(Pocket-lint) – Google is expected to announce the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones towards the end of the year, succeeding the Pixel 5 that arrived in October 2020.
We’ve compared how the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro could compare based on the speculation in a separate feature, but here we are focussing on how the Pixel 6 might stack up against the Pixel 5.
Pixel 5: 144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm
Pixel 6: 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm, 11.8mm with bump
Pixel 6 Pro: 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm, 11.5mm with bump
Based on the rumours, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will offer a complete redesign compared to the Pixel 5. Renders suggest a rectangular camera housing will stretch across the entire width of the devices on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro compared to the square housing positioned in the top left corner on the Pixel 5.
It also looks like the punch hole camera at the top of the display will move to the centre in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, repositioning from the top left corner on the Pixel 5.
The other big change in design appears to be the introduction of an under-display fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 6, rather than the physical sensor on the rear of the Pixel 5. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro also both appear to be a little more exciting in terms of colours, with blocks of colours on the rear based on the leaked images.
In terms of physical measurements, it looks like the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will both be larger than the Pixel 5, as well as thicker. The Pixel 5 has an IP68 water and dust resistance, and we’d expect the same from the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
Pixel 5: 6-inch, Full HD+, 90Hz
Pixel 6: 6.4-inch, Full HD+, 120Hz
Pixel 6 Pro: 6.67-inch, Quad HD+, 120Hz
Rumours suggest the Google Pixel 6 will come with a 6.4-inch display and the Pixel 6 Pro with a 6.67-inch display. If true, both devices would be bigger than the Pixel 5’s 6-inch display.
It’s thought the Pixel 6 will likely come with a Full HD+ resolution, a flat screen and a 120Hz refresh rate. The Pixel 6 Pro meanwhile, is thought to be coming with a slightly curved display, a Quad HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.
The Pixel 5 has a 6-inch display that has a Full HD+ resolution at 2340 x 1080 for a pixel density of 432ppi. It offers a 90Hz refresh rate and it has HDR support, which the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are both likely to offer too.
It’s thought the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will run on an in-house chip Google is said to be working on codenamed Whitechapel. The chip is claimed to have a raw performance somewhere between the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 and the Snapdragon 865. It’s expected to offer 5G capabilities.
RAM and storage options haven’t been detailed as yet in leaks, though it’s said the Pixel 6 will have a 5000mAh battery capacity, so we’d expect the same or higher from the Pixel 6 Pro.
The Pixel 5 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage. There’s no microSD support. The battery capacity is 4000mAh and the Pixel 5 supports fast charging and wireless charging, both of which we would expect on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
Pixel 6: Dual camera
PIxel 6 Pro: Triple camera
Pixel 5: Dual camera
It’s claimed the Pixel 6 will have a dual rear camera with talk of a 50-megapixel main camera coupled with an ultra wide-angle lens.
The Pixel 6 Pro meanwhile, is said to have a triple rear camera with the same 50-megapixel main sensor and same ultra wide angle lens as the Pixel 6, but with the addition of an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor too.
The Pixel 5 has a dual rear camera comprised of a 12.2-megapixel dual-pixel main camera with 1.4µm pixels and a f/1.7 aperture, along with a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with 1.0µm pixels and an f/2.2 aperture.
The front camera on the Pixel 5 is an 8-megapixel sensor with 1.12µm pixels and an f/2.0 aperture.
Based on the speculation, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will offer a big redesign compared to the Pixel 5, along with larger displays, faster refresh rates and upgrades in hardware.
It also looks like the camera offering will be more advanced on the Pixel 6 and certainly the 6 Pro with the possible addition of a telephoto lens, but nothing is confirmed as yet and we’re still waiting for more rumours on the RAM and storage options.
You can follow all the rumours for both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in our separate round up features.
The Honor 50 series will be able to ship with Google’s apps and services, Honor officially announced today as it launched the Honor 50 and Honor 50 Pro in China. In a statement, Honor says its phones will go through Google’s security review and that “Honor devices will therefore have the option to have Google Mobile Services (“GMS”) preinstalled on compatible devices, in accordance with Google’s licensing and governance models.”
“Consumers will be able to experience Honor smartphones and tablets equipped with GMS,” the company said. A spokesperson confirmed that the “Honor devices” referred to in the statement include the newly announced Honor 50. The device will be available for preorder in China on June 25th and will come to international markets such as France, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UK at a later date at a price that’s to be announced.
Honor hasn’t been able to ship Google’s apps and services, including the Google Play Store, on its phones since its former parent company Huawei was placed on the US’s entity list, forcing Google to pull its Android license. What’s changed with the 50 series is that Huawei sold off Honor at the end of last year, allowing the company to work with Google once again. Huawei, meanwhile, is still unable to use Google’s software and is positioning its own HarmonyOS as a replacement.
Reports about the return of Google’s software to Honor’s phones emerged last month, after the company’s German Twitter leaked the news in a now-deleted tweet.
Turning to the devices themselves, the most eye-catching thing about the Honor 50 and Honor 50 Pro are their rear cameras, which are arranged into a pair of circular bumps. The phones have four rear cameras in total, including a 100-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle, a 2-megapixel macro, and a 2-megapixel depth camera. On the front, the Honor 50 Pro has a pair of selfie cameras, combining a 32-megapixel camera with a 12-megapixel ultrawide, while the Honor 50 just has a single 32-megapixel camera.
Both phones have a 120Hz display, though the Honor 50 Pro’s is slightly bigger at 6.72 inches compared to 6.57 for the regular Honor 50. Available colors include silver, bronze, green, and black. Internally, they’re powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor. The 50 Pro has a 4,000mAh battery that can be fast charged at up to 100W, while the regular 50 has a 4,300mAh battery and supports 66W fast charging.
The return of Google’s software to Honor’s phones is unlikely to make much of a difference in China, where phones typically ship without the Play Store. But their absence has made Honor and Huawei’s phones pretty hard to recommend elsewhere. When the Honor 50 eventually releases in the West, that could all change.
In China, the Honor 50 will start at 2,699 yuan (around $422), while the Honor 50 Pro will start at 3,699 yuan (around $578). Alongside the two flagship phones, Honor is also announcing the cheaper Honor 50 SE, which will start at 2,399 yuan (around $375).
(Pocket-lint) – The mid-range market is heating up. And in this instance, when we say mid-range, we mean the less expensive phones, not necessarily the low powered devices. That’s because in this comparison we’re looking at two fast, smooth phones that won’t leave you wanting.
Those two phones are the excellently priced Poco F3 and the OnePlus Nord CE. Both offer great features and capabilities for what you pay, but each takes a slightly different approach.
Nord CE: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.99mm – 170g
Poco F3: 163.7 x 76.4 x 7.8mm – 196g
Nord CE: Plastic back and frame – no official water resistance
Poco F3: Glass back, plastic frame – IP53 splash resistance
Design could actually be one area that decides it for you, if only because of the difference in size. The Nord CE is noticeably more compact. At least, when it comes to width and height. There’s not much difference when it comes to thickness, there’s only a tenth of a millimetre between them, and both are generally quite slim.
The two phones each have their own practical benefits too. For instance, the Nord CE has a 3.5mm port for wired headphones and headsets, where the F3 doesn’t. Poco F3 has IP53 rating against water and dust, which means it’s basically splash proof. OnePlus doesn’t have that, but the company has told us it should survive splashes okay.
One thing we like, surprisingly perhaps, is the fingerprint sensor in the Poco. It has a physical reader in the button on the side that’s not just thin, but quick and reliable too. OnePlus’ we found was decent enough. It was reliable, just not as quick.
Then there’s the hole-punch cutout in each screen. Poco’s is much smaller, and so doesn’t interrupt as much of the available surface area. It’s also placed nicely in the centre, out of the way.
W love the feel of the Poco in two hands, typing away. It’s a great two-handed device, but the frosted plastic finish on the back of the Nord CE is really nice, and looks fantastic in the Blue Void colour.
What’s more, it’s nearly 30 grams lighter, and that’s something you can definitely feel when it’s in your hand. And the size makes a difference too. If you want something that’s easy to hold and carry around with you in your pocket, the Nord is the one.
One minor thing we noticed when typing – the Poco has a much more subtle haptic feedback than the Nord CE, which gives a nasty buzz when you’re typing.
Displays + Media
Nord CE: 6.43-inch – AMOLED – 90Hz – fullHD+ (1080 x 2400)
Poco F3: 6.67-inch – AMOLED – 120Hz – fullHD+ (1080 x 2400)
Nord CE: Single loudspeaker + 3.5mm port
Poco F3: Stereo speakers
Despite spec lists that look a different, there’s not a huge amount in this as long as you’re happy to go into the settings menu and adjust things. That’s because that while both have AMOLED fullHD+ displays at 1080×2400 resolution, their default settings are quite different.
OnePlus default vivid mode seems to boost reds, so white skin tones looks a lot pinker than they are, while the automatic mode on the Poco seems to over-saturate blues and make them unnatural. Thankfully, both have display settings that allow you to calibrate it to the way you’d like to have it.
Poco’s reaches refresh rates of 120Hz, which is higher than the 90Hz on the OnePlus. But to our eye, it’s really hard to tell the difference in daily use. Poco’s does feel fluid in the general interface, but so does the Nord. We wouldn’t suggest basing your purchase decision on this.
Instead, there are other factors, like the fact Poco’s screen is larger, making it a great immersive canvas, joined by stereo speakers to enhance that. Nord CE only has the single loudspeaker. The screen is also brighter. In that way, it’s a much better device for media consumption.
