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OnePlus Nord 3 Review: Almost Flagship

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Impressive primary camera
  • Flagship display
  • Blazing 80W fast charging
  • Android 13

Cons

  • Ultrawide camera could have been better
  • Plastic frame
  • Only IP54 rating, no IP67 rating

OnePlus started as a giant-killing smartphone company. They aimed to create affordable smartphones that could compete against expensive flagship phones. As a result, OnePlus One took birth in 2014. A great smartphone with top-notch performance, an actual flagship killer. With time, the OnePlus series became what it set out to beat, a mainstream flagship phone.

OnePlus Nord 3 Review
OnePlus Nord 3

As OnePlus’s phones started getting expensive, they experimented with the OnePlus ‘X’, then launched the OnePlus Nord series.

Nord was an affordable phone with mid-range specs, an alternative to OnePlus’s flagship killers. The first Nord was a nice phone, a good value for money. The follow-ups, Nord 2 and 2T were not what they were supposed to be. But, OnePlus seems to be getting back on track with the OnePlus Nord 3.

The Nord 3 is still a phone with mid-range specifications, but it knocks on the door of “Flagship Killer” territory. It is priced at INR 33,999 for the 8/128GB variant in India. Likewise, OnePlus Nord 3 price in Nepal is Rs. 69,999 (8/128GB) and Rs. 75,999 (16/256GB).

For the price, the Nord 3 packs a powerful Dimensity 9000, Sony’s flagship IMX 890 50MP sensor, and a 120Hz AMOLED panel. So, is this the return of the flagship killer, or is it just a top-notch mid-ranger? Find out in this review of the OnePlus Nord 3.

OnePlus Nord 3 5G Specifications

  • Body: 162.6 x 75.1 x 8.1 mm, 193.5 g
  • SIM: Dual SIM (2xNano-SIM, dual stand-by)
  • Display: 6.74 inches Fluid AMOLED, 1240 x 2772, 120Hz, 1450 nits (peak), HDR10+, 20:9
  • Chipset: MediaTek Dimensity 9000 (4 nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core (1×3.05 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.85 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A510)
  • GPU: Mali-G710 MC10
  • Memory: 8/128GB, 16/256GB, UFS 3.1, no microSD card support
  • OS: Android 13, OxygenOS 13.1
  • Rear Camera: 50MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/1.56″, 1.00µm, multi-directional PDAF, OIS
    • 8MP, f/2.2, 112˚ (ultrawide), 1/4″, 1.12µm
    • 2MP, f/2.4, (macro)
    • Video: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, 720p@30/60/240fps gyro-EIS
  • Front Camera: 16MP, f/2.4, 24mm (wide), 1.0µm
    • Video: 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 5000mAh battery, 80W wired charging, 1-60% in 15 min (claimed)
  • USB: USB Type-C 2.0
  • Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • 3.5mm Headphone Jack: No
  • Colors: Misty Green, Tempest Gray

OnePlus Nord 3 5G Price in Nepal: Rs. 69,999 (8/128GB) and Rs. 75,999 (16/256GB)

ALSO READ: Nothing Phone 1 Price in Nepal (July 2024 Updated)

OnePlus Nord 3 5G Review

Design

  • 162.6 x 75.1 x 8.1 mm, 193.5 g
  • Dual SIM (2xNano-SIM, dual stand-by)
  • Gorilla Glass 5 (Back)
  • IP54 Rating
  • Optical Fingerprint sensor
OnePlus Nord 3 Review
Design

The Nord 3 looks sleek and elegant. The rear camera design is similar to the Nord 2T, but OnePlus has ditched the rectangular module encasing the camera lenses. At first glance, it looks like it has dual flash, but the lower flash-like module is a dummy.

The Mint Green variant has a glossy glass panel on the rear protected by Gorilla Glass 5. It catches fingerprints, but this color variant manages to hide the smudges. Nord 3 doesn’t get premium treatment all the way, the plastic side frame takes away the premium feeling of the glass back. Still, this phone does look like a flagship phone.

