OnePlus Nord phone coming to US — and it’s happening this year

OnePlus Nord
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Between its 90Hz OLED screen, 5G connectivity and six cameras — all for under $500 — the OnePlus Nord is one of the best phones you can't buy in the U.S. But for those who don't want to go the importing route, there is good news. 

According to Wired, OnePlus cofounder Carl Pei says that a Nord-branded phone will be coming to the U.S. "later this year." But there is a catch to this statement. 

The OnePlus Nord phone that will be coming stateside won't necessarily be the same handset that will be going on sale in Europe and India on August 4. All that OnePlus will commit to is that the new device will have Nord branding.

It's hard to imagine a better mid-range phone for the money than the OnePlus Nord. It packs a lot of premium features for less dough than you might think. This includes a 6.44 AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, an attractive glass design, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Most important, the OnePlus Nord connects to 5G networks, thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset. We're presuming that the U.S. version will as well, and we would expect a U.S.-focused Nord to at least tap into sub 6-GHz networks if not more limited mmWave networks.

The OnePlus Nord also delivered impressive battery life via its 4,115 mAh battery, lasting over 11 hours on a charge. And you get fast 30W charging out of the box that got the device to 68% full in just 30 minutes.

The current OnePlus Nord isn't perfect. You don't get a headphone jack, wireless charging or water resistance, nor is there a microSD card slot. But the price is definitely right, and it looks like OnePlus made the right trade-offs for its first Nord.

OnePlus Nord vs Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE

Then again, the U.S. is a highly competitive market, and Google may redefine expectations for a good mid-range phone with the Google Pixel 4a. With a rumored launch date of August 3 and a price of just $349, that phone is said to feature a 5.8-inch OLED display, Snapdragon 730 processor, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. 

However, the Pixel 4a will not offer 5G based on the leaks we've seen, and it should have a cheaper plastic design than the current Nord. In addition, the current OnePlus Nord has a faster processor and smoother display. So a OnePlus Nord could cause headaches for the Pixel 4a, depending on the final specs.

A U.S.-based Nord would also have to contend with the $399 iPhone SE, which delivers a great camera experience along with blazing A13 Bionic performance. But at 4.7 inches, you have to really like small screens to go in that direction. 

Who knows, maybe OnePlus will announce a new OnePlus Nord for the U.S. around the same time as a OnePlus 8T. There aren't that many months left in the year, so the USA Nord will be here sooner than you think.

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.