Nord CE: Snapdragon 750G – 5G
Poco F3: Snapdragon 870 – 5G
Nord CE: 6GB/128GB – 8GB/128GB – 12GB/256GB
Poco F3: 6GB/128GB – 8GB/256GB
Nord CE: 4500mAh battery – 30W fast charge
Poco F3: 4520mAh battery – 33W fast charge
As with any point of comparison on this list, you could easily make a judgement on performance and battery from just looking at the spec sheet and assume the Snapdragon 870 will give you much better performance then the Snapdragon 750 in the Nord CE, but that will depend on exactly what you use it for.
In truth, when it just comes to general day-to-day phone usage and casual gaming, both will run even the most demanding games pretty easily.
Where we did notice a difference was in load times for the bigger games like CoD Mobile where it took a second or two longer on the Nord CE. The Poco seems to render sharper images in those games with more demanding graphics, without stuttering and lag too. The Nord by comparison – while smooth and responsive – had more jagged edges and slightly less detail.
Technically speaking, the 870 is the more powerful chip and will benchmark way higher, offering better high refresh rate performance and you will see it in the more graphically demanding titles if you put them side-by-side.
As for battery life, both have very similar capacities. It’s 4500mAh on the Nord and 4520mAh on the Poco, both with their own fast-charging. 30W vs 33W.
That means each will get you a full battery in just under an hour, roughly. They’ll both even get you similar battery life. We lasted about a day and a half with both phones, using them for casual gaming, social media and such throughout the day.
Nord CE primary: 64MP – f/1.8 – PDAF
Poco F3 primary: 48MP – f/1.8 – PDAF
Nord CE: 8MP ultrawide – 2MP monochrome
Poco F3: 8MP ultrawide – 5MP macro
So Poco has it when it comes to performance and media, where we think Nord is a better phone is in the camera. Speaking about the primary lens here, it seems to take shots which have much more natural colours and depth.
The processing on the Poco phone is quite aggressive sometimes depending on what you’re shooting, making colours seem too saturated and contrast a bit dark at times. Often it didn’t produce great HDR effect either, completely bleaching out the sky on some shots, while just about getting it right on others. It was just a bit inconsistent in that regard.
Neither is particularly good at focussing on objects that are close to the camera, and both have ultra wide lenses with similar performance. But for the most natural processing of colours, detail and depth, we’d say the OnePlus is the one to go for here.
Nord CE: From £299
Poco F3: From £329
There’s little difference in price between these two phones. In fact, in the UK, the Poco F3 starting price is only £30 more than the Nord CE’s. It’s worth nothing that’s just the recommended retail price, and you could find it cheaper now that it’s a little older.
For those looking for more storage, the 256GB model Poco F3 is actually cheaper than the OnePlus Nord CE model with 256GB storage. So that’s also worth considering. In that instance it’s £349 for the F3 and £369 for the Nord CE in the UK.
So in the end there are a couple of things to consider. The OnePlus is more compact, lightweight and – we think – has a better primary camera. The Poco has a bigger display, faster performance and the stereo speakers for better media and gaming consumption. There’s a little difference in price, with the Poco being slightly more expensive.
So what matters most to you: multimedia and speed or practicality and cameras? If you can answer that, you know which is the right phone for you.
OnePlus has confirmed that the inexpensive Nord N200 5G will be available in the US and Canada starting on Friday, June 25th, for $239, making it one of the most affordable 5G phones in the US. With US wireless carriers demanding more 5G devices, the N200 will likely get a lot more company soon.
OnePlus had previously dropped a few other details about the upcoming device, like its 6.49-inch 1080p display with 90Hz refresh rate and big 5,000mAh battery. Other newly confirmed specs include a Snapdragon 480 5G chipset (also used by the freshly announced Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G), 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable built-in storage, and a rear triple camera with a 13-megapixel main camera. OnePlus doesn’t specify details for the other two rear-facing cameras, but the N100’s 2-megapixel macro and 2-megapixel depth sensor are likely candidates. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera around front, and the N200 offers 18W charging.
The N200 5G becomes one of the least expensive 5G phones to go on sale in the US, coming in $40 cheaper than the similarly specced Samsung Galaxy A32 5G and $60 less than OnePlus’ own Nord N10 5G. It’s likely to gain more competition in the near future, too, as other manufacturers adopt low-cost 5G chipsets like the 480 5G and wireless carriers aim to put more 5G phones on their shelves (and more customers on premium unlimited 5G plans).
(Pocket-lint) – It’s probably no surprise that the Realme GT’s international reveal happened just one day after the OnePlus Nord CE hit the headlines. Because, while the GT isn’t a direct competitor – it’s actually more powerful than OnePlus’ more budget offering – it’s certainly a handset that wants to lead the young brand’s charge on OnePlus’ ongoing dominance in the alt-flagship space.
It’s even pulled the same old-hat promotional tagline – “flagship killer” – which is rather cheeky. But that gives Realme a platform upon which to stand. It is a bit cheeky. It has previously released phones with eye-slapping phrases plastered on them – we lambasted the Realme 8 Pro for its ‘Dare To Leap’ slogan. It’s that bit different, that bit of fun.
With the Realme GT the company is looking to enter the fast lane – the ‘Grand Tourer’ name reference name says it all really – for this alt-flagship has top-tier Qualcomm processing power, a more grown-up looking vegan leather finish than earlier Realme devices, and arrives at a price point that could make you pay attention to this brand over better-established products such as, say, a Moto G100 or Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite.
Design & Display
6.43-inch AMOLED panel, 1080 x 2400 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
Colours: Racing Yellow, Dashing Silver, Dashing Blue
Dimensions: 156 x 73 x 9.1mm / Weight: 186g
Finishes: Vegan leather or glass back
In-display fingerprint scanner
With phones often gigantic slabs these days, it’s rather refreshing to hold onto the Realme GT – because it’s sensibly proportioned, not too thick even in its vegan leather finish, and is on the right side the 200g weight barrier (a limit that we’ve pretty much decided to impose having handled the all too heavy Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra).
Motorola’s new Moto G9 Plus is a stunner of a phone – find out why, right here
By Pocket-lint Promotion
That the volume control buttons are on the opposite side to the Realme GT’s power button – a rarity in most Android phones – is something you might not immediately love, but we stuck with it and it’s actually a sensible layout. Taking one-handed screengrabs is easier, as one beneficial example.
But it’s not the layout that’ll first catch your attention. It is, but of course, that bright yellow rear – which Realme calls ‘Racing Yellow’, keeping in theme with that GT name. It’s a bold, bright finish, almost like an exemplary Pantone shade card for what a true yellow should represent.
That it’s vegan leather is another standout point, but less for its apparent environmental kudos – although there’s an argument that processes for this material aren’t actually Thunberg pleasing – and more for its tactile quality. It’s nice and grippy. It doesn’t become smeared in heaps of fingerprints. It looks consistent – and the black stripe down from the integrated cameras panel helps to soften the look.
Why, then, Realme has decided to (literally) stick its logo onto the rear is a big question. This silvered stick-on will inevitably fall off over time – not that we’ve actively been picking at it. Maybe that’d be for the better though – we’re not fans of any brand sticking big logos onto its phones. Motorola used to, before realising it looks much better to be subtle. Still, Realme ought to deboss or emboss for added chic.
Flip the phone over to its front and the Realme GT houses a 6.43-inch AMOLED panel, delivering a screen that’s capable of deep blacks and strong colours. Sadly, however, its auto-brightness adjustment is so shy that you’ll often end up squinting at the dulled screen trying to find the manual brightness slider. At maximum brightness it can remain visible in outdoor sunlight though. At lowest brightness there’s some ‘black crush’ to visuals, which is fairly common – an issue other Oppo phones present (Realme is effectively under the same umbrella as that brand).
Interestingly this panel has some top-end features, such as a 120Hz refresh rate, to keep visuals extra smooth and easy on the eyes. You needn’t have the 120 refreshes per second active for the sake of battery life, though, as a 60Hz option is found within the menus – which is on by default anyway. In terms of resolution the Full HD+ span of pixels over the 20:9 aspect ratio panel delivers ample detail – these days you don’t really want or need much more, as it rarely enhances apps and mostly just squeezes the battery life.
Performance & Battery
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform, 8GB/12GB RAM
Realme UI (v2.0) software over Google Android 11 OS
4,500mAh battery capacity, 65W fast-charging
Stainless steel cooling system
That the Realme GT can cope with a 120Hz refresh rate is no surprise given its top-end hardware under the hood. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, paired with 8GB or 12GB RAM (there are two variants, we have the lower spec 8GB model in for review).
It’s this “my processing power’s bigger than yours” angle that will garner the GT a lot of attention – especially for its asking price. And so it should, for this Realme performs really well whether you’re casually navigating between pages and apps, or digging deep into a gaming session.
Other than when recharging it doesn’t overheat either, which is impressive in the context of a faux leather-backed device with such a strong performance engine running things. The stainless steel cooling system designed within must be part of the reason for the apparent well-managed heat dissipation.
With mixed use we’ve found the GT’s battery life to be perfectly acceptable. Long days will see you finish close to the 20 per cent mark, after around 18 hours, but that includes some gaming so we think that’s pretty good innings. Besides, with a 65W fast-charging capability – no wireless to be found here – topping it up is speedy. It can even learn your typical charging pattern as to not refill the battery too quickly, which will help with long-term battery health.
We suspect the GT could last longer if various settings were activated to throttle the experience. But we’re glad that’s not the case. So often we hit a wall with, say, a Xiaomi phone because its software default controls the way in which apps respond – often causing notification issues or delays. Realme doesn’t have that issue; its Realme UI (version 2.0 here) is effectively a rework of Oppo’s ColorOS, which we’ve found in recent iterations to be generally pleasing.
