The OnePlus Nord N200 5G is a refreshed version of the more mid-range OnePlus Nord N100 that launched last year, with slightly better specs and, yes, 5G connectivity.
While it’s no surprise that OnePlus would release another affordable phone to make a play for the budget market, it is strange that the brand is only aiming it at the US and Canada – surely there are other regions that would appreciate OnePlus’ newest cheap phone. Which, in itself, feels like OnePlus trying to return to the lean, affordable yet powerful configuration that made the brand popular.
In our limited time with the phone, we felt its value come to the fore: a sleek, powerful phone with a great physical design that makes it feel more premium than its price would suggest. Its specs are reasonable but not awe-inspiring, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage.
The cameras leave a lot to be desired, with a 13MP main shooter taking decent photos. The other lenses – a 2MP depth and 2MP macro camera – are less interesting, and considering other budget phones are starting to feature ultra-wide cameras, it’s disappointing to see limited variety.
Overall, the OnePlus Nord N200 5G seems to be a good budget phone with a curiously limited release plan. Doubtless users in other countries would appreciate the OnePlus polish in a more affordable phone. In any case, its low price makes it a good price for what the phone does have: specs and 5G connectivity for cheap. You can’t get much better than that.
OnePlus Nord N200 5G price and availability
The OnePlus Nord N200 5G launched on June 21, to go on sale on June 25 in the US and Canada. The Nord N200 5G costs $239 (around £175 / AU$319), and comes in a single specs configuration.
As previously stated, the phone is only planned to release in the US and Canada, with no stated expansion to other regions. US consumers can buy the phone unlocked from OnePlus.com and online retailers (Best Buy, Amazon, and B&H) or with carrier support from T-Mobile and Metro.
The Nord N200 5G feels more premium than it needs to be for a budget phone. While cheaper phones look better than they ever have – the Moto G9 series is a great example – but OnePlus still looks a cut above.
Its back is, or feels like, glass, with a frosted finish we’d expect on a pricier phone. The front display’s bezel is pretty lean for a budget phone, while the punch-hole isn’t too big. Between both, the plastic sides feel smooth, with an almost chromed metal feel.
The phone doesn’t have an in-screen fingerprint sensor, but has the next-best thing: an extra-large lock button on the right side that includes fingerprint scanning. It’s pretty accurate and fast, too, with good placement close to where your thumb would naturally rest when holding the phone one-handed.
The remaining design is pretty perfunctory: thin volume buttons on the left side, a SIM slot above it, and nothing at the top but a microphone. The bottom has a USB-C slot in the middle, speaker to the right, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left.
The N200 5G packs a 6.49-inch IPS LCD display with Full HD Plus (2,400 x 1,080) resolution. As previously mentioned, the bezels aren’t too thick, giving it as sleek a look as could be expected for a budget phone. The punch-hole for the selfie camera is reasonably-sized, and won’t block much of the screen.
In our limited time with the phone, we found the display to be very serviceable, lacking a bit of sharpness but otherwise handling media and games well for a budget phone. The 90Hz refresh rate is also a nice touch for a budget phone, providing a smoother browsing and game-playing experience than the 60Hz refresh rate for displays on most low-cost phones.
The Nord N200 5G has a triple rear camera, though you won’t see an ultra wide or telephoto camera here – like other budget phones, the N200’s extra lenses are more supplementary: a macro camera and a monochrome sensor.
The phone has a 13MP f/2.2 main camera with EIS, which handles up-close photography and daytime photos decently fine, though it suffers in different light setups – shots with bright backgrounds in dim foregrounds (like, say, sitting in the shade at a sporting event) will darken the foreground and blow out the bright background. In our initial tests, it struggles with lighting.
The other two lenses – a 2MP f/2.4 macro and 2MP f/2.4 monochrome – don’t add much to the phone’s photo capabilities that we could tell. Also, we couldn’t find some basic settings like switching from 4:3 ratio to 16:9, leaving the phone feeling lacking compared to other budget phones’ camera arrays.
There’s also a 16MP front-facing camera, which we haven’t taken much time with.
6x zoom (maximum)
The Nord N200 5G doesn’t improve much on specs from its predecessor, sporting the same 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as the Nord N100. The chipset is what’s changed, from a Snapdragon 460 to a Snapdragon 480 5G.
That ‘5G’ connectivity capability is the real indicator of a potential advance in performance, given the higher spec required to connect to 5G networks. We’ll see how well it stacks up against the competition when we have a bit more time with the phone, but in early testing, its Geekbench 5 score of 1582 put its performance between benchmarks for the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5.
In our experience, the phone is powerful enough to handle casual browsing and media watching. The phone runs Android 11 out of the box, along with OnePlus’ OxygenOS overlay, which is still one of the cleaner custom overlays among phones. Expect little bloatware in terms of apps or settings, as well as some nice extras like the shut-out-everything Zen Mode.
The Nord N200 has a 5,000mAh battery – which, while unchanged from the N100, is still a huge amount that should last well into the second day of use. That capacity is equivalent to that on other big-battery budget phones – anything outside of the Motorola G9 Power’s colossal 6,000mAh battery.
The phone’s 18W charger included in the box is far from OnePlus’ fastest, but it works fine. In our early tests, it recharged about 40% of the battery in 30 minutes, which should juice up back to full from zero in an estimated 1.5 hours – not the best, but certainly not lagging behind, either.
The OnePlus Nord N200 5G feels like a high-quality phone for a great price, so it’s curious why the company isn’t releasing it more widely. If we had to guess, it’s that other regions may not cater well to a 5G-capable phone just yet – better to have more value in camera variety rather than potentially fast connectivity.
The cameras are the weak point of the phone, without much variation without either an ultra-wide or telephoto lens. Given that, the Nord N200 5G’s great design and reasonable display, combined with a huge battery, make the phone a great budget pick for someone who wants style and clean interfaces over photo capability.
This phone makes us wonder why OnePlus would hide its budget-designing savvy for so many years as its top-tier phones get priced higher and higher to compete with the best flagships of the day. It has the essentials and 5G connectivity – we’ll just have to test it more to understand if its reliability makes it a true titan of budget phones.