PCWorld (USA)

Why this $240 5G phone is worth checking out

The Oneplus Nord N200 5G is surprising­ly good for the price.

- BY ADAM PATRICK MURRAY

The Oneplus Nord N200 5G took me by surprise. It costs just $240, yet I can’t believe how many great features it shares with the Oneplus 9 Pro, which costs almost four times as much. If you want fast 5G speeds and a great Android OS experience on a budget, then the N200 is worth a look.

You can see the Oneplus Nord N200’s budget bones in the specificat­ions below. Don’t be expecting the highest-end processor, gobs of RAM, or a luscious AMOLED display, such as the one you’ll find on the Oneplus 9 Pro. However, the N200 is still well sized, fairly thin and light, and adequately equipped.

Price: $240 or $9/month (for 24 months) at T-mobile ( go.pcworld.com/24tm) and other carriers

Size: 163.1x74.9x8.3 mm

Weight: 189g

Screen: 6.49-inch, 1080x2400 IPS 90Hz LCD

Operating system (OS): Android 11

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 480

RAM: 4GB LPDDR4X

Storage: 64GB UFS2.1, expandable micro SD up to 256GB

Battery: 5000mah

Cameras: 13MP main, 2MP macro, 2MP monochrome, 16MP selfie

Security: Side-mounted fingerprin­t reader, face unlock

Over the last several years I’ve often recommende­d Oneplus phones to people looking for the best price/ performanc­e ratio. As someone who typically rocks the latest and greatest flagship that’s out there, I was neverthele­ss bracing myself, expecting Oneplus would give up too much in the pursuit of a lower price. Luckily, most of what I enjoy about the Oneplus 9 Pro remains in the Nord N200 5G.

One of the main selling points for Oneplus phones has been the company’s take on Android, called Oxygenos. It skillfully mixes the simplicity and ease of use found in Google Pixel phones with smart enhancemen­ts like what you see in the wildly popular Samsung Galaxy devices. The N200 rocks the same great Oxygenos experience found on its more expensive siblings: a clean notificati­on shade, easy-to-use swipe navigation, a

well-laid-out settings app, and so much more that I love.

Great physical features include the side fingerprin­t reader, which I like better than the under-screen implementa­tion found in recent flagship Samsung Galaxy devices. The Nord N200’s screen features a nice 90Hz refresh rate for smoother scrolling action. I can’t go back to 60Hz, and I’m happy to find a fast display on a device this cheap.

I didn’t even come close to filling up the 54 usable gigabytes of internal storage, but if I had, the phone offers expandable storage via SD card. Factor in the headphone jack, and the N200 gives you two features you’d be hard-pressed to find on many flagship phones anymore.

Of course, this budget phone has some compromise­s. Battery life on its 5,000mah pack was surprising­ly inconsiste­nt. Charging speeds top out at 18 watts, and there’s no fast-charging option either. The FHD+ IPS screen is decent when you’re looking straight at it, but it quickly looses its luster when viewed off-angle. Stressing the phone with heavy tasks like playing games can bog it down. In fact, there is stuttering across the board when something intensive is happening in the background, like updating apps.

Probably the hardest part for me to swallow was the camera performanc­e. Even though there is a triple lens setup around the back side, the configurat­ion is not standard. You get a

13MP main lens and two 2MP ancillary lenses— one for macro work, one for monochrome shots. While the hardware may be comparable to the Oneplus 9 Pro’s, the processing on the Snapdragon 480 just can’t keep up. Real-time views on the device while you line up the shot are lower-res and not fully indicative of the photo you’re about to take. To make matters worse, the lack of optical image stabilizat­ion (OIS) combined with a subpar electronic image stabilizat­ion (EIS) resulted in a couple of blurry photos in broad daylight.

When you stop to think about how many high-end features of yesteryear have made it down to a sub-$300 phone, it boggles my mind. I remember the first 90Hz screen I used on a high-end phone not too long ago, and now users with stricter budgets can enjoy some of the same great experience­s.

So it doesn’t take the best photos, the screen isn’t knockdown gorgeous, and not as many apps stay in memory compared to $1,000+ phones. But why would you expect that? The Oneplus Nord N200 5G is worth considerin­g for anyone who wants the fastest connectivi­ty and one of the best Android OS experience­s available. They can have it—with plenty of money left in their wallet.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? The design is classic Oneplus: Love it or hate it.
The design is classic Oneplus: Love it or hate it.
 ??  ?? Look similar? The same great OS experience you find on the Oneplus 9 Pro is available on the N200.
Look similar? The same great OS experience you find on the Oneplus 9 Pro is available on the N200.
 ??  ?? Don’t expect lots of detail in landscape shots like this.
Don’t expect lots of detail in landscape shots like this.
 ??  ?? No Hasselblad here: Oneplus 9 Pro camera (left) and Oneplus Nord N200 5G camera (right).
No Hasselblad here: Oneplus 9 Pro camera (left) and Oneplus Nord N200 5G camera (right).
 ??  ?? You’ve got to keep your hand steady and hold on every shot to make sure you’ve captured it.
You’ve got to keep your hand steady and hold on every shot to make sure you’ve captured it.
 ??  ?? If you can manage that, you can take some really nice photos.
If you can manage that, you can take some really nice photos.

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