A pair of OnePlus phones — the OnePlus Nord N10 5G and OnePlus Nord N100 — land in the U.S. next week, and you can be forgiven if you’re having a hard time telling the two devices apart. After all, other than that 5G in the one phone’s name, there’s not much in that string of numbers and letters to tell you much about OnePlus’ latest budget phones.
Both the N10 and N100 are part of the OnePlus Nord line — a new group of phones launched by OnePlus last year with the OnePlus Nord as low-cost options for people who still want a few key high-end features. But the original Nord never reached the U.S., and these two phones will, giving us multiple Nords to consider.
Our OnePlus Nord N10 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N100 face-off reveals several key differences between these new models in terms of price, specs and features, which could help you decide which budget phone to buy. Here's how the two latest OnePlus Nord models compare.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G vs. N100: Specs compared
|Row 0 - Cell 0
|OnePlus Nord N10 5G
|OnePlus Nord N100
|6.49-inches (2400 x 1080; 90Hz)
|6.52-inches (1600 x 720; 90Hz)
|64MP main (f/1.8); 8MP ultrawide (f/2.25); macro lens; monochrome lens
|13MP main (f/2.2); macro lens; bokeh lens
OnePlus Nord N10 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N100: Price
OnePlus launched the Nord brand last year as a way to bring some higher-end features to lower-priced handsets. The company certainly wasn't kidding about the price — at $299, the OnePlus Nord N10 5G is one of the cheapest 5G phones we've seen. You can currently order it from the OnePlus website, which will give you a free pair of OnePlus Buds Z earbuds if you order before Jan. 14. You can also pre-order the phone at Amazon, Best Buy and B&H.
The OnePlus Nord N100 costs even less at $179, and it’s available for pre-order at OnePlus and B&H Photo. Amazon and Best Buy are slated to offer the phone, too, though it’s not listed there at this time.
The OnePlus Nord N10 5G has been available in the UK since Nov. 14, where it debuted at £329. The OnePlus Nord N100 costs £179.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N100: Design and display
You clearly aren't paying for design flourishes with these two OnePlus Nord models. They're made out of cheaper, plastic materials as OnePlus looks to keep a lid on costs. The N10 5G comes in a Midnight Ice color while the N100 is available in Midnight Frost — names that sound fancier than "different shades of gray."
The N100 is the larger of the two phones, slightly wider and taller than the 6.4 x 2.9 x 0.35 inches. That's to accommodate a larger screen — you get a 6.52-inch LCD panel on the N100, compared to 6.49 inches on the N10 5G.
The display on both phones offers one of the more noteworthy features in the Nord lineup — a 90Hz refresh rate, even on the cheaper N100. The displays on most phones feature a 60Hz refresh rate, but the faster refresh rate on the Nord devices means smoother scrolling. It's a pleasant surprise to see that capability in such inexpensive handsets.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N100: Cameras
OnePlus took different approaches with the cameras on the two Nord models, with the N10 5G offering the more sophisticated camera array. The N10 5G features a 64MP main shooter, aided by an 8MP ultrawide angle camera. There are also dedicated macro and monochrome lenses on the Nord N10 5G.
We've tested the N10 5G's cameras against a Pixel 4a 5G, one of the best camera phones for less than $500. The Pixel came out on top, as you might imagine thanks to Google's superior image processing software. But many photos taken by the Nord N10 5G turned out well, considering this is a $299 phone. The N10's cameras struggled with low light, though, and we didn't find much use for the monochrome and macro shooters.
We haven't had the chance to test the Nord N100's cameras — a 13MP main shooter augmented by dedicated bokeh and macro cameras.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N100: Performance and 5G
Neither of the new Nords is going to set any performance records. Unlike the original OnePlus Nord, which featured a Snapdragon 765G system-on-chip, the OnePlus Nord N10 and Nord N100 feature lower performance silicon in an effort to keep costs down. For the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, that's a Snapdragon 690 processor, while the Nord N100 uses a Snapdragon 460.
Both processors can handle routine tasks like surfing the web, sending emails and streaming video, though they might falter running graphics-intensive apps (most notably the Snapdragon 460-powered N100). That said, we've tested the N10 5G and, apart from a hiccup here and there on some processor-intensive games, it performed well, matching up against other smartphones in its price range.
The OnePlus Nord N10 5G offers something the N100 doesn't, and it's right there in the name — the more expensive of these two Nords can connect to 5G networks. Just be aware that the Nord N10 only works with T-Mobile's 5G bands. There's no support at all for Verizon's faster millimeter wave-based 5G, and the phone will only connect with AT&T's LTE network.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N100: Battery life and charging
If all-day battery life is your biggest concern with a phone, the OnePlus Nord N10 5G seems like the budget device to get. Equipped with a 4,300 mAh battery, the N10 5G lasted 11 hours and 48 minutes on our battery test, which involves surfing the web over cellular until the phone runs out of power. That result places the N10 5G on our best phone battery life list.
But don't count out the OnePlus Nord N100, which features a 5,000 mAh battery. That larger power pack could help the cheaper Nord last even longer than the N10, though we'll have to test the N100 to confirm that.
One thing that's not in question is that the OnePlus Nord N10 5G charges faster than the N100. The N10 relies on OnePlus' WarpCharge 30T fast-charging technology, allowing it to get up to 68% capacity after half-an-hour of charging. The Nord N100 supports 18W charging — a peppy pace, though not nearly as fast as the 30W charging the N10 delivers.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N100: Software and special features
Both new Nords ship with OxygenOS 10.5, OnePlus' take on Android 10. You can expect an update to Android 11, but apart from two years of security updates, that's the only OS update you're getting with either the N10 or N100.
It's not uncommon for cheaper Android phones to get a limited number of Android updates — it's one of the trade-offs that comes with a cheaper phone. Still, with Android 11 out since last fall and Android 12 lurking on the horizon later this year, OnePlus Nord shoppers can be forgiven if they feel a little short-changed.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N100: Bottom line
Last year's OnePlus Nord release showed that OnePlus is serious about bringing better features to cheaper phones. While the Nord N10 5G and N100 don't match the specs of the original Nord, they still deliver fast refresh rates and long-lasting batteries at a low price.
Of the two phones, the N10 5G is clearly the more impressive one on paper, thanks largely to its support for 5G (even if that is limited to just T-Mobile's network) and its fast-charging capabilities. The N100 is the better option if price is your chief concern, as few sub-$200 phones have fast-refreshing screens.
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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.