OnePlus Nord 3 Review – A Midrange Step Up

Aiman Maulana
12 Min Read
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – A Midrange Step Up
  • Appearance - 8/10
    8/10
  • Efficiency - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Features - 8/10
    8/10
  • Materials - 8/10
    8/10
  • Performance - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Portability - 8/10
    8/10
  • User Experience - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Value - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Summary

Despite its drawbacks, the OnePlus Nord 3 shaped up to be a pretty solid smartphone. It’s certainly trying to bump up the midrange series into something more akin to a flagship, and the results certainly show that.

Overall
7.9/10
7.9/10

Pros

+ Solid CPU and GPU performance for its class
+ Excellent main camera
+ Very fast charging speed
+ Attractive design, complete with alert slider
+ IP54
+ Satisfying stereo speaker quality
+ Superb display
+ It has an IR Blaster
+ Solid value for money

Cons

– Battery life could be better
– Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate doesn’t scale efficiently enough
– Fingerprint magnet
– Speaker volume is rather soft during calls
– Macro camera is bad

OnePlus Nord 3 Unboxing

OnePlus Nord 3 Review -
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – Box

The OnePlus Nord 3 comes in a black box with the Nord wording clad in white with a blue background, pretty much identical to the recently reviewed CE 3 Lite.

OnePlus Nord 3 Review -
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – Box content

Inside the box, you can find the following items:

  • Documentations
  • 80W SuperVOOC charging brick
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • SIM ejector pin
  • The OnePlus Nord 3 smartphone itself

Specifications

Processor Mediatek MT6983 Dimensity 9000 5G
1 x Cortex-X2 @ 3.05GHz + 3 x Cortex-A710 @ 2.85GHz + 4 x Cortex-A510 @ 1.8GHz
4nm
GPU Mali-G710 MC10
RAM 16GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Bluetooth 5.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
USB Type-C
GPS, Glonass, BDS, QZSS, Galileo
NFC
Infrared
5G
Storage 256GB UFS 3.1
Display 6.74″ 1.5K (2772 x 1240) Fluid AMOLED Display, 1450 nits (peak)
Adaptive 120Hz Refresh Rate
Up to 1,000Hz touch sampling rate
Dragontrail Glass (front)
Gorilla Glass 5 (rear)
Rear Camera 50MP f/1.8 wide angle camera, multi-directional PDAF, OIS
8MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera, 112°
2MP f/2.4 macro, fixed focus
Selfie Camera 16MP f/2.4 wide-angle selfie cam
Battery 5000mAh
80W SuperVOOC Fast Charging
OS OxygenOS 13.1
Android 13
Ingress Protection IP54
Dimensions 162 x 75.1 x 8.2 mm, 193.5g
Colours Misty Green and Tempest Gray

Performance

OnePlus Nord 3 Review
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – Antutu v10

Starting off our benchmark suite with Antutu V10, the OnePlus Nord 3 performed pretty well. It’s worth noting that most flagships tend to perform around the 1 million mark, making this even more impressive in comparison.

OnePlus Nord 3 Review
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – Geekbench 6

It’s quite different in Geekbench 6, as it performs more like your typical midrange smartphone would. Current generation flagships and the iPhone 14 Plus easily outperformed it, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad however. I’d say its a reasonable level given its price and chip.

OnePlus Nord 3 Review
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited

Moving on to 3DMark’s Wild Life Unlimited, the OnePlus Nord 3 sits below last year’s flagships, and easily outperformed flagships from two years ago. It’s actually pretty impressive considering that Wild Life goes pretty hard on the graphics.

OnePlus Nord 3 Review
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – PCMark Work 3.0

Lastly on PCMark’s Work 3.0 benchmark, sits comfortably above last year’s flagship devices, showing off its viability as a daily driver. If you’re looking for function and value without breaking the bank, this test shows that it’s capable of offering that with ease given its price.

OnePlus Nord 3 Review
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – Battery endurance test

If you’re wondering about its battery life, the OnePlus Nord 3 initially seemed surprisingly worse than I expected, lasting only 9 hours and 16 minutes in PCMark’s Work 3.0 endurance test in Auto refresh rate. When testing it in again in 60Hz, it lasted a little longer at 10 hours and 42 minutes. This shows that the efficiency of the refresh rate being adjusted dynamically might not be up to par, but I’m sure a software update would help in optimizing it. As for charging speed, this is what I got with its 80W charger from 2% battery:

  • 15 minutes = 59%
  • 30 minutes = 95%
  • 34 minutes = 100%

Looking for a pair of earbuds to go along with this? Check out our OnePlus Nord Buds 2 review by clicking right here.

