OnePlus Nord 2T review: Pretty much new wine in an old bottle

Does the T avatar of the Nord 2 do enough to stand out from the pack in a meaningful manner? Let’s find out...

author_img Tushar Kanwar Published :  11th July 2022 01:40 PM   |   Published :   |  11th July 2022 01:40 PM
OnePlus Nord 2T

OnePlus Nord 2T

The Nord series was a return to OnePlus’ roots when it launched back in 2020, a breath of fresh air that shifted the conversation away from hardware and on to the overall experience of using a phone. Trouble is, that conversation has gotten awfully busy with a slew of Nord launches, and the last 12 months alone have seen the brand launch the Nord CE, the Nord CE 2, the Nord CE 2 Lite, and the Nord 2 along with its fun-loving Pac-Man edition. Does the T avatar of the Nord 2, which comes a full year after the Nord 2’s launch, do enough to stand out from the pack in a meaningful manner? Let’s find out in my full review of the OnePlus Nord 2T.

 

But first, here’s the lowdown on pricing and availability. The OnePlus Nord 2T went on sale on July 5 at Rs. 28999 (8GB/128GB) and Rs. 33,999 (12GB/256GB) in Jade Fog and Gray Shadow colors variants. 

Call it a chip off the old block or the apple not falling far from the tree, but there’s way too much in common between the Nord 2T and its spiritual successor. Look at them straight on, and there’s little to tell them apart. Flip it over, and while I do like the sandstone-inspired matte-finish texture and the good ol’ alert slider, the new camera housing…is divisive at best, and looks all out of whack with the proportions of the device. You get two large circles, one which houses the primary 50MP camera and the other with the 8MP ultrawide and the 2MP mono lens. It’s an odd look. At least there’s Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and back of the device, and capable stereo speakers to boot!

OnePlus hasn’t made any changes to the screen on the 2T, so you’re getting the same 6.43-inch full-HD+ AMOLED panel with 90Hz refresh rate as last year’s model. Now while the panel can get reasonably bright outdoors at 800nits and display bright, punchy colors and deep blacks, it misses a trick or two by not upping the screen refresh rate to the du jour 120Hz. In essence, not much has changed on the display department since the first Nord, and while it may come down to a “A vs B” component decision in keeping the phone to a strict budget, the lack of an upgrade in this area is an oversight.

The Nord 2T is the first device to launch with the MediaTek Dimensity 1300 chip, which is the successor to the Dimensity 1200 used on the Nord 2. By and large, the performance gains were incremental at best, and seeing that the Dimensity 1300 is optimized for energy efficiency, sometimes a wee bit lower. Translated into everyday use, the phone performs at par with its peers and juggles multiple apps, browser tabs and games with ease. Apex Legends, Asphalt and Genshin Impact all did well on the phone, but this was on the 12GB RAM variant so you may want to consider performance on the 8GB version. The other hardware bump up is 80W fast charging for the 4500mAh battery, up from 65W on the Nord 2. You get a full battery in a little under 40 minutes, and this lasts a little over a day on my average-to-heavy testing workload, which includes watching some streaming media, playing the odd game and way too much Instagram. 

A lot of the performance comes down to the clean software the Nord 2T runs. Running OxygenOS 12.1 based on Android 12 out of the box, the Nord 2T continues to be devoid of bloatware and ads that seem to be the norm for the segment. As with any recent OnePlus phone, the Nord 2T too inherits some of the good bits from the ColorOS  (the interface customization, the camera app) and the promise of two major Android updates and three years of security updates, though how timely OnePlus will be on this front remains to be seen.

 


OnePlus hasn’t rocked the boat on the camera setup (from the Nord 2), even if the same cannot be said about the actual design of the rear camera module - the Nord 2 was a quintessential OnePlus design, this one not so much. With the 50MP Sony IMX766 primary camera (with OIS), an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 2MP mono-lens, the Nord 2T takes similar shots as the Nord 2, which is to say – good dynamic range and detail in daylight shots, with somewhat oversaturated colors that are people-pleasers, if not for photography purists. The low-light shots were decent as well, and the Night mode, available only on the primary shooter, only helps boost the results. The ultra-wide suffers from a warmer tone and there’s some degree of color science differences with the primary shooter…but it’s usable. The mono sensor is one of those triple camera padding decisions, and I’d have much preferred a more usable macro or a telephoto shooter. It’s a good camera for the category, without a doubt. 

Incremental upgrades by way of the Dimensity 1300 and the slightly faster charging, and a polarizing new rear panel and camera module – the Nord 2T doesn’t really move the needle significantly over the very capable Nord 2, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Nord 2 continues to be an excellent choice for the money, and it’s likely to be selling for somewhat cheaper…and given that it’s pretty much the same phone, you could opt for that if there’s a great deal. This segment is likely to see a lot of action by way of the Nothing phone (1) and the upcoming Pixel 6a, so you’re going to want to wait for those before pulling the trigger on the Nord 2T.

OnePlus Nord 2T 

Pros: Good display, stereo speakers, faster 80W charging, capable specs, bloat-free software

Cons: Minor upgrades to the Nord 2, lacks IP rating and wireless charging, mono sensor

Rating: 7/10

Price: Rs. 28999 (8GB/128GB), Rs. 33,999 (12GB/256GB) 

Tushar Kanwar is a tech columnist and commentator, and tweets @2shar

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