The Core Edition models from OnePlus focus on the essentials, but the latest Nord CE 3 Lite shows that doesn’t mean “no-frills” – the phone comes equipped with a 108MP main camera. The company also unveiled a sequel to its Nord Buds, now with ANC included.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite
The 108MP camera on the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite is based on the 1/1.67” ISOCELL HM6 sensor. It has 0.64µm pixels that can be binned 9-to-1 for 12MP output with 1.92µm effective pixel size (up from 64MP/0.7µm on the Nord CE 2 Lite). This also allows for 3x lossless zoom (and up to 6x digital zoom). With both CE and Lite labels, it shouldn’t surprise you that this is the only real camera on the rear, the other two modules are a 2MP macro and a 2MP depth sensor.
The Nord CE 3 Lite is powered by the same Snapdragon 695 as the 2022 model. This 6nm chip offers decent performance for the class, but it’s no match for the 7-series Snapdragons or the new Dimensity chips. One of its biggest limitations is the 1080p @ 30fps cap on video recording, which feels unbefitting of a 108MP camera.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite: Snapdragon 695 running OxygenOS 13.1
At least this year OnePlus bumped up the base RAM to 8GB and the OxygenOS 13.1 (Android 13) system can add 8GB of virtual RAM on top of that. The storage options are 128GB or 256GB of UFS 2.2, plus a hybrid microSD slot, which can take in a second SIM or a memory card up to 1TB.
Besides the camera, OnePlus also switched the screen on the Nord CE 3 Lite. It features a 6.72” LCD with FHD+ resolution (20:9, 8-bit) with 120Hz refresh and 240Hz touch sampling rates. It has a typical brightness of 550 nits and a peak of 680 nits. The display is guarded by a sheet of Gorilla Glass (version unknown).
The phone slimmed down a bit and now measures 8.3mm thick (down from 8.5mm). It still weighs the same 195g. There are two colorways at launch, Pastel Lime and Chromatic Gray.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite in Pastel Lime and Chromatic Gray
Shaving off 0.2mm didn’t affect the battery, it still has 5,000mAh capacity as before. In fact, the battery is the biggest upgrade after the camera – it now supports 67W SuperVOOC. This means that a 30 minute charge can bring a flat battery to 80% (compared to 50% with the 33W system of the previous model). The new model got the SuperVOOC Endurance Edition, which prevents overcharging and slows down the aging of the battery – it should last you 4 years of daily charging.
OnePlus held onto some of the features that make this a good value for money phone. We already mentioned the microSD slot, it also has stereo speakers (with 200% Ultra Volume Mode) and a 3.5mm jack for wired headphones. The phone comes with a charger, USB-C cable (USB 2.0, which is what the phone supports) and a pre-applied screen protector.
OnePlus Nord Buds 2
You can use the new Nord phone with wired headphones if you want to, but many have gone wireless. The OnePlus Nord Buds 2 is for them, at least for those on a tight budget. Unlike the originals, these feature Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and can reduce background noise by 25dB. This does affect battery life, the buds can last up to 5 hours with ANC on (and the expected 7 hours with ANC off).
The good news is that the buds support fast charging and need 10 minutes for 5 hours of listening time – note that this number is with noise cancellation off. The case can deliver a total of 27 or 36 hours of listening time, depending on ANC status.
OnePlus Nord Buds 2
Like their predecessors, these buds have 12.4mm drivers and support Dolby Atmos audio. There is also a Dirac Tuner and a Sound Master Equalizer on board (these are accessible via the HeyMelody app). The connectivity is upgraded to Bluetooth 5.3 but the basics are the same with fast Pair support and a 94ms gaming mode. The buds rely on the AAC codec for music.
The buds are rated IP55 for dust and water resistance, so they can shrug off rain and sweat. Their design is the same as on the originals with short stems that house the touch controls. The Nord Buds 2 come in Lightning White and Thunder Grey and OnePlus has included emoji stickers in the retail package, so you can customize their look.
Pricing & availability
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite will be delivered to European buyers starting on April 25. We’re only seeing the 8/128GB configuration for now, which is priced €330/£300. In India the phone is priced ₹20,000 for the 8/128GB model and ₹22,000 for the version with 256GB storage, it will go on Sale on April 11.
The Nord Buds 2 can be yours for €70/£70 and are available immediately. In India the buds will launch on April 11 with a ₹3,000 price tag.