The OnePlus Nord was a very well-received smartphone from the brand which has consistently gone up the price ladder with each new launch. However, it didn’t get a global release and was limited to markets such as Asia and Europe. In the days following the launch, it was later confirmed that OnePlus will indeed launch “a Nord device” in the U.S. in the coming months.
While there hasn’t been any other confirmation from the company in the period since leaksters and insiders have been able to share some details about the upcoming ‘OnePlus Nord Lite’. The most interesting bit is that this new device will be even cheaper.
We won’t know yet what corners will have to be cut for this, but it should retain the essentials that make OnePlus phones likeable — a high refresh rate display, clean software experience, fast charging and multiple cameras.
The phone’s name is also anyone’s guess at this point. Some leaks suggested that it could be called the Aurora, while others refer to it as the Nord Lite. The final name could be something even more vague than what Nord was.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? An even more affordable OnePlus smartphone
- When will it come? In the coming months
- What price? Around Rs 20,000
OnePlus Nord Lite expected price and launch date
OnePlus didn’t suggest a timeline for its next phone launch (except “later this year”), but we expect it to be unveiled around October, ideally alongside the OnePlus 8T series. According to a tweet by Chun, a popular Twitter tipster, the OnePlus Nord Lite will launch as early as the end of September in India, but that could change in the coming weeks.
In India, the OnePlus Nord started at under Rs 25,000 (€399 in Europe). If the next Nord is actually cheaper, it could touch the highly competitive sub Rs 20,000 market of India – a space that is occupied by Xiaomi, Realme and Samsung. In the U.S., we could be looking at Google Pixel 4a competitor at under $400. The same leakster suggests that it could be priced between Rs 16,000 and Rs 18,000.
Check out the OnePlus Nord on Amazon
Design and Display
OnePlus’s design has been the same for a while now and from the OnePlus 6 series, the design hasn’t evolved as much as we’d like. The flagship smartphones from OnePlus feature glass back design while the mid-range OnePlus Nord features a polycarbonate body. Although we do not have any confirmation regarding the design of the phone yet, we can expect the Nord Lite to come with a plastic build, which is acceptable for a phone in this segment. A rendition by notable OnePlus leaksters suggested that the design will be very similar to the Nord at first glance, but with fewer cameras on the front and back.
Details around the display are yet to surface, but we should be getting a Full HD+ panel spanning 6.5-inches approximately. OnePlus did mention that all of its phones henceforth will have a high refresh rate. If no exception is made for the Nord Lite, it could be one of the most affordable phones with a 90Hz panel.
Even more exciting would be the inclusion of an AMOLED display. The last OnePlus phone with an LCD panel was the OnePlus 2 from six years ago. While expensive, we doubt that OnePlus will go back to an LCD panel. The fingerprint scanner situation will also depend on this decision.
This is where things get complicated as we have multiple sources claiming multiple chipsets on the OnePlus Nord Lite. The OnePlus Nord Lite was first rumoured to come with Snapdragon 690 SoC, which was said to bring 5G at an affordable price – even cheaper than the Snapdragon 765G. Another report claims that the device might come with budget-friendly chipsets like the snapdragon 662 or even the Snapdragon 665.
Similarly, the RAM and storage are likely to start at 4GB and 64GB, with higher configurations at higher prices. It’d be a surprise if the storage will be expandable.
Cameras have never been the strong point of OnePlus smartphones. The Nord had a very similar setup as that of the OnePlus 8’s, while adding an extra sensor on either side. As for the Nord Lite, we expect things to be very conservative with a triple camera array on the back. Even the high-resolution 48MP sensor might be dropped.
We’d like to see OnePlus pack the same camera module as we’ve seen on the OnePlus Nord with slightly downgraded specs. On to the front, we can expect OnePlus to bring a single selfie snapper in a dew-drop notch or a punch-hole cut-out.
Battery and charging
The exact battery capacity on the OnePlus Nord Lite is yet to be known. However, the charging speeds have already leaked. The rumoured OnPlus Nord Lite will most likely bring 18W fast charging. A speed of 18W is pretty standard for most mid-range and even budget phones these days. However, it’s quite odd to see OnePlus going back to this charging speed considering the company has had at least 20W charging on its phones for the last few years, and even the Nord comes with 30W charging. This could be an indication of opting for a different charging standard, unlike Dash/Warp charge.
OnePlus Nord Lite: What we want to see
A starting price of under Rs 20,000
In India, the OnePlus Nord was surprisingly well-priced, with even the top variant with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage costing under Rs 30,000. It would be great to see OnePlus join the budget smartphone segment and try to win with a software-first approach.
A high refresh-rate display
OnePlus has always been about the experience instead of raw specifications. To keep up its iconic feeling of smoothness, we hope that the Nord Lite has a 90Hz panel, even if it means switching to an LCD panel.
The competition is great when it comes to the cameras. On one hand, we have phones such as the Pixel 4a which wins hearts everywhere and on the other hand, we have offerings from Redmi and Realme which are offering high-resolution quad-camera setups. For the Nord Lite, we hope to see at least a secondary ultra-wide camera with overall results being similar to the Nord.
OnePlus was one of the first smartphone makers to bring real fast charging. While that has now become a staple for the entire portfolio, low voltage fast charging solutions are rare in this segment. The spotting of the 18W charger could be an indication that OnePlus is considering other standards as well.