At a Glance
- Excellent performance
- Great main 50Mp camera
- Super-fast 80W charging
- Only two Android version updates
- Pointless mono camera
- Other phones have 120Hz at this price
If you’re in the UK or Europe the OnePlus Nord 2T is the best mid-range phone you can buy for under £400/€400. Great battery life, super fast charging, a 90Hz OLED screen, and quick performance make it superb value for money – but only two Android software updates isn’t good enough.
The OnePlus Nord 2T is very similar to 2021’s Nord 2 but that doesn’t stop the newer version from being one of the best mid-range phones you can buy.
The 2T adds faster 80W charging and a newer processor for a lower starting price than before. It shows how far smartphone technology has come that the Nord 2T is so good I’d recommend most people should buy it over the £799/$899/€899 OnePlus 10 Pro.
It costs half as much but does most things just as well. It’s not a sonic leap forward for OnePlus by any means but if you are looking to upgrade your phone and are on a budget, the Nord 2T should be close to the top of your list.
Design and build
- Glass back
- Unusual mint green colour option
- Distinctive camera module
This is a svelte and thin 190g device despite the relatively large screen, which is flat unlike many premium devices that opt for curved edge displays. The back of the phone is glass with a large and unusual camera unit that houses two large black discs.
In the top circle is the main camera lens while in the bottom circle sits two other lenses positioned at 12 and 7 o’clock. It looks a little odd but at least it’s distinctive. A single front facing camera sits in the top left of the screen as a cut out and generally keeps out of the way.
The clean look of the mint green ‘Jade Fog’ model I reviewed was spoiled by the regulatory markings, logos, and writing at the bottom, but this isn’t unusual for phones in Europe. The glossy finish picks up fingerprints and smears, but it does make the phone grippy enough to hold and use without a case (though there’s a decent opaque matt case in the box that doesn’t get prints at all). I haven’t used the matt black ‘Grey Shadow’ model that’s also available.
Neither model is particularly inspiring in its design but if you chuck it in a case it doesn’t really matter.
OnePlus’s physical alert slider is here and still excellent, with three positions for ‘silent’, ‘vibrate’, and ‘ring’. More Android phones should steal this because it’s so helpful and saves you unlocking the phone to silence it or turn on do not disturb throughout the day.
Otherwise, this is standard smartphone fare with a USB-C port, downward firing speaker on the bottom, a thin earpiece at the top of the screen, a power button on the right edge and a single bar for volume controls on the left. There’s no headphone jack and no adapter in the box, nor is there an IP rating for dust and water resistance.
Display and audio
- 6.43in 1080p AMOLED
- 90Hz refresh rate
- Stereo speakers
The Nord 2T’s 6.43in screen is a 20:9 AMOLED with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 that can refresh at up to 90Hz. This makes animations, apps and menus scroll smoother than the standard 60Hz, which you can set the display to if you prefer it or want to save battery life.
OnePlus’s auto-brightness settings are very good here and calibrate the backlight to the right level most of the time. I barely had to manually re-adjust.
More premium phones, and even some mid-range phones, have 120Hz displays that look even better but the 90Hz here is decent. The panel gets plenty bright, and text looks clear and sharp, even through the plastic screen protector that comes pre-applied.
The downward firing speaker pairs with the earpiece to create a stereo pair. They are not that great. Calls sound crisp and clear when on the phone through the earpiece, but if you try and blast music through the speakers it sounds tinny and muddy with bad separation of sounds. Podcasts sound OK, but this isn’t a phone to get if you use phone speakers a lot.
Without a headphone jack you are confined to the world of Bluetooth audio. I tested the phone with a few pairs and had no connection issues.
Specs and performance
- MediaTek Dimensity 1300 chipset
- Very fast in daily use
This is the first phone to ship with MediaTek’s Dimensity 1300 processor. That might not mean much to you but don’t worry, it’s good news. Many OnePlus phones (and many Android phones in general) use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon range of chips but the 1300 is excellent. I forgot this was a £369 phone because it feels and performs like an £800 phone.
If you want to indulge in long gaming sessions this phone is more than capable, especially if you fork out for the 12GB version. Unless you want to tax your phone to within an inch of its gaming performance life, you could definitely opt for the Nord 2T rather than the best gaming phones.
