Early verdict: OnePlus shipping a budget mid-range phone that has 5G is decidedly out of character for the brand, but 5G early adopters probably won’t complain with the OnePlus Nord N10 5G. The phone’s solid specs and low price backed by a solid pedigree will definitely attract a lot of attention, though long-time OnePlus brand stalwarts probably won’t be happy with the brand dilution.
- 90Hz refresh rate
- Sub Php 15K pricing for a 5G phone
- Solid build quality
- Slightly less stellar performance than we’re used to
- Plastic back
OnePlus is probably the last manufacturer I ever thought would deliver a budget-oriented 5G-capable phone to the Philippines, but here we are at the start of 2021 with their OnePlus Nord N10 5G. OnePlus’ latest phone is the cheapest device so far this year to have 5G capability, beating out brands like Huawei, OPPO, vivo, and others to the punch.
Packaging and contents
The OnePlus Nord N10 5G forgoes the usual bright red packaging of the brand’s flagship offerings for a black box with the phone’s name printed on the front.
Inside the box is the phone, USB charger, and a Type-C cable in red, along with documentation.
Design and display
OnePlus had to make a few compromises in the design of the phone, with the most obvious being the plastic back. Corners had to be cut to make the phone as affordable as it currently is, and sadly plastic is just plain cheaper to use than glass, so that’s what you’re getting with the OnePlus Nord N10 5G.
That being said, the phone feels pretty solid in the hands, and while it doesn’t feel like a flagship phone, it doesn’t feel like a cheap, disposable product either. The phone is rather tall, thanks to its 20:9 aspect ratio, which makes it a little narrower than most phones in the market which helps a lot as far as ergonomics goes.
A few other compromises had to be done – there’s no in-screen fingerprint scanner here, though you do get a physical fingerprint scanner on the rear set slightly below the camera module.
Speaking of the display, the OnePlus Nord N10 5G uses a 6.49-inch IPS display with a 90Hz refresh rate and 1080 x 2400 resolution. While the display looks OK enough at first glance, anyone spoiled by OnePlus’ excellent OLED panels in their more expensive phones may find it a little lacking.
There’s a small cutout on the upper left side of the display for the 16-megapixel selfie camera.
The OnePlus Nord N10 5G has a quad-camera array on its rear. The main shooter is a 64-megapixel unit with an f/1.8 aperture lens and PDAF, complemented by an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens with an f/2.3 aperture, as well as a 2-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor and a 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro sensor.
You can expect pretty good shots from the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, but it’s not going to produce photos that you’re used to especially if you’ve used an OnePlus phone before.
Performance and battery
Driving the phone’s performance is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 690, a processor made for affordable 5G-capable handsets. The processor is built on an 8nm process and is paired with an X51 5G modem.
The chipset is capable of 5G, but only supports bands that are sub-6GHz, which is the slightly slower variant of 5G. It misses out on mmWave 5G capabilities that we typically see on more expensive chipsets on other phones, so that’s something to keep in mind. Still, being able to tap onto faster 5G over 4G is still a big deal especially when you work or reside in an area that’s 5G-enabled.
The processor is paired with 6GB of RAM and has 128GB of internal storage that can further be expanded via a microSD card.
As far as the battery goes, the phone has a 4300mAh battery, as well as fast charging capabilities up to 30W. We’ll have to see how the new chipset manages battery life in our full review, so stay tuned till then.
Wrap-up and early conclusions
I really did not expect OnePlus to be the brand that offers a budget 5G device in the PH first considering their high-end brand image, but here we are. The OnePlus Nord N10 5G looks and feels like a solid 5G smartphone, especially when you consider its Php 14,990 price tag.
To make things even sweeter, Digital Walker, which is the official retailer for OnePlus products in the Philippines, will be cutting the price of the phone down to just Php 13,990 until January 10, making the new phone an irresistible piece of kit to anyone looking to jump onto the 5G bandwagon early.