OnePlus Nord N10 5G review: 5 things to know
OnePlus' second Nord handset offers a lot for not a lot.
OnePlus has been one of the most prolific smartphone makers in 2020, not letting lockdown stop them from releasing a whole host of devices. Unlike, say, Apple, the release schedule and the type of devices revealed by the company have been scattershot - aiming a few times at rival flagships and other times at the mid-range.
The mid range is a place where OnePlus thrives, though, and it's here we find ourselves once again with the OnePlus Nord N10 5G. Yes, the name is a mouthful but all you need to know is that it's the second phone in new for 2020 Nord range - it's £50 cheaper than the original OnePlus Nord, at £329, but what does that mean in terms of specs and performance?
Here's what you need know...
1. The screen is 90Hz but LCD
When it comes to screens, everybody Hz at the moment - it's one of the key ingredients to a phone screen, with a higher refresh rate meaning for smoother scrolling and game play. It's not the only factor to making a screen shine, though. If it were, then Apple wouldn't have opted for a 60Hz screen for its new iPhone 12 range.
OnePlus has given the OnePlus Nord N10 5G a 90Hz screen which is the same as the OnePlus Nord and welcomed at this price point. However, it didn't quite blow us away as the original Nord did.
The display is a 6.49-inch LCD (2,400x1,080) and it's bright, but we did feel that it had a touch more judder than when 90Hz works on an AMOLED screen. It's cheaper tech, so this does make sense, and it's not something that detracted from our experience with the phone.
2. The features are cut down but work well
Given the OnePlus Nord N10 5G is a very reasonably priced handset, it's expected not to have the feature flourishes of a phone that's more expensive. It's worth noting what isn't on board as you may find that you won't miss them.
There's no wireless charging, on board, but you do get speedy charging thanks to the included charger. In-screen fingerprint scanning isn't available, although there's a decent fingerprint scanner on the back of the device. It isn't IP rated, either so don't do dropping it in the bath. And it's not yet on the latest version of Android, but instead at Android 10.
OnePlus has found a place for a 3.5mm jack, though, something that is still welcomed by many and its 4,300-mAh battery is nothing to be sniffed at - it's better than many phones at this price point. couple this with expandable storage and there are a lot of (One)plus points.
3. Design is decent, despite some corners cut
The OnePlus Nord N10 5G is noticeably chunkier than the rest of the OnePlus clan. It doesn't scream premium but we appreciated the glass back. It's the plastic rim that might not be to everyone's taste and there's no getting around the bezels - the bottom one in particular shows more than we were expecting it, too.
It's a well-designed phone, though, and one that certainly has a place of its own in the OnePlus oeuvre. We really like the camera array, too - a rounded lozenge of camera lenses that sits nicely near the top left of the device.
One thing OnePlus fans might miss is the physical silent/vibrate toggle that's on most of the company's devices. It's not found here and we would have liked to have seen it make an appearance.
4. Performance is solid, dependable
The OnePlus Nord N10 5G is a handset that has been given a Snapdragon 690 chip which is pretty much a processor that's making 5G mainstream, thanks to its affordability. It gives the new Nord enough grunt to do everyday tasks without so much as a whimper.
Its 5G performance is great, too, but there's still not a huge amount of need for 5G right now. This will improve when we get more of the country on to the 5G spectrum but now it's a nice to have and not essential. It's good to see a 5G phone at this price, though, as it means this handset is future proofed for the foreseeable.
Battery life was decent, lasting way longer than a day (we have the LCD screen to thank for that) and we didn't notice too much lag jumping between the likes of Netflix and our game of the moment, the rather geeky science game Transmission.
Netflix looked good on the device, although the LCD screen could have done with being a touch brighter. The specs on this device, though, are impressive given the price. Having 6GB RAM and 128GB storage is certainly welcomed (and can also be expanded).
5. There are cameras galore but do you need four?
We have always been fans of OnePlus' camera array. This one, on paper at least, has a really good camera line-up. The main camera is 64MP, there's an 8MP ultrawide lens, a 2MP monochrome and 2MP macro lens.
We won't have a bad word said about the monochrome lens, as it always enhances the black-and-white images you can take with a OnePlus device. As for the macro, it's probably not needed on a device like this and we have preferred to have seen a telephoto. The main camera works well, but we preferred the 48MP camera on the original Nord (which was swiped from the OnePlus 8). That one has optical image stabilisation, while we are left with EIS here.
That said, seeing a quad camera setup on a phone of this price range is a pinch move by OnePlus that we need to applaud.
One Plus Nord N10 5G review: Final Verdict
The OnePlus Nor N10 5G is a fun mid-range option. It's a solid performer, decent looking and it has some impressive specs at a price point that is low. 5G is welcomed and the cameras aren't perfect but they do a commendable job.
Our biggest problem is that we are still smitten with the One Plus Nord and as it's only £50 more expensive right now, we would still shift over to that phone. But, for many, that is too much money to consider and if that's you, then you will not be disappointed with the One Plus Nord N10 5G.
The OnePlus Nord N10 5G will be available from OnePlus from 20 November.
- OnePlus Nord review: a mid-range master