Triple rear camera system:
Main (26mm): 64-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture, Sony IMX682 sensor, 0.8µm pixel size
Given the phone’s price point its camera setup is the one area to expect some compromise. Realme has gone down the “triple camera” route – but, really, it’s a main camera paired with ultra-wide that show their worth, while the low-resolution close-up macro camera isn’t even worth including in our view. It’s a trap so many makers have fallen into – to oversell their cameras.
Anyway, that’s not to say expect bad things all across the board. As a straightforward point-and-shoot camera the main 64-megapixel sensor – which uses six-in-one processing to deliver 12-megapixel results by default – is capable enough. For sharing snaps on socials and so forth it’ll deliver the goods.
That said, however, it’s not the most refined in terms of processing. Where detail lacks – subject edges such as buildings, or busier areas such as trees and shrubs – there’s oversharpening, often to the detriment of realism. Colour also can look as though it’s been washed over with a blue filter, while contrast is a bit punchier than needed.
: Main cameraMain camera
Then there’s the wide-angle camera. Results from this aren’t consistent with the main lens – the colour looks different, for example – while detail lacks, and optically speaking it’s not particularly great. The benefit of having the wide camera is, of course, that it’s wide; that you can fit more into a shot, even if the edges are blurred and the contrast pushes image noise into greater visibility. You can compare the main camera and the wide camera – including 100 per cent zoom-in for each shot – in the gallery above.
The Realme GT might have wide-angle covered, but it doesn’t really cater for zoom. Well, it depends how you look at it. The camera app does offer 2x and 5x as part of the controls, but we’d strongly suggest avoiding using these as it’s nothing more than digital zoom. Given that the main sensor is 64-megapixels, however, the 2x ought to be better than it is. The 5x really pushes beyond what’s acceptable, with soft and unimpressive results. You can see the zoom stages from wide to main to 2x to 5x in the gallery below:
: Ultra-wide (16mm)Ultra-wide (16mm)
So while the zoom is one to avoid and the wide-angle isn’t great, the GT’s main camera is passable. It recognises backlighting to boost high dynamic range (HDR). It’s managed pretty well in low-light conditions, too, so if you’re shooting indoors at night then it can still focus and present enough detail – as we found out in a basement distillery at Edinburgh Gin.
That’s the long and the short of it: there’s not really much that’s “GT” about this Realme’s cameras. A “Pro” version might be able to rectify that – but it’d also come at cost, given the list price of camera components. And, really, that’s not the point of this phone. The GT is all about flagship performance for the day to day, not top-tier cameras – if you want that then you’ll have to pay out a lot more cash elsewhere.
From its striking yellow-colour vegan leather finish, to its impressive performance thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 platform, the Realme GT is an impressive alt-flagship – but one that will depend on its eye-catching asking price to lure in a fan base.
As we said up top, this Realme has arrived at a time when OnePlus is no longer, well, “being OnePlus” – i.e. delivering flagship devices for considerably less cash. In that sense, then, the GT slots into the space that OnePlus once occupied in its earlier days, a tactic that’s as measured as it is a bit cheeky.
No, the GT doesn’t offer the greatest of cameras, its auto-brightness is shy to activate, and as a brand name it might not yet resonate with the masses.
But it’s hard to not see the GT’s specification for what it is: more powerful than a Motorola equivalent, such as the G100; and more software consistent than a Xiaomi device, such as the Mi 11 Lite.
In that sense, then, the Realme GT sure does enter the alt-flagship fast lane, overtaking some of the big competition that are also jostling for pole position.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
We love the Xiaomi’s colour finish and slender build – it’s a great alternative to the current glut of massive flagship phones. That said, it’s less powerful and the software brings its share of irks.
Read our review
It’s about the same price, but with a slightly lower-spec processor, equally so-so cameras, but a more established brand name and near flawless software.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max has a bright display and long battery life, but its performance could be stronger, and it has a very high price, even for a business-class laptop.
+ 5G option
+ Bright Display
+ Long Battery Life
– Middling Performance
– Expensive even for a business-class computer
The original HP Elite Dragonfly challenged the Lenovo ThinkPad line with its style and excellent keyboard. Now, there’s a variant, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max ($2,199 to start, $2,789 as configured).
Despite the Max title implying that this device would be bigger, it’s actually the same size as the original, which is one of the best ultrabooks. This version adds a bright Sure View Reflect screen and 5G networking. But if neither of those appeal to you — the Sure View Reflect screen in particular suffers from some really harsh viewing angles that undercut its positives — you might be better off looking at the original Dragonfly or other options.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is a slick, thin convertible laptop with a glittery matte black shell that feels durable but loves to collect fingerprints. There’s a symmetrical, reflective HP logo on the lid and a smaller logo below the screen, plus EliteBook and Bang & Olufsen branding on the keyboard deck.
What’s most noticeable about this laptop is the size, although it’s not especially larger or smaller than most other ultraportables. At 11.98 x 7.78 x 0.63 inches, it’s a little wider than the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (11.6 x 8.2 x 0.6 inches) and the Razer Book 13 (11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6) but not too much thicker. But at 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.55 inches, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is significantly thinner than the HP Elite Dragonfly Max.
The Elite Dragonfly Max is on the lighter end when it comes to weight, however. Its 2.49 pound weight is only beaten by the ThinkPad X1 Nano’s 2 pounds. Meanwhile, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and Razer Book 13 are 2.9 and 3.1 pounds, respectively.
Ports on the Elite Dragonfly Max are varied but poorly distributed. While the left side has the NanoSim card reader (if you have a model with cellular networking capabilities, as we did) and a single USB Type-A port, the convertible’s right side has two Thunderbolt 4 connections, an HDMI 2.1 connection and a single 3.5mm combination headphone/microphone jack. This uneven port distribution can make charging your laptop a pain if your desk setup makes its left side more accessible.
Productivity Performance of the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
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The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is HP’s latest attempt to compete with Lenovo’s ThinkPad, specifically the ThinkPad X1 Nano. That means it aims for plenty of productivity power, and comes equipped with the slightly more powerful Intel Core i7-1185G7 to accomplish this. But the ThinkPad, with the Intel Core i7-1160G7 and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and the Razer Book 13 with Intel’s Core i7-1165G7 CPU still offered strong performance and won out in some tests.
In Geekbench 5, a synthetic benchmark for testing general performance, the Elite Dragonfly Max achieved a single core score of 1,512 and a multi-core score of 5,195. That puts it slightly ahead of the ThinkPad X1 Nano’s 1,473 single core score but about on par with its 5,155 multi-core score. But the XPS 13 2-in-1 and the Razer Book 13 beat it on both fronts, and by a much wider margin when it comes to multi-core performance. The former earned scores of 1,539/5,571, and the latter hit scores of 1,556 and 5,495.
The Elite Dragonfly Max did have a slightly faster SSD than its competitors, transferring 25GB of files at a rate of 558.9 MBps. The Razer Book 13 was the next fastest, hitting 479 MBps, while the ThinkPad X1 Nano came in towards the bottom of the pack with a 424.81 MBps speed. The XPS 13 2-in-1 was the slowest computer here, transferring the files at a rate of 405.55 MBps.
Our Handbrake video transcoding test, which tracks how long it takes a machine to transcode a video down from 4K to FHD, saw the Elite Dragonfly Max once again land on the weaker side. It took 19:44 to finish transcoding, while the ThinkPad X1 Nano took 16:55. The XPS 13 2-in-1 was faster at 15:52, while the Razer Book 13 was the quickest at 14:46.
We also ran the HP Elite Dragonfly Max through Cinebench R23 for 20 consecutive runs to see how well it operates during an extended work session. Scores started out at 4,172 before dropping to the high 3,000s for most runs, and achieved an average of 3,925. There were a few peaks and valleys during tests, which might have been related to short bursts of throttling we noticed throughout the 20 runs. Most of the throttling happened during the beginning of the tests, but there were instances of it throughout. The CPU ran at an average 2,405.82 MHz clock speed during this test, and sat at an average temperature of 69.16 degrees Celsius (156.49 degrees Fahrenheit).
Networking Performance of the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
Our configuration of the HP Elite Dragonfly Max came with a Nano Sim card slot for 5G networking, plus a prepaid card from AT&T. When I tested the laptop in downtown Brooklyn, I found that it was only slightly slower than my home Verizon Fios connection.
I was able to watch videos, download apps and stream music with no interruptions. The biggest difference I noticed was the time it took to load pages, which would sometimes take about a second longer than on Wi-Fi.
Still, your experience might differ based on where you live and your choice of carrier.
Display on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is, no matter how you configure it, a pricey computer. And for that extra cost, you do get a new, almost absurdly bright HP Sure View Reflect display, which also packs novel privacy and anti-blue light technology. While we were impressed with a measured 707 nits of average brightness, we were let down by extremely strict viewing angles. This screen tended to wash out for me when I moved more than 45 degrees away from it, perhaps because of the privacy features.
But when I was sitting directly in front of the screen, I had a great experience even in my brightly lit office. I tested the screen by watching the latest trailer for Cruella on it, and colors were vivid while blacks were deep. Glare also wasn’t an issue, although the screen had some minor reflectivity to it.
When I looked at the screen in a darker environment, reflectivity became less of a problem, but viewing angles still remained tight.
HP Sure View Reflect is one of HP’s privacy-oriented displays, with a built-in app (you can also turn it on with the F2 button) that turns the image into a blank copper rectangle when you look at it from more than 45 degrees away. This worked well for me when I turned it on, but given that the image is already so washed out at those angles, it seems like an unnecessary addition, especially because it also made my screen uncomfortably dim even when looking at it from straight on. I also wonder if building the screen to accommodate this technology reduces viewing angles even when the privacy feature isn’t turned on.
Still, there’s no denying that the screen is pleasant under optimal conditions. Our colorimeter showed it covered 81.7% of the DCI-P3 spectrum, which is much higher than the ThinkPad X1 Nano’s 71.6% and the XPS 13 2-in-1’s 70%. Only the Razer Book 13 came close, with 80.7%.
