More often than not, it only requires fitting in the correct pieces to complete a jigsaw. Two fairly well-thought-through attempts in the last two years, with the OnePlus Nord (that’s what ushered in this new line-up in 2020) and subsequently the Nord 2 a year later, there really isn’t a need to redesign the wheel. Therefore, it wouldn’t be outlandish to perceive the OnePlus Nord 2T as an iterative update, rather than a big annual refresh you may be expecting. Notice the naming carefully. It is not called the OnePlus Nord 3 (or something like that).
The tweaks include a new processor, but then again, that’s to be expected. The MediaTek Dimensity 1300 chip is doing duties, succeeding the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chip from the predecessor. If nothing else, that signifies the light touch of upgrades quite well. The display, in terms of size as well as resolution, is carried forward as is. That also means that’ll make do with up to 90Hz refresh rate – make of that what you may in case you were expecting 120Hz refresh rate to become a standard-setting now.
Simplified lineup, less confusion
There is some simplification of the variants as well. The entry spec combo pairs 8GB RAM and 128GB storage and the next step is 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. That’s one storage and one RAM combination, available in two colour options each. The pricing is quite interesting too – that’ll be ₹28,999 and ₹33,999 for the two tiers. It is effectively replacing the Nord 2 5G, like for like. Don’t expect that to be around for too long. But don’t quote us on that – the OnePlus Nord CE 5G is still listed for sale even though the Nord CE 2 5G effectively succeeded quite some months ago.
More of the same, while hankering for historical guidance
Not much looks to have changed in terms of the visual cues, at least till you flip the phone over and notice the much larger camera modules on the back. The Nord series continues to adorn the very convenient alert slider (though by the looks of it, that won’t be around for much longer in OnePlus phones). It remains a mix of straight lines interspersed with gentle curves. We’ve seen the Gray Shadow colour, but our recommendation would be the more eye-catching greenish hues of the Jade Fog option.
There’s the attempt with the grey colour to recapture a look resembling the sandstone finish that we’d seen (and still fondly remember) many years ago on the OnePlus One. Remember, it isn’t the same material on the back. Not even close. Whether this interpretation works for you, is your call.
How smooth is perfectly smooth?
Some of you may complain about the lack of a 120Hz refresh rate, and we cannot really hold that against you. The Xiaomi Mi 11i and the Mi 11i HyperCharge both offer 120Hz refresh rate displays while making you part with a little lesser of your money, but that’s a subjective call. Even with 90Hz, it’s smooth enough for your Twitter and Instagram scrolling. To the untrained eye, the slight advantage that 120Hz may pose over 90Hz isn’t really visible. Mind you, it’s an OLED screen, and that means the white colours are quite pure and blacks are not inky but deep blacks. This foundation, expectedly, has a positive impact on the rest of the colour band.
A single step forward, in tune with the times
The processor upgrade has a bigger impact on battery longevity than actual performance. The OnePlus Nord 2 wasn’t a slouch by any stretch of the imagination, and the OnePlus Nord 2T with the new Dimensity 1300 chip brings in very minor speed bumps. However, there’s a longer runtime available on each charge cycle, averaging between 1 to 2 hours more than the predecessor. Performance was slick with the Nord 2, and architectural improvements mean the new chip may be slightly faster in certain use-cases and with some apps or games, albeit if it is allowed to remain cool enough.
It’s the same battery size as before (4500mAh), but it would have otherwise been incomplete had the Nord 2T arrived without a bump in charging speeds. That’s just the way of smartphones, isn’t it? It was 65-watt last year, and it’s 80-watt SuperVOOC charging this year. You’d gain a few minutes here and there while topping up the battery, but for us, the most convenient aspect has to be that the charger comes in the box. It isn’t a separate accessory to buy, and more than the extra expense, the inconvenience of it all rankles for a while.
Continuity or a glaring omission?
Not a lot, and this is surprising, has changed with the cameras too. The different module design aside, there’s still a 50-megapixel primary camera and an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera at the back. The presence of a 2-megapixel depth sensor continues to be perplexing – does it really add any value, instead of a proper third sensor? A year later, there are software side improvements that ensure photos taken by the Nord 2T’s primary wide camera look a tad richer in terms of contrast and colour vividness.
Yet, these are small differences. The ultrawide still needs some optimization for sharpness around the edges. Considering how important cameras are for new smartphone buyers, leaving this part of the spec sheet in autopilot mode is perhaps a miss. Could upgrade to the classification of a big miss, once the Nothing Phone (1) arrives on the scene later this month (and if it is priced around ₹30,000; that’s the expectation).
Minor improvements go a long way
Do not expect the OnePlus Nord 2T to feel as if this is a full-fledged next generation upgrade. It isn’t, and to be fair, it didn’t need to be. Last year’s OnePlus Nord 2 was all this while, one of the best phones just this side of the ₹30,000 price point. The Nord 2T is keeping up with the times. This is what happens when the foundations are strong – OnePlus didn’t need to change a lot around this year. This now becomes a definite consideration for smartphones that’d otherwise also be classified as ‘flagship killer’ phones.