is this really a good deal?

Launched during the summer, the OnePlus Nord 3 5G is the brand’s latest mid-range offering. Is this smartphone up to the task? We tested it.

More discreet than in the past, OnePlus continues to launch smartphones in France. Unlike its parent company OPPO, the manufacturer is still present and this is good news for our market. OnePlus indeed enjoys a solid reputation, thanks in particular to its high-end models. For several years, the firm has also focused on the very competitive mid-range segment via its North range. The latter welcomes a new representative: the OnePlus Nord 3 5G.

The recipe for such a model is to offer elements inspired by high-end products, without reaching the price of the brand’s flagship devices. We must therefore find the right balance to offer a smartphone that is sufficiently efficient and still accessible. If you missed an episode, this Nord 3 wants to mark a real evolution two years after the OnePlus Nord 2 and the Nord 2T launched in 2022.

OnePlus Nord 3
Screen– 6.74″ Fluid AMOLED screen
– Definition 2772 x 1240 pixels
– Dragontrail Glass (front)
– Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (back)
– HDR10+ certification
– 120Hz
– 20:9 aspect ratio
-Always On Display
– 1450 nits
SoC and GPU– MediaTek Dimension 9000
-Mali-G710 MC10
Memory– 8GB or 16GB of RAM
– 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
– No memory expansion
Colors-Misty Green
-Tempest Gray
Camera– Triple camera on the back:
– Main camera: Sony IMX890 50 Megapixels, 24mm F1.88
– Ultra wide-angle camera: 8 Megapixels, 112°, F2.2
– Macro camera: 2 Megapixels F2.4

– Optical stabilization (OIS) on the main sensor
– Zoom x2
– Night mode
– Record videos in 4K1080p at 30fps or 60fps and Full HD up to 120fps

– 16 Megapixel front sensor, 24mm, F2.4
– Front-facing video recording in 1080p at 30fps

Audio– Stereo speakers
– No 3.5mm jack
Battery– 5000 mAh battery
– SuperVOOC 80 W (0-100% in 32 minutes)
Connectivity– Optical fingerprint reader under the screen
-Bluetooth 5.2
– WiFi 6
– 5G
– Dual nano-SIM 5G
– A-GPS+GLONASS, DNLA, Miracast (WiFi Direct), Google Cast
– USB 2.0, USB Type-C port
– Barometer, Gyroscope, Accelerometer
– Proximity and brightness sensor
Software– Android 13
-Oxygen OS 13.1
Height and weight– 162 × 75.1 × 8.2mm
– 193.5 grams
Starting price– €449 (128GB + 8GB)
– €549 (256GB + 16GB)
Availability date– July 11, 2023

Officially sold at 449 euros (8 GB + 128 GB) and 549 euros (16 GB + 256 GB) at OnePlus, it can be found at much more attractive prices at certain resellers.

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Design: beautiful and neat

Inspired by its predecessors, this OnePlus Nord 3 5G is still entitled to several improvements. A sort of “restyling” on the part of the manufacturer which is not limited to a plastic frame. This Nord 3 5G looks like a real high-end smartphone with Dragontrail glass on the front to protect its punched screen.

On the back, it uses Gorilla Glass 5 and the whole gives it a necessarily pleasant premium style. This glass finish can be slippery, but this risk is limited by the solid grip offered by the Nord 3 5G. OnePlus opts for straight edges, slightly rounded at the corners to soften the lines of the device.

OnePlus Nord 3

The screen occupies a large part of the front panel (around 90%) while the back of the device is dominated by the double circular photo block. This accommodates the three sensors of the smartphone, benefiting from successful integration. The main sensor takes place in the upper part while the other two sensors are placed just below. These blocks are not too prominent, although the device is not perfectly stable when placed on its back.

OnePlus Nord 3

On the left side, we find the volume buttons while the right side houses the power button and the famous alert slider. Even if it is not present on all models, it remains a must-have at OnePlus and it is nice to find it here.

Finally, the lower edge accommodates the USB-C port and the slot for the dual SIM card. Without too much surprise, OnePlus is skipping the 3.5mm jack. On the other hand, there is an infrared port on the upper edge. In addition, this model benefits from IP54 certification.

For our test, we were treated to the Misty Green model. Recurring at OnePlus, it allows you to stand out from the competition and the effect seems very successful to us. There is also a more sober Tempest Gray version.

Screen: the real asset of the OnePlus Nord 3 5G

OnePlus equips its smartphone with a large 6.74-inch Fluid AMOLED screen. This panel provides a definition of 2772 x 1240 pixels (around 450 ppi), a significant step forward compared to the small Full HD+ screen of the Nord 2 (6.43 inches). The refresh rate increases to 120 Hz (40-120 Hz) and the screen offers an Always-on Display function. It is possible to display things like the time or information even when the phone is asleep.

OnePlus Nord 3

Interestingly, the edges and the frame are thin while the punch is still as discreet as ever. Nothing is there to spoil the experience and that is very good news, because this screen is of excellent quality. It supports 10-bit display (over a billion colors) and supports HDR 10+. OnePlus also mentions a peak brightness of 1,450 nits, enough to make the screen perfectly readable, even in direct sunlight.