And, of course, 707 nits is immensely bright. The ThinkPad X1 Nano is much dimmer at the still very bright 430 nits. At 426 and 488 nits, respectively, the Razer Book 13 and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 are in a similar boat. However, there is such a thing as diminishing returns, and we’re not sure that the extra brightness is worth it — we still had great viewing experiences on these competitors, some of which boast better viewing angles.
What might be worth the extra cost is HP’s Eye Ease technology. This always-on, hardware level anti-blue light filter supposedly shifts harmful blue light spectrum images to more comfortable places on the spectrum without affecting the look of the image. This is because the screen only targets a very specific area of blue light, rather than tinting the whole image yellow like most solutions. After a whole day of working on the Elite Dragonfly Max, I did notice a lack of eye strain; however, I’m not sure if it was a placebo effect. I tend not to feel too much strain from my regular monitor, either, and I feel like I’d need to judge this feature over the course of a few weeks to fairly assess it.
Keyboard, Touchpad and Stylus on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max has a chiclet style keyboard that feels stiff and hard when pressing down keys, but I still managed to type quickly on it
On 10fastfingers.com, I regularly hit 78 – 79 words per minute, which is towards the upper end of my usual score range. However, I also had a number of typos during my tests, and keypresses didn’t exactly feel cushiony. Aside from the typical notches on the F and J keys, the keycaps also don’t have any distinct build features to help you find your fingers’ position by touch alone. This left typing feeling a bit like a chore, even if I technically typed speedily.
The large, 4.3 x 2.6 inch precision touchpad is, by contrast, a more pleasant experience. It feels smooth to the touch, and scrolling happens just as smoothly, although there’s enough friction to easily make precise adjustments. Multi-touch gestures like scrolling with two fingers or switching apps with three fingers were also a breeze to pull off.
There’s also a small, separate fingerprint reader to the right of the touchpad, which is a nice plus given that much of this computer’s competition integrates fingerprint readers into the touchpad instead, which creates dead zones.
Audio on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max comes with four speakers by Bang & Olufsen (two top-firing and two bottom-firing) that have impressive bass. I listened to “Butter” by BTS on them, and I didn’t feel like I lost any information from the beat heavy song. Audio was also clear with no tinniness, even on high vocals, and I could easily hear the song across my two-bedroom apartment at max volume.
At around 50% volume, I had about as optimal of a listening experience as I would expect to get from a device this size.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max also comes with an audio control program called, well, HP Audio Control. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear much of a difference between its music, movie and voice presets.
Upgradeability of the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
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The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is surprisingly easy to open for an ultraportable. It’s got five Torx T5 screws on the bottom, and the case easily lifts off after removing them. (The hardest part may be finding a Torx screwdriver.) Once you’re inside the laptop, you’ll have immediate access to both the Wi-Fi and 5G chips, plus you’ll see a silver shield above the battery with a pull tab on it. If you pull on that tab, you’ll have direct access to the laptop’s SSD.
Battery Life of the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max has an edge on battery life over its competition. In our battery benchmark, which continually browses the web, runs OpenGL tests over-Wi-Fi and streams video at 150 nits, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max held on for 13 hours and 9 minutes.
That’s a bit more than an hour longer than its longest-lasting competition, the ThinkPad X1 Nano, which had a 12 hour battery life on the same test. The Razer Book 13 lasted for 11 hours and 44 minutes, while the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 was the quickest to die with a 10 hour and 52 minute battery life.
Heat on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max runs on the cool side for an ultraportable laptop, plus it has special software to keep it extra cool when it’s on your lap.
After 15 minutes of streaming video, the laptop’s touchpad measured 77.5 degrees Fahrenheit, while the center of its keyboard (between the G and H keys) was about 10 degrees hotter at 88.9 degrees Fahrenheit. The laptop’s underside was mostly about 90.1 degrees Fahrenheit, although it ran closer to 102.7 degrees Fahrenheit closer to its vents.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max also has HP Context Aware software, which uses machine learning to detect when the laptop is on your lap so it can lower the performance mode. HP claims this can reduce the temperature by up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit, although you can turn the feature off if you’re using a lap desk and would prefer to prioritize performance. For my part, I noticed that the Dragonfly was still warm on my lap, but it did adjust its performance mode on and off as advertised. Unfortunately, I don’t have a temperature reading camera at home to test lap temperatures.
HP Elite Dragonfly Max Webcam
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max comes with a 5MP webcam that captures photos at 1440p, which is a higher resolution than you’ll find on even most desktop webcams. Plus, it’s also got a physical camera shutter.
That said, artifacts are still present on photos taken with this laptop’s camera, although lighting and color is accurate. The quality should be more than enough for most casual use cases, but my face is more pixelated than I like when I view this camera’s photos at full screen.
Pixelation becomes more noticeable in low-light environments, but color and lighting remains strong.
This camera’s performance in saturated lighting conditions is unique, but maybe flawed. I’ve never seen a webcam take such a detailed photo through a window pane before (usually, they’ll just depict windows as sheets of white), but my face is bathed in so much shadow that I’m not sure the camera counts as usable under these conditions.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max also has two front facing mics and two world facing mics, which lets it use AI noise cancellation to help keep background noise out of calls. I found that the AI noise cancellation works well, although the microphone quality itself is questionable. My recordings sounded echo-y and especially muffled, and part of me wonders if the AI noise cancellation contributed to this.
This laptop also has a sliding physical webcam cover.
Software and Warranty on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
This laptop does not skimp on the pre-installed software, with over 16 HP-branded programs alone coming pre-loaded on it. And that’s not even everything. There’s also a program that tries to get you to install free trials for different Adobe Creative Cloud programs, plus typical Windows pre-installs like Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Maps.
At least the HP apps are generally useful. HP Wolf Security, for instance, is a free firewall not unlike Windows Defender. HP QuickDrop lets you easily transfer files across devices, including mobiles phones. There’s even HP Easy Clean, which is a novel app that shuts down all of your laptop’s input for a few minutes so you can sanitize it without accidentally pressing any buttons (there is a 2-button keyboard shortcut to unlock your PC early if you need to, though).
But there’s no reason all of these utilities have to be their own separate programs. It’s easy to see them as clutter that way. If I were HP, I’d consider rounding up most of these functions into one central hub app, similar to Lenovo’s Vantage program.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max also comes with a three year limited warranty.
HP Elite Dragonfly Max Configurations
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max has two pre-built Wi-Fi only configurations, one pre-built Wi-Fi and 5G configuration and one fully customizable option. Our review configuration was that Wi-Fi and 5G pre-built option, which came with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 13.3 inch FHD display. It costs $2,789.
The Wi-Fi only pre-built models are $2,199 and $2,399, respectively, although the only difference between them seems to be whether the laptop uses an i7-1165G7 chip or an i7-1186G7 chip. Otherwise, you’ll get 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 13.3 inch FHD display.
The configurable option is exclusive to HP’s website, and starts at $2,409 for the Windows version (the website says it technically costs $3,347, but there’s a permanent $1,000 discount applied to it). You can shave $236 off the price if you want to go for FreeDOS, which might be useful if you intend to install Linux on the device.
More realistically, you’ll be configuring your PC to add on to it. Here, you can bump the CPU up to an i7-1185G7 processor and the RAM up to 32GB for a combined $489, and the SSD up to 2TB for $865. There’s also in-between options— bumping the SSD to just 1TB will cost you an extra $235, and there are 16GB and 32GB RAM bundles available for both the cheaper i7-1165G7 CPU and the more costly i7-1185G7 CPU.
You can also choose to go Wi-Fi only in a custom build, or go for either Intel XMM LTE ($155) or Qualcomm SnapDragon 5G ($440) networking. Plus, there’s add-ons like an optional Wacom pen, which costs $74.
HP’s website says custom builds won’t ship until October, although HP assured us that this is incorrect, and is in the process of sending us more information.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is an expensive convertible with a great look and a bright screen that purports to have an anti-blue light feature, but it doesn’t have a worthwhile power boost compared to cheaper options and doesn’t exactly make up for it with its keyboard or its display’s other specs.
I acknowledge that our configuration has an extra cost tied to it thanks to the 5G, which was admittedly only slightly slower than my Wi-Fi when I tested it in downtown Brooklyn. But even without the 5G, this computer costs more than $2,000. Compare that to the ThinkPad X1 Nano, another business class convertible which either beat it or performed on par with it in all of our productivity tests and only costs around $1,600 from certain e-tailers, and it’s hard to justify getting the Elite Dragonfly Max.
Granted, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max has a slightly higher battery life and a much brighter screen than the ThinkPad X1 Nano. But viewing angles on this display are excessively strict, so it still comes with caveats. Plus, you lose out on that great ThinkPad keyboard and the ThinkPad X1 Nano’s 16:10 aspect ratio.
If you go for a non business-class computer like the XPS 13 2-in-1 9310, you can get even more power for even less.
If you’re a business-oriented buyer and you really want 5G or bright displays or niche security software like HP Sure View, then this laptop might be for you. Otherwise, you can get more raw power for less elsewhere, plus maybe some better viewing angles while you’re at it.
(Pocket-lint) – OnePlus has be on something of an exploratory journey over the past 12 months or so. Rather than delivering one or two phones at a time and launching them both globally, it took a more regional approach.
That meant while some markets got the original Nord, others – like the US – didn’t, then OnePlus followed up with various models to suit different territories. It even continued this approach with the OnePlus 9 series, offering a 9R in India, but nowhere else.
This is pretty standard practice for most manufacturers, but wasn’t for OnePlus. At least, not until now. But obviously this transition to being a ‘proper’ smartphone manufacturer is working, because it’s back again with another Nord: the Nord CE 5G.
