The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite is one other competent but uninspiring lower-mid-range telephone from the model. It fulfills its temporary adequately, and gained’t let anybody down, however there are extra compelling choices on the market for related cash.
The OnePlus roster isn’t as clear and concise because it was once, to place it mildly. Working example: the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G. This telephone belongs to a sub-brand (the CE line) of a sub-brand (the Nord line), and is a extra inexpensive model of a telephone that hasn’t even been introduced but (the OnePlus Nord CE 3).
Which in itself is a extra inexpensive spin-off of the equally unannounced OnePlus Nord 3, however now we’re actually stepping into the weeds.
Looking for a OnePlus telephone has definitely gotten much more difficult. All you actually need to know, although, is that the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is probably the most inexpensive telephone in OnePlus’s 2023 line-up, and that it’s a direct succesor to final 12 months’s considerably disappointing OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G.
Can OnePlus get the lower-mid-range formulation proper this time round, or is the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G one other inexpensive also-ran?
Design & Construct
Comparatively massive and heavy
Flat-edged all-plastic design
Pastel Lime color definitely stands out
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is one other massive telephone from the model. At 165.5 x 76 x 8.3mm, it’s fractionally taller and wider than the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G, if a bit of thinner. It weighs an an identical 195g, which is hardly light-weight for an all-plastic telephone.
OnePlus has stepped up the design language considerably from the tasteless OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G, with flat edges reflecting the post-iPhone 12 model of the second. A central gap punch notch replaces the left nook positioning of the earlier mannequin.
My Pastel Lime mannequin definitely stands out, in a fizzy lemon sherbet type of method. The yellowy-greeny metallic end on the plastic rim units it off properly, although each are one thing of an acquired style. There’s a way more sober Chromatic Grey choice if you happen to want.
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The glass-effect plastic end of the rear picks up greasy fingerprints slightly simply, although the sunshine color goes some method to hiding them at an preliminary look. There’s no IP ranking, which isn’t an uncommon omission at this finish of the market. With that stated, the Redmi Observe 12 Professional does handle to incorporate an IP53 ranking, so asking for one isn’t fully unreasonable.
Elsewhere you get the usual side-mounted fingerprint sensor positioned beneath the ability button on the correct hand aspect. I discovered this to be a bit of more durable to find by really feel than standard, because it’s recessed and thus sits nearly flush with the sting, but it surely’s dependable sufficient in operation.
Display screen & Audio system
6.72in IPS LCD
Full HD+ & 120Hz
Stereo audio system
The principle motive the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is a bit of larger than its predecessor is due to its bigger show. It’s a 6.72in IPS LCD, up from the 6.59in instance within the CE 2 Lite 5G.
It’s lots sharp sufficient at 1080 x 2400, or Full HD+, and it will possibly additionally hit a 120Hz refresh fee. In contrast to most different inexpensive Android telephones, it defaults to that peak refresh fee too, which is sweet to see.
The most important concern that I can see right here is the kind of panel that OnePlus has opted to make use of. With Xiaomi providing full AMOLED within the cheaper Poco X5, in addition to the one barely pricier Redmi Observe 12 Professional, the Nord CE 3 Lite 5G show appears considerably anaemic.
With a gamut protection of 85.5% sRGB, 60.6% Adobe RGB, and 62.7% DCI P3 within the extra balanced-looking (if barely drab) Pure color profile, it provides fairly middling color output. The default Vivid mode provides a punchier 99.5% sRGB and 79.8% Adobe RGB, however isn’t what you’d name color correct general.
Jon Mundy / Foundry
It’s in these gray blacks and basic lack of distinction that you simply actually see the LCD to AMOLED distinction, although. Nonetheless, a high brightness (with auto brightness switched off) of 510 nits is to not be sniffed it.
A far larger enchancment over the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is the inclusion of stereo audio system. They don’t provide the deepest or most detailed sound, however merely having a correct left and proper channel in panorama video content material makes all of the distinction.
Specs & Efficiency
Snapdragon 695 5G
One space the place there’s been treasured little progress is on the subject of efficiency. You’re getting the very same Snapdragon 695 chip right here as you probably did with final 12 months’s mannequin, in addition to with the marginally cheaper Poco X5.
