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OnePlus Nord CE 5G Offers Great Specs for a Bargain Price

Shame you can't buy it in the US.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I liked the OnePlus Nord CE because of its solid lineup of specs, its pretty design and its low price. And now the Nord CE 2 is here and OnePlus is hoping for another victory for its cheapest 5G phone. Like its predecessor, the Nord CE 2 will be available in the UK, wider Europe and India, with no US launch on the cards. It'll cost £299, which converts to roughly $410 or AU$570.

With such a low price it's no surprise this phone is made entirely of plastic, rather than fancy metal and glass, but its glossy blue back and silvery sides give it a nice look that belies its low cost. It's slender, comfortable to hold and its 6.4-inch AMOLED display is bright, vibrant and sharp enough for any of your everyday essentials. 

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It's powered by a Dimensity 900 processor, backed up by 8GB of RAM -- a generous amount for such a cheap phone. It's far from the highest-performing chip around but it packs a punch for a budget handset. Navigating the Android 11 interface is swift and lag-free and it's more than capable of handling demanding 3D games such as Asphalt 9: Legends. 

You'll find three cameras on the back; a 64-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Its shots can be lackluster in terms of color and contrast, but it'll suit anyone who just wants to take the odd snap of their kids on holiday. If you're serious about photography then look further up the range towards the OnePlus 9 Pro. There's also a 16-megapixel selfie camera found in a punch-hole on the front.  

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With the standard lens, this shot has an acceptable exposure, but its colors are drab and lifeless. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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Switching to the ultra-wide lens, the blue in the sky has a lot more vibrance, but the scene is dark overall. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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Exposure is accurate here and there's plenty of detail in the image.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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The 2-megapixel macro camera is largely pointless.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Nord CE 2 has 5G, provides 65-watt fast charging that can take the 4,500-mAh from empty to full in a little over 30 minutes using the supplied fast charger. While there's no IP rating for waterproofing, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack just in case you're still clinging to wired headphones like your life depends on it. 

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It also has a triple card slot offering space for two 5G-enabled SIM cards and a microSD card slot allowing you to expand the built-in 128GB of storage with cards up to 1TB in size. 

I've not spent long with the Nord CE 2 but I already think its set of features and overall performance is impressive considering its affordable price. It certainly has the feel of a midrange phone but it comes at the cost of a budget phone and it could be a solid option if you're looking for an everyday, do-it-all phone that won't empty your bank account.