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OnePlus Nord 2T 5G review: More of the (super) same

Can the OnePlus Nord 2T 5G continue the trend of top-notch mid-range phones or is it a middling update this time around?

OnePlus Nord 2T in hand rear

Once there was a time when OnePlus was famed for its flagship-level phones at a reasonable price, but like the baddy bit in all fairy stories, the good bit didn’t last. The company needed to come up with some new inspo. The result was the original OnePlus Nord, followed up by last year’s OnePlus Nord 2.

This then, is a ‘T’ upgraded version of the latter. There’s a slew of upgrades such as the bang-up-to-date MediaTek Dimensity 1300 hardware powering the whole shebang along.

The Nord has provided some pretty welcome mid-range refreshment over the last couple of years, going toe-to-toe with the ever-growing stack of rivals in the sub-£400 zone.

It’s even launched a cheap-as-chips series under the Nord 2 series, too – the also-new £299 OnePlus Nord CE 2 is the latest of those, though we think OnePlus’ marketing strategists could have done better to have made sure you couldn’t confuse it with a Nord 2 or 2T.

Design and display

The design is fairly run-of-the-mill for a mid-range Android, but at first glance your mates would be hard-pressed to guess that you’d not paid £500 more for it. OnePlus has opted for two big black circles to hide the triple camera arrangement on the rear. It’s inelegant, but it’s not as bad as the unsubtle regulatory text plastered all over the bottom of the rear.

Once again you get the OnePlus alert slider, a physical control for setting the phone to silent, vibrate and vice versa. It beats software controls every time when you’re in a meeting as you don’t need to take your phone out of your pocket to tell it to be quiet.

One of the 2T’s best features is undoubtedly its 6.43-inch OLED display – it really is excellent quality and colours really pop – it boasts HDR10+ support. You might be able to tell the difference between it and a flagship display, but few will. The difference is negligible.

Although it lacks the 120hz refresh rates of flagships (it’s 90hz) you only really notice any problem when fast-scrolling. Unlike many in this price range, the display is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 5. There’s an optical fingerprint reader under the screen.

The Nord 2T is available in two colours, grey shadow (so grey) and the turquoise-y jade fog of our review unit.  There are two variants costing £369 or 469 for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage and 12 GB RAM and 256GB respectively. There’s no headphone jack – though there is on the cheaper Nord CE 2 if you want that.

Performance

OnePlus likes to pride itself on speedy operating systems and, thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 1300 and OxygenOS 12.1 based on Android 12 things really do fly along – there’s no slowdown and, while you can occasionally get a little bit of shutter lag, it’s no big deal.

The Supervooc 80W fast charging is so very welcome and there’s a fast charger in the box – it’s straight out of the flagship OnePlus 10 Pro and is undoubtedly a selling point over rivals. The downside of a phone at this price is that there’s no wireless charging, but it’s unwise to expect it.

Cameras

Among the triple cameras, there’s only really one that’s worth having, the 50MP-capable Sony IMX766 which remains thoroughly decent but thoroughly standard. As with most phones we test, the ultrawide (8MP) is of limited use while the 2MP mono sensor, just adds in extra info. The front camera has been drastically improved though; it’s now a 32MP HDR unit.

The photography results are generally pretty great thanks to the main Sony sensor and things only really fall apart a little in low light, despite the new Dimensity chip being supposedly more capable on that front. The new selfie cam also takes some great shots.

Verdict

It’s tempting to say that OnePlus’ Nord refresh should have done more – there’s no upgrade for the camera system here, for example. While the step down from OnePlus’ flagship models is marked, there’s no getting away from the fact this is a formidable choice for those after a sub-flagship phone – though we’re very interested to see how the upcoming Google Pixel 6a stacks up.

Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5

Competitive on price and features with rivals and with super-douper charge speeds, there are many reasons to scoop this up.

Good Stuff

Everything is super quick

The charging speed is brilliant

Bad Stuff

Photo samples are mixed

Not sure about the camera housing

Tech specs

Screen6.43in 2400×1080 90Hz AMOLED
ProcessorMediaTek Dimensity 1300
RAM8/12GB
Storage128/256GB
SoftwareAndroid 12 with OxygenOS 12
Cameras50+8+2MP rear, 32MP front
Battery4500mAh
Dimensions159x73x8.2mm, 190g