We’re not going to deny that the Nord 2T existed, but it was such a minor upgrade that only brought faster 80W Super VOOC charging and nothing else. Thankfully, the Nord 3 has access to this charging system.
Commence at the beginning. The dual-glass, dual-circle camera setup that has been synonymous with the OnePlus brand will remain on the OnePlus Nord 3, albeit with some minor changes. The design is neater without the protruding rectangular camera housing, and the phone is now officially IP54-rated for dust and splash resistance.
A 6.74-inch display with a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate, 10-bit color depth, up to 1000Hz touch sensitivity, and HDR10+ support with Netflix and Prime support out of the box make up the Fluid AMOLED, which is now bigger, faster, and more colorful.
Next, let’s talk about the chipset. It is the flagship-grade Dimensity 9000 5G, a significant upgrade over the Dimensity 1200/1300 in the previous generation with a powerful processor and graphics capable of taking down flagships. Yes, we had to mention those famous words.
A 50MP OIS primary camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera, and a 2MP macro camera make up the triple camera on the back, which at first glance is identical to the one on the Nord 2. However, the primary camera now uses a premium Sony IMX890 sensor (also found on the OnePlus 11 and Oppo Find X6 Pro), which should result in better photos and videos. Additionally, 4K at 60 fps video capturing was possible because to the new hardware platform.
Additionally, the OnePlus Nord 3 has stereo speakers that can support Dolby Atmos, a huge 5,000mAh battery with 80W SuperVOOC charging, and Android 13 with the most recent OxygenOS 13.1 UI.
OnePlus Nord 3 specs at a glance:
- Body: 162.0×75.1×8.15mm, 194g; Glass front (Dragontrail glass), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), plastic frame, IP54, dust and water splash resistant
- Display: 6.74″ Fluid AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1240x2772px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 390ppi.
- Chipset: Mediatek MT6983 Dimensity 9000 (4 nm): Octa-core (1×3.05 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.85 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A510); Mali-G710 MC10.
- Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 16GB RAM; UFS 3.1.
- OS/Software: Android 13, OxygenOS 13.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.8, 24mm, 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.2, 120˚; Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4.
- Front camera: 16 MP, f/2.0, (wide).
- Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@60fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS.
- Battery: 5000mAh; 80W wired.
- Connectivity: 5G; Dual SIM; Wi-Fi 6; BT 5.3, aptX HD; NFC.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); stereo speakers.
The Quad-Bayer 16MP selfie camera is one feature that is initially not obvious. These types of selfie cameras shouldn’t be seen on mid-range or worse, luxury mid-range smartphones, at least not at this quality.
Let’s take this Nord out of its box now that we have cleared it up.
Unboxing the OnePlus Nord 3
Black packaging with blue Nord logos is how the Nord 3 is shipped. The phone itself, which has a protective film already on it, an 80W power adapter, and one of the recognizable red USB cables (A-C) are all found within.
The big paper section has no protective casing inside, despite its size. Instead, you will discover some paperwork, a thank-you note from Nord, and an exclusive Red Cable membership card.
The OnePlus Nord 3 shares a number of similarities with the Nord 2 and 2T, including the alert slider, but it has been thoughtfully improved, and we believe many people will enjoy the updated design.
Still a dual-glass smartphone with a plastic frame, the Nord 3 is this. The Gorilla Glass 5 has been replaced with Dragontrail glass, and the screen cover is now totally flat. Our Misty Green model includes a glossy Gorilla Glass 5 rear panel with a 2.5D edge, and the plastic frame is flat and matte.
A variation called Tempest Gray is also available; it has a matte backside.
The first and most noticeable significant design change is the redesigned camera housing. There are still two black circles that can hold all cameras, but there is no additional rectangular enclosure. The Nord 3 now has a little more upscale and flagship-like appearance.
The official IP54 rating for splash and dust resistance is the second one. The phone will be protected from water splashing and spraying for 5 to 10 minutes even though it is not completely waterproof like the Galaxy A models and has an IP53 rating greater than the typical Redmi.
Finally, the screen bezels, particularly the chin, have been significantly decreased and are now uniformly thin—thinner than, say, the most recent iPhones Pro. Nice!
