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21 July 2020 16:36

OnePlus OnePlus Nord

[Update: YouTube stream] How to watch the OnePlus Nord AR livestream

The OnePlus Nord launch will be the very first to occur as an AR livestream event across devices. [Update 07/21]: OnePlus is also running a simultaneous "regular" livestream launch of the OnePlus Nord over on the official website dedicated to the upcoming device. Even before the launch livestream starts, we already know a fair bit about the OnePlus Nord. When launching the dedicated OnePlus Nord AR launch application, you'll have to ensure that your phone is fully charged, you have headphones on, and Wi-Fi is connected for the best overall experience. While an AR livestream for the launch of the OnePlus Nord is really interesting, we're hoping that OnePlus will also run a standard video livestream unveiling their latest device for those that prefer standard online video.

If you've been listening to OnePlus over the past few weeks, you'll have seen a huge amount of hype surrounding its Nord phone, which has now, finally, launched. The company has been talking about the launch of the Nord as a "new beginning", spending time flooding social media with the tale of its inception, roping in YouTube royalty for its big reveal, desperately trying to make sure everyone knows that it's launching a new phone. Ok, let's be fair: OnePlus wants to make the sub-flagship category sexy, rather than it being the phone you buy if you can't afford the best. That's what you get from the Moto G 5G Plus; again, it uses the Snapdragon 765 and we expect this phone to be closely related to the Nord on the spec sheet. Oppo naturally has its own Find X2 model, this time it's the Neo that slips into the sub-flagship space, with Snapdragon 765G and some big spec, but still a lot cheaper than a flagship phone.

Like OnePlus' other phones this year, the Nord supports 5G connectivity. The phone has a number of the bells and whistles we'd expect to see on more expensive models: an in-screen fingerprint scanner, a wide-angle front-facing camera with a 105-degree field of view and that aforementioned 90Hz screen. And, because no self-respecting phone should be without them, OnePlus also announced a pair of truly wireless earphones to go alongside the Nord. Yet, despite the fact that it starts at just £379 (around $480), the phone shares a lot of the DNA of the $699 OnePlus 8 released just a few short months ago, which, along with the OnePlus 8 Pro, was the company's flagship handset for this year. It's still got a 1080p OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, Sub-6GHz 5G, Warp Charge 30T fast charging, and the same 48-megapixel main camera sensor as the OnePlus 8.

That's not to say there haven't been concessions made to reach this lower price point, the most important of which is that the Nord is powered by a slower Snapdragon 765G processor, but in a lot of other cases the compromises are small. If offering similar specs to the OnePlus 8 in a midrange phone sounds like a recipe for stealing some of the 8's thunder, then you wouldn't be entirely wrong. On the back of the OnePlus Nord, you'll find four rear cameras, a 48-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultrawide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. When it comes to the front-facing camera, however, OnePlus is actually breaking new ground with the Nord. It's long been clear that software processing is almost as important as hardware when it comes to picture quality, meaning we could still see a difference in picture quality between the 8 and the Nord, despite the Nord's similar sensors.

In fact, Pei says it was the quality of midrange processors like this that gave OnePlus the confidence to attempt making the Nord in the first place. The Nord's 90Hz screen can probably take credit for a lot of how smooth the phone feels to use. OnePlus is no stranger to high-refresh rate panels, but it's great to see this come to a midrange device, even as many other manufacturers are only now bringing them to their flagship devices. But look at the OnePlus 8 and the Nord side by side and, yes, it's easy to tell which of the two is the more premium device. It still feels quick and responsive, its camera specs are in a similar ballpark, and it's not missing out on any features that weren't already missing from the OnePlus 8 like wireless charging and an IP rating (you had to jump up to the OnePlus 8 Pro for both).

Although the exact price hasn't been revealed – there will likely be a few models at different price points with different storage configurations to choose from – it's clear that OnePlus Nord is something very different from the smartphones that we've seen from the firm in recent years. OnePlus Nord: The Camera The camera is an essential feature on any smartphone – and not something you want the manufacturer to have skimped on. And if that wasn't enough cameras for a single smartphone, OnePlus has confirmed that Nord will have two lens on the front. OnePlus Nord: The Screen OnePlus was one of the first companies to bring high refresh panels from specialist gaming handsets to the mainstream.