OnePlus Nord N300 review

OnePlus Nord N300 in-hand review

The entry-level OnePlus Nord N series has been successful in grabbing some of the budget segment over at Metro by T-Mobile and T-Mobile Prepaid users, even though the flagship OnePlus Nord series does not arrive to North American shores. Only available in the US, the OnePlus Nord N300 5G is a rebranded Oppo K10 5G with a few changes including Oxygen OS in place of Color OS.

OnePlus Nord N300
Image credit: GSMArena.com

The Nord N300 5G loses a 2MP macro camera as compared to its predecessor. The Nightscape function that OnePlus promotes on the N300 should work well with the 48MP main camera.

A desirable entry-level product is one with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner and a big 90Hz display. Fast charging, NFC, and support for 5G all improve the offering. We anticipate a long battery life thanks to the phone’s large 5000 mAh battery, which is hidden under its sleek design.

The N300 5G features a modern, flat-edged appearance. Although it is not quite an iPhone, there is definitely inspiration. The all-plastic construction is attractive, with a frame that has a metal-like feel and a back panel that has a shiny-matte surface. Yes, there are two of each type of flash to support the dual cameras.

With the N300, we anticipate certain performance improvements. Instead of the Snapdragon 480 found in the N200, the MediaTek Dimensity 810 in the N300 is more powerful. This time, there is quicker charging as well, and a SuperVOOC 33W charge adaptor is supplied in the box.

Unboxing of OnePlus nord 300

The Nord N300 is packaged in a conventional two-tone box with flashy embossed text along the side, similar to other midrange and entry-level OnePlus products. Only the plastic wrap that the device is wrapped in is made of plastic inside the container.

OnePlus Nord N300
Image credit: GSMArena.com

A cardboard document pack with a SIM removal tool and fast start instructions may be found within the box. The gadget, a USB-C to USB-A cable, and a USB-A SuperVOOC 33W charging converter are hidden underneath.

As is customary for OnePlus, the charging wire is red and only the device and adapter may handle SuperVOOC rates. The output of the wall adapter is either 5V @ 10A or 5-11V @ 3A.

Design

The Nord N300 has a straightforward yet elegant appearance and feel. Without a doubt, Apple is the source of the double-burner camera island and flat-edged frame. Although it has a plastic frame and rear cover, this does not necessarily indicate that it is a cheap phone. It’s difficult to believe there is a 5,000 mAh battery inside due to how thin the device is.

The only colour option that will be offered for the N300 is black, which isn’t really inspiring. The N300 lacks the color-shifting back cover that OnePlus has previously been able to achieve.

OnePlus Nord N300
Image credit: GSMArena.com

The camera island has two cameras, two LED flash modules, and the words “AI Dual Camera” on the back panel. This is also present on the Oppo K10 5G, which shares all of the N300’s dimensions, button locations, and camera components with it.

OnePlus Nord N300 review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

Build quality

As was already said, the phone is made of plastic. However, it is applaudable that the Nord 300’s plastic surface is matte rather than shiny. Smudges are evident even though fingerprints are harder to see.

OnePlus Nord N300 review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

The object feels solid. There is no squeaking or flexing even when pressure is applied to various body areas. No formal ingress protection is there, although the SIM tray does have a rubber seal, Motorola Edge 30 Fusion on the hands which is probably there to keep dust out. However, we wouldn’t gamble with the gadget close to water.

OnePlus Nord N300 review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

Although OnePlus hasn’t specified which precise type of glass is used, the display is shielded by 2.5D glass. Given the display’s flat design and dubious durability, a glass screen protector would be a smart choice.

Controls and concetivity

The N300 has a complete assortment of connectors and buttons. There is a volume rocker and SIM/microSD card slot on the left side, despite the absence of an alert slider.

OnePlus Nord N300 review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

At the bottom, next to the USB-C port, microphone, and loudspeaker, there is a headphone jack and a power key with an integrated fingerprint scanner on the right side, respectively.

It will take some practise to learn where the power key is by feel because it is flush with the frame and located right above the device’s midline.A standard set of sensors and connection features are available on the N300, including a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor, and accelerometers.