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The position of the alert slider, power button, and volume buttons remains the same as Nord 2T. Similarly, there’s a dual sim slot, mic, USB Type-C port, and a speaker on the bottom. On top, there’s a sound outlet, an IR Blaster, and a mic.

Nord 3 has all the hallmarks of a flagship phone interms of design, the plastic frame and less competent IP54 rating are the only eyesore.

On the front, there’s a hole punch in the middle of the screen. The screen bezels, especially the chin, have been significantly reduced. The bezel looks even all around and it’s thinner than the recent iPhone Pro models.

 OnePlus Nord 3 Review
Hole Punch

The optical in-display fingerprint sensor works great, it is fast and responsive. It also has an IP54 rating which is less competent than the IP67 rating found on the Samsung A series but better than Xiaomi’s IP53 rating.

Display

  • 6.74 inches Fluid AMOLED
  • 1240 x 2772 pixels
  • 120Hz, 1450 nits (peak)
  • HDR10+, 20:9
 OnePlus Nord 3 Review
Display

The new 6.74-inches Fluid AMOLED panel is awesome. It is sharp, bright, vivid, and fast—everything we would expect from a flagship phone.

OnePlus has fitted a 1.5K resolution panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, 10-bit color depth, up to 1000Hz touch response, and HDR10+ streaming. Likewise, OnePlus claims a peak brightness of 1450 nits.

The AMOLED panel is great for watching videos and streaming HDR content. It is recognized as HDR10 capable by Netflix.

The color output of the AMOLED panel is excellent. It has 4 color modes: Vivid, Natural, Cinematic, and Brilliant. The default Vivivd mode gives you vibrant colors but the white and grey tend to be slightly blue. Likewise, the Natural and Cinematic mode provides outstanding accuracy to sRGB and P3 color gamut respectively. If you want more colors, you can switch to Brilliant mode which uses the widest color gamut.

OnePlus Nord 3 has three High Refresh Rate modes: Auto, High, and Standard. In Auto mode, the screen uses 120Hz across the user interface and some supported apps and switches to 60Hz for static pictures, unsupported apps, and video playbacks. But, it uses 90Hz in almost all of the apps. The screen uses a maximum of 90Hz in Facebook, Google Chrome, Instagram, Messenger, Google Photos, OnePlus’s Photos app, Threads, and more. So, you should use the High mode if you want to experience the 120hz refresh rate most of the time.

Also, if you want to enjoy high refresh rate gaming, the Auto mode won’t support it. You will need to switch to High mode if you want to enjoy high refresh rate games on Nord 3.

ALSO READ: Redmi 12C Review: Best Phone Under Rs. 15,000 in Nepal

Performance

  • MediaTek Dimensity 9000 (4 nm)
  • Octa-core (1×3.05 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.85 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A510)
  • Mali-G710 MC10
  • 8/128GB, 16/256GB, UFS 3.1

Nord 3 gets a good upgrade in the performance department. Unlike the underperforming Dimensity 1200/1300 used on its predecessor, the Dimensity 9000 chipset of the Nord 3 is powerful.

Dimensity 9000 goes head-to-head against the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2. Both chipsets are based on TSMC’s 4nm process and share the same architecture. Dimensity 9000 has 1X Cortex-X2 core at 3050 MHz, 3 Cortex-A710 cores at 2850 MHz, and 4 Cortex-A510 cores at 1800 MHz. For GPU it uses Arm Mali-G710 MC10.

The Nord 3 glides smoothly while navigating UI, opening apps, and switching between apps. It’s fair to say that, Dimensity 9000 provides the Nord 3 with enough power to compete with the flagship phones.

Dimensity 9000 is not only fast in everyday tasks but it’s powerful enough to run AAA titles at max settings.

PUBG Mobile can be played with HDR graphics with an Extreme fps setting. In this configuration, I was getting average fps of 53.2. It was not hitting 60 fps but the game ran smooth. Likewise, you get a 90 fps option at the Smooth graphics setting. In this configuration, I was getting average fps of 87.

