The OnePlus Nord figures to return OnePlus to its budget phone roots when it debuts this month with a sub-$500 price. But there's more to the Nord than just a midrange price.
Release date: July 21, 2020
Price: Under $500
Screen size: 6.4 inches (90Hz)
CPU: Snapdragon 765G chipset
Rear camera: 48MP main; 8MP ultrawide, 2MP portrait; 5MP macro
Front camera: 32MP and 8MP ultrawide
Battery: 4,000 mAh
While we're still waiting to find out official details about OnePlus' next phone, we know that the OnePlus Nord will feature 5G connectivity, thanks to its Snapdragon 765G chipset. The phone is also expected to include multiple cameras — including two selfie cams — along with an OLED screen that could have a fast refresh rate. In other words, don't let the OnePlus Nord's lower price fool you into thinking that OnePlus is cutting too many corners.
The OnePlus Nord is part of a larger effort on the phone maker's part to produce more affordable devices that still pack in some premium features — and it won't just be limited to phones, OnePlus says. But the OnePlus Nord will be the first such product out of the gate, with OnePlus planning a virtual launch for later this month.
Here's everything you need to know about the OnePlus Nord, including its expected release date, price and specs.
OnePlus Nord latest news (Updated July 7)
- The OnePlus Nord will have a quad-lens rear camera headlined by a 48-megapixel main sensor, as well as a dual-lens front camera, according to Android Central.
- OnePlus plans to unveil the OnePlus Nord during an online event on July 21. You can watch the event via an AR app available from Google Play.
- The OnePlus Nord will feature Qualcomm's 765G chipset, and OnePlus' co-founder reveals the advantages of this chip in a new interview.
- Another round of OnePlus Nord pre-orders takes place July 8.
OnePlus Nord release date and pre-orders
OnePlus keeps teasing out the release date of the OnePlus Nord, but finally there's a date in site. OnePlus says it's planning a launch event on July 21, at which time we'll finally get a look at the OnePlus Nord.
This is just any launch event. OnePlus is planning something involving augmented reality and has released an app that lets you watch the July 21 OnePlus Nord launch in AR. The app is already available from Google Play and an iOS app will follow.
The OnePlus Nord launch gets underway at 3 p.m. BST / 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PDT on July 21.
Even though the Nord isn't shipping yet, OnePlus has started taking pre-orders. The first one happened July 1, was limited to 100 units and immediately sold out. The second is due for July 8, with only 900 units available. A third pre-order window is scheduled for July 15.
OnePlus Nord price
According to OnePlus' own OnePlus Nord reveal on its 'onepluszlitething' Instagram account, the OnePlus Nord will have a price that's under $500 (£410, AU$730). The company has also confirmed a sub-$500 price in an interview with TechRadar.
Earlier this year, a OnePlus 8 Lite leak from an online retailer called GizTop showed off specs and prices for OnePlus' upcoming phones. (Back then, that was the rumored name for OnePlus' budget phone; OnePlus has since settled on the OnePlus Nord name.)The OnePlus 8 Lite was listed at $499, which would certainly fit into the price range OnePlus has talked about. If true, that would place the OnePlus Nord at $200 less than the OnePlus 8.
OnePlus Nord: Is it coming to the US?
After hinting of a new phone earlier in June, OnePlus and CEO Pete Lau has had a lot more to say about the OnePlus Nord. Lau posted a message to OnePlus' own forums, explaining how the company arrived at the idea of returning to its roots and building a new affordable handset.
"I’m very excited to announce that we are bringing the premium, flagship experience that you’ve come to expect from OnePlus to a new, more affordable smartphone product line," Lau's post reads.
Lau went onto say that it will start "relatively small" with this new device, by launching it in Europe and India first. However, Lau also said that eventually, affordable OnePlus handsets will make their way to North America as well. We don't know whether that means the OnePlus Nord will be the phone to launch in the US after its debut in Europe and India or if OnePlus has a different low-cost phone in mind for this country.
However, OnePlus did say that when the Nord phone does arrive in the US, it will be only available through a "highly limited" beta program made available after its launch. As such, you might find it very difficult to get a Nord phone in North America.