DISPLAY

The water-drop notch on the 6.53-inch IPS LCD display, which houses a 16MP selfie camera, is made of glass. The device’s display, which has a 1616 x 720 px resolution that will be obvious to the trained eye, is the most indicative of its “budget factor.” Good enough for most people, but a computer fanatic might not like it. The display has a 20.15:9 aspect ratio and a pixel density of 269 ppi.

OnePlus Nord N300 review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

The 90Hz refresh rate is supported by the monitor. We verified that the display will ramp up to 90Hz when scrolling or tapping, then drop to 60Hz after a short period of time. The YouTube app itself is constrained to 60Hz when playing a video and scrolling through the comments, for example, but we also confirmed that the display won’t remain limited to 60Hz when watching a YouTube video in PIP mode.

You can change a setting to force a return to the default 60Hz refresh rate by disabling the higher refresh rate.

Image credit: GSMArena.com

Additionally, you may hide the notch and choose whether or not apps use the whole screen in the Display settings. A video colour enhancer and a blue light filter are further options.

The Nord N300 shines brightly enough. In our display test, the LCD screen produced 623 nits with adaptive brightness turned on compared to 511 nits with the manual brightness slider. The minimum brightness was 1.4 nits at its lowest point.

Expect a less-than-perfect display here. The Nord N300 produced a maximum deviation of 12.2 and an average deltaE of 6.1. Remember that an eye cannot tell the difference between a deviation of 1 or 2. The display features cool-leaning hues and whites and greys with a bluish-magenta tint. The “Natural” colour profile, on the other hand, displays slightly less saturated colours and, while the precision in the figures is slightly better, it is still not very accurate.

The Natural setting with the colour temperature slider fully in the “warm” position produced the most accurate result for us. Grays and whites continue to be colder than the targets even then.

For the typical user, none of this will matter. Can you see the pixels? They are visible if you understand what it means. But this doesn’t change the reality that pictures and videos have an attractive aesthetic. The majority of users shouldn’t have any trouble scrolling social media apps or watching YouTube videos. Excellent viewing angles are also present, with no apparent colour shifting.

Battery Life

This device has a 5,000 mAh battery inside, and it received excellent battery endurance ratings. The Nord N300 achieved a commendable 114h of total endurance in our testing tests. With impressive web and video scores of 20:36h and 18:32h, respectively, 3G talk time was 40:16h.

The Nord N300’s battery life is excellent thanks to its sizable battery and power-efficient 6nm chipset.

OnePlus Nord N300 review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

For its 5,000 mAh battery, the Nord N300 comes with a SuperVOOC 33W power adaptor. The Nord N300 was 51% full after the first 30 minutes of charging. The battery needed 1:14 hours to fully recharge.

Although the charger settings have a “Optimized night charging” option, take in mind that the phone won’t be fully charged until the following morning. When optimised charging is activated, you’ll receive a notification and the choice to ignore it. Additionally, “Sleep standby optimization” and “High-performance mode” are choices that minimise background consumption while you sleep each night.

Fast charging of this magnitude is not usual in the US market, at least at midrange and entry-level price ranges.

Speaker

The Nord N300 can generate stereo sound despite its low price. The in-call receiver serves as a secondary speaker, and it combines the loudspeaker that faces downward. No matter which direction the phone is turned, the top speaker is always the left channel.

OnePlus Nord N300 review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

Watching videos while using this configuration may sound unbalanced because the lower speaker is always louder than the earpiece, as is the case with most loudspeakers. Over 90% volume, high-energy musical genres can sound distorted. At its loudest, spoken audio is clear and crisp. The Nord N300’s speakers are loud enough, despite the fact that we are unable to conduct our customary loudspeaker tests outside of our labs at headquarters.

Software

Customers of OnePlus did not like the Android 12 update when it first came out. It had significant issues, and the appearance and feel were very dissimilar from what OnePlus consumers were used to.

OnePlus Nord N300 review
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The performance and stability of OxygenOS 12 have improved. Even while Oxygen OS 12 no longer has a stock Android feel, it still has a tonne of features and customization options.

You can navigate using gestures or buttons. There are a few different button control layouts, and gesture navigation behaviour can be customised.

The Nord N300 has a second newsfeed, just like many of the Android devices that T-Mobile offers. This one includes “curated” T-Mobile content, such as TV shows and movies. T-Mobile’s free content, which includes movies, TV shows, news (video and written articles), and sports, is supported by advertisements.