It’s whip fast in daily use, and I experienced zero issues after well over a week using the phone as my main device. There were no app crashes, and the hardware could more than keep up as I multi-tasked between podcast and music, camera, browser and other things on the go, all while connected to Bluetooth headphones.
OnePlus sent me the £369/€399 Nord 2T with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, which is £30 less than the Nord 2 sold for with those same specs. You can also get a 2T for £469/€499 with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. Neither model has microSD expandable storage but they are both dual nano SIM compatible.
You also get dual SIM 5G compatibility, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, and Wi-Fi 6 built in. The under-display fingerprint sensor is excellent and works better than that on the £899 Google Pixel 6 Pro. Face unlock with the front facing camera is instantaneous and paired well with the swipe to unlock gesture option to make passcodes a thing of the past with the Nord 2T.
- 50Mp main sensor is great
- Other two not so much
- 32Mp selfie cam makes up for it
Simply put, the Nord 2T has four cameras but only two of them are great. Thankfully, they are the two you would use the most: the main camera and the selfie camera.
The former is a 50Mp Sony IMX766 sensor that takes superb shots in daylight – just like it did as the main sensor in the original Nord 2. It’s also the sensor used in both main cameras of the Oppo Find X5 Pro. Photos are clear and crisp with decent dynamic range and sharpness.
The 2T lacks a dedicated telephoto lens but 2x zoomed images are actually good because the 50Mp sensor is so good in the first place. The software digitally crops in to give you solid shots. The software lets you zoom up to 10x, but results get much worse after 2x.
The 2Mp monochrome sensor basically does nothing. There’s no reason to have it here except to market the phone as having three cameras on the back.
As with many modern Android phones OnePlus’s camera software add some saturation to its shots to make the colours a little more Instagram-ready and a little less true-to-life. I’d happily share many of the photos I’ve taken with the Nord2T without any editing though.
OnePlus says the phone has an updated night mode and it is certainly very good if you enjoy what night modes do on most phones, which is artificially brighten the scene to look less dark than it is. I preferred to force the night mode off in most instances to get more realistic lighting results.
Video is solid but can’t touch the high watermark of phone video that is any recent iPhone. The Nord 2T can record 4K at 30fps, not 60fps, but has some casually fun features for video like portrait bokeh and filters. OnePlus says the Dimensity chip allows the phone to process AI enhanced photos but I prefer the option turned off as the colours are even more outlandish when it’s on.
The ultra-wide lens is 8Mp and can take in a lot of your scene with its 120-degree angle, but the quality is much worse than the main lens. Images look fine but zoom in and there’s a lot of noise in the processing.
The 32Mp selfie camera sensor is the same one as in the OnePlus 10 Pro and is superb. I took some selfies I preferred to the Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro thanks to their moody use of contrast and bokeh. It’s more than good enough for video calls.
Battery and charging
- Very fast 80W wired charging
- Two-day battery possible
- No wireless charging
One of the only upgrades in the Nord 2T from the 2 is the wired charging speeds with the included charger, which has gone from 65W to 80W. I charged the phone from dead to 100% in 27 minutes and it was at 67% after 15 minutes. With this kind of tech at your disposal, you no longer have to charge your phone overnight or worry about having 10% if you’re about to step out the door. A 10-minute charge will give you potentially hours of use.
It’s annoying you can only achieve this speed with the OnePlus charging brick and cable. Any other fast charger can indeed charge the phone, but not at its 80W top speed. OnePlus has also reverted to a USB-A to C cable for this phone having previously moved to C to C. It might be because this charging is now labelled SuperVooc, the same as sister company Oppo, whose phones use an A to C charger too.
There’s no wireless charging, though that is common for phones of this price.
After all this, the actually battery life of this phone is impressive. I got six hours of screen on time during a heavy day of testing of the Nord 2T when it simply didn’t give up. There were many days when I got well into the afternoon of a second day before I had to reach for the charger. Our usual battery benchmark test using PC Mark’s app failed when I tried it but rest assured this is a phone with good staying power.
The combination of this excellent longevity and very fast charging is one of the best reasons to pick the 2T if your current phone has short battery life or slow charging (or both).
