REVIEW | OnePlus Nord 2T 5G smartphone

Despite its late arrival to local shores, the OnePlus Nord 2T smartphone is finally available for Filipinos who are fans of Oppo’s Shenzhen-based subsidiary. As a testament of bringing back midrange-priced devices with flagship features, last seen with the OnePlus X in 2015, this model comes with the “T” moniker — usually reserved for the brand’s top-of-the-line smartphones.

While the Nord 2T is the first Nord model with the “T” signifier, it is still the successor of the OnePlus Nord 2 that was released earlier in 2021. The upgrades are focused mainly of performance and battery improvements thanks to the Dimensity 1300 processor and the 80W wired charging capacity.

Versus its predecessor, the new OnePlus Nord 2T features an updated Oxygen operating system based on Android 12, MediaTek’s Dimensity 1300 chip which made its debut with the Nord 2T, and a faster charging rate. While the changes are minute, the price tag is slightly higher with the current model at P22,590.

With the updated Nord device, the materials used are identical to the previous model but the camera housing has seen a redesign of some degree – the island is wider and raised higher, while the lenses are larger and more pronounced.

The frosted model is more immune to fingerprint smudges compared to the glossy variant we reviewed, although the latter is easier to grip and more comfortable to hold. Both the display and the body panels are using Gorilla Glass 5 but only the back glass material shows curvature.

Since the power button is obviously raised, the fingerprint scanner is an optical under-display component and works 95% of the time is exceedingly responsive. The earpiece at the top doubles as a second stereo speaker, while the front camera module is placed on the top-left side as a punch-hole lens.

Another noticeable difference is that the new Nord smartphone has two flash LEDs instead of a single two-tone flash. Beyond the large allocation for the rear camera setup and the official OnePlus logo, the back panel is kept clean and bare.

Both sides carry buttons : the left side houses the volume rocker which is shorter than conventional smartphones but feels more tactile, and the right side where OnePlus fans can spot the brand-unique three-step silencer on top of the generic power button.

While there is a single microphone unit on top of the OnePlus Nord 2T, the bottom is quite busy with two stereo speaker grilles, another microphone unit, a USB Type-C port, and the dual-SIM tray.

The OnePlus Nord 2T is not built like a tank or designed like a phablet, but it is no closer in having a compact form factor. The sides are kept thin but transition to a thicker forehead and chin, and the current grip situation leaves more to be desired.

Although it’s too much to ask for an Amoled smartphone to have 4K resolution, the 1080p screen on the OnePlus Nord 2T does complement well with the added HDR10+ and smoother 90Hz screen refresh rate. Image quality is vivid and vibrant, color reproduction is accurate, blacks are deep, the degree of viewing angles are excellent, and graphic motion is smooth while animation responses are snappy.

The battery life remains untouched, and endurance performs a bit below the Nord 2. What’s impressive is the presence of an 80W power brick which fully charges the OnePlus Nord 2T in a little over half an hour — a must-buy for professionals and students who are always on the go.

Since the older (yet not outdated) Nord 2 also received an Android 12 update, using the phones side-by-side is a parallel experience, except for the fact that OnePlus will not be launching the 2021 model here in the Philippines.

Users can access quick launch apps by pressing the fingerprint sensor a little longer which is much more convenient than the usual camera/flashlight combo. Oppo users will be familiar with the Oxygen OS since they share many design similarities while fans who used the older generation OnePlus smartphones will see a considerable number of changes — from color scheme, the app drawer, and even the settings app.

Despite sporting an updated processor, the performance on the new OnePlus 2T barely changed. Instead, MediaTek introduced the Dimensity 1300 as a smartphone more dedicated to gaming usage because of its HyperEngine 5.0 version which elevates several areas needed to enhance gaming performance.

In real-world scenario, this translates to smooth and stutter-free light to moderate gaming, steady heavy gaming with minor hiccups, seamless multi-tasking, and higher than average rendering speeds on video editing applications.

The OnePlus Nord 2T comes with very capable cameras, led by a primary IMX 766 sensor by Sony with optical image stabilization, an IMX 355 ultrawide shooter, and a monochrome camera that doubles as a depth sensor.

Images taken using the stock camera application retain plenty of details, noise is kept to a minimum and is virtually non-existent in well-lit scenarios, the dynamic range post-processing is effective, and the contrast does a great job thanks to the monochrome module.

Conclusion

The OnePlus Nord 2T is a powerful all-rounder with an attractive price tag that Filipinos will find hard to resist. However, it can’t be considered a proper upgrade from its predecessor from 2021 and is better suited for users who are beginning to consider switching to the OnePlus brand which only officially launched locally in Q4 2022.

While it performs admirably in several areas, what the device currently lacks is a flashy feature that will make it stand out against the already packed competition. The design leans towards the generic side, the features are basically an Oppo copy, and it struggles to be distinguishable from the myriad of midrangers already present in the country.

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