The “OnePlus” shelf is one of Oxygen OS’s distinctive features. You can add widgets, programmes, or action shortcuts to the drawer by quickly pulling down from the corner’s upper right corner. You can also completely turn off the feature.

In addition to Shelf, Work Life Balance and Scout are two other essential components of OxygenOS. You can set up notification profiles in Work Life Balance for various situations, such as work or study time. The launcher includes Scout, an all-purpose search engine. It looks up apps, files, contacts, news, articles, articles about the weather, local places, SMS, notes, and more.

A carousel of apps appears as you switch between apps. You can start split screen for supported apps by tapping on the three-dot menu, lock the app so that the RAM manager won’t close it in the background, or hit “Manage” to see which apps are locked.

A “Dirac Audio Tuner” is available that offers a selection of pre-set sound profiles. Both a custom EQ and a tuner disablement option are absent. Otherwise, settings for haptic feedback and live captioning are available.

A calculator, Clone Phone for data transfer, My Files, Notes, Recorder, Weather, and Zen Mode are just a few of the included apps on the Nord N300.

Performance

We are familiar with MediaTek’s Dimensity 810 midrange chipset. It is a 5G chipset constructed using the effective 6nm manufacturing technique. It contains two quad-core clusters, each with four Cortex A-76 “large” cores running at 2.4GHz and four Cortex A55 “small” cores operating at up to 2.0GHz.

OnePlus Nord N300 review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

A tiny Mali G-57 MC2 with two cores powers the graphics, but it is unlikely to produce any noteworthy benchmark results. Nowadays, even graphically demanding games can be played with midrange hardware like this one. Only a few games can be played at 90 frames per second on the display.

When compared to the Snapdragon 680, the Dimensity 810 CPU in the Nord N300 managed to achieve slightly superior single-core results. Multi-core performance was equivalent to that of other phones in this category, including those with the Snapdragon 680 and Snapdragon 695.

The lower 720p+ resolution of the display contributed to the GPU’s strong performance within its capabilities. Even so, decent frame rates and games have a lot of promise, but to get there, the aesthetics will have to be scaled back.

You can configure up to 3GB of additional RAM that is borrowed from the storage space with OxygenOS 12. While you might not notice a difference, you might see that programmes will remain in the system memory before being removed from recent apps.

Here, performance stability is really good. During the entire hour-long CPU test, there was no throttling. The plastic body of the Nord N300 doesn’t really get warm even after prolonged use, keeping it surprisingly comfortable to the touch.

This is a decent gaming device with reasonably acceptable frame rates thanks to the Dimensity 810 and the 90Hz display. The games on this gadget will be enjoyable for children and casual users alike. Although it’s possible, more demanding games will probably result in a frame rate decline.

Oxygen OS comes with a game launcher that allows you to manage the phone’s resources when playing games in full screen. You can even change how the touch input functions.

CAMERA

The Nord N300 is a budget-friendly smartphone, and in recent years, 48MP cameras have gradually made their way down to this price range. The Nord N300 is no exception; it comes with a less practical camera.

The N300 has a selfie camera and two primary cameras. The f/1.8 aperture lens on the 48MP main camera produces 12MP photos with a pixel binning ratio of 4 to 1. JPEGs in their original resolution can also be used. The 2MP secondary camera, which is useless, only serves to record depth information for portrait photography.

We do wish OnePlus had chosen an 8MP ultrawide camera instead, given we’ve grown to anticipate one at most pricing ranges. It would have been simpler but more practical.

In contrast, the 16MP front-facing camera has a fixed focus lens and an f/2.0 aperture.

camera app

It’s simple to utilise the camera app. There are several camera modes, including Time Lapse, Slo-mo, Pano, Night, Video, Photo, Portrait, and Pro. Additionally, there is an Extra HD shooting mode, although with this camera, you wouldn’t want to upscale a snap to 108MP.

There are toggles for HDR, AI processing, 48MP mode, and flash in the default photo mode. Along with certain built-in filters, there is a shortcut for the retouching effect. A timed shutter and changing the aspect ratio from the default 4:3 to either 1:1, 16:9, or fullscreen are additional choices.