Genshin Impact

Moving on to Genshin Impact, I tested this game at Medium graphics with a 60 fps limit option. The game ran smoothly with negligible frame drops and stutters. After 7 mins of gameplay, the phone reached the peak temperature of 43 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the phone feels uncomfortable to hold. However, I did not see any drops in performance up to 30 minutes.

Camera

  • Rear Camera: 50MP Sony IMX890, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), OIS
    • 8MP, f/2.2, 112˚ (ultrawide), 1/4″, 1.12µm
    • 2MP, f/2.4, (macro)
  • Front Camera: 16MP, f/2.4, 24mm (wide), 1.0µm
Camera

Nord 3 has a triple camera on the rear with a 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor, 8MP ultrawide sensor, and a 2MP macro sensor. On the front, it has a 16MP selfie camera.

Main Camera

The main sensor is impressive, especially in daylight. The photos look crisp with a good amount of sharpness and saturation. The dynamic range is on par with flagship phones I would say. Likewise, the photos look evenly exposed.

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In low light, the Nord 3 uses Auto Night Mode. The default photos may take about 1s or less to capture and turn out impressive almost every time. There’s a good amount of detail, sharpness, and the noise is low as well. The color is well preserved with great exposure and wide dynamic range.

Ultrawide

The ultrawide sensor is nothing to boast about. Compared to the main sensor, the ultrawide sensor feels below average. In daylight, the detail is just enough but you will end up wanting more detail in an overcast situation. The noise is on the lower side but the colors are somewhat dull.

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Portrait

Nord 3 doesn’t have a depth sensor but the portrait mode is still available. The portraits from the Nord 3 are not good every time. Sometimes, the subject separation and background blur are convincing with sharp details. Sometimes, it struggles with subject separation and fails to retain effective detail on the subject.

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Macro

The macro sensor is as expected. The photos are poor with mediocre detail, visible noise, and dull colors.

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Selfie

The selfies turn out impressive from the Nord 3 even though, the detail is on the lower side. The subject is well-exposed and the face tone feels natural. The color is great and the dynamic range is just enough.

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Videos

The Nord 3 can capture up to 4k 60fps with the primary camera. The Ultrawide camera is limited to 1080p 30fps. The 4k videos look sharp with good detail and nice color. The exposure is also quite good but doesn’t support EIS at 4k. But, the footage doesn’t look excessively shaky even in 4k.

The 1080p footages are good too. It has enough detail and the colors also look good. Even better, the EIS makes 1080p footage very stable. The ultrawide video is not impressive, but it will do the job. The video won’t look sharp as it does from the primary camera but the exposure and color are decent.

Battery & OS

  • Non-removable Li-Po 5000mAh battery
  • 80W SuperVOOC charging, 1-60% in 15 min (claimed)
  • Android 13, OxygenOS 13.1
OS

The Nord 3 has increased battery capacity to 5000mAh, up from 45000mAh on the Nord 2. It has excellent battery life with 5-6 hours of screen time.

Nord 3 gets an 80W SuperVOOC charging, the same as on the Nord 2T. OnePlus claims that a full charge will take 32 mins and our results are around this mark. Depending on the situation, the phone was charging up to 100% within 35-40 mins during our test.

Nord 3 runs on Android 13 out of the box with OxygenOS 13.1. This is identical to Realme’s UI 4.0 and Oppo’s ColorOS. So, you can expect a similar experience but with a hint of OnePlus. Our version of the Nord 3 was not pre-loaded with lots of bloatware. Except for OnePlus apps, O Relax was the only pre-installed third-party app.

OnePlus has promised 3 years of OS upgrades and 4 years of security updates on the Nord 3.

The OS is well-optimized, I did not bump into any bugs. However, as I’ve mentioned in the display segment, the High Refresh Rate control is disappointing. In terms of customization, you can set accent colors, personalize Always-On Display, change icons, change fingerprint animation, edge lighting, and more.

So, this is my OnePlus Nord 3 review. What do you think about the phone? If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments!

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