Now that the main line of OnePlus handsets are the flagships, has OnePlus become that which it sought to challenge? If the only handsets available were those at the top of the specifications tree, then yes that would be the case. But it’s not.

The OnePlus Nord line feels spookily like the original promise of OnePlus – to deliver flagship levels of quality at a much lower price. With the heavily trailed launch of the OnePlus Nord 2T today, that journey continues.

The “T” designation is a good indicator of OnePlus’ approach to the handset. Much of it is similar to the OnePlus Nord 2 released in July 2021. Although some areas have seen a bump in specs.

Take charing. The OnePlus Nord 2T has the same optimised charing as the OnePlus 10 Pro. specifically 80W charging that will take the 4500 man battery from empty to two-thirds in 15 minutes, and to full charge in 27 minutes. OnePlus still ships the full ‘fast charger’ in the box so there’s no extra purchase to get the faster rates.

OnePlus is moving to 6nm in the system on chip, and the move from the Dimensity 1200 to the Dimensity 1300 means at a base level there is more performance and endurance in Nord 2T over the Nord 2. Practically that improves the likes of image processing, HDR video recording, and the other AI-powered systems in the handset.

The Dimensity chip is backed up with either 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, or 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. Here in the UK these are priced at £369 and £469 respectively… putting the Nord 2T squarely in the traditional OnePlus “Flagship Killer” space.

There are a lot of similarities to the Nord 2 in the Nord 2T. You have a similar screen display running with a 90 Hz refresh rate. With other handsets in this price range offering 120 Hz this feels like one of the areas where costs have been considered. To me, this feels like an area where the right decision has been made. One thing that has been added to the screen is more ambient light sensors, now on the front and the rear of the handset, to help get the auto screen brightness just right, no matter where you are.

Imaging remains a battleground in the smartphone market. While OnePlus has made strides in this area and comfortably reaches “above average” the final percentage point seems to elude the Shenzhen based company. On the higher speed devices, you have the partnership with Hasselblad clearly on show. Here there’s no mention, but again I’m not so sure that the target market is going to be looking for that last push.

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The pictures taken by the OnePlus Nord 2T, especially those taken in good light, are more than good enough, although like the screen, the hardware specs remain the same as last year’s Nord 2. The 50-megapixel sensor captures light well, and there’s a nice bias towards high contrast and vivid colours in the processing. It’s not as in your face as a few years ago, so there’s some good balancing going on by the imaging team.

Start pushing the camera and their love of sharpening in the processing is apparent.

The OnePlus Nord 2T feels like a point upgrade to last year’s OnePlus Nord 2. Everything still works, everything is broadly similar, and components have been updated where possible with this year’s choice rather than last year, but this is more of a spring clean on Nord 2 than it is a new device.

Those watching the smartphone markets carefully will no doubt be trying to unwrap what OnePlus has shown today, trying to link it back to other devices from the likes of Oppo, Vivo, and RealMe. This is a great game to be going on with, but I don’t think that matters too much to the audience that the Nord 2T is aimed at. They want a reliable device, from a name they recognise, that will deliver a good experience.

There are always compromises at this price point, so with some caveats, it’s easy to add the OnePlus Nord 2T to the list of handsets to consider.

Now read the latest smartphone headlines in Forbes’ weekly Android Circuit column…

Disclaimer: OnePlus supplied a OnePlus Nord 2T for review purposes.

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