OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite review

A notch down

₹ 21,999


While the spotlight remains on the flagship 10 series, OnePlus hasn’t forgotten its roots. It continues to launch smartphones aimed at offering premium experience without a hefty price tag, and the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite might just be the best example of that. 
The Nord CE 2 Lite, as the name suggests, is a toned down version of the Nord CE 2. It misses out on certain features, but it does retain some ‘core’ features like 120Hz display, 64MP camera, and fast-charging battery. We’ve spent the last few days putting it through the ringer, and here’s our OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite review.


The Nord CE 2 Lite design is quintessentially OnePlus, and is easily recognisable even when kept in a stack of Android phones (perks of a tech journalist). The polycarbonate body, with its mix of glossy and matte finish looks good, but gives away its budget credentials when holding it.

The sides are slightly curved with buttons on either side. On the right side, the Alert Slider is missing, and instead you do get a power button with a fingerprint scanner embedded. The sensor is quick, but there were times it failed to recognise our finger, and we had to revert to unlocking the phone using a password.


The Nord CE 2’s AMOLED display has been skipped in favour of a LCD panel. Despite the step down, it does a fine job in day-to-day usage with just the right amount of colour, brightness, and sharpness. 
What stands out though is the support for 120Hz refresh rate, which makes everything smooth and feel like skating on ice. Whether you’re reading news on Stuff India website, watching OTT content or playing games, you won’t have any major complaints from the display.

You’re however likely to be a bit disappointed with the speaker onboard. There are no stereo speakers, and what you get is a single bottom-firing speaker. It can get plenty loud, but it sounds one dimensional, and can get muffled when gaming in landscape mode. We highly recommend using a pair of headphones when gaming or listening to music. 


Under the hood is Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 695 chip along with 8GB of RAM, and the overall performance is, well, strictly mid-range. It easily handles basic tasks like opening and closing apps, multitasking, and a bit of office work with documents and spreadsheets. You can even get by playing casual games like Subway Surfer or Temple Run 2
But push it a bit, and you’ll notice the innards gasping for air. Don’t get us wrong, you can play games like Asphalt 9: Legends or CoD Mobile on the phone, but don’t expect OnePlus 10 Pro-like performance. For most parts, the games run smoothly, but you do notice a few jitters and lags in the thick of action. 
The 5,000mAh battery is plenty big to survive the day on a single charge. Even when pushing the phone, the battery is able to last till bedtime, and you’ll then have to hunt for the charger. Speaking of which, there’s a 33W fast-charger bundled (yes!) in the box. It can juice up the battery to 50% in just about 20 minutes, and 0-100% in a shade under an hour. It may not be the fastest around, but it is impressive nonetheless.


The four cameras onboard are a mixed bag at best. The primary 64MP camera shoots decent photos in ideal lighting conditions with good colour accuracy, dynamic range, and sharpness. That said, we did notice the photos leaning towards the warmer side, especially with skin tones. In low light conditions, photos tend to lose details and noise creeps in. The night mode improves things a bit, but not by a lot.

OnePlus has given the ultra-wide lens a boot in favour of a macro lens and a depth-sensor, and it feels like a big miss. We would have preferred fitting our friend group in one frame, instead of getting really close to a subject – not that we are able to. 
The macro lens doesn’t come with any manner of stabilisation, making it really difficult to get a close-up subject in focus. When you do manage to get the focus right, the resultant photo leaves you far from satisfied.

Verdict: Should you buy?

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite is not a perfect phone, but it doesn’t claim to be. It misses out on a few features and falters in certain areas, but it does get quite a few things right too.
It all starts with the under-₹20K price tag making this the most affordable OnePlus device currently available. At this price range, it offers solid build quality, smooth display, dependable performance, and a decent primary camera. All in all, there’s a lot of value on offer for the money you pay for the phone.

Stuff Says

A well built value-for-money smartphone with a bigger list of pros than cons
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Wallet-friendly price tag

  1. 120Hz screen

  1. Decent performance

  1. 33W fast charging

  1. No stereo speakers

  1. No ultra-wide camera lens

Display: 6.59in LCD 2412x1080 pixels 120Hz refresh rate
Chip: Snapdragon 695 5G
RAM: up to 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Cameras: 64MP+2MP+2MP (rear) / 16MP (front)
Battery: 5,000mAh 33W SUPERVOOC
OS: Android 12 (OxygenOS)
Dimensions: 16.43 x 7.56 x 0.85 cm
Weight: 195 grams