OnePlus loses the North a bit

Presented during the summer, the OnePlus Nord N20 SE hopes to boost the entry-level segment. Attractive in appearance, it is also the most accessible OnePlus smartpone on the market, but is that enough? We tested the Nord N20 SE from OnePlus.

OnePlus’ strategy has changed in recent months and the brand is looking to diversify. The latter is relying more and more on the Nord range, which includes more accessible devices. The Chinese manufacturer seeks to compete with the market references on the entry and mid-range. After a rather high-end OnePlus 10T, OnePlus is back with a much more affordable model.

the OnePlus Nord 20 SE is even the brand’s most affordable smartphone. A special status that necessarily raises questions. We spent about ten days with the new phone from OnePlus.

OnePlus Nord N20 SE

OnePlus Nord N20 SE Features

Before getting to the heart of the matter, here is what the OnePlus Nord 20 SE offers:

OnePlus Nord N20 SE
Screen – 6.56″ IPS LCD display
– HD+ definition (720×1612)
– Density 269dpi
– 20:9 aspect ratio
– 60Hz
– Max Brightness: 600nits
– Notch
SoCs and GPUs – MediaTek Helio G35
– PowerVR GE8320
Memory – 4GB LPDDR4x RAM
– 64GB storage
– microSD slot
Colors – Blue
– Black
– Erre and plastic construction
– No IPx certification
Camera – Two cameras on the back:
– Main camera: 50 Megapixels, f/1.8, PDAF
– Ultra wide-angle camera: Sony IMX355 of 8 Megapixels, 16mm (112°), F2.2
– Macro camera: 2 Megapixels, 22mm, F2.4, Macro distance 4cm

– Laser autofocus
– Optical stabilization (OIS) on the main sensor
– Night Mode (Photo and Video)
– Video recording up to Ultra HD 2160p at 30fps
– Slow motion mode in 1080p at 240fps or in 720p at 480fps
– Ultra Stabilization 2.0 1080p Video Mode

– Front camera with a 32 Megapixel Sony IMX709 sensor
– Wide-angle lens (23mm) with an aperture of F2.4
– Electronic stabilization (EIS)
– Night Mode
– Portrait Mode
– Front-end video recording in 1080p or 720p at 30fps

Audio – Stereo speaker
– Jack plug
Battery – 5000mAh
– 33W fast charging (100% in about 70 minutes, 50% in 34 min)
– Mains adapter supplied
Connectivities – Fingerprint reader on the side
– Bluetooth 5.3 LE
– Wi-Fi 5
– 4G
– 2x nano-SIM
– A-GPS, Galileo, Glonass, QZSS, BDS
– USB 2.0, USB Type-C
– Accelerometer
– Proximity sensor
Software -Android 12
– OxygenOS 12.1
Height and weight – 163.8 x 75 x 8mm
– 187g
Starting price – 169 euros
Availability date – August/September 2022

Do not be fooled by its aggressive price, this smartphone offers a complete packaging. In addition to the instructions, there is a 33W mains adapter and a USB cable, as well as a protective shell. Nothing very surprising, but there is no false note from the manufacturer.

OnePlus Nord N20 SE

For its price, count officially 169€. A competitive price which testifies to the change of strategy of the manufacturer. Accustomed to offering “flagship killer” in its infancy, it is now betting on a Nord series to occupy the mid-range; and now the entry level with this Nord N20 SE.

Design, Screen and Audio

The OnePlus Nord N20 SE has a small effect as soon as you take it out of its box. The smartphone does not look like an entry-level model at all, benefiting from a successful design and one solid construction. Do not expect a real risk from the manufacturer, this model offers a classic approach. Nevertheless, it ticks most codes of a modern device with its flat slices and an imposing photo block on the back. On the other hand, the notch in the shape of a drop of water reminds us that we are indeed in the presence of an entry-level smartphone.

OnePlus Nord N20 SE

There is also a fingerprint sensor on the side, which is effective in use. Sober and rather elegant, the OnePlus Nord N20 SE uses glass on the front and good quality plastic. Its format offers a good grip with reasonable dimensions (163.74 x 75.03 x 7.99 mm) and a weight of 187 grams.

OnePlus Nord N20 SE

This good impression is not really confirmed at the level of the screen. The Nord N20 SE offers a 6.56-inch LCD panel displaying in HD+ only 60Hz. The low price card does not excuse everything and it is enough to take a look at the competition to be convinced of this. In 2022, we could have hoped for better such as an AMOLED screen with Full HD definition and a refresh rate of 90 Hz.

OnePlus Nord N20 SE

On the sound side, it’s a good surprise thanks to the presence of stereo speakers. Another good point, the smartphone continues to offer a 3.5 mm mini jack socket to connect wired headphones or earphones. The sound volume is enough to follow multimedia content, even if we are obviously not at the level of an external speaker or headphones.

OxygenOS 12.1, Performance and Autonomy

A quick look at the spec sheet could raise some performance concerns. the aging Mediatek Helio G35, launched in 2020 and engraved in 12 nm, quickly shows its limits and it even feels on a daily basis. Coupled with 4 GB of RAM, the OnePlus Nord N20 SE is not the fastest smartphone on the market. He is also not comfortable with games and he will have to settle for less greedy titles.

OnePlus Nord N20 SE

For the price, we could expect better from a smartphone and a manufacturer like OnePlus. Frustration can also come from the fact thatAndroid 12 with the OxygenOS 12.1 overlay animates this smartphone; and the latter is always so pleasant. The experience is intended to be close to Android Stock and will appeal to fans of Google’s OS. This overcoat has the good idea of ​​being light, but we regret that the hardware does not follow. As can be seen from the benchmarks below, the Nord N20 SE scores very low and you shouldn’t ask too much of it. Note that the smartphone is not compatible with the Wild Life benchmark.

Note that this smartphone is also not 5G compatible. You have to settle for one 4G connectivity, as well as wifi 5 and Bluetooth 5.3. NFC is also not on the program.

It took us a few days of use to really judge the autonomy of this smartphone. With a 5000mAh battery, we are entitled to expect good autonomy and this is the case. Helped by the presence of energy-efficient components (HD+ screen and modest chip), the Nord N20 SE will very easily last a whole day and can push the cursor to two days without too much difficulty. As a bonus, we are entitled to a wired fast charging at 33W which is far from being a record, but which turns out to be practical and sufficient for many users.

OnePlus Nord N20 SE

Photo and Video

For its entry-level model, OnePlus offers us a dual camera consisting of a 50 megapixel module and a 2 megapixel depth sensor. Not having a triple sensor on the back isn’t much of an issue, with many models tending to prioritize quantity over quality. On the other hand, we are a little disappointed not to find an ultra wide-angle on this device.

OnePlus Nord N20 SE

Once again, the limits of the Helio G35 are felt and seem curb the potential of the main sensor. With its 50 megapixels, it produces decent shots when the light conditions are good. There is still very quickly a lack of fine detail in the shots taken. And inevitably, this tends to increase as soon as we decide to reduce the light or at night.

In addition, it suffers quite quickly from the comparison with the competition. We are thinking in particular of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 11, which today only costs a handful of extra euros and which seems more comfortable to us.

The observation is the same for selfies or video recording. Nothing dramatic, but Nord N20 SE does not impress for a model launched in the second part of 2022. As you can imagine, it is better to be in a bright environment to film up to 1080p at 30 frames per second.

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