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OnePlus Nord CE vs OnePlus 8: Which OnePlus phone should you get?

OnePlus recently unveiled its latest mid-range smartphone, the Nord CE 5G (Core Edition). But, how does it compare to 2020’s OnePlus 8

We awarded the OnePlus 8 four stars when we tried it out in 2020, praising its fast processor, upgrade to 5G and rich OLED display. 

Read on to discover how last year’s OnePlus flagship compares to the newest member of its affordable Nord family, the Nord CE 5G. 

Pricing and availability 

The Nord CE will be available to buy from June 21 with prices starting at £299 for the 8GB/128GB model or £369 for the 12GB/256GB version. 

The OnePlus Nord launched back in April 2020. At launch, the 8GB/128GB model cost £549, but the phone has since been reduced to £399. This means you’ll get more RAM and storage by opting for the £30 cheaper Nord CE.

There’s also a 12GB/256GB version of the 8, but this model is no longer available through OnePlus directly. 

Screen and design 

The Nord CE features a 6.43-inch fluid AMOLED display (2400×1080) and a 90Hz refresh rate, while the 8 boasts a slightly larger 6.55-inch fluid AMOLED display (2400×1080) with the same 90Hz refresh rate. 

Both phones give you the choice of face unlock and an in-display fingerprint sensor to unlock your device. 

As far as design goes, the Nord CE measures 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9mm and weighs 170g, making it the slimmest OnePlus handset since 2018’s 6T. That said, the 8 isn’t much larger at 160.2 x 72.9 x 8mm and 180g. 

Both phones feature a dual nano-SIM slot and a USB Type-C port for charging and come in three colours – the Nord CE in Blue Voice, Charcoal Ink and Silver Ray, and the 8 in Glacial Green, Interstellar Glow and Onyx Black. The Nord CE also marks the return of the 3.5mm headphone jack for OnePlus. 

Specs and camera 

The Nord CE is powered by the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G chipset and the Adreno 619 GPU and comes with 6GB, 8GB or 12GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB storage. 

The OnePlus 8, on the other hand, packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865, which powered 2020 flagship phones like the Galaxy S20, along with the Adreno 650 GPU. When the 8 launched, its octa-core processor scored 3318 in Geekbench 5, beating the £1000+ Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. The 8 comes with 8GB or 12GB RAM, and 128GB or 256GB storage.

Both phones support 5G connectivity and Bluetooth 5.1. Both handsets also run OnePlus’ OxygenOS based on the Android operating system. 

As far as cameras go, both phones feature a triple camera setup. 

The Nord CE boasts a 64-megapixel main sensor (f/1.79), a 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle sensor (f/2.25) with a 119° field of view and a 2-megapixel mono lens (f/2.4). The phone has a 16-megapixel front camera and can shoot 4K video at up to 30fps and has super slow motion and time-lapse settings. It also features OnePlus’ Nightscape mode for bright, clearer images in low light. 

The OnePlus 8 features a smaller 48-megapixel main sensor (f/1.75), along with a 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle sensor (f/2.2) with a 116° field of view and a 2-megapixel macro lens (f/2.4), which is absent in the Nord CE. This isn’t a huge loss, as we weren’t overly impressed by the macro lens in the 8 when we reviewed it. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera and the phone can capture 4K footage at up to 60fps. It also includes the super slow motion, time-lapse and Nightscape modes. 

Battery life 

The Nord CE packs a 4500 mAh battery, which is slightly larger than the 4300 mAh one found in the OnePlus 8. Both phones take advantage of OnePlus’ Warp Charge fast charging technology. 

The Nord CE features Warp Charge 30T Plus, which can juice your phone from 0 to 70% in just half an hour, while the 8 features the slightly slower Warp Charge 30T, which can go from 0 to 50% in 23 minutes. 

Early verdict  

With prices starting at under £300, the Nord CE is the obvious choice here at a glance. The phone is slimmer than the OnePlus 8, and benefits from a larger 64-megapixel main camera, a bigger 4500 mAh battery and faster charging with Warp Charger 30T Plus. 

That said, there are still benefits to buying the OnePlus 8. The phone features a larger display, blazingly fast flagship chipset and can capture 4K footage at up to 60fps. 

We’ll have to wait until we get our hands on the Nord CE to deliver our final verdict.

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