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OnePlus Nord or CE or N10 5G: Which mid-range smartphone is better?


The Nord line-up is OnePlus’ catalog of affordable smartphones – and it has grown by several models ever since the first Nord was released last year. Between the Nord CE, Nord N100, and Nord, let us take a look at OnePlus’ mid-range offerings by comparing the prices and specifications between the different OnePlus Nord models.


OnePlus Nord: Here is what’s on offer

Let’s begin by defining what the OnePlus Nord range is, why it was created, and who the target market is. The first OnePlus Nord was launched on July 21, 2020. It was the first product in the Nord catalog that kicked off OnePlus’ ecosystem of affordable products.

According to Carl Pei, the name “Nord” was derived from the concept of the true north. “We all have this inner compass that guides us. This product line reminds us that we should always look for our true north, and we hope it will continue to remind you of yours.”

The point is, everyone has different expectations, possibilities and needs when purchasing a smartphone – and OnePlus’ catalog was limited to just flagships. Hence, the Nord range was supposed to expand OnePlus’ stable of devices with more affordable mid-range smartphones while remaining true to the brand’s “Never Settle” spirit.

On paper, a OnePlus Nord smartphone is supposed to offer the best possible specifications at the best possible price in a given market segment. But as we’ll see below, OnePlus may shout “Never Settle” from the rooftops while their Nord handsets make the necessary technical compromises that we’re gradually seeing in the more recently released devices in that range.

The different OnePlus Nord models in 2021

In June 2021, the OnePlus Nord catalog carries four different models: OnePlus Nord, OnePlus Nord CE, OnePlus Nord N10, and the OnePlus Nord N100.


OnePlus Nord

The OnePlus Nord is the “flagship” of the range that was released in July 2020. Let’s face it, it’s not a high-end smartphone in the same vein as a Samsung Galaxy S21 or the OnePlus 9, for example. It’s simply the most premium model in the Nord catalog that carries the embodiment of the spirit in this range. 

The OnePlus Nord is a smartphone that I would call premium mid-range. Even a year after its release, its hardware specifications remain extremely competitive in the extremely dynamic mid-range market, where there is at least one exciting debutant each month. 

Therefore the OnePlus Nord is also the most expensive model of the batch OnePlus Nord with a roughly 400 USD price tag. Overall, it is a noticeable step down in terms of user experience and performance compared to OnePlus’ flagship models. I would compare it to the Samsung Galaxy A72 for instance.

NextPit’s full OnePlus Nord review

NextPIT OnePlus Nord camera
The OnePlus Nord is definitely a stylish phone. / © NextPit

OnePlus Nord CE

The OnePlus Nord CE (or Core Edition) is the newest model in the Nord catalog, and it was announced on June 10. The OnePlus Nord CE is not the OnePlus Nord 2, as we’re talking about two different product lines within the Nord lineup (I know, it’s unnecessarily complicated).

The OnePlus Nord CE is the mid-range device within the Nord catalog, so it is a little less mid-range premium than the OnePlus Nord. It is therefore logically priced at around 300 USD. We could compare it to the Samsung Galaxy A42 or Galaxy A52 when you take technical specifications and price ratio into consideration.

NextPit’s OnePlus Nord CE hands-on

NextPit OnePlus Nord CE
The design of the OnePlus Nord CE is identical to the original OnePlus Nord. / © NextPit

OnePlus Nord N10

The OnePlus Nord N10 represents the affordable end of the Nord catalog. It is a more affordable model compared to the OnePlus Nord and OnePlus Nord CE, and sells from around 250 USD.

The OnePlus Nord N10 received decent ratings in the US, although we at NextPit don’t necessarily agree. The model disappointed us because it really goes against the “Never Settle” spirit. It doesn’t feel like a OnePlus smartphone in your hands, but rather, a generic mid-range smartphone.

NextPit’s full OnePlus N10 review

NextPit OnePlus Nord N10 back nextpit
The OnePlus Nord N10 was a tad disappointing. / © NextPit

OnePlus Nord N100

The OnePlus Nord N100 is the entry-level model within the Nord catalog, and it’s currently available for around 150 USD. Storage is limited to just 64GB, where it is accompanied by a very ordinary camera configuration, a low-resolution screen, and 4GB of RAM…stuff that clearly denotes its entry-level rank. 