That’s backed by a extra capacious 8GB of RAM as normal, which is up from 6GB in final 12 months’s mannequin, however that’s largely by the by. The bottleneck right here is that processor.
Jon Mundy / Foundry
Certain sufficient, the Geekbench 5 and GFXBench benchmark scores (overlaying CPU and GPU efficiency respectively) kind of match final 12 months’s mannequin. In the meantime, all of them fall comfortably wanting the Redmi Observe 12 Professional, which might be the closest up to date we are able to examine the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G to on the time of writing.
Benchmarks don’t all the time mirror the ultimate expertise, after all, however this older chip definitely doesn’t present a contemporary mid-range expertise basically use.
There was nothing egregious throughout my time with the telephone, however I did expertise pretty frequent micro-pauses when navigating by means of menus and residential screens, in addition to an extended delay when switching between apps than you get with extra succesful telephones.
In gaming phrases, you’ll be desirous to run Genshin Influence on Medium settings at most, and even then it gained’t be flawlessly clean.
You get 128GB of inner storage as normal, which is par for the course lately. It’s all the time good to see the opportunity of microSD card backup, which is one thing the aforementioned Redmi rival doesn’t help.
Mediocre 108Mp most important
Poor 2Mp macro and depth lenses
No devoted ultrawide
OnePlus has bumped up the spec for the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G’s digital camera. Gone is the earlier mannequin’s 64Mp most important sensor, and in comes a 108Mp unit – the primary in a OnePlus telephone, no much less.
Pixels aren’t all the pieces in images, after all, however this one additionally boasts a pretty big 1/1.67in sensor dimension, in addition to a big f/1.75 aperture. There’s no OIS (optical picture stabilisation), nonetheless, which actually prices the digital camera in low gentle capturing situations.
All in all, I used to be fairly happy with the ends in respectable lighting, significantly when it got here to element. The tone appears a bit of extra pure and fewer closely processed than earlier than. Nevertheless, photographs may look a bit of washed out, and there have been hints of overexposure in these HDR conditions.
Jon Mundy / Foundry
I additionally discovered the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G to be a bit of gradual when taking photographs of transferring targets, with blur current even in sturdy daytime lighting.
Low gentle photographs actually aren’t too sizzling both, likely not less than partially right down to that lack of OIS, with luggage of noise and a basic lack of sharpness.
You may argue that that is to be anticipated from a telephone thus far south of even the Pixel 6a’s sub-£400 mark. However I took the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G out with the Redmi Observe 12 Professional and took half a dozen or so an identical photographs with each.
Whereas it was removed from a clear sweep, the latter’s reliable (and simply plain bigger) Sony IMX766 sensor, backed by OIS, yielded extra pleasing and extra premium-looking photographs in most conditions – particularly when the sunshine dropped.
There’s no devoted telephoto digital camera, after all, however OnePlus does declare that these additional pixels on the primary sensor imply that the 3x cropped photographs negate the necessity for one. I wouldn’t go that far – there’s nonetheless a noticeable drop off intimately right here, and the supply materials is much from good.
However it’s completely enough for these social media posts, the tone of the primary sensor is retained, and the outcomes most likely do beat an affordable and nasty telephoto digital camera on stability. Simply don’t look too intently.
There’s nonetheless no devoted ultra-wide with the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G both, not like with the aforementioned rival, whereas the 2Mp macro digital camera is a whole waste of time. When you’re taking excessive close-ups, you desire a respectable degree of element that this sensor merely can’t present.
Selfie photographs are enough from the 16Mp entrance digital camera, if a bit of washed out. Portrait selfies have a tendency to supply that telltale halo of fuzziness that always accompanies cheaper telephones.
You’ll be able to nonetheless solely shoot 1080p video at 30fps right here. That’s a fairly horrible provision for a £300 telephone, with varied rivals providing not less than 4K at 30fps.
Make no mistake, OnePlus has improved the digital camera system on its most cost-effective telephone, but it surely’s nonetheless not among the many greatest in its class.
Battery Life & Charging
Two days of sunshine use, considered one of intensive
76% cost in half-hour
OnePlus has fitted the Nord CE 3 Lite 5G with the identical 5000mAh battery as its predecessor, which is ample. Anecdotally, after a full 24 hours between costs and lightweight to average utilization (round 3 hours of screen-on time), I had round 45% left within the tank after I checked the telephone within the morning.