Software and updates
- OxygenOS 12.1 very fast and light
- Looks more Oppo-like than ever
- Only three years security updates
BBK Electronics owns both Oppo and OnePlus and recently decided to merge the software of both companies. It means OnePlus phones still run OxygenOS but it’s now based on Oppo’s ColorOS with an OxygenOS skin over the top.
The Nord 2T runs incredibly quickly with Android 12 and OxygenOS 12.1 but it looks a lot more like the Oppo Find X5 Pro than a OnePlus phone from a few years ago. OnePlus’s Shelf widgets are now accessed with a swipe from the top right, just like on iOS. You can turn this off. The Google feed is now a right swipe away on the home screen, and notifications come in as rounded rectangles that feel a lot more Oppo than classic OnePlus. It also borrows features from ColorOS such as holding the fingerprint reader when unlocking to access shortcuts to apps and actions.
There’s also an always-on display option and a ‘Work Life Balance’ mode that lets you control notifications and settings based on schedules, Wi-Fi networks, and location. This is another instance of doubling up on Google, as the phone has Android’s Digital Wellbeing features that include a Focus mode.
But overall this is a clean, quick iteration of Android 12 that feels faster out of the box than even a brand new Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra because OnePlus does away with a lot of animation fluff. I was annoyed though that OnePlus still insists on shipping its own photos app with OxygenOS and preloads them with the Google suite including Google Photos. It’s frustrating to have two photo apps to refer to in the app drawer and when sending photos or organising them.
The worst part of the software deal is OnePlus only offers two Android platform updates and three years of security updates. So, the Nord 2T will get Android 13 in 2023 and Android 14 in 2024, and its last security patch in 2025. For a new phone in 2022 that will still perform well in three years, that’s just not good enough, and a wasteful attitude.
Google offers three platform updates and four years of security, and Samsung offers four and five respectively for many of its new smartphones. Apple still updates the iPhone 6S from 2015 with over the air iOS updates. If you want to keep your phone for longer, OnePlus simply isn’t the best choice if you want a secure Android device.
Price and availability
For £369 in the UK and from €399 in Europe for 8GB RAM/128GB storage, the Nord 2T is one of the best mid-range phones you can buy, even if it is practically identical in specs and performance to the older Nord 2. That is £30 less than that phone but adds faster charging and a new processor and will get software support for a year longer. £100/€100 more gets you more 12GB RAM and double the storage.
Unless you really don’t like the design of the cameras or can’t stand the small changes to the software thanks to Oppo’s influence, there aren’t many reasons to pick another phone over the Nord 2T. I can forgive the poor quality of two of the cameras and the lack of wireless charging, but the main downside even at this price is only getting two platform updates and three years of security patches. Samsung phones at a similar price give you five years of support, even if they don’t perform as well as the Nord.
Its main rivals to my mind are the £259 Poco X4 Pro 5G if you want to spend less but get a 120Hz screen or the £599 Google Pixel 6 if you can afford to spend a little more and get superior cameras and software support.
The OnePlus Nord 2T is an overall excellent phone and amazing value. You get a sleek 5G phone with top battery life, very fast charging, a superb main camera, and great performance for less than £400/€400.
You can get phones for the same price with 120Hz screens over the Nord’s 90Hz, but OxygenOS is still much more pleasant to use than Xiaomi’s MIUI or Realme’s Realme UI.
OnePlus has moved its Nord phones to MediaTek Dimensity from Qualcomm Snapdragon without a hitch and the Nord 2T performs like a phone that costs twice its price. The build quality is very good and the 80W charging is a godsend. It’s one of the best phones you can buy for the price.
OnePlus Nord 2T: Specs
- Android 12 with Oxygen OS 12.1
- 6.43in Full HD+ (1080×2400) Fluid AMOLED, 20:9, 90Hz, HDR10+
- MediaTek Dimensity 1300 chipset
- 8/12GB RAM (DDR4)
- 128/256GB internal storage (UFS 3.1)
- 50Mp, f/1.9 main camera, PDAF, OIS
- 8Mp, f/2.3 ultrawide
- 2Mp, f/2.4 mono
- 32Mp, f/2.5 selfie camera
- Fingerprint scanner (in-screen)
- Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Dual-nano SIM
- 4500mAh non-removable battery
- 65W wired charging
- 159.1 x 73.2 x 8.2mm