OnePlus Nord CE vs OnePlus Nord-which is best?

14 July 2021

OnePlus Nord CE vs OnePlus Nord

The OnePlus Nord range is becoming crowded now, with four models landing in under a year, but the original OnePlus Nord remains one of the best, as does the OnePlus Nord CE – a phone which it could easily be confused with.

To help make matters less confusing we’ve compared the two phones across all the categories that matter, including their design, screen, power, camera, battery life and price, so you can see exactly how they stack up.

You’ll then have all the information you need to make a purchasing decision, so read on and see which OnePlus Nord is right for you.

Design

Oneplus nord ce design

 

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus Nord CE

Size (mm)

158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2

159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9

Weight (g)

184

170

Materials

Glass front, glass back, plastic frame

Glass front, plastic back and frame

At a glance, the OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus Nord CE look almost identical. They both have a narrow camera block running down the top left of the back, and they come in a similar selection of colours, including Blue Void and Charcoal Ink for the OnePlus Nord CE, and Marble Blue and Grey Onyx for the original Nord.

Dimensions and weight differ a little, but not by much, with the OnePlus Nord coming in at 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm and 184g, and the Nord CE being 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9mm and 170g.

They also both have a flat screen with minimal bezels and a camera cut-out in the top left corner – though on the original OnePlus Nord this is dual-lens, while the OnePlus Nord CE has just a single-lens one.

The biggest difference though is the material they’re made from, with the OnePlus Nord having a glass back, while the Nord CE settles for plastic. You also get a 3.5mm headphone port on the OnePlus Nord CE, which is lacking from the standard Nord.

Screen

 

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus Nord CE

Size (inches)

6.44

6.43

Resolution

1080 x 2400

1080 x 2400

Type

Fluid AMOLED

Fluid AMOLED

Features

90Hz, HDR10+

90Hz

There’s even less difference when it comes to the screens of these two phones, with the OnePlus Nord having a 6.44-inch 1080 x 2400 AMOLED screen, while the OnePlus Nord CE has a 6.43-inch 1080 x 2400 AMOLED one. So they’re the same resolution and display type, but the Nord CE’s is marginally smaller.

That also means it has marginally more pixels per inch, at 410 to the OnePlus Nord’s 408, but that won’t be a noticeable difference.

Both phones also have a 90Hz refresh rate and a 20:9 aspect ratio, however there is one other display difference, namely that while the OnePlus Nord is certified for HDR10+ content, the OnePlus Nord CE doesn’t support HDR. So you won’t be able to make the most of HDR content on the Nord CE. Otherwise though, these screens will provide almost exactly the same experience.

OnePlus Nord CE 5G Dual SIM Deals

OnePlus Nord CE 5G Dual SIM Black 128GB

latest image
1GB Data
Unlimited Mins
Unlimited Texts
£21.00 a month
24 month contract
£21.00 a month

OnePlus Nord CE 5G Dual SIM Blue 128GB

latest image
1GB Data
Unlimited Mins
Unlimited Texts
£21.00 a month
24 month contract
£21.00 a month

OnePlus Nord CE 5G Dual SIM Black 128GB

latest image
6GB Data
Unlimited Mins
Unlimited Texts
£21.00 a month
24 month contract
£21.00 a month

Power

 

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus Nord CE

Processor

Snapdragon 765G

Snapdragon 750G

RAM

8GB/12GB

8GB/12GB

On paper, the OnePlus Nord has a slight edge over the OnePlus Nord CE when it comes to power, as the original phone has a Snapdragon 765G chipset with up to 12GB of RAM, while the latter has a slightly lower end Snapdragon 750G chipset and up to 12GB of RAM.

Similarly, the Nord has a slightly better GPU than the OnePlus Nord CE, with the former having an Adreno 620, while the latter has an Adreno 619.

