OnePlus Nord 2 rumors: We might like the second version even better

The OnePlus Nord was a great phone deal. Is a new Nord 2 around the corner?

Juan Garzon / CNET

Last year the OnePlus Nord proved that a great phone doesn’t have to be the most expensive you can buy. We also loved this year’s follow-up, the OnePlus Nord CE, which has a slower processor yet costs a little less. And rumor has it that OnePlus is about to announce a sequel to its first global midrange handset, possibly called the OnePlus Nord 2. 

The updated Android device will likely have many things in common with its predecessor: a modest price tag, lovely design, a decent camera, 5G and a respectable amount of speed and storage. Of course the big caveat here is that the Nord 2, like the original OnePlus Nord, probably won’t be designed for the US market, but chances are good it’ll be sold in the UK, Europe, India and China. Here’s what we’ve heard about a potential follow-up to the OnePlus Nord and whether buying the Nord 2 makes sense. 

Read more: OnePlus Nord CE vs. Nord vs. Nord N10 5G: OnePlus smartphone specs compared

Processor: OnePlus Nord 2 could have a little more power

Apparently OnePlus will move in a new direction with the Nord 2. Instead of using a CPU supplied from Qualcomm, word on the street is the Nord 2 will run MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200 5G chipset. At its heart is what MediaTek calls an “ultra-core” CPU (Arm Cortex-A78) clocked at 3GHz. Backing that up are three 2.6GHz “super cores” (Arm Cortex-A78), along with four “efficiency” cores (2GHz Arm Cortex-A55).

This level of processing firepower puts the Dimensity 1200 in direct conflict with other high-end mobile computing platforms. Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+5G, you’d better watch out; the competition is gunning for you.

5G connectivity: Will the Nord 2 be built for 5G?

This chipset also comes with an integrated 5G wireless modem that supports dual 5G SIM cellular connectivity. And according to MediaTek, efficient 5G operation is built into the system to help ensure rock-solid data, video and call quality.

Read more: 5G phones are more affordable than ever. But the killer app is still missing

Display: We’re looking at speedy 168Hz refresh rates

The hardware rumored to power the Nord 2 is also robust enough to drive cutting-edge phone displays. Specifically, the phone should support screens with refresh rates up to 168Hz. That’s a lot faster than the Nord and Nord CE, both of which feature 90Hz AMOLED screens. However, before you get too excited, another leak says the Nord 2 will have a slower 90Hz refresh rate. 

Read more: The best phones under $200, under $300 and under $500

Design: Inspired by the OnePlus 9?

In terms of physical design, the Nord 2 may look a lot like the OnePlus 9. That means a handsome midrange build quality with a glossy back and metallic edging. And like the OnePlus 9, the Nord 2 probably won’t have an official IP rating or waterproofing.

Battery: A bigger power source is likely

The Nord 2 may have a 4,500-mAh battery, larger than the 4,115-mAh module on the first Nord handset. Whether that translates into greater battery life remains to be seen. A large factor in actual run times will be the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 silicon and just how efficient, or not, it turns out to be.

Camera: Almost the same as before

The camera on the Nord 2 may be very similar to the first Nord. That means triple rear cameras with a main 50-megapixel sensor along with an 8- and a 2-megapixel sensor (ultrawide and macro). A 32-megapixel camera will sit on the front of the phone. The only difference here is the lack of the original Nord’s 5-megapixel depth sensor. Apparently OnePlus also squeezed out another 2 megapixels for the main camera compared with the original Nord’s 48 megapixels.

Cost: A price that’s still nice

One of the most compelling attributes of the OnePlus Nord was its comparatively low price (£379, which converts to about $525). A possible Nord 2 phone with a Dimensity 1200 chipset should offer plenty of power. That said, traditionally MediaTek gear has found its way into budget and midrange smartphones. And being an affordable yet satisfying handset was the original Nord’s wheelhouse. Hopefully OnePlus will strive to keep that approach alive. Only time will tell. But you probably won’t have wait too long: The phone is rumored to launch in Q2 of this year and possibly as early as July 9.

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