OnePlus Nord 2 (Nord Lite): Price, release date, specs and leaks

OnePlus Nord 2 (Nord Lite): Price, release date, specs and leaks

The OnePlus Nord 2 (or possibly the OnePlus Nord Lite) is what we’re provisionally calling OnePlus’ next budget or mid-range phone, following on from the OnePlus Nord that was released in July.

While the Nord is on the whole a fantastic phone, there are some reasons why you wouldn’t want to buy it. First off, it’s not sold in the U.S., at least not yet. And while its sub-$500 price is a steal for the specs, not everyone needs all of its features — from its 5G connectivity and 90Hz display to its six cameras.

That’s why we expect the next Nord, which should be sold in the U.S., to be another step down in price. With OnePlus’ normally excellent build quality and well-designed software, the Nord 2 could be another hit for the company and a more direct competitor to the $349 Google Pixel 4a and $399 iPhone SE.

There’s not a whole lot of definitive information to go on for now. But here’s what we’ve heard about the OnePlus Nord 2/OnePlus Nord lite thus far based on the rumors and leaks. 

OnePlus Nord 2 (Nord Lite): Price and release date

The OnePlus Nord currently sells in two versions, which cost £379 and £469. That’s around $500 and $600 respectively, but direct currency conversions don’t reflect regional pricing differences. We expect the OnePlus Nord 2 to cost less than this, perhaps hitting the $400 mark or even lower.

As for the OnePlus Nord 2 release date, we have a pretty good idea. Shortly after the launch of the Nord, OnePlus CEO Carl Pei said that a Nord-branded phone would be coming to the U.S. market by the end of the year.

This won’t be an identical device to the one we’ve seen already, but will presumably share some features and design characteristics if it’s going to share the Nord branding.

OnePlus Nord 2 (Nord Lite): Specs

Code found within OnePlus’ OxygenOS operating system refers to a phone with the codename “Billie”, which uses a Snapdragon 690 chipset. OnePlus has always used Qualcomm-made silicon, including the Snapdragon 765 in the Nord.

Stepping down from a 7-series chip to a 6-series chip means there will be a performance gap between the Nord and “Billie”, but crucially the 690 still offers 5G connectivity, a feature that will become increasingly important to smartphone buyers in the next few years.

A OnePlus device using a Snapdragon 690 with 6GB RAM was discovered in a Geekbench listing, which supports the OxygenOS finding, and also gives a clear picture of the potential specs. 6GB is less than the 8GB/12GB options in the original Nord, and would therefore make a lot of sense for a phone that’s intended to be cheaper.

Another unidentified OnePlus phone spotted on Geekbench is named “Clover”. This phone has a Snapdragon 665, which is less powerful chip than the 690, and 4GB of RAM.

This could signify a huge expansion of the Nord range, with multiple budget to mid-range phones being offered when it finally hits the US. Equally, OnePlus may be still experimenting with different specs to figure out which works best for its plans.

OnePlus Nord 2 (OnePlus Nord Lite): Design

We assume that if it shares the same name, the Nord 2 will resemble the regular Nord.

From the front, the original Nord looks a lot like the OnePlus 8, with a full-screen display and a punch-hole notch, except it has flat edges instead of curved ones. The back is also very similar, except on the Nord, the vertical line of cameras is on the phone’s left side, rather than down the center.

Since the left-aligned cameras are the Nord’s most distinctive physical feature, we’d expect the Nord 2 to have this as well.

OnePlus Nord 2 (OnePlus Nord Lite): Display

OnePlus Nord review

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

We have not heard any definitive rumors about the Nord 2’s screen, but we can make an educated guess based on the regular Nord.

OnePlus equipped the Nord with a 6.44-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate, a seriously good display for the price. It’s likely that OnePlus would shrink the display and/or drop the refresh rate down to 60Hz for a OnePlus Nord 2/OnePlus Lite.

OnePlus Nord 2 (OnePlus Nord Lite): Cameras

OnePlus Nord 2 (Nord Lite): Price, release date, specs and leaks

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The Nord had the most cameras ever seen on a OnePlus phone, with four on the back (main, ultrawide, depth and macro) and two on the front (main and ultrawide). 

It would be surprising to see as many cameras again on the Nord 2, assuming it’s significantly cheaper. OnePlus would likely ditch the ultrawide selfie camera to save production costs, or one of the cameras on the back (possibly the depth sensor) if OnePlus wanted to keep dual selfie cameras as a signature feature for its Nord range.

OnePlus Nord 2 (OnePlus Nord Lite): 5G

OnePlus Nord 2 (Nord Lite): Price, release date, specs and leaks

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Based on the 5G-ready chipsets that we’ve seen rumored for the Nord 2, it seems very likely that the Nord 2 will have at least sub-6Ghz 5G, the more common standard found around the world.

That does leave the question of whether a Nord 2 would support Verizon’s mmWave network. OnePlus has previously made specific models of its OnePlus 8 for Verizon that has mmWave compatibility, but there’s no guarantee it would do the same for the Nord 2.

OnePlus Nord 2 (OnePlus Nord Lite): battery

OnePlus phones tend to have fairly big batteries for their size. The Nord, for example, has a 4,115 mAh cell, which is far larger than the ones found in the Google Pixel 4a (3,140 mAh) or the iPhone SE (1,821 mAh). Hopefully the expected cheaper specs of the Nord 2 won’t mean a big drop in total battery life.

A listing on safety regulator TÜV Rheinland shows that OnePlus has had an 18W charger certified. Since the OnePlus Nord uses a 30W charger, this looks like OnePlus’ attempt to make a less powerful charger to go with a more affordable phone.

OnePlus Nord 2 (OnePlus Nord Lite): Software 

The OnePlus Nord runs on OxygenOS, as do the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. This is a particularly slick-looking version of Android, and the current version, OxygenOS 10.5, is what we’d expect a Nord 2 handset to run. 

This is assuming that the phone comes out before the end of the year, or in early 2021. Any later than that and it will likely use OnePlus’ flavor of Android 11, which we’re expecting around September. OnePlus is usually quick on the uptake of the newest version of Android, so expect whatever the latest version is to appear on the Nord 2.

OnePlus Nord 2 (OnePlus Nord Lite): Outlook

We’re eager to see OnePlus introduce a cheaper handset into the U.S. after the Nord launched in Europe and India. While some users may want the hardware jam-packed into the Nord, a cheaper model could do very well.

5G looks like a given, but lots of other parts may be getting downgraded in return for a price drop. That includes the 18W charger and the 6-series Snapdragon CPU, but OnePlus may also make trade-offs regarding the cameras and display, too. 

The trick for a OnePlus Nord 2 will be to not cut too many corners so that it can stand out versus the Pixel 4a and iPhone SE. Stay tuned for more leaks and rumors as we get closer to launch.

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