Now let’s look more closely.
A feast for the eyes, the new 6.74-inch Fluid AMOLED is brilliant, quick, vivid, and has a tiny punch hole. It has a lot more updates and is bigger than Nord 2’s. And as we have noted, the bezels are narrower.
The earpiece, which also serves as a stereo speaker, is located above the screen. For the sake of acoustic balance, this one also incorporates a top-facing sound outlet on the frame.
Like on other modern smartphones, the fingerprint sensor is located beneath the screen and is quick and accurate. The OxygenOS launcher includes a Quick Launch feature that allows you to swipe toward one of five predetermined shortcuts by scanning and holding your fingertip for a brief period of time.
The glossy mint back is very slick and gorgeous. It has two black camera rings, the 1+ logo, and two holes that resemble ring lights.
The 50MP OIS primary camera is housed in the top black circle, while the single-LED flash is located directly next to it outside.
The 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro cameras are located on the bottom sickle. You can see what appears to be another LED flash outside, but it isn’t. This is a sensor, possibly for measuring color temperature.
The two camera housings protrude from the back, yet they do so subtly and still manage to look good. The Nord 3 trembles little when placed on a desk, although not as much as the earlier models did.
The flat, matte plastic frame greatly improves grip.
At the top, there is an IR blaster, a second microphone, and a speaker outlet.
The USB-C port, dual SIM slots, main microphone, and second stereo speaker are all located on the bottom of the Nord 3.
On the left side, there is only the volume key.
The power/lock key and the 3-position alert slider are located on the right. The slider features a ribbed texture and superb feedback.
The OnePlus Nord 3 is 3mm taller, 2mm wider, and 4 grams heavier than the OnePlus Nord 2 and measures 162.0×75.1×8.15mm and weighs 194 grams. We may conclude that OnePlus has very much managed to put a larger OLED, and battery, within the same casing, given the larger display’s reduced bezels.
The matte frame and simple rear of the phone provide good grip. With its straightforward layout and appealing colors, it also looks terrific. When handling the Nord 3, it feels and looks high-end, and we value the IP54 classification because it adds an added layer of security.
Overall, we were really pleased with the new Nord 3, and we especially like how narrow the bezels are.
The 6.74-inch Fluid AMOLED on the OnePlus Nord 3 is larger and has a high resolution of 2772 x 1240 pixels, or 450 ppi. This is a significant improvement over the 6.43-inch 1080p (409 ppi) OLED on the Nord 2. A Dragontrail glass shields it.
The panel boasts the smallest punch holes we’ve recently seen as well as the thinnest bezels.
The new Fluid AMOLED has a dynamic refresh rate of 120Hz (40Hz-120Hz), 10-bit color depth support for over a billion colors, a touch response speed of up to 1000Hz, and HDR10+ streaming.
With support for 8192 distinct brightness levels, OnePlus claims a peak brightness of 1450 nits.
Our display test is over, and the OnePlus Nord 3 performed admirably. When we manually adjusted the brightness, we measured 516 nits of maximum brightness, and an astonishing 1114 nits of maximum automatic brightness when we faced the screen with bright light. The Nord 3 appears fully capable of hitting the promised 1450 nits of peak brightness at around APL 25%, as we test for the maximum auto brightness at APL 75%.
Just 2.1 nits are the absolute lowest brightness at point white.
The OxygenOS for the OnePlus Nord 3 includes four color modes. In the two Pro modes, you can select between Cinematic (the most accurate P3) and Brilliant (the greatest color range) options. Vivid corresponds to the DCI-P3 color space, Natural to the sRGB color space. The color temperature can be adjusted in any of these settings.
With the exception of the slightly bluish white and grays, the default Vivid color choice provides excellent accuracy towards P3 objects. On the other hand, the Natural mode and Cinematic Pro offer exceptional precision to P3 and sRGB spaces, respectively.
Three refresh rate settings are available on the OnePlus Nord 3: Auto Select, High, and Standard.
The 120Hz maximum is used across the user interface and some supported apps in the High and Auto modes, whereas 60Hz is used for static images, video playback (but not video UI), and incompatible programs like Google Maps and the Camera app.