Dimensions: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9mm / Weight: 170g
No official waterproofing
3.5mm headphone port
Blue Void, Charcoal Ink and Silver Ray colours
For a while there’s been this sense that when building a good smartphone, you have to start with the right materials. It had to be aluminium or steel and glass. Using plastic was as good as writing ‘cheap trash’ over the back of the phone in capital letters. But things have changed, thanks in part to the efforts of Samsung.
With its Galaxy Note 20, S20 FE and this years S21, it showed you can use plastic materials in a way that doesn’t detract from the look and feel of the phone. OnePlus has taken the same approach with the Nord CE. Our unit in Blue Void has a lovely frosted/matte finish to it that’s very reminiscent of the Samsung approach, and we like it a lot.
It has an eye-catching blue finish with just the slightest splash of purple up the edges. There are two other safer colours in Charcoal Ink (Black-ish grey) and Silver Ray.
Being a frosted/matte finished plastic does have its advantages too. Firstly, it’s not at all slippery. So it’s not hard to keep a hold of one-handed, and it’s not likely to just randomly slide off the arm of your sofa. Secondly, it not as likely to crack or turn into tiny shards when it’s dropped or banged against something. It’s a very practical choice.
Also, it just feels, well, nice.
That’s not the only practical choice made by OnePlus with the Nord CE. It’s both slimmer and lighter than the first Nord, so it doesn’t feel like a huge phone in your hand. It’s not exactly compact, but it’s easy to hold and comfortable enough to use. And it has a 3.5mm socket for wired headphones and headsets.
One choice that might not go down so well with long-time OnePlus fans is the removal of the alert switch. For years this simple slider button on the side has set the company’s phones apart from rivals, offering an easy tactile way to switch your phone to silent or vibrate. Apparently, that’s not considered ‘Core’ enough to make it on to a ‘Core Edition’ OnePlus phone.
In case you were wondering: yes, that’s what CE stands for.
Other core design choices include: not having a physical fingerprint sensor. Instead, there’s an in-display one so there’s nothing on the back, breaking up that glorious matte blue surface. The camera housing is a pretty basic pull-shaped protrusion and the display has just the one hole punched through it for a single camera.
Sadly, one last feature not deemed essential to a Core Edition phone is a subtle haptic motor for feedback. That means, with it enabled, keyboard taps are accompanied by a nasty feeling buzz, rather than a subtle tap. We quickly switched it off.
Display and software
6.43-inch AMOLED 90Hz display
1080 x 2400 resolution
Screen resolutions haven’t changed much in recent years with most smartphones opting for some version of full HD. This particular flavour is 1080 x 2400, which is the same as on most other OnePlus phones. That means it’s plenty sharp enough for day-to-day tasks with individual pixels imperceptible.
It’s AMOLED too, which means it’s a pretty punchy panel with vibrant colours and deep blacks. In its default ‘vivid’ mode the screen often over eggs the colours a bit, but with this being a OnePlus phone running OxygenOS, you get to customise its balance quite lot. Switching to ‘sRGB’ mode balances things out a lot more, but does make it a bit less exciting.
The 90Hz refresh rate ensure that when you touch the screen, or swipe at something in the interface, the response is immediate and smooth. It doesn’t reach the heights of the OnePlus 9 Pro’s 120Hz, and doesn’t feature the advanced adaptive refresh rate tech that adapts it to the content, but it’s impressively fluid and smooth for a mid-ranger.
That’s not the only element where you just about get the hint this isn’t a top tier panel.
For instance, despite being AMOLED, when the screen’s off (or black) it’s not quite as dark as the black frame around the panel, so you don’t get that blending effect, you can see where the bezel stops and the screen starts. There’s also a slight colour shift when you look at a white screen from different angles.
Just for a little perspective though, the fact we’re picking up on such non-issues as a slight negative shows two things: how competitive the mid-range market has become recently and how good this phone is for the money OnePlus is asking for it.
Part of the joy of OnePlus phones over the years is the customisation on offer from the OxygenOS software. We’ve already mentioned the ability to calibrate the screen to your exact liking, but there are also modes like Reading Mode which turns the screen monochrome for when you load up your favourite e-book app.
There’s not much new to report from a software side with the Nord CE. It’s the same as the software found in the OnePlus 9 series and OnePlus 8T that came before it. It’s OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11, which represented a major redesign when it first launched.
While OnePlus was often seen as a manufacturer offering a stock-like Android experience with lots of customisation choices, it no longer feels that way. Oppo’s ColourOS offers far more customisation of elements like the fingerprint scanner animation, always-on display, icon styles and shapes. OxygenOS by comparison feels quite stripped back and bare.
This does help it retain that feeling of ‘essentialism’ though. It has everything you need, presented in a clean and clutter free way. There aren’t any unecessary apps pre-loaded, and even core parts of the experience like phone, messages and software updates are now powered by Google’s own apps, rather than OnePlus’ own design.
Power and performance
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor (8nm)
6GB, 8GB or 12GB RAM – 128GB or 256GB storage
30W fast charging
Where the Core Edition OnePlus Nord gets it right is the feeling of speed and fluidity under your fingertips. A big part of that, as mentioned, is down to the high refresh rate of the screen and the software. OnePlus has always done a great job of optimising its software animations to feel speedy.
That performance transitions well into games and apps too. Using it daily as a main phone, it never left us in any real need of more, despite ‘only’ having Snapdragon 750G. It’s not a top-tier platform, but just like the Snapdragon 765G that appeared in the first Nord, this one gets the job done without any trouble.
Playing Mario Kart Tour was a hassle-free and smooth experience, as was browsing the web, scrolling through Twitter and any other app we came across in our day-to-day phone usage.
Similarly, the 4500mAh battery inside is more than strong enough to cope with the most demanding of days. For the most part, with light usage, we’d finish the day with something like 40 per cent of the battery left over. That’s with the usual hour or so of web browsing and social media, plus a chunk of gaming.
Once empty it fills up quickly, as is typical OnePlus style. It uses a 30W wired charger, which OnePlus has clunkily named ‘Warp Charge 30T Plus’. In actual fact, it’s almost the same as Warp Charge 30T, in that it can fill 70 per cent of the battery in abut half an hour. It’s been a mainstay feature for OnePlus phones for many years and something of a lifesaver when you’ve forgotten to charge your phone or when it drains unexpectedly.
Triple rear camera system:
64MP primary camera
8MP ultra-wide (119-degree)
2MP monochrome sensor
4K recording at 30fps
Ah, OnePlus and cameras. It seems to be an age-old complaint of OnePlus phones having a not-quite-good-enough camera system. They’ve definitely improved the quality over the past couple of years, there’s no denying that, and for the most part the primary snapper on the Nord CE is decent.
You’ll get sharp photos with good colours and depth of field from the 64-megapixel sensor. It pixel bins down to 16-megapixel images automatically, so isn’t using all 64 million of those pixels individually. Not unless you enable it.
It has all the camera features you’d expect too. It’ll take portrait shots with excessive background blur, night mode shots, panoramas, timelapses, slow motion video and even has a ‘pro’ mode for adjusting ISO, white balance and shutter speed manually yourself.
There is one major weakness we’ve encoutered on the Nord CE’s primary lens however, and that’s focus distance. It really, really doesn’t like focusing on anything closer than about 13 or 14cm, which means close up shots of flowers, bugs, berries and the like are near-on impossible. You can see examples that would normally be simple shots, impossible because it refused to focus.
The only solution is either taking the photo from further away and cropping the photo in edit, or using the 2x zoom function to zoom in digitally when taking the photo.
We don’t expect super macro skills from an affordable mid-range necessarily, but we do expect it to at least handle close up focusing a bit better than this.
Without being too cricital though, having the 2x zoom and the seperate ultra-wide lens means you get enough versatility in shooting to make it useful in most situations. There’s a variety in focal lengths, but we do question the decision to put such a visually distinct different between them.
What we mean by that is there’s a noticeable drop in quality when switching from the main to the ultra-wide. Images lose some crispness, and appear visually more contrast heavy and darker, losing a lot of vibrancy in the colours while adding more noise, even in daylight. At times it also adds a hyper-real element to the colours where they just seem unnaturally saturated. It’s not the most consistent of cameras.
As for the third camera, that’s just a low resolution black and white sensor to act as a backup to the other two, bringing in some more light data.
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On the front, the selfie camera is decent enough with OnePlus’ HDR capability shining when it comes to balancing out heavy backlighting behind you when snapping pictures of yourself. So even if the sky and clouds look too bright to get a decent shot of your face, the system does well to make sure that it’s not over-exposed and washed out.
OnePlus Nord ‘Core Edition’ is something of an unusual phone in its position. The first OnePlus Nord in itself was supposed to represent the core essentials of OnePlus phones. Stripped down, but without real compromise. So in essence, the OnePlus Nord CE is a Core Edition of a Core Edition phone. But that’s perhaps overthinking it a bit.
What really matters is that for the money you’re getting a phone without any significant flaws. It’s fast and responsive, is well-designed, has a good camera and a good screen. It’s comfortably one of the best phones in its price bracket.
We question the removal of the alert slider though. It was one of the few remaining fixtures that helped OnePlus phones stand out from its competition. Without it, it feels like OnePlus is doing more blending in with the environment. It’s transitioned away from standout phone maker, to just another phone maker and the CE is the culmination of that effort.
Alternatives to consider
The original Nord is still here, and still packs a punch. It’s fast, fluid, smooth and has a more premium glass back, slightly more powerful processor and is now discounted because it’s a bit older.
Read the review
Redmi Note 10 Pro
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is one of 2021’s best value smartphones. It boasts similar specs and capabilities to the Nord CE, but is cheaper. Crucially, it has a bigger battery, bigger display and is water resistant.
