OnePlus Nord N30 5G Review: Is it Worth $300?

The OnePlus Nord N30 5G an intriguing mid-range smartphone boasting a powerful 108MP camera, a spacious 6.72-inch display, and a robust 5,000mAh battery. So is this phone truly stands out as the best mid-range phone in its category.

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Design and Build Quality

OnePlus Nord N30 Design and Durability

The design of the Nord N30 leans towards simplicity, and I find the all-plastic build perfectly acceptable. Nevertheless, the phone’s back tends to attract dust and fingerprints quite easily. Notably, a capacitive fingerprint scanner is incorporated into the power button, a feature I personally favor over the in-display scanners. I’ve found the scanner to be quite reliable, as I haven’t encountered any issues with its functionality. Additionally, there’s the alternative of using a less secure 2D Face Unlock for those who prefer that option.

Display and Audio Quality

OnePlus Nord N30 Display and Picture Quality

To keep the Nord N30 budget-friendly, OnePlus had to make a significant compromise in its display department. It features a 6.7-inch 1080p LCD screen with a refresh rate of up to 120 hertz, noticeably lacking OLED technology. Despite this, the display holds up well and performs adequately. With a brightness reaching 550 nits and a peak brightness of up to 680 nits, OnePlus claims it’s suitable for use in direct sunlight, although I find that a bit optimistic. Personally, I would have preferred a slightly brighter display.

It Equipped with stereo speakers, the audio quality is good, though not exceptional, yet still commendable. The standout feature is their impressive volume capacity boasts an Ultra Volume mode, aptly labeled as 200 volume, and the numbers support the claim. At maximum volume, it measured 80 decibels, while in Ultra Volume mode, it reached an impressive 88 decibels, nearly doubling the volume. This extra volume comes in handy for activities like watching content, listening to music, or taking speakerphone calls outdoors in traffic. In fact, these speakers rank among the loudest I’ve encountered on a phone.

Battery Life

Housing a robust 5,000 milliamp-hour battery, the Nord N30 5G reliably powers me through a full day with room to spare, with minimal usage, it’s conceivable to stretch its endurance to two days. Notably, in a battery efficiency comparison with the recently reviewed Google Pixel 7A, the Nord N30 emerges as the more power-frugal option. For instance, a 30-minute Google Maps navigation on the Pixel 7A depleted 8% of the battery, while the OnePlus experienced only a 5% drop.

As previously mentioned, the package includes a 50-watt charger, which proves commendably efficient. In just 30 minutes, it can charge up to 80%, although not quite as rapid as the flagship OnePlus models, it still outpaces the charging speeds offered by Samsung, Google, and Apple.

Performance

OnePlus Nord N30 Performance
PhonesScores
iPhone SE (2022)2210 / 4794
Pixel 7A1380 / 3071
Galaxy A541008 / 2797
OnePlus Nord N30896 / 2076
GEEKBENCH 6 Performance Score

Underneath the hood, the OnePlus Nord N30 is driven by the Snapdragon 695, a processor unveiled in late 2021. Despite benchmark figures that may not dazzle, particularly when compared to other phones in the mentioned lineup, the real-world performance of Nord N30 phone in everyday tasks over the past few weeks has been notably smooth. While there might have been an occasional stutter or a slightly extended loading time for certain apps, nothing significant has led me to question the chip’s adequacy.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that more demanding games, such as Genshin Impact, don’t run optimally on this device. Expect frame rates barely reaching 30 frames per second, even at lower settings. For casual gaming the experience is passable. Yet, it’s crucial to recognize that if gaming is your primary focus this may not be the ideal phone for your needs.

Software and UI

OnePlus Nord N30 Software and UI

The phone runs OxygenOS 13.1, and you know what? I actually don’t mind a lot of the software experience. There are like four or five pre-installed OnePlus apps, but I was able to uninstall every single one. It has some special features like resizable floating windows and a sidebar for launching apps or shortcuts which reminds me a lot of what you see on Samsung phones.

There are quite a few customization options as well For example, you can change the shape and size of the icons or even use icon packs downloaded from the Play Store. You can choose from a variety of different transitions when scrolling between home screens too. Additionally, there’s this icon pulled-down gesture, which I think is really cool. Swiping upward on either side of the screen pulls down all the icons, and then you can scrub over to the app you want to open. Just let go, and it’ll launch that app. This feature is completely separate from one-handed mode and makes using a big screen phone like this a little more ergonomic.

I find the Shelf feature to be a little redundant. Why can’t they just let us use these widgets on the home screen like all the other widgets? Additionally, I’ve been getting pop-ups from time to time asking me for location access, which is a little annoying.

Camera Test

OnePlus Nord N30 Camera

If photography is a key consideration in your phone choice within this price range, I’ll be straightforward: opt for the Google Pixel 6A or Pixel 7A. Personally, the Pixel series has set a high bar for my expectations. While the Nord N30 boasts a triple camera setup, the presence of a depth and macro lens essentially reduces it to a single lens system. Despite the impressive 108-megapixel camera, the picture quality falls short of being awe-inspiring. Daytime shots are passable, but more often than not, they lack vibrancy and appear somewhat flat. Achieving striking photos is hit or miss, especially in less-than-ideal lighting or with any movement in the frame.

For video, the OnePlus Nord N30 captures footage at 1080p and 60 frames per second. However, the results, in my opinion, don’t stand out. Nonetheless, it serves its purpose adequately for occasional clips when needed. If photography is a top priority, the Pixel models offer a more compelling choice in this price range.

Final Thought

The $300 price point for this phone is very attractive and I can see a lot of people giving it a shot just for that reason alone. It also has a headphone jack, expandable storage, and still comes with a charger in the box, which are all very good reasons to choose this phone. At $300, you can’t deny that there’s good value here. However, here’s the thing: nothing else about this phone really stands out, except maybe for the super loud speakers.

Even when considering the update policy, OnePlus is lagging behind. But hey, it’s cheaper, right? OnePlus Nord 30 honestly a decent option for a mid-range phone. There are no real deal-breakers in my opinion. If you’re tired of Apple, Google, or Samsung and want to try something different, the this one is worth.

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