The Auto Mode is a little more constrained; it evaluates the app before deciding whether or not to use 120Hz. Many apps, including the Gallery, some web browsers, video apps like Netflix, and office apps, among others, were found to use 90Hz or 60Hz instead of the maximum 120Hz.
Sadly, we never witnessed the screen utilize the promised 40Hz.
The last choice is the Standard one, which is simple: the phone always uses a 60Hz refresh rate, and all apps are limited to 60fps.
HDR and streaming
Widevine L1 DRM support and an HDR10+ certified display are included in the OnePlus Nord 3. YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video all acknowledge its HDR10 compatibility.
Three aesthetic improvements are available in the Display settings menu: Image Sharpener, Video Color Boost, and Bright HDR Video Mode.
Low-quality photographs and movies have their clarity improved by image sharpener. Naturally, it consumes more battery, and we’re not clear when it actually activates. It probably works with loaded compatible apps, but we didn’t have any.
Video Color Boost uses more battery power while attempting to expand the color range in SDR footage. Again, we didn’t have any of the few apps that were available for it.
When watching HDR videos, the Bright HDR Video Mode boosts brightness and enhances the HDR viewing experience. Of course, it also leads to an increase in power usage.
Since the Nord 2, the OnePlus Nord 3 battery’s capacity has increased by 500mAh, reaching a maximum of 5,000mAh. We assume that the slightly larger chassis and larger display also made room for an additional battery.
The OnePlus Nord 3 performed exceptionally well in all three of the major tests—calling, web browsing, and looped video playback—and earned a 103-hour endurance rating (compared to 102 hours for the Nord 2).
Similar to the Nord 2T and an improvement over the Nord 2, the Nord 3 enables 80W SuperVOOC charging. Naturally, the 80W power adapter and a genuine 10A-rated red cable come with the Nord 3.
According to official charging times provided by OnePlus, a full charge should take 32 minutes to finish while 15 minutes should provide 60% of the power.
In contrast, 15 minutes of charging restored 61% of the drained battery in just 5 minutes. The official OnePlus promise of exactly 32 minutes for a full charge was met. We’re pleased that our test results agreed with the official figures.
Keep in mind that the phone needs an additional 10 minutes to show after reaching 100%. Fully charged, which is usual for phones built by BBK.
Stereo speaker with Dolby Atmos
Like the Nord 2, the OnePlus Nord 3 has two stereo speakers. It’s a hybrid setup where the top speaker has just one grille while the bottom speaker has two and seems louder. The top speaker features both front-facing and top-facing grilles.
The audio from the speakers is balanced and offers similar audio quality, although the bottom one is actually louder.
The Nord 3T scored a Very Good mark on our loudness test. The sound quality is also very good with great vocals and high frequencies, and even some bass. The sound is rich and nicely deep.
With the most recent OxygenOS UI version 13.1, the OnePlus Nord 3 boots Android 13 and is largely compatible with Oppo’s ColorOS (the foundation of all BBK launchers) and Realme’s UI 4.0. As usual, don’t anticipate seeing much of the Android 13. Even yet, the custom UI version includes the energy optimizations, media controls, color customizations, and privacy updates, among other improvements.
On the Nord 3, OnePlus guarantees three OS iterations and four years of security upgrades. The Nord 3 has also passed the TÜV SÜD 48-Month Fluency Test with an A-rating, meaning it should function just as well four years from now as it did on day one.
The Omoji library has been expanded, and new health features including the Zen Space app, O-Relax app, and two specifically designed Zen relaxation modes (Deep Zen and Light Zen) have been added in OxygenOS 13.1, a minor update over version 13 from the OnePlus 11 phones. The Game Assistant – Championship mode and music playback control include some new features.
OxygenOS 13 features a more modern appearance and uses a recognizable theme that is also present on Oppo and Realme smartphones. OxygenOS 13 includes the Media Controls from Android 13 as well as improved notification and control centers and cleaner animations.
Exclusive OnePlus clock widgets in the OxygenOS’s trademark red color are available.
