OnePlus Nord 2 vs OnePlus 9 - Which should you buy? Full specifications, price & reviews
The OnePlus Nord 2 is finally official. we're going to be putting it upagainst its bigger brother, the OnePlus 9. Looking at all the key differences side-by-sideincluding camera samples, SuperSaf style,really to see if it's worthspending the extra 230 pounds on the OnePlus 9or saving that money and going for the OnePlus Nord 2.Right now, let's initially start off with the display.So both devices do have, I'd say,relatively similar looking displays.We've got small bezels with a punch out.However, the OnePlus 9 does have smaller overall bezels.We've got a bit of a chin on the Nord 2.Not something that I think is going to be a big dealfor most people, but something to bear in mind.We've also got a slightly larger displayon the OnePlus 9 compared to the Nord 2.And although both devices do have AMOLED technology,we do have some key advantages on the OnePlus 9.So we've got firstly, a higher refresh rate,120 hertz versus 90 hertz.Now, 90 hertz is still really good,but you're just getting a bit more of a smooth experienceon the OnePlus 9.And also the OnePlus 9 is much brighter.You've got a peak brightness of around 1100 nitsversus just 600 nits on the OnePlus Nord 2.So if you are somebody who uses your device outdoorsin bright sunlight or wear sunglasses all the timelike I do, then the OnePlus 9 definitely has an edge here.Now, this is not to say that the displayin the OnePlus Nord 2 is bad.It's actually really, really good,especially for the price point.But the OnePlus 9 just has a better display.Both devices also have an in display fingerprint scanner,which works really well.Moving onto the build and design,so you'll notice right awaythat we do have a very similar design,especially with the camera module.And we've also got a very similar building materials.So we do have Gorilla Glass 5 here on the back.And then we've got what OnePlus calla fiberglass polymer frame,and that's a fancy word for plastic.So we do have plastic frames on both devices.Now, they are coated to look metallic but they are plastic.Generally, in terms of durability,I think you should be fineand we do get a case out of the box with both devices.I'm not somebody who does durability testsand I'm not going to try to bend these either,but in my experience, they have been fine.Something that you might want to bear in mind though.Now, neither of thesehave an official IP water and dust resistant rating,but OnePlus do say that these are water tight.Getting an IP rating does cost a bit of moneyand OnePlus does try to save a bit of moneywhen it comes to this area.And looking at the size, realistically speaking,they are very, very similar in sizeand they also weigh about the same.Now, if you are in China or in India,then the OnePlus 9 is going to be slightly lighterand it's also going to be slightly thinnercompared to the Nord 2.And that is because in India and China,the OnePlus 9 does not come with Qi wireless charging.However, it does come with Qi wireless chargingin the UK and US.We will be talking about battery and charginga little bit later,but I do want to go straight to the cameras.Now, before I do, if you're enjoying the video so far,be sure to subscribe and hit that bell icon.So you don't miss a future content like this.Right, so the cameras,we do have the Hasselblad partnershipon the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro.We do not have this on the OnePlus Nord 2.So even though the camera module is kind of similar,there isn't this Hasselblad partnership.And this is also noticeable in the camera in the face.So although generally things are in similar places,the OnePlus Nord 2 seems to be much moreon the ColorOS side of things compared to OxygenOS.Now remember, that OnePlus has now been taken over by OPPO,its parent company.So we were bound to see a few of these changescoming to the new devices,and this is something that's very obvious herein the camera app anyway.And because we have the Hasselblad partnershipon the OnePlus 9,we do get this big, large red shutter button.What about the cameras themselves?So we've got a very similar camera setup on both devices.We've got an ultra-wide camera, we've got a primary camera,as well as a 2MP Monochrome camera.Now, in my opinion, the 2MP Monochrome camerais really there just to have an additional camera.So you can see that you've got a triple camera setup.It's not something that I personally find it useful.So we're not really going to be looking at that.We will be looking at the other cameras, however.Now what's interesting is that the primary cameraon the OnePlus Nord 2 is using the same sensoras the ultra-wide camera on the OnePlus 9,the Sony IMX766.This is the same ultra-wide camera sensorthat we've got on the OnePlus 9 Pro as well.Now, let's take a look at some samples.So both actually do really good in good light.So the primary cameras do go head to head.And I actually found that the OnePlus Nord 2had better overall dynamic range.You can definitely notice this in this example,if you look towards the shadow areas.We've got a lot more detail on the OnePlus Nord 2versus the OnePlus 9,which was quite a bit surprising for me actually.And we do get a bit of a process look on the OnePlus Nord 2,colors are quite saturated.This is the result when you have AI scene detection on.If you do switch this off, then the colorsare not as vibrant as you can see in this example.But again, you do seem to get a bit of a processed lookon the OnePlus Nord 2 versus the more neutral, natural lookon the OnePlus 9.Now, one area where I was very surprised was in low light.So using the night modes on both devices,the OnePlus Nord 2 actually seem to perform a lot betteras you can see in this example.You've got a much brighter and better shot.On testing out indoors, you've got a much brighter shot,but you can definitely see a lot of processingon the Nord 2.But overall you are getting brighter, low light imageson the Nord 2. So, this was a bit of a surprise to me.Now when it comes to the ultra-wide camera,things are getting interesting.Initially, at first glance, the OnePlus Nord 2once again seems to have better dynamic range.But when you do examine the images closer,the ultra-wide camera on the OnePlus Nord 2is very, very soft.Like if you do go in 100%, you can notice this difference.Here's another example.If you look towards the car, the tire of the car,the wheel, it's so soft in the OnePlus Nord 2compare to the very crisp looking image on the OnePlus 9.Now, to be honest, this is something that I was expecting.As mentioned, the ultra-wide camera on the OnePlus 9does have the same sensor as the primary cameraof the OnePlus Nord 2.