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If you’re looking for a 5G Android phone and want to spend as little as possible, you can stop right here. At $279, the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is your best bet right now, especially if you’re in the US where such options are scarce. It offers good 5G support (including the all-important C-band!), a huge battery, and four years of security updates. That’s a compelling package for under $300.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. The A32 5G’s screen isn’t great, performance is a little laggy, and though capable, its camera is limited. If you can spend just a bit more, you can get a phone that does better in at least one of these areas. And if you can hold off on your phone purchase for even a few more months, we should see many more very affordable 5G phones on the market to choose from, like the OnePlus N200. But if you don’t have time to wait and can’t spare the extra cash, I can’t find a good reason to talk you out of the A32 5G.
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G screen, performance, and design
The A32 5G features a big 6.5-inch 720p LCD panel that’s best described as nothing special. Colors look a little flat and washed out, and though it gets bright enough to see in direct sunlight, the screen’s reflective plastic protective panel makes it challenging. It’s also a low resolution to be stretched across such a large screen, so you’ll see a little pixelization if you look close.
The phone uses a MediaTek Dimensity 720 5G processor that compares well with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 690 5G chipset for budget 5G phones, used by OnePlus Nord N10 5G. The Galaxy A32 5G combines the MediaTek processor with 4GB of RAM (decent) and 64GB of storage (skimpy but just enough to get by, and you can throw in a microSD card to expand it), and it performs well enough for its class.
There’s noticeable hiccuping with media-dense pages, brief pauses when diving into a demanding task like starting Google Maps navigation, and noticeable camera shutter lag. For the most part, though, I just didn’t notice slowdowns as I jumped between apps, scrolled through Instagram, and just generally went about using the phone normally. That’s about all I’d ask for from a sub-$300 phone.
The phone’s headline feature, 5G, still isn’t something we’d recommend you run out and buy a new phone to get. But the A32 5G has a couple of features that make it worth your time, even considering that good 5G is still a year or two away in the US. Crucially, the A32 5G has been cleared by the Federal Communications Commission to use C-band frequencies that Verizon and AT&T, in particular, will be utilizing for 5G in the coming years. Not all 5G phones can use C-band, so that’s a big ol’ checkmark in the A32 5G’s favor. There’s no mmWave support here, which is the fastest and scarcest flavor of 5G, but that’s no great loss.
The second factor here is that you can reasonably expect to keep using this phone for enough years to actually see 5G that’s meaningfully better than LTE because Samsung will keep offering security updates for four years. Many budget devices only get about two years of security update support, but the A32 5G’s lengthy lifespan should see it through to the actual 5G age in a few years.
Battery life is one of the A32 5G’s strengths. Its 5,000mAh capacity battery is big indeed, and I had no trouble getting two full days of moderate use out of it. My usage was more battery-friendly than someone else’s might be, with battery optimization on and the bulk of my time spent on Wi-Fi, but even the most power-hungry user would be able to get a full day — if not more — out of the A32 5G.
With a 6.5-inch screen, the A32 5G is a big phone for sure. It’s a little too bulky and awkward-feeling in my hand. What I dislike even more is that it feels slippery to me — the back panel plastic feels hard to get a decent grip on. On one occasion, I set the phone down on a softcover book, and it somehow shimmied itself across the cover and off of a side table when I wasn’t looking. (There’s a happy ending, though: it only fell about a foot into a box filled with hand-me-down baby clothes waiting to be put away, so there’s a good argument for keeping clutter around your house.) Anyway, get a case for it if you buy this phone, and know that if your hands are small, it won’t be very comfortable to use.
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G camera
There are two cameras of consequence on the A32 5G’s rear panel: a 48-megapixel standard wide and an 8-megapixel ultrawide. There’s a 5-megapixel macro camera that’s not very good and a 2-megapixel depth sensor that may or may not help with portrait mode photos. There’s also a 13-megapixel selfie camera around front.
Taken with ultrawide
Taken with ultrawide
Considering the phone’s price, the A32 5G’s main camera performs well enough. Like most any other phone, it takes very nice pictures in good lighting. That’s no surprise, even for a budget phone. But it reaches its limits quickly in less-good lighting, like interiors. That’s where optical stabilization or more sophisticated image processing would come in handy, neither of which the A32 5G offers. Instead, you may find some of your photos indoors are a little blurry, and you’ll be very challenged to get a sharp photo of a moving subject in anything less than bright daylight.
The ultrawide camera shows its shortcomings if you look close — there’s some distracting flare in direct sunlight, and some noise visible in shadows of high-contrast scenes. There’s no telephoto lens here, with shortcuts in the camera app to jump to 2x (acceptable), 4x (eh), and 10x (don’t use it) digital zoom.
It’s tough to say how the Galaxy A32 5G compares to the competition because it doesn’t have much yet. It’s among the least expensive 5G phones you’ll find anywhere. Its closest competition at the moment is the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, which is a little more expensive at $299 but offers some worthwhile hardware upgrades, like a nicer screen, a bit better camera performance, and faster charging. It’s a nicer phone in a lot of ways, but it’s only slated for two years of security updates.
Of course, if you only plan to hold on to your phone for a couple of years, then the N10 5G is worth strongly considering. If that’s the case, then 5G becomes a less important feature, too. If there’s room in your budget, consider the $349 Google Pixel 4A, which will get you a much better camera, cleaner software, and timely updates over the next couple of years, albeit without support for 5G at all. It’s a much smaller device, though. So if a big screen is part of the A32 5G’s appeal, you might want to look at something like the $279 Motorola Moto G Stylus.
If you’d like to avoid the hassle of phone shopping again in two years and you want a future-proof choice that’s easy on the budget, then the Samsung A32 5G will do the trick.
(Pocket-lint) – Xiaomi really, really wants you to pay attention to the Mi 11 series. That’s clear because there’s a Mi 11, a higher-end Mi 11 Ultra, a lower-spec Mi 11 Lite 5G, plus a bunch of regional specifics – including this model on review, the Mi 11i, which is also known as the Mi 11X Pro in India.
Whew. Lost count yet? Us too. But that’s not even every Mi 11 model available – there’s actually eight in total at last count. We shant bother you with the additional options right here, but it does make us wonder if Xiaomi has taken its eye off the ball somewhat. There’s delivering something for everyone, then there’s delivering something excessively.
The Mi 11i, however, is a powerful handset that sits just below the original Mi 11, making for an ought-to-be-more-affordable option (its price is, at the time of writing, to be confirmed). It doesn’t sacrifice much in the pursuit of that saving, though, so is the ‘i’ the more favourable Mi model to go for or just a Mi too far?
Design & Display
Display: 6.67-inch AMOLED panel, 1080 x 2400 resolution, 120Hz refresh
Finishes: Celestial Silver, Frosty White, Cosmic Black
Dimensions: 164.7 x 74.6 x 7.8mm / Weight: 196g
Side-positioned fingerprint scanner
At a brief glance and the Mi 11i doesn’t look especially different to the Mi 11. But there are tell-tale signs: the ‘i’ doesn’t feature a curved screen; instead its 6.67-inch panel is not only a mite smaller than the Mi 11’s, but it’s flat too, which some will prefer – but we don’t think looks quite as flashy from a visual perspective.
The screen is quality, though, delivering a Full HD+ resolution – note that’s lower than the Mi 11’s WQHD+ offering – and capable of up to 120Hz refresh rate for smooth visuals. We’ve already seen the likes of this panel in the Redmi Note 10 Pro, so its performance is one and the same – i.e. decent quality.
As it’s an AMOLED panel that means the Mi 11i can have an always-on display activated – which illuminates the edges in a subtle fashion when there’s a notification, as one example – for visuals to be shown on the lock screen without actively needing to turn the display on. The screen tech also means deep blacks and rich colours as standard (and you can further tweak to your preference within the settings).
There’s little to criticise about the screen – although its brightness isn’t as searing as some. Still, it’s a sensible panel selection for this level, even better paired with this device than the Redmi, really, as the Mi 11i has more power to support that 120Hz fast refresh – ensuring support across more demanding situations.
Also similar to the Redmi, the Mi 11i drops the under-display fingerprint scanner for a side-positioned one in the power button. Although setting this up suggested it wasn’t going to be especially responsive – for some reason it was being fussy while registering – ongoing use has proven it to be highly responsive. We might even prefer it to an under-display option, as it happens.
Flip the Mi 11i over and, again, it looks largely similar to the original Mi 11. That means there’s a glass panel that’s curved at the edges, which picks up light nicely, but fingerprints show in abundance sadly. We much prefer the fingerprint-resistant and colourful finish of the Mi 11 Lite 5G.
Where things do differ is in the camera arrangement. The triple unit, which has two particularly large lenses, does protrude rather incessantly, but that’s all part and parcel of a flagship phone these days – the 11i’s isn’t as disruptive as the giant lump on the Mi 11 Ultra anyway. The really peculiar thing about the Mi 11i is the integrated microphone sandwiched between the two main lenses. Like, seriously, what is that all about? We’re weirded out every time we have to look at it.
Performance & Battery
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 8GB RAM
Storage: 128GB UFS 3.1 (no microSD)
Battery: 4,520mAh; 33W charging
Software: MIUI 12 (on Android 11)
Dual SIM, 5G connectivity
Unlike the aforementioned Redmi device, the Mi 11i steps things up in the power department, utilising the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform as found in the original Mi 11. That’s the top-grade processor that you’ll find in any phone during 2021, which translates into really great performance.
As we said, it gives the Mi 11i an upper hand in ensuring that higher frame-rates are achievable for making the most of that fast-refresh panel. So whether you’re admiring the smooth scrolling around the MIUI software, or playing your very best PUBG: Mobile, it’s an impressive outlay.