We could not review the OnePlus Nord N100 yet, but for many reviewers and users of the OnePlus Nord N100, this is (unsurprisingly) the most disappointing model in the catalog not only because it made numerous compromises in terms of hardware, but also because it is nothing more or less than a rebadged Oppo A53. Both devices are powered by the Snapdragon 460 SoC, carry a 5,000mAh battery, and have 90Hz displays.

In short, this is definitely the least interesting model in the Nord catalog especially since there are better alternatives for less than 200 USD.

More information on the OnePlus Nord N100

OnePlus Nord N100
The OnePlus Nord N100 is a carbon copy of the Oppo A53 / © OnePlus

OnePlus Nord, Nord CE, N10, N100: What are the differences?

We have presented the entire Nord catalog and all the models that are available. Let us get to the “comparative” part of this article. Which model should you choose between the OnePlus Nord, OnePlus Nord CE, OnePlus Nord N10 5G and OnePlus Nord N100?

I have prepared a table below with the technical specifications of these four models. Don’t forget to scroll right (or swipe left) to see the rest of the table which remains partly hidden. We’re going to talk about the common points but also the differences between the various Nord models.

What all OnePlus Nord models have in common

As the OnePlus Nord are all mid-range smartphones, they all share some key features. These include 5G connectivity, 30-watt Warp Charge 30T fast charging (except for the OnePlus Nord N100 which remained stuck at 18W), and a 90Hz refresh rate for their displays.

But the OnePlus Nord also has its fair share of shortcomings, going to show just how the manufacturer has made selected compromises in the hardware in order to reduce the final sticker price. One example is that none of these smartphones offer IP certification for water and dust resistance or wireless charging.

Differences between the many OnePlus Nords

We can immediately see a clear distinction between the 2 most premium models: the OnePlus Nord and Nord CE, alongside the more affordable models that are the OnePlus Nord N10 and N100.

The OnePlus Nord and Nord CE both sport an AMOLED display while the OnePlus Nord N10 and N100 feature an IPS LCD panel. The Nord and Nord CE are also the only ones to offer multiple storage configurations although having to sacrifice expandable memory, unlike the two more affordable handsets.

The OnePlus Nord CE and Nord N10 have almost the same camera module: a 64MP main lens, an 8MP ultra-wide angle and a 2MP depth sensor. The CE, however, decided to give the 2 MP macro sensor a miss (and we definitely don’t blame it) of which the N10 retains.

The OnePlus Nord, while sporting a 48 MP main lens, has optical stabilization unlike the other models as well as a dual selfie lens (wide-angle and ultra wide-angle) of 32+8 MP.  The OnePlus Nord N100’s camera is a little suspect with its 13 MP main lens.

When it comes to the battery side, the more affordable models are logically better equipped with capacities between 4,300 and 5,000 mAh. The 4,115 mAh battery of the OnePlus Nord seems to be rather modest in comparison. We also have to look at the SoCs involved. The Snapdragon 765G in the OnePlus Nord remains the most powerful model in the lineup, but the Snapdragon 690 in the Nord N10 also proved to deliver a decent performance in our review.

