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the cheapest OnePlus does not excel at anything

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.

oneplus nord n100 review

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.

oneplus nord n100 review

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.

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