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OnePlus Nord 2 vs OnePlus 9: What’s the difference?

OnePlus has announced the Nord 2, the successor to last year’s mid-range all-rounder the Nord. So, how does it compare to OnePlus’ current flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 9? 

In our OnePlus Nord 2 review of the Nord 2, reviewer Andrew Williams described the phone as “a more affordable alternative to the OnePlus 9” thanks to its design, camera and gaming performance. 

Here are 5 differences between the Nord 2 and the OnePlus 9 that should make it easier to decide which OnePlus phone is right for you. 

OnePlus Nord 2 5g face down
OnePlus Nord 2

The Nord 2 ditches the Snapdragon chip 

One of the biggest changes arriving with the Nord 2 is the MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI chipset. The chip makes the Nord 2 the first OnePlus phone to ditch Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors and marks a major difference between the Nord 2 and the flagship OnePlus 9. 

The MediaTek chip in the Nord 2 is a tweaked version of the Dimensity 1200 with additional AI capabilities. The phone includes up to 12GB RAM and up to 256GB of storage. 

Meanwhile, the OnePlus 9 is powered by Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888 SoC and also features up to 12GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. 

In testing, we found the Nord 2 ran about as fast as the OnePlus 9 and offered excellent performance for gaming. However, we were less convinced by the Dimensity 1200-AI’s power efficiency.

OnePlus 9

The OnePlus 9 has a longer lasting battery 

One upgrade the Nord 2 saw over the original Nord was a bigger battery. While the previous Nord came with a 4115 mAh battery, the Nord 2 packs a 4500 mAh one – the same battery found in the OnePlus 9. 

However, while the Nord 2 may feature the same size battery, that doesn’t necessarily mean it lasts as long. 

We ran both phones with the Generic Battery Drainer app, maxing out the brightness, CPU, GPU and making calls to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS to see how they compared under pressure. After 22 minutes, the OnePlus 9 was down 11%, while the Nord 2 was down 16%. 

Thankfully, both phones take advantage of OnePlus’ fast charging tech. The Nord 2 features Warp Charge 65, allowing it to go from 0 to 100% in less than 35 minutes, while the Warp Charge 65T in the OnePlus 9 can go from 0 to 100% in just 29 minutes. 

OnePlus Nord 2

The OnePlus 9 has a better display 

The Nord 2 features a 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, making it comparable to OnePlus’ 2020 flagship, the OnePlus 8

The OnePlus flagship was given an upgrade for 2021. The OnePlus 9 packs a larger 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display with an even faster 120Hz refresh rate, making scrolling and gaming feel even smoother on the phone screen. 

Both phones have a resolution of 2400 x 1090 and an aspect ratio of 20:9 and support sRGB and Display P3, while the OnePlus 9 is also protected with Corning Gorilla Glass. 

While the 90Hz refresh rate on the Nord 2 is still above the average 60Hz you’ll find on most smartphones, if you’re looking for a bigger and smoother display, the OnePlus 9 is the better choice. 

OnePlus 9

The Nord 2’s camera is better in some situations

Both the Nord 2 and the OnePlus 9 feature triple rear cameras, however they also both perform better in different areas. 

The Nord 2 features a 50-megapixel main camera (f/1.88), an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera (f/2.25) and a 2-megapixel monochrome camera (f/2.4) on its rear, as well as a 32-megapixel selfie camera (f/2.45) on the front. 

Meanwhile, the OnePlus 9 includes a 48-megapixel main camera (f/1.8), a 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera (f/2.2) and a 2-megapixel monochrome camera on its rear, along with a 16-megapixel selfie camera (f/2.4) on the front. 

Both cameras can capture 1080p video at 30fps. 

We found the Nord 2’s camera offered cleaner results than the OnePlus 9 when shooting at night. The smartphone captured more fine detail, and images produced were brighter and suffered less noise than the photos taken with the flagship camera. 

The Nord 2 also benefits from a better selfie camera – the 32-megapixel sensor is the highest res one we’ve seen on a OnePlus phone, offering more impressive results than the OnePlus 9 in both good and bad lighting. 

Meanwhile, the OnePlus 9 benefits from a much better 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera that offers rich detail and wide views the Nord 2’s 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens struggles to capture. 

OnePlus Nord 2

The Nord 2 is cheaper 

One of the most important differences between the two smartphones is the price. The Nord 2 is built to be affordable, while the OnePlus 9 is a flagship phone through-and-through. This means you can expect the 9 to be a little pricier than its cheaper sibling. 

The OnePlus Nord 2 is available with 8GB/128GB for £399 or 12GB/256GB for £469. The OnePlus 9, on the other hand, will set you back £629 for 8GB/128GB and £729 for 12GB/256GB. 

That puts the OnePlus 9 at £230 to £260 more than the Nord 2, making the Nord 2 the more affordable option of the two if you’re willing to make some sacrifices when it comes to the battery, camera and display.

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