- Great battery life
- Good performance
- Low price
- Camera is so-so
OnePlus has has a very interesting few years. The company originally offered some of the best flagship phones for the price, and while prices have gone up, its most recent flagship, the OnePlus 11, seems to have at least somewhat returned to its roots. But it’s still expanding its lineup, with more lower-cost devices that aim to deliver good performance at a midrange price, and the latest of those devices is the new OnePlus Nord N30.
The OnePlus Nord N30 is built to offer a better experience at a low price. How low is that price? The device comes at only $264 if you buy it from T-Mobile, $280 if you buy it from Metro by T-Mobile, or $300 if you buy it unlocked from Amazon or the OnePlus website. Even at its most expensive, that’s a pretty low price. How does the OnePlus Nord N30 perform in that price range? I’ve been using it for a while now to find out.
OnePlus Nord N30 design
The OnePlus Nord N30, although not groundbreaking in its design, is a generally good-looking phone. The device sports a flat-edged design, a feature that’s been making a comeback and adds a touch of nostalgia while retaining a modern look. While the plastic back doesn’t exactly scream premium, it doesn’t detract significantly from the overall appeal.
The front of the OnePlus Nord N30 is dominated by a spacious 6.72-inch display, complete with a discreet hole-punch cutout at the top for the selfie camera. This design ensures maximum screen utilization, providing an immersive user experience. The volume controls and SIM slot are situated on the left, while the power button, which doubles as a fingerprint sensor, is on the right, a practical decision for ease of access. Alongside the expected USB-C port at the bottom, the inclusion of a headphone jack makes a welcome appearance on the device.
Turning the phone over, the rear design is stripped-back and minimalist, housing two sizeable camera modules and a flash. Despite its simplicity, this design adds to the overall elegance of the phone, making the OnePlus Nord N30 seem more high-end than its price tag might suggest. The back of the phone looks mostly the same compared to the Nord N20 from last year, however that’s not a bad thing by any means.
All in all, while it may not be the most innovative design, the OnePlus Nord N30 is a well-designed device that efficiently prioritizes functionality and user experience.
OnePlus Nord N30 display
The OnePlus Nord N30 boasts a 6.67-inch LCD display, which, although not possessing the deep black-level advantages of an OLED panel, still offers a reasonably good visual experience. The display resolution stands at 1080 x 2400, not the highest in the smartphone market but certainly enough to deliver crisp and clear images. While some may want a higher resolution, this specification strikes a fair balance between visual quality and performance optimization.
One of the standout features of the display is its impressive 120Hz refresh rate. This high refresh rate is a welcome inclusion, contributing to smoother scrolling and more fluid motion rendering, an aspect I value over an excessively high resolution. The colors on the screen appear vibrant, and the brightness level is more than sufficient for the majority of usage scenarios, making it easy to use under different lighting conditions. The primary drawback is the display’s lower contrast ratio. Nevertheless, overall, the display of the OnePlus Nord N30 is a solid performer, delivering a satisfactory visual experience to its users.
OnePlus Nord N30 performance
The OnePlus Nord N30 is powered by a Snapdragon 695 processor, a chipset that sits comfortably in the midrange bracket. This, combined with a respectable 8GB of RAM, provides decent performance, particularly considering the phone’s competitive price point. The pairing manages to handle most day-to-day tasks with ease, from browsing and social media scrolling to more demanding multitasking activities, delivering a smooth user experience in most scenarios.
When it comes to mobile gaming, the OnePlus Nord N30 maintains an adequate performance, although it doesn’t stand out in this regard. Games might not load as quickly as they would on more premium devices, and the occasional dropped frame might be noticeable in highly demanding games. However, for casual gamers, the performance should suffice. Despite these minor setbacks, the phone’s performance is commendable overall. The OnePlus Nord N30 has been optimized to deliver a reliable and smooth performance, making it a strong contender in the midrange smartphone market.
OnePlus Nord N30 battery and charging
Equipped with a hefty 5000mAh battery, the OnePlus Nord N30 offers an excellent battery life. In practice, this translates into an impressive runtime that can easily take you through a full day and well into the second, depending on usage patterns. In fact, moderate users might find the battery lasting them a full two days before requiring a recharge, a feature that greatly enhances the device’s practicality for on-the-go use.
Charging the OnePlus Nord N30 is also a relatively quick process, thanks to the 50W charging support using the included charger. I was able to reach full charge in just under an hour and 20 minutes, which is relatively fast for a phone in this price range. The only drawback in this department is the lack of wireless charging support, a feature that is becoming increasingly standard in many smartphones. However, considering the phone’s price point, the absence of this feature is not entirely unexpected. Despite this, the OnePlus Nord N30 delivers an excellent battery and charging experience for a phone in its category.
OnePlus Nord N30 camera
The OnePlus Nord N30 features a triple camera setup on the back, made up of a 108-megapixel main camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth camera. However, in practical terms, there is essentially only one usable camera – the 108-megapixel main camera. The depth camera, although helpful for collecting data to enhance the main camera’s performance, can’t be used independently. The inclusion of the low-quality 2-megapixel macro camera is unnecessary and, to be frank, I’m sick of seeing these low-quality macro cameras.
When it comes to photography in well-lit environments, the OnePlus Nord N30 produces solid results. Without engaging the zoom function, photos captured by the primary camera exhibit good detail and clarity. The colors are vibrant and visually appealing, providing a generally pleasing image. It’s fair to say that under optimal conditions, the phone’s camera performance is more than satisfactory.
However, when presented with more challenging situations, the camera’s limitations start to become apparent. Whether it’s due to excessive zoom or insufficient lighting, the image quality tends to degrade fairly quickly. Overly zoomed images reveal a grainy texture, while poorly lit scenes can lead to blurry and indistinct photos.
This, though, is not entirely surprising, given the phone’s position as a budget device. For the average user seeking good quality pictures in standard conditions, the OnePlus Nord N30’s camera setup should suffice. However, those seeking advanced photographic capabilities or requiring high-quality images under challenging conditions might want to consider other devices that cost more money. Despite these limitations, for a phone in its price range, the OnePlus Nord N30’s camera performance isn’t bad at all.
OnePlus Nord N30 software
The software experience on the OnePlus Nord N30 is generally positive and consistent with other modern OnePlus phones. As expected, OnePlus’s OxygenOS offers a user-friendly interface with intuitive navigation, aligning it with many top-tier smartphones on the market. However, some elements are beginning to reflect a convergence with Oppo’s ColorOS, which may be perceived as a slight downgrade by some users who appreciate the distinct identity of OnePlus’s original software.
One aspect that does stand out, though, is the level of customization options offered. The ability to personalize aspects of the phone to suit individual preferences is a valuable feature that enhances the overall user experience. Features like the OnePlus Shelf, a feature that provides quick access to frequently used apps and tools, is still present and adds to the convenience of using the phone. However, I still prefer the software experience offered by Pixel phones, which, in my opinion, provides a more cohesive and premium feel. Nonetheless, the OnePlus Nord N30’s software experience is fine, and most won’t have too many options with it.
The OnePlus Nord N30 is far from a perfect phone, but like the Nord N20 before it, it represents an excellent option for those who want a great phone experience at a reasonable price. The device offers decent performance, a solid display, and a great battery life — and at this price, it’s hard to beat.
There is some competition in this price range, but the Nord N30 seems head and shoulders above it. Previously, the best phone under $300 was the OnePlus Nord N20. With the N30 now in town, it’s the way to go if $300 is your budget cap.
Should I buy the OnePlus Nord N30?
Yes. If you have $300 to spend on a phone, it’s the way to go.