The optical under-display scanner on the Nord 3 performs admirably and is as quick as they come. It also supports fingerprint unlock. For an even faster unlock, you can also set up face unlock, however it is less safe.
The option of an always-on screen is available, and while it can display the standard information like the time, date, notification icons, and battery, you may choose to not see some of it. The AOD supports a number of themes, clocks, and even personalized drawing patterns. Additionally, Spotify media controls are supported by the AOD.
The AOD may be scheduled, power-saving (hidden after a brief time of inactivity), or always on.
While we’re on the subject of customization, OxygenOS 13 is adaptable in this regard. In Settings, there is a whole page devoted to style (including wallpapers). You can swap between live and static backgrounds, icon packs, quick toggle icon shapes, typefaces, and whole other color schemes to alter how Oxygen appears overall. There are other AOD themes and animations for fingerprint scanners available as well. Edge Lighting, which is separate from the Always-On Display, may also be turned on and off.
Simple homescreens, a clear and uncluttered notification/toggle area, and an intuitive task switcher are all features of the launcher. Additionally, there is an App drawer that is as clutter-free as one could want for. If you’d prefer, you can choose not to use the app drawer.
Large Folders are now supported by the new launcher. A folder can be made bigger or smaller.
Additionally, there are three distinct dark variations of the dark mode.
If you desire complete control over your Android OS, the settings menu contains a number of strong tools.
Because it’s so simple to resize an app while you’re using it, you can also minimize it to a floating window, also known as a flexible window. Drag and drop allows you to transfer files between full-screen and flexible programs.
Flexible windows can be found in the Sidebar or Task Switcher. You can use the well-known Split Screen or one of these options if an app is supported.
The Sidebar, meanwhile, is a well-known feature; it is a little visible mark on the side of the screen that grows into a menu once you swipe on it. The actions for this menu and the app shortcuts that show up there are both customizable.
OnePlus’ Smart Sidebar does not support background streaming, in contrast to Realme smartphones.
The RAM Expansion function is also supported by the OnePlus Nord 3. As implied by the name, this feature enables you to virtually increase the RAM on your smartphone by utilizing the device’s internal storage. You can increase your virtual RAM by 4GB to 12GB. OnePlus has set 4GB as the default configuration for this feature, which is turned on by default.
The lone multimedia app offered by OnePlus, Photos, also supports videos. You rely on Google for everything else.
In addition to Google’s Files app, OnePlus also provides its own File Manager application. IR Remote and (1+) Community apps are further options.
The Zen Space app is also part of OxygenOS, which enables you to concentrate without being distracted by your phone by simply disabling it. Several established modes, like Deep Zen, Light Zen, Work, and Study, are available, but you can also create your own.
There is also the O Relax app, which offers a selection of relaxing music tracks and background nature noises.
When using 120fps, the UI feels wonderful and is uncluttered and simple to use. However, it still has a lot of potent tools that you may utilize if you chose to delve further.
The flagship Dimensity 9000 4nm chipset found in the OnePlus Find N2 Flip is also used by the OnePlus Nord 3. One ARM Cortex-X2 core operating at up to 3.05 GHz, three Cortex-A710 ones operating at up to 2.85 GHz, and four Cortex-A510 ones operating at up to 1.8 GHz are all included in the CPU arrangement.
These are coupled with an 850 MHz, 10-core Mali-G710 MC10 GPU.
Additionally, the Nord 3 has 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB or 256GB of UFS3.1 storage.
It’s time to do some testing now.
As per usual, we begin with Geekbench, the most well-known CPU test. Here, both the single-core and multi-core tests yielded competitive results for the Nord 3 and its Dimensity 9000 chipset.
The Nord 3 has a resolution higher than 1080p and does not support high frame rate gaming or benchmarking until a specific developer/OnePlus relationship develops, therefore the onscreen GPU tests are not particularly spectacular.
All of our benchmarks so far have shown that the Nord 3 boasts flagship-level hardware. Even though it can handle any task or game with ease, high frame rate gaming would have made it even better.
Let’s have a look at a few stress tests before we finish this. The OnePlus Nord 3 performed flawlessly on the CPU Throttling Test, achieving a superb score of 80% stability. Additionally, since it’s summertime in this area, it should be noted that the test was conducted in a somewhat warm environment.
