OnePlus Nord N10 5G review: tall phone, small price

By | January 5, 2021
OnePlus Nord N10 5G review: tall phone, small price

OnePlus Nord N10 5G evaluate: tall cellphone, small value

The OnePlus Nord N10 5G does one thing distinctive: carry 5G to a $299.99 cellphone with out reducing too many corners. That’s a full $200 decrease than different budget-oriented rivals just like the Google Pixel 4A 5G and Samsung Galaxy A51 5G. Alongside its lower-tier N100 sibling, it’s the primary cellphone in OnePlus’ midrange Nord sequence to reach within the US, accessible from T-Cellular, Metro by T-Cellular, and unlocked from and different retailers.

It’s undoubtedly noteworthy that the N10 5G will carry 5G to the under-$300 market. However at the least for now, 5G isn’t one thing most individuals ought to care about, a lot much less pay extra for. Happily, the N10 5G has extra going for it. It has an enormous display with a excessive refresh fee, a tall side ratio which may make it simpler for individuals with smaller arms to make use of, and OnePlus’ light-touch tackle Android.

So what sacrifices did OnePlus make to create a $300 cellphone? The short model is that this: it provides an LCD slightly than an OLED display, makes use of a much less sturdy processor than midrange and flagship telephones, and doesn’t embody any water resistance. And also you gained’t discover options which might be changing into extra frequent on midrange gadgets, like wi-fi charging and telephoto cameras.

The query for the N10 5G is whether or not you’d be proud of an honest all-around system that doesn’t shine in any specific space, or in the event you ought to look to one in all its funds rivals that goes all in on a function like battery life or photograph high quality.

As you’d count on from a $300 cellphone, the rear of the system is plastic — a shiny, smudge-attracting panel. The cellphone itself feels appropriately weighty and whereas it doesn’t scream ‘flagship’ it doesn’t really feel too low-cost both. I really type of just like the plastic end; I really feel prefer it’s somewhat simpler to grip and never as vulnerable to slipping as glass. There’s a fingerprint sensor on the again that was fast and dependable in my testing. General, it was fairly comfy to carry and use, regardless of what its dimensions initially steered to me.

Considerably unusually, the N10 5G provides a really tall 20:9 side ratio on its display. It’s a 6.49-inch, 1080 x 2400 LCD, which makes for a tool with a beneficiant display that doesn’t really feel too cumbersome in your hand. Personally I like a small cellphone, however this felt like a much bigger cellphone I might really use. I don’t really feel like I’m straining to love an Instagram submit once I maintain it in a single hand. It’s a good slot in my coat pocket however I might stay with it.

This display provides a 90Hz refresh fee that’s sooner than the 60Hz usually seen at this value level. This makes for easy scrolling by way of apps and makes the cellphone that bit nicer to make use of than you would possibly count on for $300. Nevertheless, the display does use LCD know-how, which lacks the wealthy distinction of OLED panels you’ll discover in lots of rivals that price just a bit extra. It’s adequate in day-to-day use, and it’s viewable in direct daylight, but it surely’s not your only option in the event you watch a variety of dimly lit interval dramas in your cellphone.

The N10 makes use of a Snapdragon 690 5G processor, one in all Qualcomm’s funds 6-series chips, which incorporates assist for the cellphone’s headline function: 5G. It’s value noting that the 690 helps low and mid-band 5G frequencies, however doesn’t provide mmWave connectivity (that’s the super-fast however onerous to search out number of 5G). That is additionally a very good time to remind you to not purchase a brand new cellphone only for 5G. However in the event you should, be sure you verify your provider’s protection map earlier than you go for this or another 5G cellphone, and mood your expectations.

The N10 5G ships with Android 10, which is one model behind the very newest replace. OnePlus has stated it’s going to give the N10 and N100 an replace to Android 11, however that’s it for main updates — customers should accept two years of safety updates. That’s not unusual at this value level, but it surely’s an necessary level to think about. If you happen to plan to pay for it in installments and improve inside a few years anyway, that’s no nice loss. If you happen to’d slightly get a number of strong years out of your system, then the N10 gained’t be your only option.

OnePlus’ Oxygen OS brings a reasonably clear implementation of Android to the N10 5G. You’ll be able to customise the font and theme, and select between full gesture management or a navigation bar with fastened controls for dwelling, again and recents. It’s not the pure expertise of a Pixel cellphone, but it surely doesn’t really feel overly cluttered for my style. I don’t love the OnePlus-themed clock widget on the house display by default, but it surely’s mercifully detachable, as are the handful of OnePlus-specific apps like Group that I’m unsure I might use.


You’ll be able to’t construct a $300 cellphone with out making some compromises, and a less expensive processor is a technique to try this. The Snapdragon 690 on the coronary heart of the N10 is a more moderen chip for funds gadgets, and in my use it turned in first rate efficiency. Often I observed it stuttering once I scrolled shortly previous some very picture and video-rich screens, and the digital camera app generally took a number of seconds to open. Within the digital camera app itself I noticed some slowdowns within the picture preview when panning shortly.

