Home / Technology / If Nord CE is the future of OnePlus, the future looks bleak

If Nord CE is the future of OnePlus, the future looks bleak

OnePlus Nord CE with box and cover

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Dhruv Bhutani

Dhruv Bhutani

There’s a new North out there. Called the OnePlus North Core Edition, the phone launched for dubious claims to bring the familiar OnePlus experience to a whole new audience. However, it means less than fantastic spec sheet and lack of finesse that the phone is, simply put, forgettable.

In our OnePlus Nord CE review, we struggled to find a reason why this phone existed in the OnePlus series. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a terrible phone in itself. But it lacks some unique merit, and I just do not see how it will excite a new generation of OnePlus fans – and that’s a problem.

Read more: OnePlus Nord Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know

There is no shortage of quality, affordable medium-sized options on the market. From Redmi Note 10 Pro to Realme 8 Pro or Google Pixel 4a for that matter, every single phone on the list stands out for bringing something unique to the table. OnePlus Nord CE? Nothing.

OnePlus Nord CE vs Redmi Note 10 Pro shows rear panels

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

In fact, it makes it worse by failing in the one thing it intends to do: democratize the OnePlus experience.

You see, the phone is called Core Edition because it has to channel the ethos and values ​​to OnePlus. Except it does not.

OnePlus Nord CE fails with the one thing it set out to do.

OnePlus built its reputation on the pillars of performance and value. While the value ratio began to decline with the company’s predictable upward pressure with OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 9 series of hardware, it still had performance and unique features. Meanwhile, the original OnePlus Nord tried to return to the form by delivering good enough specifications at a reasonable price point. The phone did well enough for the company, especially in India, and spurred a 200% growth in this year’s sales in the region.

However, OnePlus Nord CE releases the propulsion. The lukewarm release sits only Rs. 3000, £ 29 or € 40 under the original OnePlus Nord. The relatively small price difference is lumped together with a significant reduction in the set. Furthermore, the phone comes across as thoroughly competitive against established competitors from Xiaomi, and also BBK colleagues like Realme.

Wasted potential

OnePlus Nord CE in hand with screen on

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Be it the design, fit and finish, or the set offered, there is no real redemptive factor here. We’ve seen homogenization of designs across Oppo and OnePlus phones, but the Nord series takes it to the next level with its Realme-derived design.

The derivative design and lack of key OnePlus features is confusing.

And that’s before I get to the missing warning slider. It’s not that you can not change profile without a notification slider, but the ease of use is addictive and part of the reason I keep coming back to OnePlus phones. This is not the first OnePlus phone to release the slider. The devices in the Nord N series did the same – but for a phone that is explicitly designed to provide the best of the OnePlus experience on a budget, the lack of a OnePlus tent feature is a slap in the face to long-term fans, especially those aiming to make these affordable alternatives their first OnePlus phone.

OnePlus Nord CE rear view cameras

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Meanwhile, OnePlus continues to keep abreast of constant complaints about image optimization, delayed software updates and table inserts such as 5G band support in key territories such as India.

In the absence of hardware, such as a loaded specification sheet, the only redeeming factor is the software experience. Oxygen OS is not bad at all, in fact it is one of the better software rails out there, but it is also far from what anchored millions of fans in the ecosystem. Year after year, the company takes hold of good and not so good features, while developing the user interface a step further away from making Android – despite significant screams from long-term fans.

Oxygen OS is suffering from an identity crisis, and there is little progress to make it a selling point.

In the midst of Oxygen OS’s identity crisis, the bigger problem is that it is not taking any significant steps forward. This is despite the fact that the competition quickly catches the OnePlus lead. Take MIUI, for example. Xiaomi’s use of Android has traditionally been a powerhouse of features. The only real problem? Bloatware and inconsistency. However, if the latest releases are anything to go by, the company listens to feedback from users and tones down bloatware drastically. It has also publicly recognized the need for better software parity throughout its vast portfolio. You do not see that kind of forward movement from OnePlus, certainly not with OnePlus Nord CE. The cookie-cutter approach to Oxygen OS ensures that it is far from the system vendor OnePlus imagines it to be, and it cannot save Nord CE from mediocrity.

OnePlus Nord N100 in hand showing the back up close

Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Furthermore, the company’s irregular list of updated flagship updates gives me no confidence that it will fulfill the promises it makes for budget hardware. In fact, the entry level Nord N10 and Nord N100 are promised only a major Android update, while Nord CE gets two despite being introduced at the beginning of the Android 12 launch. You can expect Android 13 on the phone and that’s all about it. Simply put, it is unacceptable to come from a company that promises a first-class experience, even more so in 2021.

These long-standing problems are further exacerbated by Xiaomi and Realme’s long-standing dominance in the segment. The Redmi Note 10 series, Samsung’s A-Series hardware and even the Pixel 4a all have redeeming qualities that make them stand out, and much easier to recommend over what OnePlus brings to the table. If OnePlus can not meet, let alone exceed hardware expectations, continues to stumble upon software support, and fails to bring its markup features to the fight, how does it really expect to compete?

A story about a drug addict over the drug

OnePlus 9R next to the oneplus 9 pro

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The constant hype-build cycle has quickly become a common theme for OnePlus, be it the OnePlus Band which was launched with poor performance and a small feature set, or the long-awaited OnePlus Watch which turned out to be a little more than a bog standard. fitness durable. It is also the much talked about Hasselblad partnership that moved the image processing on OnePlus phones by an inch, instead of the mile it needed to compete with the very best. It’s easy to miff out customers, even long-term loyalists when the hype is rarely supported by substance.

The weak budget show confirms that OnePlus is not afraid to settle down.

As the company aims for a more regular show, it is not afraid to let go of the goodwill built on the back of a good product. Unlike Xiaomi’s bottom-up approach, where it struggled to break free from its valuable image due to its success with Redmi, OnePlus is much better positioned. It has branded entropy built on generations of high quality products at a price that seems fair. However, the recent era of budget and mid-range hardware risks wasting momentum and diluting the OnePlus brand identity. Nord CE is just the latest example of a worrying trend.

read more: The best OnePlus phones in different categories – budget, camera and more

It also paints OnePlus in a completely different light. This is a new era on OnePlus, one where it is not afraid to settle, and one where an alternative to each price point means more than what the product stands for.

The new era is further enhanced by the recent announcement of deeper integration between OnePlus and Oppo. If you thought OnePlus hardware was being marketed, you can only look at the growing influence of Oppo. The other BBK-owned brand has a history of flooding the middle and budget markets with derivative hardware across price points, and all signs point to a similar fate for OnePlus, even if only time will tell. After all, both Nord CE and Nord N200 are pretty similar to existing Realme and Oppo devices.

I am not against more different options. However, the increasingly close alliance with Oppo and the recent brilliance of unbaked hardware is at odds with everything OnePlus has stood for. It’s not that OnePlus has not encrypted items from Oppo devices before, but it has always made them their own. The Nord line’s consistent dilution of OnePlus table inserts and a lack of competitiveness foreshadow a bleak future for the company’s direction. First, it was the Nord N series that compromised, now it is the usual Nord series. Can the flagships be next?

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