The Nord 3 maintained its peak performance for 10 minutes before dropping to 55.4% and being throttled for the remainder of the 3D Mark stress test.
OnePlus claims that the Nord 3 has an enhanced passive cooling system, but given that the phone also received a big hardware boost, it’s only reasonable that stress test performance has declined. However, we witnessed no genuine throttling happening for the majority of uses, including gaming, and the phone always performed quickly and smoothly.
On the back of the OnePlus Nord 3, there is the recognizable triple arrangement with a high-resolution 50MP OIS main, an 8MP ultrawide, and a 2MP macro camera. On paper, these appear to be identical to the cameras on the Nord 2, but the primary sensor has been changed to a premium Sony IMX890.
A 50MP Sony IMX890 1/1.56″ camera with 1.0 m pixels with all-pixel omnidirectional focusing, sometimes known as Octa-PD AF, is now the main camera on the Nord 3. A 24mm f/1.8 stabilized lens is attached to it.
The 16mm f/2.2 lens on the ultrawide camera is mounted behind an 8MP Sony IMX 355 sensor. Autofocus is not present.
The 2MP GalaxyCore GC02M1 sensor is used by the macro camera.
Last but not least, the selfie camera on the Realme 2 is a little underwhelming. It has the same 16MP Sony IMX 471 1/3″ Quad-Bayer sensor with 1.0m pixels and a 24mm f/2.4 lens as the one on a few of the company’s earlier phones. The focal point is set.
The camera app is the well-known one from OnePlus, Oppo, and Realme. There are less menus, which is nice because the most of the modes are now on the main rolodex.
The viewfinder in the basic Photo mode features AI Scene, which is similar to an advanced HDR mode and can stack multiple images to provide even greater dynamic range enhancements. Still, the increased color saturation is the most obvious “improvement”. Also accessible is auto HDR.
Three zoom shortcuts are now available: 0.6x, 1x, and 2x.
The primary camera has a Pro setting that lets you adjust exposure (ISO in the 100-6400 range and shutter speed in the 1/8000s-30s range), white balance (by light temperature, no presets), manual focus (in arbitrary 0 to 1 units with 0 being close focus and 1 being infinity), and exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV in 1/6EV increments). Also available is RAW.
The primary camera saves 12.5MP images, which are generally decent but not perfect. The colors are well rich and vivid, even a little over the top, and there is lots of resolved information in each photo. There is also no discernible noise.
The dynamic range is strong, but not excessively vast, and the contrast is consistently high, creating a pleasingly realistic appearance.
The images have some over-sharpening that is a touch severe, which makes them appear over processed when seen at 100% magnification. We hope that OnePlus will address this in a subsequent software upgrade.
2X Zoom photos
The OnePlus Nord 3 offers a 2x high-quality zoom that is quite nice. The photographs have mediocre detail, but they are obviously not just a “crop and upscale” production. Similar to conventional images, these include vivid colors, excellent contrast, and a wide dynamic range. They are also noise-free. They are more like something in the middle, not quite on par with any 2x optical zoom camera, but also not just a simple digital zoom.
All things considered, even at the default 12MP resolution, those are fine for sharing, but they are considerably better when reduced to around 8MP. Additionally, we can categorically say that the 2x zoom is of great quality.
There is a high resolution 50MP option, however it only saves upscaled versions of the 12.5MP photographs that are saved by default, so we don’t really see the use in it.
The 8MP images taken by the ultrawide camera are excellent; they have sufficient resolved detail, little noise, decent contrast, and a good dynamic range.
The colors are a little flat, perhaps a little desaturated. Additionally, the overprocessed appearance is still evident; it appears that the photographs were overly sharpened before being smoothed to cover it up.
The 2MP macro camera is the third and last camera on the rear. It preserves very subpar images with middling resolution, discernible noise, and unpredictable colors that can be accurate and true to life or desaturated and washed out. Although we didn’t have big hopes for this camera, it unfortunately turned out to be very subpar.