However for essentially the most half I streamed movies, used Google Maps, performed video games, ordered espresso, and scrolled by way of Instagram with out situation. Velocity is certainly one space the place OnePlus needed to make some concessions, and although efficiency lagged noticeably at occasions, I wouldn’t name it a deal-breaker for most individuals who would take into account the N10 5G.

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The headphone jack lives!

The N10 5G is configured with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage with a MicroSDXC slot for much more house. All three of these specs are extra beneficiant than many comparable gadgets at this value level, and for some might offset the relative ache of the sluggish processor. Twin audio system present stereo sound for movies, however audio high quality isn’t nice. Wired headphones are an choice, although, because the N10 5G features a actual, stay headphone jack. (OnePlus aficionados needs to be conscious that there’s no ringer change right here, nonetheless.)

The N10 5G isn’t all about battery the best way the battery-for-days N100 and Moto G Energy are, however its 4,300mAh battery delivers a strong day’s value of use — and sometimes greater than that. I normally bought a few day and a half of reasonable use out of a full cost. OnePlus features a 30W quick charger within the field, which can be unusual at this value level, and it’s actually quick: it took the system from 7% to 50% in 20 minutes in my expertise.

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The N10 5G’s quad digital camera array

Digital camera

You’ll discover 4 cameras (plus a flash) on the N10 5G’s rear digital camera bump. Right here’s a fast rundown of the cellphone’s cameras:

  • A 64-megapixel predominant digital camera with a f/1.79 lens and no optical stabilization (digital solely) that produces 16-megapixel pictures
  • An 8-megapixel ultrawide with a f/2.25 lens
  • A 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro
  • A 2-megapixel f/2.4 monochrome digital camera
  • A front-facing 16-megapixel f/2.05 selfie digital camera

This looks as if a variety of cameras, particularly since two of them are unlikely for use steadily. The monochrome digital camera solely kicks in when capturing in black and white, which is accessed by scrolling by way of the filter choices to the final one. Likewise, the macro digital camera is activated by way of the primary capturing display by tapping the flower icon. It’s form of enjoyable to fiddle with, however even in first rate lighting picture high quality is fairly dangerous. Photographs from the ultrawide digital camera are a bit gentle in the event you look intently, but it surely’s not noticeable sufficient to break an Instagram submit.

The excellent news is that the primary digital camera is simply wonderful in first rate lighting — good, even, contemplating this can be a $300 cellphone. Colours are on the punchy facet with out straying into oversaturation, and element is usually acceptable in even reasonably low gentle situations like a well-lit inside. Issues get somewhat noisy and smudgy in low gentle, however the 64-megapixel sensor (which kicks out 16-megapixel pictures) does a pleasant job of hanging on to at the least some element. Nightscape mode does carry again a powerful quantity of sunshine in darker conditions, however you possibly can’t get away with capturing in close to darkness like you possibly can with the Pixel’s Night time Mode.

I did discover that it struggled to search out focus at occasions, and it’s undoubtedly less than the duty of capturing shifting topics in low gentle, like pets and kids. It additionally lacks a real telephoto digital camera, and can as an alternative use digital zoom in the event you change to the tele setting on the primary capturing display. Ensuing pictures are very gentle and have an disagreeable, overprocessed digital look about them.

General, it’s a digital camera that doesn’t attempt to do an excessive amount of, which is an efficient factor. If you happen to largely {photograph} static scenes and don’t push it too onerous, you possibly can count on pictures that may look simply wonderful on social media. However in the event you’re in search of any type of modest zoom or top-notch efficiency in low gentle, you’d greatest look elsewhere.

The included fast charger for the N10

The included quick charger for the N10

Backside line: this can be a very low-cost 5G cellphone with an enormous display and first rate all-around efficiency. OnePlus has made some good sacrifices to get to that $300 value level, and the result’s a tool with many good attributes however with no main standout function. If there’s a specific function that you simply prioritize in your cellphone, like multi-day battery life or an above-average digital camera, then you are able to do higher across the identical value or somewhat extra.

If you happen to can stay with out 5G for now (and we predict you most likely can!) you will get a cellphone with somewhat one thing additional for across the identical value. For large battery life you possibly can look to the N100 or Moto G Energy. For an above common digital camera, have a look at the Google Pixel 4a. That cellphone can be a very good candidate if system longevity or higher efficiency are necessary to you.

If you need a really cheap 5G cellphone that doesn’t have any deal-breaking flaws, the N10 5G is it. Even in the event you’re not fascinated with 5G, which most individuals most likely aren’t, this $300 system nonetheless delivers in necessary methods: a very good display, acceptable efficiency, a adequate digital camera, and first rate battery life. Not a nasty deal in any respect.

Pictures by Allison Johnson

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