The OnePlus Nord CE4: Evaluating battery longevity and software seamlessness

OnePlus’ Nord series of smartphones, though not always super clear in terms of naming scheme, has been the cash cow for the company for the past several quarters. There’s Nord, Nord CE, and also Nord CE Lite, the latest being the Nord CE4, which is priced at Rs. 24,999 for the base model and Rs. 26,999 for the beefier model. Let’s try and see if the device packs enough to be a considerable option in this price segment.

The Nord CE4 comes in Celadon Marble and Dark Chrome colour options, with the former being the one I tried. I liked its slightly refreshed look and feel in the hand. The patterned back features the OnePlus logo in the middle, along with the dual camera and LED (that’s probably disguised as another lens) on an elevated cutout. The back is slightly curved towards the sides, making the device comfortable to handle.

The right side carries the volume buttons and Power/lock key near the middle, while the left side is plain. The top houses the infrared port, an outlet for loudspeakers, and a secondary mic, while the bottom features the dual SIM card plus microSD hybrid card tray slot, USB type C port, and another outlet for loudspeakers. The ear-speaker grille is right next to the front-facing camera, neatly tucked in on the display.

The phone weighs about 186 grams and is IP54 water and dust-resistant.

The 6.7-inch full HD+ (2412×1080) AMOLED display supports 120Hz, providing a bright and vibrant viewing experience with excellent detail for high-resolution videos and images. It handles HDR10 content adequately and meets expectations for handling shadows within its price range.

The phone features a 50MP (f/1.8) main camera with OIS and EIS, as well as an 8MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera. During daylight, the camera performs well, capturing sharp, well-focused images with a decent dynamic range and the PRoXDR effect. However, low-light shots tend to be grainy and lack detail in colour reproduction. The night mode does provide some improvement in clarity for subjects. The 16MP (f/2.4) front-facing camera with EIS performs well for taking selfie shots in various lighting conditions and is suitable for video calls.

The device is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 chipset (up to 2.6Ghz octa core processor, Adreno 720 GPU and X63 5G modem). It’s running on OxygenOS 14 based on Android 14 with the March security patch installed. There are very few third party apps pre-installed on the device provided you don’t consent to installing additional ones during the initial setup. OnePlus has made a few small changes in design such as a bigger hotspot pop-up when you tap on the badge in the status bar, there are also now more options on long-pressing the app icons. The phone handles daily tasks such as messaging over multiple apps, calling, browsing with multiple Chrome tabs and playing some music in the background without any troubles. You get an 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 internal storage (also comes in 128GB for the base model). Though 8GB isn’t less, some people might have expected 12GB, but it doesn’t seem like a bottleneck in day-to day usage, including playing HDR content in OTT apps. But don’t expect to play graphic-intensive games like Genshin Impact at their highest settings with any stutters. The one Bug I saw is the now playing tile continues to show a track playing over Chromecast even after it has been paused and stopped and the playing app has also been removed from recent apps list. Otherwise, it is a reliable and smooth software experience with the company promising two major Android updates and three years of security patches.

The device is powered by a 5,500mAh battery unit and comes with a 100-watt SuperVooc charger in the box. The phone comfortably lasted me a day and then some most of the time. It didn’t struggle to last a full working day with moderate to heavy usage. The bundled charger is able to charge the device from 1% to full in about 35-40 minutes without any overheating issues.

Call quality, WiFi, and GPS all performed as expected on the smartphone without any major glitches. The 5G network reception is also decent, although not quite comparable to OnePlus’ flagship devices, especially in terms of continuous reception on the go. Nevertheless, it is still among the better-performing smartphones for using 5G. The dual stereo speakers are quite loud and punchy, similar to those of the realme 12 Pro+, making them suitable for gaming and video needs.

All in all, the OnePlus Nord CE4 performs as one of the better and smoother devices available around the 25k price point today. It offers a great battery experience, decent but not great camera performance, a good display, a comfortable design, and a more refreshing colour.