An introduction is unnecessary for OnePlus smartphones as they have already established a strong reputation in the market. Over time, the company has constantly evolved the positioning of its devices and extended its product line. The recently launched OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is a captivating model, that provides a vast range of features at an affordable price. Can this device successfully capture the market? Read on to find out in this Nord CE 3 Lite review.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Review
The design of this smartphone isn’t extravagant, but it’s charming and distinctive. The device is available in two colors – Pastel Lime and Chromatic Gray. Our Nord CE 3 Lite review unit came in the Pastel Lime variant. The flat side frame is constructed with plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap, thanks to its pleasant and slightly rough texture. The back panel is also made of plastic, but it imitates glass, which causes fingerprint smudges to appear instantly. The flash beside the camera lens is unique, resembling either the sun or a gear.
The power button, which contains a fingerprint scanner, is placed on the right side. During testing, the scanner performed efficiently, recognizing fingerprints quickly and without errors. On the left side, there are separate volume buttons and a hybrid slot that can hold either two SIM cards simultaneously or one SIM card and a memory card.
At the bottom edge, there’s an audio jack, Type-C port, microphone, and speaker. The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite offers stereo sound, with the second speaker playing a supporting role. Although it plays at a lower volume than the primary speaker, the final sound is still loud.
Display and interface
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite boasts a decent display – a 6.72-inch flat IPS panel with a resolution of 2400×1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 20:9. The screen comes with pre-applied protective glass. The device has a 120Hz refresh rate and a 240Hz sampling rate, which makes the animations on the screen extremely responsive and fluid. You’ll be tempted to swipe or flick through the settings just to experience the smoothness again.
The manufacturer claims a maximum brightness of 680 nits, and during testing in cloudy weather, there were no issues with reading the information on the display. The display settings allow you to modify color rendering, activate the dark theme, enable eye protection mode, or adjust the screen refresh rate.
The device runs on Android 13 with OxygenOS 13.1 preinstalled. The interface features unique elements, such as the red number on the clock widget and the Zen Space application. However, in general, the interface doesn’t differ significantly from what we’re accustomed to seeing on other Android devices. It offers various customization options, including icon and font customization, color design choices, the ability to launch floating windows and a side smart panel, parental control features, assigning actions to the power button, and more.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite features the popular Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 octa-core chip, which is commonly used in budget smartphones. The chip is built on a 6-nanometer process technology and has an Adreno 619 GPU responsible for graphics. The device tested for the Nord CE 3 Lite review comes with 8 GB of RAM, which can be increased to 16 GB by converting part of the 256 GB UFS 2.2 drive into RAM.
The Snapdragon 695 has its advantages and disadvantages, which are well known, and the Nord CE 3 Lite behaves as expected. During gaming, the device heats up insignificantly, while the software works quickly. Although the camera saves photos and videos quickly, the processing of night shots may not be the fastest. The interface runs smoothly at a screen refresh rate of 120Hz, and most popular entertainment apps run smoothly, but the device does not support 4K video recording.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G specifications
- Display: 6.72-inch (2400 x 1080 pixels) Full HD+ LCD screen with 30/48/50/60/90/120Hz adaptive refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, up to 680 nits peak brightness, Asahi Dragontail Star Glass protection
- CPU: Octa Core Snapdragon 695 8nm Mobile Platform (2.2GHz x 2+1.8GHz x 6 Kryo 560 CPUs)
- GPU: Adreno 619L GPU
- RAM/ROM: 8GB LPDDR4X RAM with 128GB / 256GB (UFS 2.2) storage, expandable memory up to 1TB with microSD
- OS: Android 13 with OxygenOS 13.1
- Features: Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, 3.5mm audio jack, Stereo speakers, Hybrid Dual SIM (nano + nano / microSD) slot
- Rear camera: 108MP rear camera with 1/1.67″ Samsung HM6 sensor, f/1.75 aperture, EIS LED flash, 2MP depth and 2MP macro camera with f/2.4 aperture
- Front camera: 16MP front-facing camera with Sony IMX471 sensor, f/2.0 aperture
- Connectivity: 5G (n1/3/5/8/40/41/77/78/28A bands), Dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 6 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.1 LE, GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, USB Type-C
- Battery: 5000mAh battery with 67W SUPERVOOC Fast Charging
- Dimensions: 165.5×76×8.3mm
- Weight: 195g
In the Nord CE 3 Lite review, the device scored slightly over 400,000 points in AnTuTu and 859 and 2042 points in single-core and multi-core modes, respectively, in Geekbench 6. These are standard results for such hardware. Communication features include support for 5G frequencies, all current LTE bands, Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.1, and NFC for contactless payment using the smartphone.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Test results
- ANTUTU: 401 232
- GEEKBENCH 6: single-core – 859 / multi-core – 2042
- Battery life: up to 17.5 hours of YouTube video playback / up to 2 days in mixed mode /
- PCMark Work battery life 3.0 – 11 hours and 39 minutes
The battery life of the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite impressed us. It is equipped with a 5000 mAh battery, which is a standard capacity for smartphones in its class, but the company has made significant efforts to optimize power consumption. The phone can last for a day and a half to two days on a single charge in mixed usage scenarios such as reading, listening to music, chatting on messaging apps, and taking occasional pictures.
During our Nord CE 3 Lite review, we ran the PCMark Work battery life 3.0 test, which gave us an impressive battery life of 11 hours and 39 minutes. The device also supports fast charging at 67W, allowing you to charge the battery in less than an hour.
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite boasts a triple main camera with the primary sensor being a 108MP Samsung ISOCELL HM6 paired with an f/1.75 lens. The other two modules are for macro and estimating depth of field, as is typical for this smartphone class. Unfortunately, there is no wide-angle camera or optical zoom. The front camera features a 16-megapixel resolution and an aperture of f/2.0.
While the camera’s performance isn’t anything spectacular, the algorithms try to make the most out of each scene, especially with the AI processing turned on. The automation tends to overdo HDR and artificial sharpening, making the photos look unnatural. However, such images have a more significant effect on social networks and the smartphone screen, but post-processing nuances are visible on a monitor. The focus is both accurate and quick.
The camera features a quick switch to triple digital zoom, which allows you to examine distant objects. However, the quality suffers significantly. A night mode is also available, which works fairly well. In dark environments, the dynamic range expands significantly, and shadows and lights are improved, albeit with slight optics glare.
The smartphone supports video recording in Full HD resolution. Digital stabilization is available, and you can choose high-performance encoding in the settings. Unfortunately, there is no option to switch to 1080p at 60 fps.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite can be considered a phone for the younger generation due to its uncomplicated design, vibrant hues, stereo audio, and reasonable cost. The 120 Hz IPS display doesn’t drain the battery too much, and the device’s performance is adequate for everyday tasks. However, the back panel is prone to smudging, and a triple camera setup would have been preferable over the hybrid one. Apart from these minor issues, the phone is pretty impressive.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G price and availability
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is available in Pastel Lime and Chromatic Grey on Amazon.co.uk for £299 and Amazon.com for $317.50, which includes a 67-watt charger.