Our tests confirm that the OnePlus Nord 3 is comfortable in this area. This screen is bright and offers fairly accurate colors, even out of the box. Purists will go through the settings box to test the Natural modes or the Pro modes (Cinematic and Vibrant). Everything is there to seduce the user’s eyes.

OnePlus Nord 3

Performance: power and control

OnePlus abandons Qualcomm’s Snapdragon to integrate a chip from rival MediaTek. The progress of the Dimensity is impressive and the Nord series is used to highlighting them. The Nord 2 had a Dimensity 1200-AI while the Nord 2T was equipped with a Dimensity 1300, i.e. mid-range solutions.

The Nord 3 confirms its desire to play between the mid and high range, opting for a Dimensity 9000. This chip is MediaTek’s top of the range in 2021 and if more powerful solutions are now on the market, it remains very serious On paper. This SoC engraved in 4 nm consists of eight cores: 1 x 3.05 GHz Cortex-X2, 3 x 2.85 GHz Cortex-A710 and 4 x 1.80 GHz Cortex-A510. The graphics part relies on a Mali-G710 MC10 GPU.

The OnePlus smartphone adds 8 or 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage in UFS 3.1

As expected, this chip remains in the race in 2023 and offers solid performance. The smartphone is at home in any task or game, effectively leveraging the raw power of its chip. Despite the heat of August and September, the device manages heating perfectly and we did not notice any limitations during our tests. This very nice surprise is also explained by OnePlus’ software management which adds a game mode.

This allows you to switch between different modes, including a pro player mode. The latter acts as performance mode and uses all the power of the Dimensity 9000.

Activating (or deactivating) it confirms that OnePlus is choosing to limit the power of the SoC in standard mode. This choice seems wise to us since it is not necessary to use the Dimensity 9000 to its limits for daily use. In 99% of the time, the performance is there and it will always be possible to switch to this mode to have more power in games for example. Obviously, this will have an impact on the autonomy of the smartphone.

Software: simplicity and flexibility

Launched with OxygenOS in version 13.1, the smartphone runs Android 13. This is the latest version of Google’s mobile OS at the time of these lines and OnePlus promises three years of Android updates. The Nord 3 will also benefit from four years of security updates, which is on the high end.

OnePlus Nord 3

The manufacturer’s overlay is always pleasant, offering a clean interface to the Nord 3. OnePlus always leaves a lot of room for customization, highlighting one of Android’s strong points. The latest developments in the operating system are also very present.

Photo: an efficient smartphone

The imposing double circular photo block hides three photo sensors. The upper part accommodates a 50-megapixel Sony IMX890 sensor serving as the main module (wide-angle, 24 mm, f/1.8). Far from being unknown, it notably equips the OnePlus 11 from the Chinese manufacturer.

The firm adds an ultra-wide-angle (Sony IMX355) of 8 megapixels (16 mm, f/2.2) and a macro module of 2 megapixels (f/2.4). On the front, there is a 16-megapixel (f/2.4) selfie camera.

OnePlus Nord 3

In the field, the main photo sensor confirms its versatility by capturing 12.5 Mpx shots by default. The images are of good quality with lots of detail, but a bit too flattering. Indeed, bright colors sometimes tend to saturate.

Still, the result is convincing for this mid-range, like the x2 zoom. It is also possible to capture images in 50 Mpx, but the gain does not seem sufficient to use it on a daily basis. This module is also very good for portraiture, providing effective blur and careful subject separation. Almost flawless for OnePlus in this area which benefits from the quality of the Sony sensor.

The ultra-wide angle also proves to be very effective in capturing convincing images. It will fully express its potential with very bright scenes.

Another area of ​​satisfaction, the OnePlus Nord 3 is rather comfortable in low light and at night. A valid element for the main sensor like the ultra wide-angle, even if the night mode sometimes offers too aggressive processing. The latter can tend to light a scene too much and switching to pro mode can correct this problem.

And the 2 megapixel macro sensor? It’s not really useful, as usual. The photos are very random with a great tendency to provide images that lack detail. The colors are also not always very realistic. With a lot of patience (and a little luck), it will sometimes capture a not-too-bad image.

Battery life: excellent, with very fast charging

Like many recent models, OnePlus is banking on a 5,000 mAh battery for its Nord 3. It ensures excellent autonomy for the smartphone, considering the power delivered. The smartphone will easily reach a day and a half of use, the two days not being far away in standard use. Aim for a day to a day and a half with more sustained use.

OnePlus Nord 3

This good performance is due to the manufacturer’s judicious choices which do not constantly require the full power of the chip. Note also the very good behavior of the Nord 3 in standby mode which consumes little energy.

The other very good news is the compatibility of this smartphone with 80 W SuperVOOC charging. Supplied with the phone, the charger allows you to fully recharge the Nord 3 in around 30 minutes. Appreciable comfort to recover a lot of autonomy in a very short time.

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