Now, another advantage that you get on the ultra-wide cameraof the OnePlus 9 is the ability to shoot macro images.So it's going to refocusand give you some very good looking, macro shots.This is something that you can't dowith the ultra-wide camera of the OnePlus Nord 2.So the ultra-wide camera, in my opinion,easy, easy win for the OnePlus 9.Although the primary cameras, it's arguableand I did seem to prefer the OnePlus Nord 2 a bit more.For video, I think both take good quality video,but the OnePlus 9 does get the advantagebecause it does have up to 8K video recording,as well as 4K, up to 60 frames a second.Whereas the OnePlus Nord 2 only has up to 4K,30 frames a second from the primary camera.The ultra wide camera, the video,I mean, it's an easy, easy win for the OnePlus 9.You've got up to 8K, whereas on the OnePlus Nord 2,you've only got 10 ATP.And honestly speaking, the video from the ultra-wide cameraof the Nord 2 is quite a bit of a mess.There's really no stabilization as you can see here.So it's, in my opinion, not very usable.I think the ultra-wide camera is just thereto have that additional camera.It's not something that really competes.Now for selfies, you do have a high resolutionon the OnePlus Nord 2.And here are some examples.I think both do a pretty decent job,some differences in color,and you also get good, dynamic range in images.Portrait mode also seems to work pretty well.But when it comes to video, it's not so great.You may have heard any complaints about the OnePlus 9and 9 Pro front facing cameras,this is the same case with the OnePlus Nord 2.The dynamic range is pretty much nonexistent.As you can see from this example,the background is completely blown out.Now the OnePlus Nord 2does have a wider angle of view, however,compared to the OnePlus 9, which you may prefer.Now let's move on to performance.So OnePlus has actually opted to go with MediaTek,not Qualcomm for the Nord 2 this time.We've got the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chip set,which is a very capable chip set.However, it doesn't quite live upto the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 8888 chip setthat we've got on the OnePlus 9.So you are going to get overall better performanceon the OnePlus 9.You also got faster LPDDR5 RAM on the OnePlus 9,compared to the LPDDR4X RAM on the OnePlus Nord 2.
Now this is not to say that the OnePlus Nord 2is going to be bad by any means.It's a very capable in my testing.It's really good, also for gaming.You're just going to get that additional performancewith the OnePlus 9.Now for software,we do have Android 11 with OxygenOS on top.I really like OxygenOS.We do have some slight variations I've notice,just some slight positioning here and therethat's different.And obviously the camera app,which we talked about earlier on,which is different on the OnePlus Nord 2.So it does look like OnePlusis going for more of a merge with ColorOS going forward.Now, I did say we're going to come back to the batteries.So we have the same size 4,500 milliamp hour power batterieson both devices.And they both actually did last me all day.However, I did find that the OnePlus Nord 2did give me slightly better battery life, around 10 to 15%.Now this may be because it's got a lower refresh rates,and also because it's using a different chip set.But this is a newer device,whereas I've had the OnePlus 9for quite some time as well,so that might have a factor towards it.But generally speaking, I'd say both of thesehave very good battery life.For charging as well, both come with 65 watt chargingincluded out of the box.Now remember having a charger includedis considered a bit of a bonus these days.And not only are you getting a charger,you are getting the 65 watt charger.That's going to get you from zero to around 50% in 30 minuteson both devices, which is great.As I mentioned earlier on as well,the OnePlus 9 does have Qi wireless charging supported.15 Watts in the UK and US, not in India and China.We don't have any form of wireless chargingon the OnePlus Nord 2.For the speakers, we do have stereo speakerson both devices,one on the ear piece and one bottom firing.And both of them do get pretty loud.I would say that the OnePlus 9 does get the edge.I just thought it was more crisp,and it also has support for Dolby Atmos.Finally, we're going to look at the pricing.So the OnePlus Nord 2 does start at a very good competitive400 pounds here for the base model.If we look at the equivalent OnePlus 9, same storage,that is at 630 pounds.So that's 230 pounds more.So it's almost like one and a half Nord 2s.Now granted, the OnePlus 9 has been outfor a couple of months and you may be able to geta better deal on it, but you're going to be payingsignificantly more for the OnePlus 9compared to the OnePlus Nord 2.Is it worth spending that extra money on the OnePlus 9?Well, what are you getting for that extra money?You're getting a better displaywith the higher refresh rates, the brighter display.You're getting the better overall performance.You're also getting the better ultra-wide camera,as well as the more video options.Qi wireless charging in the UK and US.But on the OnePlus Nord 2,you are getting better battery life.You're getting arguably a better primary camerafrom with some of the tests that I did.And most importantly, is coming in significantly cheaper.If you were to ask me, I would saythat the more compelling option is the OnePlus Nord 2coming in at that price point.It goes back to what OnePlus was really about, initially,the flagship killer.Sure you are making some compromises,but you're getting a very capable devicefor around half the price of other flagships.That's what I think, anyway.What do you guys think?Do drop me a comment below.Let me know your thoughts.