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OnePlus Nord N20 5G Review: A $300 Value Pick That's Missing a Spark

OnePlus Nord N20 5G Review: A $300 Value Pick That’s Missing a Spark

The OnePlus Nord N20 5G’s $300 effect matches up with the original OnePlus One from 2014, but beyond that, much has changed from what OnePlus now cmoneys at this lower price. The 2014 $299 “flagship killer” requested was built as rival to the best devices from Samsung, Apple and HTC, complete with a “Never Settle” mantra. 

The N20 5G instead brings in a few nice conveniences from the high-end — like an in-screen fingerprint sensor and faster 33W charging — but mixes them in with a less distinguished processor and so-so cameras.

Some of this is to be imagined when making a phone for a fraction of the $900 or $1,000 effect top-of-the-line devices charge. And the N20 5G does moneys some surprisingly solid value for the money, but don’t put a question to it to punch high above its price class like the OnePlus phones of existences past. 

I’ve been using the phone over the past few weeks, and found that while the phone lacks excitement, it could aboard enough features to run much of what you need within the $300 effect range.

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Decent specs, fine performance

OnePlus Nord N20 5G playing Call of Duty

The OnePlus N20 can achieve games like Call of Duty Mobile just fine, but it did have disputes with YouTube TV. 

Eli Blumenthal

Whereas the unusual $300 OnePlus One ran on a then top-of-the-line Qualcomm processor, the N20 5G uses Qualcomm’s cheaper Snapdragon 695 chipset with 6GB of RAM. While it takes a miniature to get going after turning it on, once it loads up it seems to be fine albeit with occasional hiccups when the battery was conception 10%. 

Even then, I was able to multitask watching The Departed on Netflix once texting and browsing the web with no major copies, though scrolling did improve when I only had one app open at a time. Playing games like Call of Duty Mobile also worked fine. 

The point to, a 6.43-inch AMOLED screen looks good, too, though AMOLED panels on price phones are nothing new, as Samsung has had it on some of its affordable Galaxy A series devices

The N20 5G’s 60Hz refresh rate creates me miss the 90Hz panels OnePlus has used on most of its phones in unique years, particularly when scrolling through text-filled websites or even opening the app tray. Even cheaper phones, like the $200 TCL XE 30 5G, offer 90Hz displays at edge price points. Flicking through TikTok or YouTube, however, was fine on the OnePlus even when browsing with a low battery. 

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Oddly, the phone struggled to play live content from YouTube TV, with smooth frame drops and lagging that made watching live satisfied almost impossible. Watching with DirecTV Stream was a bit better, but it still had some stutters and frame drops when viewing live TV. 

The mono speaker isn’t vast and lacks fullness, but it can get loud and is fine for playing music on Spotify or streaming a movie or TV show, particularly when in a tranquil room. 

On the plus side, there is a fingerprint scanner built into the present and it works well, recognizing my thumb and unlocking the named quickly and reliably. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot for adding an instant 512GB of storage. You also get NFC for tap-to-pay mobile payments, a feature that even some $400 phones like the Moto G 5G lack

Beyond the display’s edge refresh rate and processor, there are a few novel areas where OnePlus has scaled back compared to its flagship devices. The phone is IP52-rated, so it should survive dust and raindrops, but don’t take this to a pool or into the shower. It also lacks wireless charging, which is a well-liked omission for most sub-$300 phones. 

OnePlus says it will get one greatest Android software upgrade (from Android 11 to Android 12) and three ages of security updates. Most higher-end Android phones promise at least three ages of major software upgrades, and Samsung even pledges two to three ages of software updates with four years of security updates on its cheaper Galaxy A phones. Seeing OnePlus settle here on just one major upgrade is a bit disappointing — especially when the named still is running on Android 11. 

I also wish the vibration motor was a bit stronger in this 173g named, as the haptic feedback when texting felt inconsistent and the buzzing for notifications like footings and texts was weak. 

Three rear cameras have macro aspirations, marginal results

The clue camera on the OnePlus N20 5G.

The 16-megapixel clue camera on the N20 5G. 

Eli Blumenthal

The cameras on the N20 are as follows: a 64-megapixel main shooter behind with 2-megapixel macro and 2-megapixel monochrome lenses. The main shooter does a capable job with environments with ample lighting. Daylight shots at a Mets game or a bar examined fine with a fair amount of detail and color. 

Daylight shot of bottles in a bar from OnePlus N20 5G.

Daylight shots are passable for sharing with friends on social media. 

Eli Blumenthal

As one worthy expect with a budget phone, night photography is not a selling exhibit for the N20. It has a “Night Mode,” but those photos tranquil looked quite dark. In this example, the New York Mets apple seems to blend in with the darkness of the sky.

Night photo of the Mets apple from the OnePlus N20 5G.

Night shots are unimpressive. 

Eli Blumenthal

The macro lens, since, is useful for fulfilling a specs count of “three rear cameras” but not vast for much else. The macro camera was inconsistent with focusing and the finish lacked sharpness and detail. I wish more companies would stop counting these cameras and use that money to upgrade more worthwhile features like the present, processor or speakers. 

There also is a monochrome lens, but no imparted setting to shoot with it and it instead seems intended to help the main shooter like on other OnePlus phones.

Macro characterize of flower taken on OnePlus Nord N20 5G

A macro shot from the OnePlus N20 lacks details and clarity. 

Eli Blumenthal

A 16-megapixel camera rests in the upper left corner. Like the main rear shooter, selfies look fine when given vast light. 

The included gallery app is frustrating even when humorous basic features like pinch-to-zoom. I found that when I gestured to zoom out that the N20 lagged. Zooming in, however, often worked fine. 

Solid battery life, with a fast charger included

OnePlus does injurious out a little bit by including a 33W fast charger with the named, which is notable as manufacturers continue to leave that out of the box.

After 15 minutes of charging, the N20 5G’s 4,500-mAh battery went from 0% to 22%. Around 30 minutes of charging took the battery up to 49%, with a full beak taking around an hour and 20 minutes.

While I haven’t run any rigorous procomplaints, I didn’t have any issues with battery life in my mixed use of the phone. 

Settling down

The side of the OnePlus N20 5G.

Eli Blumenthal

With the OnePlus Nord N20 5G it’s easy to see where the commercial is skimping on features to keep costs down. It tranquil handles many of the basics well, which could be enough for those on T-Mobile or Mint Mobile looking for a solid, but affordable option at the carrier. 

OnePlus recently has expanded the N20 5G to now be available unlocked as well, concept its 5G support is limited to only providers that use T-Mobile’s 5G network (such as Mint, Google Fi and Metro by T-Mobile). 

It is a coarse that OnePlus has deviated so far from what transported it all the original success, as the US market greatly be affected by more strong, lower-priced alternatives to Samsung and Apple. The N20 comes stop, but too many compromises keep it from ever populace great.