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It’s easy to recommend OnePlus Nord 3 5G because it goes big on features that matter

Phone promises three-four things and delivers and it’s a simple form factor

Mathures Paul Published 07.07.23, 07:41 AM
OnePlus Nord 3 5G is a solid mid-budget performer

OnePlus Nord 3 5G is a solid mid-budget performer

Simplicity is the best tactic to use in the tech world. OnePlus has done just that with its latest mid-range offering, Nord 3 5G. It’s not an over-the-top phone; it promises three-four things and delivers; and, it’s a simple form factor. However much one looks for flaws, there will only be quibbles to cling to. As competition, there are two phones to talk about — Poco M5, which we have already written about, and there is the upcoming Samsung Galaxy M34 5G.

Clean design

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What makes the mid-ranger from OnePlus a solid offering? Let’s begin with the design. Nothing out of the ordinary, the bold camera cutouts on the rear look good when you hold the phone. Having a glass back, there is always the chance of making the phone a fingerprint magnet but chances are you will slap on a cover. There is Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the back while on the front you get Dragontrail glass. One element has caught my eye — a colour temperature sensor next to the flash. There is also an IR blaster on top; it helps you control things like the TV and air conditioning using the phone. It’s a good addition.

Overall, it’s slim and light… you will not be disappointed unless you are someone who needs a 3.5mm headphone jack. In the design section, the phone goes toe to toe with the Poco M5.

OnePlus hasn’t compromised on IP rating, in the sense that it’s there. Rated IP54, expect protection from sprays of water as well as dust but don’t expect it to survive underwater. It’s basic protection but that’s better than no protection at all.

Bright display

The bigger update in the Nord series is in the display department. It’s good to see Nord moving from 90Hz refresh rate to 120Hz, making the device work smoother than before. For viewing comfort, there is a large 6.74-inch 1.5K AMOLED display with 1,450 nits of peak brightness. Even though it’s a 10-bit panel, you will hardly notice a difference when kept next to a 12-bit panel.

Second, 1,450 nits make it a very bright phone and just perfect for those who spend a lot of time on the road; it’s a feature that separates it from Poco F5. Plus, the colour tuning is very good and you have options to make colours pop on the screen, going from vivid, natural, cinematic to ‘brilliant’. The audio output on the stereo speakers is modest; it’s not very different from any other phone in the same price category.

Camera chops

Where OnePlus Nord 3 starts leaving its competition behind is in the camera department. OnePlus 11 5G came with the Sony IMX890 sensor and that’s what you get here on the main 50MP snapper (with OIS). The 1/1.56” sensor allows enough light to stream in, giving clear pictures. The colours pop and some may not like that but pictures taken on the smartphone usually get posted on Instagram, so it’s fine. OnePlus uses a technology called TurboRAW that combines different elements from multiple exposures. If you want, you can crop into a picture and still come away with excellent shots.

Overall, pictures look sharp, crisp and packed with details. Even night shots look good. I am enjoying the portrait mode a lot because of the gradual blur, giving it a DSLR feel. The ultra-wide camera (8MP) is good but nothing out of the world. A mention needs to be made of the clarity shots retain even when you crop in. The 16MP selfie camera is also worth a mention because of its competence with HDR technology.

Videos captured using this phone can go up to 4k@60fps but I would rather shoot at 1080p@60fps and enjoy OIS.

The main camera comes with a Sony IMX890 sensor that offers bright pictures; (below) The ultra-wide camera does a good job with colours

The main camera comes with a Sony IMX890 sensor that offers bright pictures; (below) The ultra-wide camera does a good job with colours

Should you buy it?

To ensure you get an all-round package, OnePlus has packed in the powerful MediaTek Dimensity 9000, which is a powerful processor, and in terms of RAM, you get 16 gigs of LPDDR5X (review unit), ensuring you are able to run plenty of applications in the background. When it comes to storage, you get 256GB of UFS 3.1 and fast storage (review unit). While playing games the performance is sustained and everyday tasks are easy to tackle.

Another brownie point comes in the form of OxygenOS 13.1, which is based on Android 13. The UI is clean and you get three years of major Android upgrades and four years of security updates.

The battery offers 5,000mAh and you get an 80W charger in the box that is capable of charging the phone from one to 100 per cent in just 35 minutes. What could have been better (and it can be fixed with a software update from OnePlus) is battery life, which at the moment is around 7-7.5 hours of screen-on time; I expected 8-8.5 hours.

It’s worth mentioning that we get the X-Axis linear vibration motor, so if you are typing on the phone or playing games, you get crisp haptic feedback. It’s easy to recommend OnePlus Nord 3 5G (upwards of Rs 33,999) because it goes big on features that matter.

AT A GLANCE

Device: OnePlus Nord 3 5G

Price: Upwards of Rs 33,999

HIGH NOTES

■ Bright display

■ Powerful processor

■ Crisp camera output

■ Long software upgrade cycle

MUFFLED NOTES

■ Battery life can be improved

■ Audio output is good but nothing extraordinary

Pictures: The Telegraph

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