In the camera options, you may enable “tap to take” and “display palm” as well as apply a watermark, grid lines, levels, and mirror the selfies. Another choice is HEVC recording. When shooting pictures, the camera will also indicate if the lens is filthy.

OnePlus Nord N300 review
camera app settings. Image credit: GSMArena.com

Daylight photos

The 48MP camera produces 12MP photographs of daytime photos, and the quality of the images is adequate. In ideal lighting, the majority of photos appear sharp with strong dynamic range, but upon closer inspection, details may appear mushy. In some of the more difficult scenes with both light and dark areas, we also noticed colour fringing.

White balance wasn’t an issue; the phone was regularly able to capture precise white points and show colours correctly. The colours are eye-pleasing and not overly saturated. Although it may be improved, the dynamic range is adequate given the price. Contrast is also beneficial.

The camera app on the Nord N300 has an AI toggle that produces brighter colours and makes the image appear overall brighter by exposing the image’s brighter overall by lifting shadows and some mid-tones. Additionally, there is some extra sharpening that could increase noise and, in some cases, colour fringe. The increased saturation could give the images a slightly magenta tone.

When AI is used, blues and greens are deeper and more vibrant, but if the highlights are white clouds, the colours may look clipped and washed out. The majority of the time, photos with AI enabled are better suited for social media consumption.

Additionally, we photographed a few of the images at full quality. Even when taking images at their highest resolution, you can switch to AI mode.

Compared to the default method, full-resolution images unquestionably capture more detail. A closer look reveals that these images softly captured the details before being sharpened in the editing stage. Additionally, there is a noticeable amount of noise present in all of the images here, though it is only discernible by pixel peeping.

Similar to ordinary photos, 48MP shots with AI enabled are often brighter and more vibrant than non-AI enabled shots. There is no difference in the level of noise; if anything, the brighter shadows make it a little more obvious when peeping.

The best lighting conditions for using AI are when photographing a building against a background that is brighter than the subject.

2x Zoom

The Nord N300 does not have a dedicated zoom camera, but the camera app does provide a preset for 2X zoom. Here are some pictures that were taken using the camera mode.

Beautiful photos can be zomed. When pixel-peeping, there is some more observable noise, and there is also some extra sharpness to make up for the primary camera’s crop. Although the resolved details aren’t the best, the processing of the photographs does a nice job of masking that.

The 2X camera can also be used with AI mode, just as the other modes.

Similar to the 1X photographs, the AI shots will have more vibrant colours and overall brighter images due to more exposed shadows and high contrast.

portrait mode

Only the camera’s full 1X view can be used to take portrait mode photographs, though we wish there was a 2X option. Anyway, check out these portrait pictures.

We do like how portrait photos have nice bokeh that does incorporate some information from the depth sensor for a more realistic-looking picture.

Selfie camera

In favourable lighting circumstances, the front-facing camera produces attractive selfies with pleasing colours and lots of details.

Exposures are carefully controlled with excellent contrast and colour. Selfies with strong dynamic range and soft lighting appear their most attractive. Selfies are often flattering, but when closely examined, the details appear grainy. The images work well on social media.

Selfies taken in portrait orientation reveal the limitations of this camera, especially when done against vivid backgrounds. When artificial bokeh is used to blur the background highlights, the clipping highlights look better.

Video recording

The N300’s main and front cameras can only record in 1080p at 30 frames per second. Since neither the optical nor electronic stabilisation of the camera exists, any handheld video will be unsteady. Even a tripod on a windy day can cause severe shaking, as you can see in the video.

The primary camera can record 1080p video at up to 30 frames per second and has a 2X zoom setting, though it will crop from the same camera.

Our Verdict

In its planned US market, the Nord N300 will face competition from other entry- and mid-level smartphone options at major US carriers. The Nord N300 is a reliable gadget with a long battery life, a big display, a good camera, and quick software. In the US, it is also OnePlus’ most affordable model.

Image credit: GSMArena.com

The majority of people acquire devices through US carriers on instalment plans, so a $50–$100 differential amounts to a few dollars extra per month. We believe that the Nord N20 5G provides a better value due to its prettier, higher resolution AMOLED screen (with in-display scanner), one additional useful camera (ultrawide), and better CPU performance, even though it costs about $60 more. We would gladly accept the slight reduction in battery capacity in exchange for these improvements.

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