Like its predecessor, this can be a handset that can get you thru two full days of sunshine utilization, and simply a full day of heavier utilization.
Within the standard PC Mark Work 3.0 battery take a look at, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G scored 13 hours and 5 minutes. That’s precisely 1 hour half-hour longer than the Redmi Observe 12 Professional, which is fairly good going.
Jon Mundy / Foundry
The large battery-related enchancment this time round is within the charging division, the place OnePlus has ramped issues up from 33- to 67W. This was sufficient to get the telephone from 0 to 42% in quarter-hour and on to 76% in half-hour utilizing the bundled charger, which is spectacular, particularly when you think about that the likes of the Samsung Galaxy A54 are nonetheless lagging behind on 25W and don’t include an adapter.
Solely two Android updates
Software program was once a key power of OnePlus telephones, but it surely isn’t any longer. Having been assimilated by Oppo, the model’s OxygenOS is now basically a reskin of the guardian model’s ColorOS. It has not one of the outdated OnePlus UI’s crisp, trendy attraction.
That’s to not say that OxygenOS 13.1 is a foul interface, as such. It’s simply not up there with Google’s inventory Android and Motorola’s light-weight UI for sheer readability and cohesiveness, with charmless menus and clumsy notifications dragging the expertise down.
It nonetheless doesn’t hit you with fairly as a lot bloatware as Xiaomi’s MIUI, nonetheless, which is a uncommon win for the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G over the Redmi Observe 12 Professional.
Jon Mundy / Foundry
The principle house display screen has a tasteful Climate app and a Video games administration app, whereas the second house display screen offers you Netflix and a devoted OnePlus instruments folder. There are a pair extra preinstalled apps tucked away within the app tray (the relaxation-focused O Loosen up and Zen House seem to be significantly doubtful inclusions), however they’re simply ignored.
One downside in comparison with MIUI on the Redmi is that you simply’re solely assured to get two main Android updates and three years of safety updates, slightly than three and 4 respectively – or much more with Samsung.
Worth & Availability
OnePlus will probably be promoting the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G for £299 immediately from its retailer from April 20. It’s not formally out there within the US.
There’s just one mannequin to select from, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of inner storage, although you possibly can select from two colors. It’s additionally available from Amazon for a similar worth.
This can be a £20 worth bump from final 12 months’s OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G, and it additionally places the OnePlus uncomfortably near the Redmi Observe 12 Professional, which prices £339. As we’ve mentioned above, this rival machine bests the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G in quite a few key methods.
Whether or not a superior show and digital camera, barely quicker efficiency, and the availability of IP53 water resistance is value an additional £40 outlay is one thing you’ll have to resolve for your self. For my cash, it’s.
It’s additionally value maintaining in thoughts that there’s presumably a OnePlus Nord CE 3 across the nook. With final 12 months’s equal fashions, there wasn’t a adequate worth hole between the 2, so it is likely to be value holding off to see what OnePlus has up its sleeve.
You may, in case your price range stretches, contemplate the Samsung Galaxy A54 or Google Pixel 6a, each of which function in our greatest mid-range telephones chart.
Jon Mundy / Foundry
OnePlus has turned out yet one more competent lower-mid-range telephone within the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G however is competent sufficient?
The brand new 108Mp digital camera is an enchancment over what’s gone earlier than, although it’s removed from one of the best in its class – particularly when the sunshine drops. In the meantime, the continued use of an LCD panel slightly than an AMOLED appears like an oversight that’s rising more durable to disregard.
There’s a query of worth for cash right here, with the Nord CE 3 Lite 5G coming in £20 costlier than final 12 months’s mannequin. That is likely to be justifiable with its quicker charging and bigger show, however rival handsets forged it in a much less beneficial gentle.
Spending just a bit extra will get you the superior Redmi Observe 12 Professional, whereas spending rather less offers you the Poco X5 with its AMOLED show.
Throw in stagnant efficiency and OnePlus software program that not stands other than the pack, and you’ve got a telephone that struggles to distinguish itself in a aggressive subject.