The 16MP selfie camera on the OnePlus Nord 3 has a Quad-Bayer color filter, therefore by default, 4MP photographs should be saved. That is obviously not the case. In its place, this camera produces upscaled 16MP photos, just like on many Realme, Oppo, OnePlus, and Xiaomi phones.
So even if their degree of detail is not spectacular, the 16MP selfies are still rather nice. The dynamic range is adequate, the colors are fantastic, the contrast is excellent, and the subject is properly illuminated. In pictures shot in good lighting, the noise is maintained fairly low, but if the lighting is not optimal, the noise will increase.
The Nord 3 does not have a depth sensor, although Portrait mode is still accessible. The portraits we took with the Nord 3 are excellent; the subjects are expertly separated, the blur is realistic, and the images are clear, contrasty, colorful, and noise-free. Where appropriate, Auto HDR assists, and we have never encountered a limited dynamic range.
In contrast to Realme phones, the OnePlus Nord 3 features Auto Night Mode, which cannot be disabled. On the primary and ultrawide cameras, it almost always works in low light, but it doesn’t work on the 2x zoom. You must use the specific Night Mode from the rolodex if you want Night Mode for your zoomed photographs.
The default photographs, which just take a second or less to snap, are excellent. There is plenty of resolved information, perfect sharpness, and little to no noise. The photographs have excellent color presentation throughout, terrific exposure, and a wide dynamic range.
2X Zoom photos
The photographs taken at a 2x zoom are good; they have once again been taken at a high zoom and are not just cropped and upscaled. If there is enough light, the images would end out well, with enough detail, tolerable noise, and decent colors. The Auto Night Mode never activates when shooting those.
The Night Mode at 2x zoom upscales and cuts the original Night Mode image before saving the digitally zoomed (i.e., with half detail) image.
The ultrawide photographs typically took 1.5 to 2 seconds to take, and they were likewise very good quality. They have great color saturation, good brightness, adequate detail, good noise reduction, an astonishingly wide dynamic range.
With the exception of the macro cameras, the Nord 3 can record videos. The primary camera has 1080p video at both 30fps and 60fps, as well as 4K video at 60 frames per second. The maximum video resolution for the ultrawide and selfie cameras is 1080p@30 frames per second.
Both the h.264 and h.265 codecs are available.
Electronic stabilization is always on for the rear cameras and optional for the front camera, which is a major shame because it doesn’t function in 4K quality.
The camera app is incredibly liberal with the bit rates; 1080p/30fps film using the h.264 codec is given a comparable above-average 25Mbps while 4K footage receives 50Mbps. The sound is stereo, and the audio bitrate is 256Kbps.
It’s simple to adore the OnePlus Nord 3 because of its amazing high-resolution display and astoundingly tiny bezels and cutouts. In this price bracket, the premium hardware is a real pleasure, as are the flagship battery life and charging. Additionally, we cannot help but enjoy the IP54-rated body, a considerate choice that adds an extra measure of security.
There is no denying that the camera has improved since the Nord 2. Both the main camera and the ultrawide shooter capture stunning images and videos, day and night. Sure, it was a little over-processed, but it was still superior to what Nord 2 had to offer.
The macro camera performed really poorly, and the selfie camera is a little disappointing. However, it is a true crime to not have electronic stabilization for the 4K videos. The Quad-Bayer selfie sensor is also included.
The OnePlus Nord 3 does not support high frame rate gaming because it is a BBK-made phone.
The Nord 3 still manages to surprise us with its screen, performance, speakers, charging speed and battery life, overall camera quality, and seamless OxygenOS despite these flaws. Additionally, it launches at a reasonable price, so we definitely advise including the Nord 3 on your shortlist, somewhere among the top choices.
Pros & Con’s
- Dual-glass design with an IP54 rating and lovely colors.
- Outstanding display with support for HDR10 and high resolution, brightness, and refresh rate.
- Excellent battery life and quick charging in abundance.
- balanced Dolby Atmos speakers that are loud.
- Outstanding performance.
- Reliable picture and video quality, excluding macro, from all cameras.
- Oxygen in fluid OS.
- EIS is not available in 4K.
- Poor macro pictures and a basic selfie camera are both flaws.
- No high frame rate gaming, as this could cause throttling on the GPU.