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OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G review: Aiming too high

(Pocket-lint) – OnePlus isn’t so much the underdog anymore – its portfolio of phones seems ever-expanding in 2022. The Nord CE 2 Lite is the latest in a growing line of budget options that retain the low pricing OnePlus launched with all those years ago, but can’t match the flagship-killing specs.

It’s a phone that looks pretty nice on the surface, and does pack in some impressive features at this price (Β£279), but the actual user experience doesn’t feel quite good enough when you get down to it.

Our quick take

The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G, as well as having one of the more convoluted names we’ve encountered recently, is an interesting mixed bag of a phone, with some impressive aspects for the price but drawbacks that are also somewhat significant.

The camera experience is entirely solid, and the software is as decent as OnePlus’ other models, while the phone’s looks are also completely fine. It’s just in the occasional slowness of use that it falls down, with lag that feels percetible butting in on us just a little too often.

For a budget phone, there’s still a lot to like, and you won’t find too many competitors with both a 120Hz display and 5G at this price, so if you want those two boxes ticked you could do a lot worse.

Design

  • Available in black or light blue
  • Plastic-backed
  • 164.3 x 75.6 x 8.5mm

OnePlus has kept things pretty simple when it comes to the look and feel of the Nord CE 2 Lite – it’s on the edge of being pretty generic, in fact. The phone has a plastic back and is sizeable but impressively slim at just 8.5mm thick.

The display is completely flat on the front, with a curved metallic band meeting the all-plastic back of the phone, which is matte in most places and features a subtle glossy OnePlus logo. The traditional One Plus notifications slider switch is sadly missing in action.

Up at the top of the phone is a small accent detail, with glossy stripes giving the phone a little personality alongside a pretty normal-sized camera bump.

This bump makes it look a lot like the phone has a bunch of cameras, although in practice you’ll only really use the main shooter. It’s raised in such a way that dust collection is indeed one of its annoyances, something it has in common with a host of smartphones right now.

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Ajmal Solangi is a Tech writer specializing in the intersection of tech and reviews. He likes tech news, mobile unboxing, reviews, gadgets, and more.

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