U.S. debut. According to OnePlus, those phones will go on sale January 15 at a price that makes the wait worth it.

Specifically, the OnePlus Nord N10 5G is debuting at $299. That's the lowest price we've seen so far for a 5G capable-phone, even as prices began to drop down toward the end of 2020. Prior to Nord N10's arrival, the cheapest 5G phone available was the TCL 10 5G UW, a Verizon-exclusive that brought 5G connectivity for just $399. OnePlus' latest phone undercuts that price by $100.

As for the other new OnePlus phone, the OnePlus Nord N100 doesn't offer 5G compatibility, but it will tempt budget phone shoppers with a low price. The Nord N100 will cost $179 when it goes on sale on January 15.

Just as significant as their low prices, both OnePlus Nord models will be available through a wireless carrier in the U.S. That's key as most shoppers buy their devices directly from a carrier as opposed to buying an unlocked phone. 

In the case of the OnePlus Nord N10 5G and N100, T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile will offer both devices. It'll be the first time a OnePlus phone is sold through a prepaid carrier.

OnePlus launched its Nord phones last year as a way to get back to its disruptive roots. While OnePlus' flagship phones still cost hundreds less than comparable handsets from Apple and Samsung, the prices of high-end models like the OnePlus 8 Pro have been creeping upward in recent years. With the Nord lineup, OnePlus can still offer high-end features like fast refreshing displays and — in the case of the N10 5G — 5G connectivity, while saving on costs by turning to a less powerful chipset.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 OnePlus Nord N10 5GOnePlus Nord N100
Screen size6.49-inches (2400 x 1080; 90Hz)6.52-inches (1600 x 720; 90Hz)
CPUSnapdragon 690Snapdragon 460
Rear cameras64MP main (f/1.8); 8MP ultrawide (f/2.25); macro lens; monochrome lens13MP main (f/2.2); macro lens; bokeh lens
Front camera16MP (f/2.05)8MP (f/2.0)
5G connectivity?YesNo
Battery size4,300 mAh5,000 mAh

OnePlus Nord N10 5G: What you need to know

In the case of the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, that's a Snapdragon 690 system-on-chip, which is much less powerful than the Snapdragon 8 series chipsets found in flagship phones. Even the Snapdragon 765G powering the regular OnePlus Nord packs more of a punch.

OnePlus Nord 10 5G

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Still, in our OnePlus Nord N10 5G review last year, we found that the phone held up well when performing everyday tasks and could even run some demanding games, even if graphics weren't as crisp as they appear on more powerful phones. 

We were more impressed by the 90Hz refresh rate for the N10 5G's 6.49-inch LCD screen and by its long battery life. The Nord N10 5G lasted 11 hours and 48 minutes on our battery test featuring continuous web surfing over a cellular connection, placing it on our best phone battery life list. Support for OnePlus' Warp Charge 30T technology means the phone will charge quickly too.

Other OnePlus Nord N10 features include four rear cameras, though two of those are monochrome and macro lenses that struck us as superfluous. The 64MP main camera and 8MP ultrawide lens held their own in our testing when the lighting was good, but you can find better camera phones while paying only a little more than the new Nord's asking price. 

Nevertheless, the $299 cost of the OnePlus Nord N10 5G is hard to beat, and it will give a lot of bargain hunters a good reason to make the leap to 5G.

OnePlus Nord N100: What you need to know

The specs on the OnePlus Nord N100 aren't nearly as impressive, explaining that phone's $179 price. The most noteworthy line on the Nord N100's spec sheet is that its 6.52-inch screen also sports a 90Hz refresh rate despite initial reports that the phone wouldn't offer that feature. A 5,000 mAh battery should help the phone last a long time on a charge.

oneplus nord n100

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Otherwise, the OnePlus Nord N100 looks very much like a budget phone, with a Snapdragon 460 chip that's a downgrade from the more powerful chipset of the Nord N10 5G. You'll get a 13MP main camera along with bokeh and macro lenses on the back of the N100.

Pre-orders for both the OnePlus Nord N10 5G and OnePlus Nord N100 begin this Friday (January 8) at Best Buy, Amazon and B&H. The phones officially launch a week later, and OnePlus says it will host a launch event to mark the North American debut for its Nord lineup. (The N10 5G and N100 are coming to Canada, too, priced at $389 and $239 Canadian, respectively.)

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.