OnePlus Nord CE 4 Review: The Company’s Best Nord CE Device Ever

The OnePlus Nord CE 4 stands out as a top contender with enhanced battery life, a vibrant display, and dependable performance marking a solid upgrade
OnePlus Nord CE 4 Review: The Company’s Best Nord CE Device Ever

OnePlus has finally released its first Nord smartphone for 2024 and I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks. The Nord CE 4, is OnePlus’ successor to the Nord CE 3. It’s a budget smartphone - coming in at Rs 24,999 - and is competing against the Nothing Phone 2a, Samsung Galaxy M55 and many others in the crowded mid-range segment.

A year has passed since the Nord CE 3 launched in India, and predictably, OnePlus has given the Nord CE 4 many crucial upgrades. Frustratingly though, it’s left some of the things as is on the Nord CE 3.

The focus for the Nord CE 4 is on a longer battery life and faster charging. The Nord CE 4 features a 5,500mAh battery (a 500mAh increase), 100W SUPERVOOC charging (compared to 80W SUPERVOOC charging previously), a newer Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 SoC (compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 782G on the Nord CE 3), and the Nord CE 4 ditches the 2MP macro lens.

The display is almost identical, save for the peak brightness. The OnePlus Nord CE 4 features a 6.7-inch AMOLED display, with a Full HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate (with a peak brightness of 1,100 nits). The Nord CE 3 had the same display but a lower peak brightness of 950 nits.

The cameras are also identical. The Nord CE 4 has a 50MP Sony LYT600 primary sensor (with optical image stabilisation support), and an 8MP SOny IMX355 ultra-wide sensor. The Nord CE 3 featured a 50MP Sony IMX890 primary sensor (with support for OIS) and the same ultra-wide-sensor. Both smartphones feature a 16MP selfie camera.

The most perplexing decision from OnePlus is the fact that the Nord CE series has omitted the famous and way too popular ‘alert slider’ for the fourth year running.

What I liked about the OnePlus Nord CE 4

OnePlus has always been about reliability. The company may have faltered for two years but a strong comeback has been made. OnePlus smartphones have always been about value-for-money offerings driven by consistently good performance. While I’ve never been a big fan of the “Nord CE” series (the top-of-the-line “Nord” series is better, and only a couple of thousand rupees more expensive) from the Nord stable, there is hardly much to complain about.

The Nord CE 4 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 SoC. It offers good power efficiency, mid-range performance, and extended battery life. Paired with 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and up to 256GB of UFS3.1 internal storage, the Nord CE 3 flies through daily tasks. The Nord CE 4 offers OxygenOS 14 (based on Android 14) out of the box. It’s a relatively clean Android skin. It’s light, and responsive as well.

With a bright and vibrant 6.7-inch AMOLED display, it was a pleasure consuming media and watching live broadcasts of Indian Premier League matches. Brightness was also more than sufficient.

The smartphone is good for daily tasks but falls behind other more performance-oriented smartphones, like the Poco X6 Pro, when it comes to gaming. The smartphone didn’t heat up, but also couldn’t play many games at full resolution. In fact, the 240Hz touch sampling lagged in a few of the games I tried.

Battery life was fantastic thanks to the massive battery inside of the Nord CE 4. The smartphone easily lasted for over a day and then some on a single charge. If you aren’t gaming, it is possible to last two full days on a single charge.

There isn’t much to worry about whenever the battery runs out of charge. This is thanks to the 100W wired charging support. The smartphone can juice up in just under 40 minutes.

What I didn’t like about the Nord CE 4

For a couple of thousand rupees more, plenty of smartphones offer a better camera setup. That isn’t to say the Nord CE 4’s camera is bad. It’s pretty decent. Thankfully, the Nord CE 4 ditched the 2MP macro lens. The Nord CE 4’s cameras were the best while shooting still photographs. The colours were bright and natural looking and even under harsh sunlight, the details were retained and the colours weren’t washed out.

But that’s about the best one can say about the cameras. The Nord 3 (and even the upcoming Nord 4). The OnePlus 12R, and a few other smartphones, provide for a better overall output of photos.

The cameras on the Nord CE 3 fell apart when switching to the 2X mode. There’s also no dedicated macro mode this time around. Low-light photos take a sharp hit in the details department and the colours looked very flat.

Verdict: A solid upgrade

OnePlus has done enough with the Nord CE 4 to make it a viable upgrade from the Nord CE 3. There’s a fantastic battery life (better than ever), a vibrant display, great performance, and a good primary camera. It’s a phone that just chugs along without breaking a sweat. The build quality is superb.

The design (marble design language) may not appeal to all. If one doesn’t like this colour option, they can opt for the Dark Chrome variant. Videos may not be the best, and the smartphone may fall behind in gaming. The OnePlus Nord CE 4 is up against some serious competition. Nonetheless, it is one of the best buys in this segment. It’s a great choice for everyday users who don’t care about all the bells and whistles.

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