OnePlus Nord vs CE vs N10 vs N100

Components OnePlus Nord OnePlus Nord CE 5G OnePlus Nord N10 5G OnePlus Nord N100
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G QualcommSnapdragon 690 QualcommSnapdragon 460
  • 6/128 GB
  • 8/128 GB
  • 12/256 GB
6/128 GB 4/64 GB
Expandable storage? No No Yes Yes
  • 6.44″ AMOLED
  • Full HD+ display
  • 1080 x 2400
  • 90 Hz
  • 6.43″ AMOLED
  • Full HD+ display
  • 1080 x 2400
  • 90 Hz
  • 6.49″ IPS LCD
  • Full HD
  • 1080 x 2400
  • 90 Hz
  • 6.52″ IPS LCD
  • Full HD
  • 720 x 1600
  • 90 Hz
Camera module
  • Main 48 MP: f/1.8, PDAF, OIS
  • 8 MP ultra-wide angle: f/2.3, 119° FOV
  • Depth 5 MP
  • Macro 2 MP
  • 32+8 MP selfie
  • Main 64 MP: f/1.8, PDAF
  • 8 MP ultra wide angle: f/2.3, FOV 119˚.
  • 2 MP monochrome depth
  • 16 MP selfie
  • Main 64 MP: f/1.8, PDAF
  • 8 MP ultra-wide angle: f/2.3, FOV 119˚.
  • 2 MP monochrome depth
  • Macro 2 MP
  • 16 MP selfie
  • Main 13 MP: f/2.2, PDAF
  • Macro 2 MP, f/2.4
  • 2 MP depth, f/2.4
  • 8 MP selfie
  • 4k at 30 FPS
  • 1080p at 30/60 FPS
  • Gyro EIS
  • 4k at 30 FPS
  • 1080p at 30/60/120 FPS
  • Gyro EIS
  • 4k at 30 FPS
  • 1080p at 30/60/120 FPS
  • Gyro EIS
  • 4k at 30 FPS
  • 1080p at 30 FPS
  • Gyro EIS
  • 4,115 mAh
  • 30W fast charge
  • No wireless charging
  • 4,500 mAh
  • 30W fast charge
  • No wireless charging
  • 4,300 mAh
  • 30W fast charge
  • No wireless charging
  • 5,000 mAh
  • 18W fast charge
  • No wireless charging
OS OxygenOS 11 OxygenOS 11 OxygenOS 11 OxygenOS 11
  • No 3.5mm jack
  • Mono speaker
  • 3.5 mm jack
  • Stereo speakers
  • 3.5 mm jack
  • Stereo speakers
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.1 / NFC / LTE / 5G / Dual SIM Bluetooth 5.2 / NFC / LTE / 5G / Dual SIM Bluetooth 5.1 / NFC / LTE / 5G / Dual SIM / microSD Bluetooth 5.0/LTE/microSD
IP Certification None None None None
Dimensions & Weight
  • 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm
  • 184 g
  • 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9 mm
  • 170 g
  • 164.9 x 75.1 x 8.5 mm
  • 188 g
Current price from 400 USD from 300 USD from 250 USD from 150 USD

Which OnePlus Nord smartphone do I pick in 2021?

In my opinion, the answer to this question will depend on your budget.

If you can afford to spend more than 300 USD on a smartphone, I would advise you to wait for a few more weeks for the official launch of the OnePlus Nord 2.

The launch should be imminent and it will definitely take over its predecessor’s position as the premium and best performing model in the OnePlus Nord range. It is also the model that should benefit from having the best software update policy.

When the first OnePlus Nord was released, the manufacturer guaranteed two years of Android updates and three years of security patches. As for the more affordable OnePlus Nord models, the company’s promise was limited to just one Android update and two years of security patches.

If you are hesitant in passing the 300 USD mark, the OnePlus Nord that I would recommend would be the OnePlus Nord CE. Compared to the more premium model, you lose optical stabilization on the main camera lens, a more powerful SoC, and an ultra-wide-angle selfie sensor.

But, personally, I prefer the larger capacity 4,500mAh battery of the OnePlus Nord CE versus 4,115mAh battery on the original OnePlus Nord. The 90Hz Fluid AMOLED display is identical on both models, while you will also gain from having a 3.5 mm jack and much thinner and lighter form factor (170 g against 184 grams).

The Snapdragon 750G processor has performed well based on online reviews, while the bunch of included cameras ought to get the job done despite lacking OIS. In addition, OnePlus made the right choice not to integrate a pretty much useless macro sensor simply to pad the Nord CE’s specifications.

To conclude, if your budget is above 300 bucks, wait for the release of the OnePlus Nord 2. If your limit is 300 USD, do pick up the OnePlus Nord CE. But for the sake of transparency, I’d advise you to look at what the competition offers for under 300 USD before making your choice. If you need some ideas, check out our best-lists:


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