OnePlus Nord 2T review: small improvements to a masterful midranger

In 2022, there will be two radically different sides to Oppo’s OnePlus sub-brand. On the premium side, it has the OnePlus 10 Pro: a flagship-priced, flagship-spec handset that struggles to deliver true flagship-level performance. But things are much better with the Nord range, whose few shortcomings are justified by their mid-range price tags.

OnePlus’ latest Nord device for Europe is the OnePlus Nord 2T. It’s priced from £369 (€399, about $458) for a version with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage and going up to £469 (€499, about $582) for 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage (the model that I’ve used). It’s a device that lives up to OnePlus’ usual strengths with fast 80W fast charging, a colorful 90Hz OLED display, and a physical alert slide switch to jump into silent and vibrate mode.

The changes are minor compared to last year’s OnePlus Nord 2. But with a lower starting price of £30, it’s hard to fault what’s on offer here. In the UK, the OnePlus Nord 2T is available for pre-order starting today and will ship on May 24.

OnePlus’ Nord lineup has quickly become crowded and complicated since its debut just two years ago, and it now roughly consists of two groups of phones: one for Europe and India and another for North America. The Nord 2T falls into the former category and can best be seen as a souped-up version of last year’s Nord 2 (similar to what the OnePlus 8T was compared to the OnePlus 8 or the OnePlus 7T to the 7). I asked OnePlus if we’ll see a Nord 3 this year, but it wasn’t willing to reveal its unannounced product roadmap. So the 2T is European Nord’s flagship for now.

So, if the Nord 2T is a spec-bumped Nord 2, what specs are actually bumped?

From the front it looks like not much has changed at all. The 90Hz 1080p OLED screen is still exactly 6.43 inches in size and there’s still a small punch-hole notch in the top left with a 32MP selfie camera behind it. And while the back of the device may look different – with an odd combination of two camera circles with three sensors – the specs of these cameras are exactly the same as last time.

I like the screen of the OnePlus Nord 2T. It feels nice and smooth thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate, which is plenty fast for common phone tasks like scrolling through social media feeds. White is bright, colors are beautiful and black is black – it is an OLED panel after all. An in-display fingerprint sensor provides fast and reliable biometric security.

The finish of the gray model is strangely smooth.

USB-C — but no headphone jack.

Sound is less impressive. Although the Nord 2T reproduces sound in stereo, it uses a downward-firing speaker on one side and the earpiece on the other. The result is empty and hollow sounding, even if it can get loud at maximum volume. There’s no headphone jack here, like last time, and no official IP rating for dust and water resistance.

While I think the Nord 2T strikes a nice balance between a big screen in a thin and light form factor, I don’t like the finish of the gray model. There is nothing wrong with a phone at this price with this design in theory (Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back with a plastic frame around the sides). But in practice, the finish on my review copy is incredibly smooth in the hand. This doesn’t matter if you’re using the transparent case that OnePlus includes in the box, but it might be annoying for all of you Never Casers out there. In contrast, it seems that the green version of the 2T has a more standard gloss finish that I’ve had fewer issues with in the past, but haven’t been able to use it personally.

An obvious spec that has bumped up is the phone’s processor, but in practice its benefits seemed to be more related to battery life than raw performance. The OnePlus Nord 2T uses a MediaTek Dimensity 1300 processor, which is a step up from the Dimensity 1200 AI used in the Nord 2. It has a more energy-efficient design and averages just under six hours of screen time between charges, up from about five hours last time – despite having a similar-sized 4,500mAh battery. I would usually charge the Nord 2T at the end of the day with more than 40 percent of the battery left.

Charging speeds are an easy spec improvement to point to, but the real-world differences are less than you’d expect. The Nord 2T now supports 80W SuperVOOC wired charging, up from 65W last time, and you still get the charger in the box. I was able to charge the Nord 2T from zero to 63 percent in 15 minutes and to 100 percent in just under half an hour. In comparison, last year I was able to charge the Nord 2 from zero to 99 percent in 35 minutes — not much slower.

With its 6.43-inch screen, the Nord 2T is solidly medium in size.

OxygenOS remains a nice clean take on Android.

The Nord 2T ships with OxygenOS 12.1, based on Android 12, and the company promises two major Android updates and three years of security updates. That’s not terrible, but it’s slightly less than what we see today from Google, Samsung and Apple: five years, five years, and six years of security updates, respectively. If you’re hoping to use your midrange phone for as long as possible, an iPhone SE or Google’s upcoming Pixel 6A might be a better choice.

I continue to like OxygenOS’s take on Android. It feels crisp and clean, and the features it offers on top of regular Android (like its Optimized charging function, which prevents your phone from being 100 percent inactive for long periods when charging overnight) are useful without ever getting in the way. Most importantly, it is fun and responsive to use.

The Nord 2T’s camera setup won’t surprise anyone familiar with its predecessor. There are three cameras on the back: a 50-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel black-and-white sensor for black-and-white photos. And no, I also have no idea why OnePlus keeps including these almost useless monochrome sensors, especially when the black and white mode is buried in a submenu in the camera app. The 32-megapixel selfie camera uses the same hardware as last year.

The comparable hardware means you can expect very similar photography quality here to the Nord 2. In daylight, the Nord 2T prioritizes a punchy look with plenty of contrast. Shadows and highlights both pop off the screen, and the colors are deep and rich (though not overwhelming). Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) on the main camera makes it relatively easy to capture sharp, sharp images of still subjects. Faces look a little overly sharp and clear with the rear camera, but selfie shots with the lower-resolution 32MP sensor do a lot better and come out clean and clear.

The same can’t be said for the quality of the phone’s ultra-wide shots, which are blurry and unsaturated by comparison. And the less said about the useless monochrome sensor, the better. It’s a shame that smartphones these days are expected to have multiple lenses, as I’d be really curious to see what the Nord 2T’s camera bump would look like with just a single sensor. But I think a poor quality ultrawide is better than no ultrawide at all.

Even without using the Nord 2T’s night photography mode, the low-light shots you take with the Nord 2T are quite bright, and I like the amount of detail they provide. There seems to be a little bit of smoothing going on to reduce visual noise, but I can’t argue with the overall effect, and faces end up looking clear and relatively natural. Just don’t expect much from the ultrawide camera in the dark, where detail falls apart completely.

On the video side, the Nord 2T can record up to 4K at 30 fps or 1080p at 60 fps. But in practice, the footage the phone can capture is average, and despite OnePlus claiming it can shoot in HDR, the dynamic range isn’t great. With accurate colors and reliable focus, it’s not terrible, but it’s nothing special either.

Two camera circles, three camera sensors.

With an alert slider, you can easily set the phone to silent or vibrate.

With a starting price of £369, it’s easy to forgive the Nord 2T’s few issues. This is a phone that feels slim in the hand, feels quick to use and has a screen that looks great to boot. Battery life is good, charging speeds are better and the phone feels like a cohesive package.

In typical OnePlus fashion, the only real thing you’ll compromise on with the Nord 2T is camera quality, and it might be worth looking out for the upcoming Pixel 6A if that’s your priority on a midrange device. And, regardless of camera quality, it also gives you extended software support, which is important if you’re the kind of buyer who wants to get the most out of every phone purchase.

The OnePlus Nord 2T is not a huge step forward compared to last year’s model. But right now it doesn’t have to be. It performs well and is fun to use, and if you’re not worried about having the best camera out there, it’s an easy phone to recommend… as long as you live in one of the markets where OnePlus it actually sells.

Photography by Jon Porter / The Verge

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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