Even when gaming we’ve not found heat dissipating from the body to be a problem – likely the result of a plastic rather than metal shell? – while the 4,520mAh battery has been holding up really well under our mixed use. We’ve been getting about 14 hours use, which has seen us arrive at just under half battery by bed time on most days. It also sports 33W fast-charging to get topped-up again nice and quick.
Part of the reason for this long battery innings is the fairly high impact of Xiaomi’s MIUI software. There are lots of options to pick through, a number of alerts to suggest limiting certain functions to retain battery, and a lot of per-app permissions that you’ll need to tinker with to ensure everything runs as you please. They’re not all in the one place, either, so you’ll really need to dig deep to find everything.
As we said of the original Mi 11: that’s kind-of good, but kind-of bad all at the same time, because there’s so much footwork to get everything functioning as you expect – and sometimes you won’t know there’s a ‘problem’ with a specific app until, say, it doesn’t send you a notification. And we’ve found Gmail slow to update and Outlook largely ill-responsive when it comes to notifications on this software platform.
All that said, however, we’ve not run into as many considerable hurdles while using the Mi 11i as with some other Xiaomi handsets. It’s quirks rather than total experience killers. And this is running MIUI 12.0.4 – so it’s still not on the expected 12.5 update. How much difference that will genuinely make is yet to be seen though.
On the cameras front the Mi 11i is largely similar to the Mi 11. Both have triple rear systems, both of which feature a 108-megapixel main camera, a wide-angle, and a macro. However, the ‘i’ model downgrades the wide-angle’s resolution (from 13MP to 8MP) and drops the optical stabilisation of the main camera too.
: Wide angle camera (full size image)Wide angle camera (full size image)
Still, we’re glad that there aren’t other throwaway cameras like with so many other phones at the moment. Each lens has its own distinct task. Sure, that built-in microphone looks like its been installed by a 1970s Bond-esque spy team, but otherwise there’s not excesses to be seen. And, no, there’s no zoom lens here – but that wouldn’t be expected at this level.
The main lens uses nine-in-one pixel processing to produce 12-megapixel images as standard – smaller than the four-in-one 27-megapixel output offering from the standard Mi 11 device. There’s still heaps of detail crammed in, though, so it’s a decent enough optic to deliver good results – just don’t expect too much in lower-light when you can’t hold the phone steady. The Night Mode isn’t that great, really, but it can get you out of a tricky low-light situation.
: Main camera (full size image)Main camera (full size image)
The telemacro, which also doesn’t feature any stabilisation either, can be a bit tricky to use. But its results are fun. You’ll get some great close-ups, but there’s not the same degree of accomplishment with sharpness or detail as the main lens – partly because it’s 5-megapixels only, partly because the autofocus is limited. But at least it’s a step better than the no-good 2-megapixel macro lenses that so many makers are mindlessly putting on their phones.
All in all, despite the absence of proper optical zoom lenses, the Mi 11i’s take on cameras is decent for this level. There are limitations, though, and the wide-angle isn’t very good here, but in terms of an accomplished main optic without too many distractions it works.
The Mi 11i is, on the one hand, a confusing entry to Xiaomi’s series because it adds yet another handset to the Mi 11 line-up. And that muddies the waters between the standard Mi 11 and the Mi 11 Lite 5G – the latter which we’d buy beyond both others given its preferable design.
On the other hand, the Mi 11i doesn’t get anything truly wrong, per se, it functions smoothly as there’s heaps of power – which is a reason you’d consider it above and beyond more budget contenders, such as the Redmi Note 10 Pro.
Using the Mi 11i feels largely effortless, but as it’s an exercise in market flooding there’s also no distinctive reason to opt for one.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
Of all the Mi 11 handsets this would be our choice. It’s the best looking, the slimmest, and while not the most powerful just feels best balanced as the handset to own. Especially in the minty colour finish, as pictured, which we think looks super.
Read our review
Redmi Note 10 Pro
It’s less powerful, but then it’s cheaper. With the same screen as the Mi 11i, but lesser protruding rear cameras, and software that – for whatever reason – we found more consistent, this money-saving option would be our budget alternative pick.
(Pocket-lint) – OnePlus announced an addition to its Nord range of smartphones during an event in June in the form of the Nord CE 5G.
The device sits below the original Nord, which means it subsequently sits under the flagship OnePlus 9 series.
You can read more about how the Nord CE 5G compares to the original Nord in our separate feature, but here we are covering how it stacks up against the OnePlus 9. Should you spend the extra cash?
Nord CE 5G: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9mm, 170g
OnePlus 9: 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm, 192g
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G features an all-plastic design that has a pill-shaped rear camera housing in the top left corner, a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom of the device alongside the charging port, and a singular punch hole camera in the top left corner of the display.
The display is flat, there is no official IP rating and the Nord CE 5G comes in three colour options.
The OnePlus 9 meanwhile, has a glass rear, though it has a plastic frame, and it features a more prominent rectangular camera housing on the rear. Two of the three camera lenses are larger and have a metal surround, making more of a feature on the back.
On the front, the display is flat on the OnePlus 9, like the Nord CE 5G, and it also features a punch hole camera in the top left corner. There is no official IP waterproof rating, though the 9 Pro model does offer this if that’s a feature you are desperate for.
The OnePlus 9 has an alert slider – something the Nord CE 5G doesn’t have – but there is no 3.5mm headphone jack.
Nord CE 5G: 6.43-inch, 2400 x 1080 (410ppi), 90Hz
OnePlus 9: 6.55-inch, Full HD+ (402ppi), 120Hz
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G has a 6.43-inch display that sports a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution to deliver a pixel density of 410ppi.
The flat display has an aspect ratio of 20:9 and it offers a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s a Fluid AMOLED screen.
The OnePlus 9 meanwhile, has a slightly larger screen at 6.55-inches. It has a Full HD+ resolution like the Nord CE 5G though, which results in a pixel density of 402ppi.
The 9 has a Fluid AMOLED display like the Nord CE 5G, but it offers a higher refresh rate at 120Hz and it also supports HDR. Both the OnePlus 9 and Nord CE 5G have under-display fingerprint sensors.
Hardware and specs
Nord CE 5G: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G, 6/8/12GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, 4500mAh
Under the hood, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G processor, with a choice of 6GB, 8GB and 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage, though not all variants will be available in all regions.
There’s a 4500mAh battery that supports Warp Charge 30T fast charging. There is no wireless charging on board.
The OnePlus 9 meanwhile has the flagship – and more powerful – Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor under its hood, with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage.
The same 4500mAh battery capacity is on board the OnePlus 9 too, but it offers support of 65W fast charging and there is support for wireless charging too.
Both devices are 5G capable.
Nord CE 5G: Triple camera (64MP main + 8MP ultra wide + 2MP mono), 16MP front
OnePlus 9: Triple camera (48MP main + 50MP ultra wide + 2MP mono), 16MP front, Hasselblad partnership
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G and OnePlus 9 both have a triple camera on their rears, but they are made up of different lenses, while the OnePlus 9 also has a Hasselblad partnership on board.
The triple camera on the Nord CE 5G is comprised of a 64-megapixel main camera (f/1.79), an 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera (f/2.25) and a 2-megapixel mono-lens camera (f/2.4).
The triple camera on the OnePlus 9 meanwhile, is a 48-megapixel main camera with f/1.8 aperture, a 50-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with f/2.4 aperture and a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor.
Both the OnePlus Nord CE 5G and the OnePlus 9 have a 16-megapixel front camera on board.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G starts at £299 in the UK.
The OnePlus 9 starts at £629 in the UK, making it quite a bit more expensive.
The OnePlus 9 is likely to feel like a more premium device compared to the Nord CE 5G thanks to the materials used. It also delivers a more powerful processor, faster charging capabilities, a larger display with a faster refresh rate, and likely better camera capabilities.
The Nord CE 5G appears to offer quite a lot for its price point though, with a good battery size, 5G capabilities, nice design and what looks like it could be a good camera load out.
We would expect the OnePlus 9 to be the better device, naturally, but based on the specifications alone, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G looks like it could be a good option to consider if the 9 is too expensive.
(Pocket-lint) – OnePlus added the Nord CE 5G to its more affordable Nord range of smartphones, joining the OnePlus Nord, OnePlus Nord N10 and OnePlus Nord N100.
Sitting just below the OnePlus Nord in terms of specifications, rather than replacing it, here is how the OnePlus Nord CE 5G compares to the Nord to help you work out which is right for you.
Nord: 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm, 184g
Nord CE 5G: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9mm, 170g
The OnePlus Nord and Nord CE 5G look similar on first glance, especially from the rear. Both have a pill-shaped rear camera housing in the top left corner, and both come with a flat display.
Dive a little deeper and there are some standout differences between the two models though. The original Nord has a plastic frame, but offers a glass rear. It also has an alert slider like other OnePlus devices, though it doesn’t have a headphone jack.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G meanwhile, features a plastic frame, as well as a plastic rear and though it offers a headphone jack, it misses off the alert slider.
In terms of physical size and weight, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G is slimmer and lighter than the Nord, but fractionally taller and wider. Both come in three colour options with the Nord available in Blue Marble, Gray Oynx and Gray Ash, while the Nord CE 5G comes in Blue Void, Charcoal Ink and Silver Ray. Neither has an official IP rating.
Nord: 6.44-inch, 2400 x 1080 (408ppi), 90Hz
Nord CE 5G: 6.43-inch, 2400 x 1080 (410ppi), 90Hz
The OnePlus Nord and Nord CE 5G have very similar specifications when it comes to their displays too. The Nord has a 6.44-inch screen with a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, offering a pixel density of 408ppi.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G meanwhile, has a 6.43-inch display, also with a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution that puts its pixel density at a slightly higher 410ppi because of the 0.1-inch reduction in size. That difference is not something you would notice though.
