The OnePlus Nord N100 is the cheapest smartphone from OnePlus so far, but is it also just as good as its more expensive brothers? Unfortunately not, and in this review you can read why it is better to buy another budget phone.
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Read the OnePlus Nord N100 review
With the OnePlus 8 Pro, OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8T, the Chinese manufacturer released smooth flagships with excellent specifications this year, all with a fairly hefty price tag. This already changed with the OnePlus Nord, a device of 399 euros, and the new Nord N100 is even cheaper.
In fact, with a suggested retail price of 199 euros, the N100 is even the most affordable OnePlus phone to date. You can read in this review whether you should consider the N100 if you are looking for a new, affordable Android smartphone.
The test device for this OnePlus Nord N100 review was made available by Belsimpel.
Cheap device also feels cheap
The Nord N100 looks like a real OnePlus phone, but it’s not as luxurious as other devices from the manufacturer. The housing is completely plastic and feels rather cheap. The matte finish on the back is nice, but sensitive to fingerprints.
A pity in particular is that you can press the back a bit, which reinforces the feeling that the N100 is a cheaper smartphone. The case also sometimes creaks a bit when you hold the phone in a certain way, although this may be due to the test device we used.
The buttons on the side feel good and it is nice that the OnePlus Nord N100 has a headphone jack. It is at the bottom, to the left of the USB-C port, and to the right of it we see the speaker. The Nord N100 also weighs 188 grams, so it is relatively heavy and it is difficult to operate with one hand due to the large screen.
Large screen with (sometimes) 90Hz
The OnePlus Nord N100 has a 6.52-inch screen with relatively thin edges, although the bezel at the bottom is thicker. The screen has a small hole for the selfie camera and the resolution is 1600 by 720 pixels. This is relatively low and images therefore look less sharp than with some other budget phones. Also for 199 euros there are smartphones with a full HD display and that simply looks sharper.
However, the resolution is not dramatically low and the screen looks sharp enough in everyday use. Furthermore, the display can be quite bright, which is nice if you want to read it outside (with a lot of sunlight). The camera hole is not too big and therefore you do not suffer from it in practice.
It is striking that the Nord N100 has a 90Hz screen, but OnePlus did not mention this with the announcement of the phone. Once you start using the N100, it soon becomes clear why. The modest processor is simply not powerful enough to always deliver smooth images and that means that – even if the 90Hz option is enabled – you regularly see stuttering. Sometimes you notice that animations are a bit smoother, but more often not. So you don’t have much of the 90Hz display and you can just as easily turn on the 60Hz option.
Also a pity: the OnePlus Nord N100 – despite the HD screen – cannot play HD videos from Netflix. This has to do with Widevine, a piece of software from Google that regulates digital rights management for various apps. To watch HD movies and series with the Netflix app you need Widevine Level 1, but the Nord N100 gets stuck at Level 3. Android Planet has asked OnePlus how this is exactly, but has not yet received a response.
Hardware and software: nothing special
The OnePlus Nord N100 is powered by a Snapdragon 460 processor, which can also be found in the Nokia 3.4 and Motorola Moto E7 Plus, for example. Also present is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space. You can expand the latter with a micro-sd memory card, which is a handy option. On the back is the fingerprint scanner and although it is not very fast, it works well.
The performance of the N100 is not great, but sufficient for the undemanding users. Apps start up fairly quickly and run fine, but everything is simply a bit slower than on (slightly) more expensive phones. You regularly see hiccups and the OnePlus smartphone has trouble keeping up with you, especially when multitasking. Simple games like Among Us and Fruit Ninja 2 run fairly smoothly again.
Unfortunately, there is also a lot to be said about the software. Although OxygenOS, the software that OnePlus puts over Android, is very nice to use, the Nord N100 does run on Android 10. This Android version is more than a year old. That is a shame, especially since the Nord N100 does not have to count on many updates.
OnePlus says the Nord N100 will only be updated to Android 11, a version that has been available for months. After that it stops and furthermore security updates only appear every few months. OnePlus is normally known for its excellent update policy, but with the Nord N100 you can really whistle for this.
Three rear cameras are limited
Usually you should not expect too much from the cameras of budget smartphones and that also applies to the new OnePlus Nord. There are three on the back: a 13 megapixel main camera, 2 megapixel macro camera and 2 megapixel depth sensor. A triple camera may sound great, but in practice it is not very useful.
The 2 megapixel macro camera, which you use to take pictures from very close up, works well and is fun to play with, but useful in only a limited number of situations. In addition, you should not expect too much from the snapshots; The 2 megapixel lens is simply too limited for that.
The 13 megapixel primary camera fares better, but it doesn’t take great photos. During the day, with enough sunlight, the results are fine and pictures look pretty nice. The camera does have a tendency to blow up colors slightly, making them look less lifelike. In less light, the Nord N100 has a very difficult time: there is no night mode and therefore photos quickly look dark, faded and there is a lot of noise.
Battery life is the biggest plus
The OnePlus Nord N100 should mainly rely on its battery life. The smartphone has a very long breath due to the large battery capacity of 5000 mAh, economical hardware and the HD screen. With normal use, the Nord N100 will last for two days without any problems and if you are a light user, you will have to charge even less often. With intensive use, the phone needs to be switched on after a day and a half, which is still excellent.
The problem, however, is that good battery life is not that distinctive in this price range. Many budget phones nowadays have a good battery life and the Nord N100 does not necessarily last much longer. The endurance is certainly a plus, but not something the Nord N100 really excels at.
The Nord N100 does support fast charging, and that goes with a maximum of 18 Watt via the USB-C port. It takes more than two hours to fully refill the battery and although that is not necessarily very fast, we think it is nice that OnePlus has added fast charging.
Nowadays you can find a lot of good smartphones for around 200 euros. Consider, for example, the Poco X3 NFC, a device with a slightly higher suggested retail price than the OnePlus N100, but much better specifications. For example, the smartphone has a faster processor, better screen with 120Hz support and stronger cameras.
If you want to spend less, you can go to the Nokia 5.3 and new Poco M3. The latter in particular has a very good price-quality ratio. You can also look at the Motorola Moto G9 Power that will be released soon, but the slightly older Moto G8 Power is also definitely worth a visit. These devices have – just like the Nord N100 – a good battery life, but are just a bit more complete and simply have more to offer.
Conclusion OnePlus Nord N100 review
The affordable OnePlus Nord N100 is not a bad smartphone, but also definitely not the best you can buy for 199 euros. The performance is mediocre and therefore the 90Hz screen is of little use. The software is also outdated, the update policy is moderate and the cameras do nothing special. We also regret that the phone – despite its price – feels rather cheap.
The problem is that the Nord N100 does nothing really well after battery life. In addition, there are simply better devices available in this price range, with, for example, faster hardware and a good price-quality ratio. The OnePlus Nord N100 does not have the latter, so it is better to ignore the phone.
Buy OnePlus Nord N100
The OnePlus Nord N100 has a suggested retail price of 199 euros and can be purchased separately or in combination with a subscription. In the comparator below you can see the current deals for a separate OnePlus Nord N100. Or view the deals with a subscription.
OnePlus Nord N100
Which OnePlus Nord N100 do you want?
OnePlus Nord N100 with subscription
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€ 13.00 p / m Abo: € 7.00 p / m Device: € 6.00 p / m
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