However, despite the lower number in its name, the 750G in the Nord CE actually offers up to 20% better CPU speeds than the OnePlus Nord, though the original Nord has the better GPU, for improved gaming performance. In practice though you should expect fairly slick performance from both phones.

Camera

OnePlus nord ce camera

 

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus Nord CE

Rear camera

48MP f/1.8 main, 8MP f/2.3 ultra-wide, 5MP f/2.4 depth, 2MP f/2.4 macro

64MP f/1.8 main, 8MP f/2.3 ultra-wide, 2MP f/2.4 depth

Front camera

32MP f/2.5 main, 8MP f/2.5 ultra-wide

16MP f/2.5

One of the biggest differences between these phones is their cameras, as while the OnePlus Nord has a 48MP main snapper, an 8MP ultra-wide, a 5MP depth and a 2MP macro, the OnePlus Nord CE has a 64MP main, an 8MP ultra-wide and a 2MP depth sensor.

So you lose the macro lens with the Nord CE and get fewer megapixels in the depth sensor, however on the flip side the main camera has more megapixels.

The differences continue on the front as well, with the OnePlus Nord packing both a 32MP main selfie snapper and an 8MP ultra-wide one, while the OnePlus Nord CE has just a single 16MP selfie camera. The OnePlus Nord can also shoot video in higher quality on its front camera than the Nord CE, at 4K rather than 1080p.

So the standard Nord is more versatile on both front and back, but if all you care about is megapixels then – for the main camera anyway – the OnePlus Nord CE has the edge.

Battery life, memory and connectivity

 

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus Nord CE

Battery size (mAh)

4,115

4,500

Onboard storage (GB)

128/256

128/256

Connectivity

5G

5G

The OnePlus Nord CE is the clear winner when it comes to battery size, packing in a 4,500mAh one, while the OnePlus Nord has 4,115mAh. That should translate to better battery life for the Nord CE as well, given the mostly similar specs.

Charging speeds are the same on both at 30W, allowing you to get from zero to 70% in just 30 minutes.

As for memory, there’s a choice of 128GB or 256GB in both, and both phones also support speedy 5G.

Price

 

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus Nord CE

SIM-free starting price

£329

£299

Contract starting price

£20

£21

If you buy these phones outright then you’re looking at a starting price of £329 for the OnePlus Nord or £299 for the OnePlus Nord CE, so the Nord is slightly pricier but only a little. That said, the gulf widens for the 12GB/256GB models, with the Nord coming in at £419, while the Nord CE is £369.

On contract, it will depend on the network and allowances of course, but you can find the OnePlus Nord CE from around £21 per month, while the OnePlus Nord starts at roughly £20 per month. So it’s an unusual situation where the standard Nord is the more expensive phone SIM-free, but slightly cheaper than the Nord CE on contract.

Conclusion - with pros and cons

 

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus Nord CE

Pros

Lots of cameras, glass build, HDR10+ support, faster GPU

Big battery, 3.5mm headphone port, faster CPU

Cons

Average battery, no headphone port

Fewer cameras, plastic build, no HDR support

The OnePlus Nord CE was launched as a slightly cheaper alternative to the OnePlus Nord, but depending on how you buy it that’s not always the case now. So does that mean you should always opt for the original Nord? Not necessarily.

The OnePlus Nord wins for camera versatility and it also has a more premium build and a marginally better screen. But the Nord CE has better battery life and the bonus of a headphone port, along with theoretically slightly more power for general (non-gaming) tasks.

So you should choose the phone that has the best combination of features that you care about. But the good news is that both of these Nord models are strong all-rounders, so for the money you shouldn’t find them lacking in any area.

Editorial Manager

James has been writing for us for over 10 years. Currently, he is Editorial Manager for our group of companies ( 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk) and sub-editor at TechRadar. He specialises in smartphones, mobile networks/ technology, tablets, and wearables.

In the past, James has also written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media, Smart TV Radar, and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV. He has a film studies degree from the University of Kent, Canterbury, and have over a decade’s worth of professional writing experience.

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