The OnePlus Nord N10 5G (previously known as the Nord 2 or Nord Lite depending on the rumor) is looking like OnePlus' next budget or mid-range phone, following on from the OnePlus Nord that was released in July.
While the Nord is on the whole a fantastic phone, there are some reasons why you wouldn't want to buy it. First off, it's not sold in the U.S., at least not yet. And while its sub-$500 price is a steal for the specs, not everyone needs all of its features — from its 5G connectivity and 90Hz display to its six cameras.
That's why we expect the next Nord, which should be sold in the U.S., to be another step down in price. With OnePlus' normally excellent build quality and well-designed software, the Nord N10 5G could be another hit for the company and a more direct competitor to the $349 Google Pixel 4a and $399 iPhone SE.
There's not a whole lot of definitive information to go on for now. But here's what we've heard about the OnePlus Nord N10 5G thus far based on the rumors and leaks.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G: latest news (Updated October 1)
- OnePlus' Nord Instagram account is teasing an upcoming release, which will most likely be the N10 5G.
- A new leak has seemingly confirmed the name of the phone as Nord N10 5G, as well as detailing some of the key features.
- Another cheap OnePlus phone, the Clover, has also been seeing recent leaks, and is rumored to offer an enormous battery and triple rear cameras.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G: Price and release date
The OnePlus Nord currently sells in two versions, which cost £379 and £469. That's around $500 and $600 respectively, but direct currency conversions don't reflect regional pricing differences. We expect the OnePlus Nord N10 5G to cost less than this, with one rumor saying it'll be priced at under $400.
As for the OnePlus Nord N10 5G release date, we have a pretty good idea. Shortly after the launch of the Nord, OnePlus CEO Carl Pei said that a Nord-branded phone would be coming to the U.S. market by the end of the year.
We had wondered if it would arrive at the same time as the OnePlus 8T, but this doesn't seem to be guaranteed according to some leaks. It does seem like something Nord-related is coming soon though, based on a recent Instagram post from the OnePlus Nord's dedicated account.
This won't be an identical device to the one we've seen already, but will presumably share some features and design characteristics if it's going to share the Nord branding.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G: Specs
Code found within OnePlus' OxygenOS operating system refers to a phone with the codename "Billie", which uses a Snapdragon 690 chipset. OnePlus has always used Qualcomm-made silicon, including the Snapdragon 765 in the Nord.
Stepping down from a 7-series chip to a 6-series chip means there will be a performance gap between the Nord and "Billie", but crucially the 690 still offers 5G connectivity, a feature that will become increasingly important to smartphone buyers in the next few years.
A OnePlus device using a Snapdragon 690 with 6GB RAM was discovered in a Geekbench listing, which supports the OxygenOS finding, and has been claimed again by an unknown inside source at OnePlus. 6GB is less than the 8GB/12GB options in the original Nord, and would therefore make a lot of sense for a phone that's intended to be cheaper.
Another unidentified OnePlus phone spotted on Geekbench is named "Clover". This phone has a Snapdragon 665, which is a less powerful chip than the 690, and 4GB of RAM.
This could signify a huge expansion of the Nord range, with multiple budget to mid-range phones being offered when it finally hits the US. Equally, OnePlus may be still experimenting with different specs to figure out which works best for its plans.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G: Design
We assume that if it shares the same name, the Nord N10 5G will resemble the regular Nord.
From the front, the original Nord looks a lot like the OnePlus 8, with a full-screen display and a punch-hole notch, except it has flat edges instead of curved ones. The back is also very similar, except on the Nord, the vertical line of cameras is on the phone's left side, rather than down the center.
Since the left-aligned cameras are the Nord's most distinctive physical feature, and one that seems to be coming to the OnePlus 8T also, we'd expect the N10 to have this too.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G: Display
OnePlus equipped the Nord with a 6.44-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate, a seriously good display for the price. And it looks like OnePlus isn't cutting down on the screen for the N10.
The latest rumor says we'll be getting a 6.49-inch FHD+ AMOLED display on the N10, again with 90Hz, a touch larger than the original Nord. It's claimed that OnePlus doesn't want to sell any of its phones with less than 90Hz refresh rate, which is fantastic news for customers. While the resolution isn't as good as a flagship 4K display, this could still end up being a class leader.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G: Cameras
The Nord had the most cameras ever seen on a OnePlus phone, with four on the back (main, ultrawide, depth and macro) and two on the front (main and ultrawide).
It would be surprising to see as many cameras again on the Nord N10, assuming it's significantly cheaper. OnePlus would likely ditch the ultrawide selfie camera to save production costs, or one of the cameras on the back (possibly the depth sensor) if OnePlus wanted to keep dual selfie cameras as a signature feature for its Nord range.
Rumors have since suggested there will be four rear cameras again, with the main camera getting a large 64MP sensor. The other sensors, an 8MP ultrawide and two 2MP auxiliary sensors, are what you'd expect from a cheap phone like this, but 64MP would make the N10's main camera larger than the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro's 48MP main sensor. There's more to photography than just resolution, but it's still an impressive spec, particularly in comparison to rival phones which tend to use 12MP cameras.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G: connectivity
Based on the 5G-ready chipsets that we've seen rumored for the Nord N10 5G, it seems very likely that the phone will have at least sub-6Ghz 5G, the more common standard found around the world.
That does leave the question of whether the N10 would support Verizon's mmWave network. OnePlus has previously made specific models of its OnePlus 8 for Verizon that have mmWave compatibility, but there's no guarantee it would do the same for the N10.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G: battery
OnePlus phones tend to have fairly big batteries for their size. The Nord, for example, has a 4,115 mAh cell, which is far larger than the ones found in the Google Pixel 4a (3,140 mAh) or the iPhone SE (1,821 mAh). Hopefully the expected cheaper specs of the Nord N10 won't mean a big drop in total battery life.
A listing on safety regulator TÜV Rheinland shows that OnePlus has had an 18W charger certified. Since the OnePlus Nord uses a 30W charger, this looks like OnePlus' attempt to make a less powerful charger to go with a more affordable phone.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G: Software
The OnePlus Nord runs on OxygenOS, as do the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. This is a particularly slick-looking version of Android, and the current version, OxygenOS 10.5, is what we'd expect another Nord handset to run.
This is assuming that the phone comes out before the end of the year, or in early 2021. Any later than that and it will likely use OnePlus' flavor of Android 11, which just launched. OnePlus is usually quick on the uptake of the newest version of Android, so expect whatever the latest version is to appear on the N10 5G.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G: Outlook
We're eager to see OnePlus introduce a cheaper handset into the U.S. after the Nord launched in Europe and India. While some users may want the hardware jam-packed into the Nord, a cheaper model could do very well.
5G looks like a given, but lots of other parts may be getting downgraded in return for a price drop. That includes the 18W charger and the 6-series Snapdragon CPU, but OnePlus may also make trade-offs regarding the cameras and display, too.
The trick for the OnePlus Nord N10 5G will be to not cut too many corners so that it can stand out versus the Pixel 4a and iPhone SE. Stay tuned for more leaks and rumors as we get closer to launch.