OnePlus Nord design and display
We'd expect the OnePlus Nord to look a lot like the OnePlus 8 lineup debuted, but it won't be as premium. Rumors pointed to the OnePlus 8 Lite sporting a 6.4-inch panel, and we'd expect the OnePlus Nord to follow suit. While that's smaller than the 6.55-inch screen on the OnePlus 8, it's still plenty big for most people. You can also expect a 90Hz refresh rate for the screen.
The most recent OnePlus Nord teaser video on Instagram briefly shows both the front and back of the handset. The back houses a vertical camera array in a narrow strip and a gray/blue color with the OnePlus logo at the bottom of the handset.
The front appears to show a cutout for two selfie cameras, as has been rumored. And the right side of the OnePlus Nord houses the power button, volume rocker and the alert switch.
TrueTech has posted a photo that reportedly shows off the OnePlus Z as it was called at the time, and if it's accurate, it gives us an ideal of how this budget phone might differ from the OnePlus 8 lineup. For starters, the screen is flat, not curved as it is on the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. The front camera cutout is now in the top center of the display instead of in the left corner, and the bezels seem a little bit more noticeable.
The OnePlus Nord teaser video from the end of June contains a clue as to what the phone might look like. Halfway through the video, we see a OnePlus employee holding a phone that fits the description of the Nord, since it has the dual front cameras that have been rumored for the handset. This could be an early prototype and the final design could differ, but it suggests the direction OnePlus might be headed in with this phone.
OnePlus Nord specs
The OnePlus Nord will have Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765G system-on-a-chip. That's a mid-range chip sitting below the Snapdragon 865, but it still promises solid performance for most smartphone tasks, as well as 5G connectivity.
Opting fo this chip would allow the OnePlus Nord to join the ranks of 5G phones that cost less than $600, which is expected to grow as 2020 goes on.
If you want more evidence as to what processor the OnePlus Nord will use, leaked benchmarks show the phone powered by the Snapdragon 765G and 12GB of RAM. As you'd expect, the multicore result of 1,995 for the rumored OnePlus Nord can't keep up with Snapdragon 865-powered phones, but it outpaces other midrange Android devices.
A new list of specs, supplied by a survey on Indian shopping forum DesiDime, lends further credibility to the claim that the OnePlus Z will feature a Snapdragon 765 chipset. However, the listed RAM and storage allotment is 6GB and 128GB, respectively, which seems more realistic for an entry-level model than the earlier 12GB figure. It's also suggested the device will feature a 90Hz display and 4,300-mAh battery with 30-watt Warp Charging, which is in line with the OnePlus 8.
OnePlus Nord cameras
Lingering OnePlus 8 Lite rumors have hinted at the presence of multiple rear cameras from the very beginning. Initially, rumor mongers suggested the OnePlus Nord might have a similar camera setup to the OnePlus 8, which blends a 48MP main camera with a 16MP ultra wide-angle shooter and 2MP macro lens.
We now have confirmation, thanks to Android Central, that the Nord will combine a 48MP main shooter with an 8MP ultrawide one, 2MP sensor to assist with portraits and a 5MP macro lens.
pic.twitter.com/nvQBMV1pryJune 15, 2020
That quartet of rear lenses will reportedly be supplemented with two more at the front: a 32MP main lens and an 8MP secondary one for ultrawide-angle group selfies. OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has stated that the Nord will carry a "flagship-level" camera, and so the primary 32- and 48-megapixel lenses on the front and back could go a long way toward helping OnePlus' midrange offering achieve that lofty goal.
OnePlus Nord battery and charging
OnePlus has been increasing the size of the batteries powering its smartphones as of late, in part because of the extra power 5G connectivity requires. The OnePlus Nord could see a 4,000 mAh battery, which wouldn't be as big as the 4,300 mAh power pack in the OnePlus 8, while still giving you enough charge to theoretically get through the day.
We would expect OnePlus' budget phone to still include the company's Warp Charge 30T technology for faster charging. However, we would not expect wireless charging, which for now is limited to the premium OnePlus 8 Pro.
OnePlus Nord outlook
We now know quite a bit about the OnePlus Nord, from its front cameras to the processor that's likely to power the device. Still, there are some details that need to be filled in. And we're eager to find out if the US is part of OnePlus' long-term plans for the Nord.
Still, it sounds like the focus this time will be on price — and that's a good thing. We know that OnePlus can pack a lot of features into a phone. When it debuts July 21, the OnePlus Nord should remind us of the company's ability to do that without driving up the phone's cost.