It is crazy to think it was only six years OnePlus first came on the scene with their OnePlus One smartphone and surprisingly enough it was the same price as its current Nord N10 5G being $299.99.
Of course, as time has progressed so has tech and prices have increased in the line reaching as high as $1,000 with its OnePlus 8 Pro with max specs.
Now this is not the first time OnePlus has created an entry-level smartphone line as they did so with the one-off OnePlus X back in 2015. The “Nord” series looks to get you some strengths of what OnePlus is known for with some caveats.
OnePlus has been known for doing multiple colorways on their series of devices but with the Nord N10 5G we are just getting Midnight Ice. It does still represent their two-tone reflect styling with it looking dark blue in some angles and more of an icy light blue in others. Unlike OnePlus’ flagship devices, the N10 5G utilizes plastic on its back and frame. Also, its front display is using Gorilla Glass 3 taking it a few steps from the Glass 5 you will see on its latest smartphones.
When you look at the button layout of the Nord this is when things get interesting. It has a power button, volume controls, and dual speakers like the flagships. It is missing an Alert Slider which has been a OnePlus standard for years but gains a headphone jack. While a headphone jack is nice, I don’t remember the last time I used one and miss the Slider personally.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G comes with a Warp Charge Adapter and USB-C Cable.
Display / Hardware
A brand that has been known for giving you a great amount of power at a decent price has to pull some back based on its cost. Here you are getting a Snapdragon 690 processor, 6GB RAM, Adreno 619, and 128GB storage which can be expanded up to 512GB thanks to microSD support. Using it for day-to-day tasks the phone seems to hold its own. It can catch a freeze or stutter here and there but nothing disastrous. Playing mobile games did not provide much issue but graphically they looked under-par such as Fortnite. Other games like Call of Duty, Candy Crush Soda Friends, and Asphalt 9 also took some graphical hits but still played steady.
Even with this being a budget-esque smartphone it still manages to have a nice sized battery coming in at 4300mAh. Best of all it supports OnePlus warp fast charging at 30W which isn’t bad. I have covered budget phones in the past and some of them have dismal charging speeds. You can get back from zero to 100% within the hour. There is dual-sim capabilities ala taking an actual nanoSim and an eSim.
This model of the OnePlus Nord N10 5G was provided by OnePlus and is Unlocked. I have used it with T-Mobile getting 5G speeds as well as Verizon getting 4G LTE speeds (about 170Mbps down).
For the screen you are getting a 6.49” 90Hz IPS Display. Given that it is using a IPS display its not as eye popping as say AMOLED and I have seen typically on budget phones to look washed out a bit. Thankfully on the Nord N10 5G while the colors don’t pop out it still look decent while gaming or consuming content. The 90Hz does give some ease providing a smoother experience and interaction.
Speaking of interaction lets talk about that fingerprint sensor. OnePlus was one of the first to utilize in-display fingerprint sensor but reverted to the sensor mounted on the back again. I find myself having to tap or press on it numerous times to just get the correct response.
Refresh that Oxygen!
If you are familiar with OxygenOS you will feel right at home. Still allowing for various ways to customize your phone whether you want to use the navigation bar or go full gesture its all here. Icon Pack support and display options like refresh rate and display scaling are available if needed. I just wonder when/if OnePlus will update this smartphone anytime soon. Its currently on Android 10 with its last security update on 2/5/21. Hopefully, their budget phones aren’t forgotten about.
To snap some shots, the Nord N10 5G has a L shaped Quad Camera setup. They could of definitely went with a better way to make use of this area. In any event the four lenses make up of 64MP Main, 8MP Ultrawide, 2MP Macro, and 2MP Monochrome while the front is 16MP.
As usual with OnePlus cameras they look nice in well-lit outside areas but once you start to move away from that images start to smudge up a bit. I took shots which you can see around Bryant Park at night which resulted in some pictures looking a tad washed out and not clear and detailed.
Its nice to see OnePlus go back to this price point they started at and hopefully pull in some new fans along the way. Nord N10 5G gives you what you expect for its cost but also feels more like a mid-tier device rather than a budget one. It makes 5G affordable while also giving you a speedy 90Hz display and fast charging you don’t normally see for $300. I would be interested to see if they keep the Nord line alive or this was just to test the affordable waters.