The OnePlus Nord was a very well-received smartphone from the brand, one which stood out in part thanks to having a lower price than the OnePlus 8 range. However, it didn’t get a global release, landing just in Europe and parts of Asia. In the days following the launch though, OnePlus confirmed that a Nord-branded phone would land in the US this year.
While the company hasn’t shared any details about this phone, leakers have, painting a picture of a ‘OnePlus Nord Lite’ that should be even more affordable than the standard Nord.
We don’t know yet exactly 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, a clean software experience, fast charging, and multiple cameras.
The phone’s name is also unclear at this point. Some leaks suggested that it could be called the OnePlus Aurora, while others refer to it as the Nord Lite. Name aside though we are starting to hear some things about the phone, all of which you’ll find below.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? An even more affordable OnePlus smartphone
- When is it out? In the coming months
- What will it cost? Even less than the OnePlus Nord
OnePlus Nord Lite release date and price
OnePlus didn’t suggest a timeline for its next phone launch (except “later this year”), but there aren’t many months left in the year. And according to a tweet by Chun, a Twitter tipster, the OnePlus Nord Lite may launch as early as the end of September in India.
However, the tweet doesn’t mention the Nord name, just referring to it as a OnePlus phone, so they may be talking about another handset altogether.
Another possibility is that the OnePlus Nord Lite could land alongside the OnePlus 8T series, which itself may land in September based on past form, but could equally land in October or November.
As for what the OnePlus Nord Lite will cost, the source above listed a price in India of Rs 16,000 – 18,000, which, taking the middle value of that, would be roughly $230 / £175 / AU$320. That’s substantially less than the £379 / Rs 28,000 (around $480, AU$680) starting price of the OnePlus Nord.
Of course that doesn’t help us much with other regions as we wouldn’t expect an exact price comparison, but it should mean the new phone is a fair bit cheaper than the OnePlus Nord. That’s if this leak is right, but we’d take it with a pinch of salt for now.
Design and display
We don’t know much about the design of the OnePlus Nord Lite yet, but if it does indeed launch under that name then it’s likely to look similar to the Nord.
However, it’s unclear whether the phone will retain the Nord’s glass back, as given the likely lower price we wouldn’t be surprised if it moves to plastic.
Details of the display are also yet to surface, but the Nord has a 6.44-inch 1080 x 2400 screen, so expect either something along those lines or a slight downgrade.
OnePlus has mentioned that all of its phones from now on will have a high refresh rate too, so 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 2015. While AMOLED can be more expensive, we doubt that OnePlus will go back to an LCD panel for the Nord Lite.
This is where things get complicated as we have multiple sources claiming multiple different chipsets for the OnePlus Nord Lite. The OnePlus Nord Lite was first rumored to come with a Snapdragon 690 chipset, which was said to bring 5G at an affordable price – even cheaper than the Snapdragon 765G in the standard Nord.
Another source though claims that the Nord Lite might come with an even cheaper chipset like the Snapdragon 662 or the Snapdragon 665, neither of which support 5G.
As for RAM and storage, a benchmark has pointed to 6GB of the former, and there’s no current word on the latter, but the most basic Nord configuration includes 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and we’d be surprised if OnePlus dropped the storage below 64GB for even the Nord Lite.
Camera and battery
The OnePlus Nord has a whole lot of cameras, with four on the back and two on the front, and while we don’t know what the OnePlus Nord Lite will offer yet, we’d expect the number to drop. The quality might drop too, with the 48MP main sensor potentially being replaced. That’s just speculation for now though.
As for battery, the exact capacity of the OnePlus Nord Lite is yet to be leaked, however the charging speeds have already leaked.
A certification on the TUV Rheinland website (a company that manages tech standards) list a new 18W charger from OnePlus. That would be a significant step down from the 30W charging of the OnePlus Nord, but should still juice the phone up at a reasonable rate.
OnePlus Nord Lite: what we want to see
We’re still waiting for OnePlus to announce its next Nord, but here’s what we want from it.
1. A super low starting price
With a starting price of £379 (around $480, AU$680) the OnePlus Nord is already fairly affordable, but that’s undoubtedly a mid-range price. For the OnePlus Nord Lite we want the price to be significantly lower still, so it can compete with the likes of the Moto G range.
2. A high refresh rate display
OnePlus has always been about the experience as much as raw specifications. So to keep up the feeling of smoothness that the brand’s phones are known for, we hope that the OnePlus Nord Lite has a 90Hz display, even if that means switching to an LCD panel.
3. Versatile cameras
When it comes to cameras, the Nord has a whole lot of competition. From the simplicity of the Google Pixel 4a‘s capable single-lens snapper to the high-resolution quad-camera setups from brands like Redmi and Realme, there are a lot of affordable options for photography fans.
So for the OnePlus Nord Lite, we hope the camera experience isn’t diluted too much from the full fat Nord. If OnePlus can deliver lots of cameras at a low price on the Nord Lite, then it could have a seriously tempting phone on its hands.
4. Fast charging
All currently available OnePlus phones charge fast and we don’t want that to change for the OnePlus Nord Lite.
Sadly, there’s evidence that it might only have 18W charging, rather than the 30W of the Nord, but even that would be reasonable if the price is right.
5. Wide availability
The OnePlus Nord is only available in select parts of the world, and notably isn’t available in the US or Australia. For the OnePlus Nord Lite we’d like to see wider availability, with those regions covered as well as the UK – so buyers there have a choice of which Nord to opt for.