Camera

While we knew that the camera system on the OnePlus Nord 3 would be good, we didn’t expect it to perform this well. With good lighting on the main camera, you get pictures with good dynamic range, high contrast and no. The colors appear to be more realistic as opposed to artificially making it pop more, which is nice. Even zooming in, details are maintained pretty well, looking a little more bland at most and looking a little smudged when zoomed in all the way. Low light with it works pretty well too, with it looking a little grainy, just that your hands need to be a bit more still with this.

As for the ultrawide, it’s comparable to the main camera with pictures looking a little more dull and noise being more apparent when lighting isn’t abundant. It’s more than usable for sure, unlike the macro camera which is just terrible. Even in broad daylight, colors are inconsistent, and details being rather soft. You’d have a better chance taking a good shot by pointing the selfie camera instead, in which the quality is more akin to the ultrawide except with softer details and more dependent on light for a good shot.

The Good

OnePlus Nord 3 Review - Rear
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – Rear

There are a number of good reasons to consider the OnePlus Nord 3. For starters, the design is certainly eye-catching, with the IP54 rating further aiding its premium design. Personally, the Misty Green color looks nicer to me as Tempest Gray looks rather bland but this is a matter of personal taste. Speaking of design, the Alert Slider is present here, which is always a major bonus. Sure, you can always change the ringing mode directly on the UI but the alert slider just adds that added bit of convenience and reassurance.

Next up, the stereo speakers is pretty good. This likely stems from it supporting Dolby Atmos and being Hi-Res audio-certified with Dirac drivers as it gives audio with a decently wide soundstage and clarity with satisfying mids and highs. Bass is pretty much non-existent but that shouldn’t be a surprise given it’s built-in speakers.

OnePlus Nord 3 Review -
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – IR Blaster

The biggest surprise for me with the OnePlus Nord 3 is the presence of the IR Blaster. For those of you who might not be aware, an IR Blaster lets you use your smartphone as a universal remote for TVs, air conditioners and similar home electronic devices. Sure, we’ve come to a point where such a feature will only be used by a small number of people, but it’s certainly one that I’m glad to have. If you can replace your remotes with it, you have an all-encompassing solution that doesn’t need its own set of batteries.

OnePlus Nord 3 Review - Rear
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – Display

Next up, you have a breathtaking 6.74-inch Super Fluid AMOLED display with 1.5K resolution and adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. It’s superbly bright, colors look really punchy, and it’s flat. For a Nord, it’s certainly a huge step up from anything we’ve experienced in the series thus far, easily capable of going toe-to-toe with some of the best smartphones today in this department.

Lastly, at RM2,199, it might not be what people would consider affordable but it’s certainly one that has a solid value proposition. You get 5G connectivity and overall performance that can match with existing flagships but at a noticeably lower price. Sure, a lot of current generation flagships can outperform it but when you consider that these devices also cost double, if not more than the OnePlus Nord 3, it makes this choice a lot more viable for plenty of consumers out there.

The Bad

OnePlus Nord 3 Review -
OnePlus Nord 3 Review

Unsurprisingly, the OnePlus Nord 3 does have its fair share of drawbacks. For starters, while the design is attractive, the rear is a fingerprint magnet. This has been the running theme with most of the recent OnePlus devices as of late. You will see it get covered with smudges all over in a short period of time. This is only a real problem if you don’t plan on using a protective case, which we recommend you do so to not only mitigate any potential damages, but to avoid a potential eyesore.

While the display may generally be a step above those within the same price range, the refresh rate is a bit of a hit and miss. To my understanding, it’s supposed to go between 40Hz to 120Hz but, as found during the battery test, it doesn’t to do this very efficiently. I can see that’s definitely above 60Hz more often than not, even when using apps that do not need such a high refresh rate. I hope a software update for it comes soon as it will definitely be a big boost to the battery life overall.

OnePlus Nord 3 Review - Rear
OnePlus Nord 3 Review – Bottom

Lastly, while the speakers are pretty good for what it is, the volume appears to be lacking during phone calls. This applies to both the earpiece when using calls like normal and also when enabling speakerphone. I find it a bit odd as there’s no odd signal drops, and songs / videos can play through the speakers louder than that. With that being said however, you’re likely sticking the volume to max level, if not close to it, as it can get a bit hard to hear if you’re in a public area that’s a little noisy.

OnePlus Nord 3 Verdict

OnePlus Nord 3 Review -
OnePlus Nord 3 Review

Despite its drawbacks, the OnePlus Nord 3 shaped up to be a pretty solid smartphone. It’s certainly trying to bump up the midrange series into something more akin to a flagship, and the results certainly show that. Some of those drawbacks could be addressed in a future software update so hopefully, that ends up happening but even without it, it’s still a pretty good smartphone nonetheless.

At the end of our OnePlus Nord 3 review, I award this smartphone with our Silver Pokdeward.

Pokde-Silver

Big thanks to OnePlus Malaysia for sending us this smartphone of the purpose of this review.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *