The launch of the original Nord brought back some of the same excitement that accompanied early OnePlus phones. Gone are the days when you could get practically top-of-the-line specs for next to nothing, but Nord wasn't too far off from the flagship killers of old. Since then, we've seen a few more budget phones under the same sub-brand, but now OnePlus is back with the closet thing yet to a proper successor in the form of the Nord CE 5G.

With more than one million sold, the first Nord phone is among the company’s most popular recent devices, and it didn’t even come to the US. In the UK, it launched at a very competitive price of £379, but the same 8/128GB variant of the new release can be had for just £299. Even the beefy 12/256GB model costs less than the cheapest version of the OG Nord, at £369. In case you were wondering, CE stands for Core Edition — this phone is meant to represent the core aspects of what the Nord moniker stands for.

Specs

SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G (Adreno 619 GPU)
RAM 6, 8 or 12GB (LPDDR4X)
Storage 128 or 256GB (UFS2.1)
Display 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED, 2400x1080 (410ppi), 90Hz refresh rate, sRGB, P3
Rear cameras Primary — 64MP, f/1.79, EIS, PDAF+CAF, video up to 4K at 30fps
Ultrawide — 8MP, 119° FoV, f/2.25, EIS
Mono lens — 2MP, f/2.4
Front camera 16MP (Sony IMX471), f/2.45, EIS
Battery 4,500mAh with Warp Charge 30T Plus fast charging
Software Android 11 (OxygenOS 11)
Other Headphone jack, in-display fingerprint scanner, Dual nano-SIM
Dimensions 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9mm
Weight 170g
Colors Blue Void, Charcoal Ink, Silver Ray
Price 8/128GB — £299
12/256GB — £369

OnePlus says the new Nord is the slimmest phone it's made since the 6T at just 7.9mm thick. Both the sides and rear are made from composite plastic, which is unsurprising at this price, and there’s no such luxury as gorilla glass on the front; you have to settle for a less resilient variety. The Blue Void model carries over the Nord's signature bright blue hue but there’s a little added depth this time with the matte, fingerprint repellent finish you normally see on more expensive OnePlus phones. Since this is a mid-ranger, there’s no official water resistance and no wireless charging.

While the original Nord sported four rear cameras (only two of them useful, mind you), the new Nord CE 5G drops down to three, and once again, only two of them are really worth using. There’s a 64MP primary sensor alongside an 8MP ultrawide, with a monochrome lens of little utility rounding out the trio. Gone is the dual front camera setup in favor of a single 16MP selfie cam — this makes for a much more unobtrusive punch-hole cutout in the 6.43-inch, 90Hz display.

The battery capacity has been upped to 4,500mAh, but the upgraded (and long-winded) Warp Charge 30T Plus means it’ll charge just as fast — it can go from zero to 70% in just 30 minutes. With adaptive charging, it won’t go all the way to 100% until right before you normally unplug it to keep the battery healthy for longer. The Snapdragon 750G chip sounds like it should be a downgrade versus last year’s 765G, but it’s likely to offer roughly the same performance, if not slightly better. The phone launches with Android 11 out of the box, but OnePlus has not fared as well with updates recently, so that’s something to bear in mind.

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G goes on sale today, although it's exclusively available to OnePlus Community members until midnight tonight. You can grab one from the OnePlus site. Amazon also pre-orders start later today, with the first units shipping out on June 14 and general sale starts June 21 from retailers like John Lewis and the network Three in the UK.

In India, there's a special version of the phone with just 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for ₹22,999. Pricing for the other models comes in at ₹24,999 for 8/128GB and ₹ 27,999 for 12/256GB. They go up for pre-order tomorrow with general sales starting June 156; you can get them from Amazon.in and OnePlus.in. The company also announced a new TV for the region, starting ₹39,999 — check it out here.