Chinese manufacturer OnePlus is known as a producer of high-quality smartphones at medium prices that even compete with more expensive devices. Last year, OnePlus ventured into more accessible territory and introduced devices for those on a smaller budget with its OnePlus Nord series.
Of this series, the most affordable smartphone so far is the OnePlus Nord N100 and can be purchased at official OnePlus store on Aliexpress by with warehouse in Europe, which facilitates the arrival of the product, only for 152 €, which we take a look at in this review: it comes with a large battery, stereo speakers and a camera with two useful lenses at the rear. However, the Chinese manufacturer is not the only one that makes good smartphones available for little money, and competition is especially fierce in the budget sector.
Light but not resistant
The OnePlus Nord N100 is medium in size, with a diagonal 6.52-inch display, but it is quite light, weighing only 188 grams. It comes in a bluish-gray tone, being the only color available. The back is matte and glows slightly when the light hits it, which looks good.
The case is made of plastic, and the rear part yields impressively under pressure. At the front, moderate pressure also hits the screen. The rounded edges of the smartphone allow it to fit ergonomically in your hand. The material transitions are well finished.
Scarce storage and little space for microSD card
This smartphone from OnePlus comes with 64 GB of storage, which is not great, but on the other hand there is UFS 2.1 storage. The 4 GB of RAM is also quite tight in view of the competition, but it is sufficient for daily use.
OnePlus does not use microSD cards to expand storage on its smartphones, but the company apparently deviates from this corporate philosophy when it comes to affordable smartphones like this. However, users who wish to use a microSD card need to occupy one of the two SIM slots – so they can only have one number and the card, as if they want to have two SIM cards they must forget the micro SD card.
There is no DRM L1 certification, which means that streaming content from many providers can only be viewed in SD resolution.
The internal OxygenOS of the OnePlus Nord N100 is based on Android, in this case on Android 10. Low-priced smartphones in the Nord series do not receive software support – they may do so on Android 11, but it is unlikely.
Fortunately, the smartphone is quite clean in terms of ready-to-use bloatware or third-party ad applications. Security patches are from December 2020 and are therefore still very up to date.
Wi-Fi and GPS
Wi-Fi 5 is generally the fastest standard in this price range of around 200 euros. The OnePlus Nord N100 is definitely in the top third among similar devices, but we can’t compare it to the Xiaomi POCO X3.
The OnePlus Nord N100 comes with 14 LTE frequencies and a maximum LTE download rate of 400 Mb / s, which should be sufficient in many cases. However, the smartphone may not be able to connect to LTE networks if you travel to very exotic countries.
Outdoors, it doesn’t take long for the OnePlus Nord N100 to find enough satellites to determine its position. The positioning accuracy of three meters is of a high level.
This smartphone is very accurate in tracking routes; it even recognizes parking accurately almost all the time. There are minor inaccuracies, but the smartphone can still be recommended for anyone who depends on accurate navigation data.
Sound quality in calls
The calling application on the OnePlus Nord N100 still has the old design, corresponding to the standard Google application.
Voice quality is moderated through headphones – although the other person’s voice can be quite loud, it results in a noticeable monotonous noise and the sound of high frequencies is uncomfortably overemphasized in the user’s ears.
The caller hears much better with the speakerphone function. The microphone can also transmit our voice very loudly, but that doesn’t work without a humming noise that accompanies it permanently. In addition, if you speak very quietly, the smartphone does not transmit your voice very well.
At the rear, there is a 13 megapixel camera as the main lens. In addition, there is a macro lens that can be used for extreme close-ups in a special mode, but it only takes 2 megapixel photos. A monochrome lens helps with portrait effects, but it cannot be used to take pictures alone.
Due to the fact that there is no pixel binning and no wide-angle lens, the OnePlus Nord N100 loses flexibility when taking pictures if you compare it with its rivals. In addition, the sensitivity to light is not that high.
The photos still look great when exposed to natural light, but they look a little stained in the details. The smartphone’s camera is also quite weak in terms of lighting when it comes to dark environments with a lot of contrast, but the details are still reasonably sharp in the exposed area.
Videos can be recorded at a maximum resolution of 1080p and 30 fps. Sharpness is good and exposure changes are well balanced, although brightness transitions are clearly visible.
The front camera has a resolution of 8 megapixels. It is capable of taking decent selfies in good light.
5,000 mAh batteries have become standard now, and the OnePlus Nord N100 lasts a long time with it: about 19 hours in the 90 Hz screen mode, which means that in the 60 Hz mode it lasts even longer.
The differences compared to other smartphones in the price range of 200 € are not huge, but they are quite noticeable. The OnePlus Nord N100 can work easily for several days without having to charge, if you use it normally without using it for gaming.
The N100 does not include any of OnePlus’ ultra-fast charging technologies, but at least an 18-watt fast charge is available. The device is 100% after two hours of charging. In addition, a quick 15-minute charge makes the device last a few more hours.
Verdict: OnePlus Nord N100
The OnePlus Nord N100 is a cheap smartphone that certainly looks high in quality. The 90 Hz color-accurate display, long battery life, stereo speakers, a decent camera and fast storage are definitely a good offer and can be purchased at official OnePlus store on Aliexpress with warehouse in Europe, which facilitates the arrival of the product, only for 152 €. You can check other OnePlus offers at an excellent price.
Strong competition in the low-cost smartphone market must be considered: Xiaomi, for example, offers devices at this price with better performance, brighter displays, more flexible cameras and partially faster WLAN. The OnePlus Nord N100 is a good smartphone in itself and offers a lot for the little money spent, but OnePlus has not done itself any favors with the slow SoC.
However, for those who don’t care much about the smartphone’s performance, like a decent camera and get along with the N100’s software, then it’s a good choice.
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