Both devices have a 90Hz refresh rate, both come with an AMOLED screen and both have a 20:9 aspect ratio. They also both have a P3 colour gamut.
Nord CE 5G: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G, 6/8/12GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, 4500mAh
The OnePlus Nord runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G platform, supported by either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. It’s not available in the US though, with the Nord N10 model placed there instead.
There’s a 4115mAh battery under the hood and it supports 30T Warp Charge fast charge but there is no wireless charging.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G platform, supported by 6GB, 8GB or 12GB or RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. You’re looking at a very similar loadout here really, with the Nord CE 5G taking a slight dip in processing power but this isn’t likely to be something you’d notice in everyday use.
The Nord CE 5G has a larger battery capacity than the Nord at 4500mAh, and it supports 30T Plus Warp Charge fast charging, but again, there is no wireless charging.
Nord: Quad rear (48MP main + 8MP ultra wide + 5MP depth + 2MP macro), dual front (32MP main + 8MP ultra wide)
Nord CE 5G: Triple rear (64MP main + 8MP ultra wide + 2MP mono), single front (16MP)
The OnePlus Nord has a quad camera on the rear made up of a 48-megapixel main camera with 0.8µm pixels and a f/1.6 aperture, a 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with f/2.25 aperture, a 5-megapixel depth lens with f/2.4 aperture and a 2-megapixel macro lens with f/2.4 aperture.
There’s a dual front camera with a 32-megapixel main camera offering a f/2.45 aperture, and an 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with f/2.45 aperture.
The OnePlus Nord CE meanwhile, has a triple rear camera with a 64-megapixel main camera with 0.7µm pixels and a f/1.79 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with f/2.25 aperture and a 2-megapixel mono-lens lens with f/2.4 aperture.
The front camera is a single lens with a 16-megapixel sensor, offering an f/2.45 aperture.
In terms of video capabilities, both the Nord and Nord CE 5G support 4K video recording at 30fps and 1080p video at 30fps and 60fps. They also both support super slow motion video, but the Nord CE 5G offers 1080p at 120fps and 720 at 240fps, while the Nord has 1080p at 240fps.
The Nord CE 5G’s front camera is also only capable of 1080p video, while the Nord offers 4K video from its front camera.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G and Nord offer similar designs, but the Nord CE 5G has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a plastic body, while the Nord has an alert slider and a glass rear. The Nord CE is also slimmer and lighter.
Both have very similar displays and they both offer similar hardware loadouts, though the Nord has a more powerful processor on board and an extra camera on the front and rear, while the Nord CE 5G has a larger battery capacity.
Overall, the two handsets are pretty much on par, with both tipping the scales in their own areas. The Nord CE 5G is fractionally cheaper than the Nord, but there isn’t a huge amount in it so the decision will likely come down to which features you are more bothered about.
OnePlus has announced a new addition to its lineup of midrange phones, the Nord CE. According to the company, the “CE” stands for “Core Edition,” an indication that the company is focusing on the fundamentals, rather than inflating the device’s spec sheet with unnecessary extras. The phone is launching in Europe and India, and there are no plans for a US release.
What this focus on the fundamentals means in practice is that the Nord CE is slightly stripped down compared to last year’s Nord, but it’s slightly higher-specced than its predecessor, too. So you’re getting a higher-resolution 64-megapixel main camera (up from 48 megapixels), but there are only three rear sensors in total. (There’s also an 8-megapixel ultrawide with a 119-degree field of view and a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor.) The Nord CE also only has a single 16-megapixel selfie camera, with no secondary ultrawide like the original Nord.
Internally, there’s a Snapdragon 750G powering this year’s model, compared to the 765G in last year’s phone. OnePlus claims its CPU is 20 percent faster, while its GPU is 10 percent faster. That’s paired with a choice of 6, 8, or 12GB of RAM, although these options vary slightly based on region. There’s a 4,500mAh battery inside the Nord CE, up from 4,115mAh last year, and the phone supports Warp Charge 30T Plus fast charging, which OnePlus says should charge you from 0 to 70 percent in half an hour.
Externally, the Nord CE looks very similar to its predecessor. It’s got a very similarly styled camera bump on the back left (though with three rather than four cameras) and a hole-punch for its selfie camera on the front of the phone (again, with one rather than two cameras). However, on the bottom of the phone, you’ll find a headphone jack, which was missing from last year’s device. In terms of display, the Nord CE comes with a 6.43-inch 90Hz 1080p OLED panel. The phone is available in blue, black, or silver.
The Nord CE will be available to preorder in limited quantities from OnePlus itself starting today in the UK, and these devices will ship on June 14th. The device goes on general sale on June 21st. In the UK, it starts at £299 (€329) for the model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and £369 (€399) for the model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. In Europe, there’s a version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which will retail for €299. Those prices are slightly cheaper than the original Nord, which started at £379 (€399) for its 8GB model.
Like the original Nord, OnePlus says it doesn’t have plans to release the Nord CE in the US. Instead, the US has the OnePlus Nord N200 5G to look forward to. It’s a successor to the N100 that OnePlus CEO Pete Lau recently confirmed will retail for under $250.
Motorola has announced the Moto G Stylus 5G, a new version of its very good, non-5G budget-friendly stylus phone. It offers broadly similar hardware to the 4G version, with notable exceptions in the new Snapdragon 480 5G chipset with sub-6GHz 5G connectivity and a bigger 5,000mAh battery. Priced at $399, it’s at the higher end of the budget range and will go on sale June 14th.
Like its 4G peer, the G Stylus 5G features a large 6.8-inch 1080p screen, ready for your notes and doodles courtesy of a built-in stylus. It includes 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and ships with Android 11. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a charging brick is included in the box. The Stylus 5G is a little bigger and heavier than the 4G version, but not by much — it’s about four grams heavier and 0.3mm thicker.
The G Stylus 5G offers a rear triple-camera array that’s very similar to the 4G G Stylus’, with a 48-megapixel f/1.7 standard wide, 8-megapixel ultrawide, and 5-megapixel macro, plus a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Around front, there’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera.
The G Stylus 5G isn’t the most aggressively priced 5G phone in the budget market. OnePlus says its upcoming N200 5G will cost less than $250, and Samsung’s Galaxy A32 5G is currently selling for $279. It’s also surprising to see the Snapdragon 480 5G chipset used here, since it’s intended for more affordable 5G devices well under the Stylus 5G’s $400 price.
On the other hand, the G Stylus 5G is quite a bit cheaper than the other prominent 5G phone with a built-in stylus, the $999 Galaxy Note 20, if you want to look at things that way.
The Realme GT, Realme’s Snapdragon 888-equipped flagship phone, is coming to Europe and will sell for €549 (about $670) for a model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, according to the company’s website. The price makes it among the cheapest Snapdragon 888 devices available to date, if not the cheapest. Xiaomi’s excellent-value Mi 11 started at €749 (~$910) for an 8GB / 128GB model, for comparison.
Realme says the GT will ship to Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Portugal, though the device isn’t currently available to actually order. It’s not clear which other European markets it’ll be available in when it does launch.
Realme announced the Chinese version of the GT in March. It started at 2,799 yuan there for the 8GB / 128GB model, or about $440 at current exchange rates. Madhav Sheth, CEO of Realme’s Indian and European business, confirmed last week that the GT would get a global launch — a performance-focused flagship model in June and a camera-focused flagship model in July.
The GT series will be a part of realme’s new flagship focusing on high-performance and image, respectively. This will not only allow us to achieve technological breakthroughs but will also keep us ahead of the market.
— Madhav Max 5G (@MadhavSheth1) June 3, 2021
It’s not quite clear yet how those models will differ in Europe spec-wise, but the Chinese version of the GT had a 64-megapixel primary camera with an 8-megapixel ultrawide and a 2-megapixel macro sensor, so there’s certainly room for improvement on the camera flagship. Elsewhere, the GT has a 6.43-inch 120Hz OLED display, up to 12GB of RAM, and a 4,500mAh battery with 65W fast charging.
Realme started out as a sub-brand of Oppo focused on the Indian market but quickly turned into a major force in its own right and is now focusing on capturing Europe with more premium devices. The launch of the GT follows last year’s €499 X3 Superzoom, which had a Snapdragon 855+ and a periscope telephoto lens.
Honor has released a couple of official images for its upcoming 50 series smartphone via its Weibo page and Twitter. The images focus on the rear of the phone, showing an eye-catching pair of circular camera bumps. The Honor 50 series is currently due to be announced on June 16th.
Amidst a sea of square and rectangular camera bumps, the dual circle design is an interesting look for Honor’s next flagship. It’s also a style that Honor’s former parent company Huawei is planning to use for its next flagship, the similarly-named P50. It’s possible that the two companies finalized their designs before Huawei sold off Honor late last year, but it’ll be strange to see such similar looking devices released from two distinct manufacturers within such close proximity to one another.
From the images it appears as though Honor’s next handset will have four rear cameras in total. The upper camera circle has one large lens, and it’s joined by three more on the lower bump. In contrast, Huawei’s P50 appears to have three lenses on the upper circle, and a single camera paired with a flash on the bottom.
Beyond its design, Honor’s next flagship will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G processor, will feature 100W fast charging, and will also come with a “hypercurved screen.” It may also mark the return of Google’s apps and services to Honor’s devices (including the Google Play Store) if a now-deleted tweet from the company’s German Twitter account is to be believed. Honor was prevented from including Google’s software because of sanctions placed on its former parent company Huawei, but these are believed to not apply since it became independent.
A spokesperson from Honor previously declined to comment to The Verge as to whether or not Google’s software would be available on the upcoming 50 series. But with an official launch just round the corner, we won’t have long to wait to find out.
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