After months of teases and leaks, the OnePlus Nord has finally arrived. OnePlus’ budget phone may have a mid-range price, but it has some solid hardware behind it. It already reminds us of Apple’s recent iPhone SE, which also offers great performance in a lower-cost handset. But which phone is right for you? Find out in our OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE comparison.
OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE
|OnePlus Nord||iPhone SE (2020)|
|Display||6.44-inch Fluid AMOLED
2,400 x 1,080
20:9 aspect ratio
90Hz refresh rate
In-display fingerprint sensor
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
|4.7-inch Retina HD
1,334 x 750
Touch ID via home button
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
|RAM||8GB / 12GB LPDDR4X||3GB RAM|
|Storage||128GB / 256GB UFS 2.1||64GB/128GB/256GB|
– 48MP main (f/1.75, 0.8µm)
– 8MP ultra-wide (f/2.25, 119 degrees)
– 5MP depth (f/2.4)
– 2MP macro (f/2.4)
12MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture
Warp Charge 30T (5V/6A)
No wireless charging
Fast charging 18W
Qi wireless charging
|Black, White, Product Red|
|Dimensions and weight||158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm
|138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm
The iPhone SE has the same design and display as the much older iPhone 8. You can expect a 4.7-inch, 720p LCD panel with some big bezels on the top and bottom. There’s also the old fashioned Touch ID home button on the bottom and an aluminum chassis. By contrast, the OnePlus Nord has a huge 6.44-inch Fluid AMOLED display, with a 90Hz refresh rate, very thin bezels, 1080p resolution, and an in-display fingerprint reader. It has plastic rails on the side, with glass on the back, with an extra coating for a better grip in the hand.
The iPhone SE comes in three colors (Black, White, Product Red) while the OnePlus Nord has two color choices (Gray Onyx and Blue Marble).
Our initial verdict: OnePlus Nord hands-on: New beginnings feel familiar
The OnePlus Nord has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G 5G processor inside. It’s not the fastest mobile chip available, but it should plenty powerful for most tasks, plus you get 5G support. The iPhone SE has Apple’s latest A13 Bionic processor inside, which is perhaps the most powerful mobile chip currently on sale. Unfortunately, you are not getting any 5G support from the iPhone SE.
All iPhone SE models come with just 3GB of RAM. You can also purchase the Nord with 8GB or 12GB of RAM (or 6GB in India). Both the iPhone SE and the Nord are sold with 64GB (India exclusive for the Nord), 128GB, or 256GB of onboard storage. The OnePlus Nord also comes with a dual-SIM card slot. The iPhone SE has a high IP67 rating for water and dust resistance, but the Nord lacks any such rating.
The iPhone SE has the same 12MP rear sensor and the same 7MP front camera as the iPhone 8. However, because it has the new A13 processor, the cameras can still produce stellar images through post-processing. It also supports portrait mode and video capture of up to 4K resolution at 60fps.
The OnePlus Nord blows away the iPhone SE, at least in terms of the number of camera sensors. There are four in the back, starting with a 48MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera with a 119-degree field of view, a 2MP macro camera, and a 5MP depth sensor. This phone is capable of taking super slow-motion videos at 240fps. In the front, there’s a big 32MP main sensor and a secondary 8MP ultra-wide selfie camera 105-degree field of view. The onboard camera app supports a number of features, including a version of night mode, which the iPhone SE lacks.
The OnePlus Nord has a big 4,115mAh battery and supports fast 30W charging. Based on other phones like the LG Velvet that have similar battery sizes and the same processor, you should expect to have to use the Nord all day on a single charge. The iPhone SE has a much smaller 1,821mAh, and even with the phone’s smaller size and the A13 processor this is likely not going to go as far as the Nord’s larger cell. One big battery feature the iPhone SE does have is that it supports Qi-based wireless charging, which the Nord does not support.
The OnePlus Nord will be sold in India, Europe, and the UK. Here’s a quick look at the prices for the three versions of the phone:
- OnePlus Nord with 6GB RAM+64GB storage: 24,999 rupees (India exclusive)
- OnePlus Nord with 8GB RAM+128GB storage: £379/€399/27,999 rupees
- OnePlus Nord with 12GB RAM+256GB storage: £469/€499/29,999 rupees
Meanwhile, the 2020 iPhone SE comes in three models, all of which are available in India, Europe, and the UK:
- iPhone SE with 3GB RAM+64GB storage: £419/ €499/42,500 rupees
- iPhone SE with 3GB RAM+128GB storage: £469/€549/47,800 rupees
- iPhone SE with 3GB RAM+256GB storage: £569/€669/58,300 rupees
OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE: Which should you buy?
We’ve yet to put the OnePlus Nord through a full review and our extensive testing suite, but the early signs are that it’s a very attractive option if you want a great budget Android phone. It doesn’t pack top-tier silicon, but the Snapdragon 765G SoC has so far proved plenty fast for anything bar high-end gaming. We also expect OnePlus has done some fine-tuning to get the best out of the Qualcomm processor.
Likewise, the battery and charging, storage options, 1080p AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate, and the six total cameras all round out what is a comprehensive package for a sub-$500 phone.
The OnePlus Nord and iPhone SE have similar price tags, but take different approaches to make a great budget phone.
The iPhone SE, meanwhile, appears to make more sacrifices to bring a select number of flagship-standard features to a cheap phone. The battery is minuscule by 2020 standards, there’s only one camera, and the smaller 720p display is a lot to stomach, but the blazing-fast A13 Bionic is a massive boon for Apple’s cheapest iPhone. That single camera has already shown it can produce incredible snaps, while OnePlus has a history of struggling with smartphone photography. Throw in the water-resistance rating and wireless charging and you’ve got a great OnePlus Nord alternative.
The software is also a big differentiator. The OnePlus Nord runs OxygenOS, which is one of the most popular Android skins out there. Meanwhile, the iPhone SE runs on Apple’s iOS platform. Both are great in their own right, but Apple’s walled garden approach to software won’t suit everyone. If you want a customizable OS, the OnePlus Nord should be the better option.
See also: 8 things iOS does better than Android
However, it’s worth remembering that Apple does a much better job upgrading its phones to the latest iOS version many years after a device’s release. OnePlus is one of the better Android OEMs for long-term software support, but it has only guaranteed two years of updates.
In this case, it all depends on what you want to get out of your phone. If you are looking for a smaller phone that still has a fast processor, the promise of several years of software upgrades, and one that can take solid images, the iPhone SE is something to check out. However, if you want a phone with a larger display, better battery life, and is a bit cheaper, you should definitely consider the OnePlus Nord.
Of course, we’ll revisit this comparison once we’ve had more time with the OnePlus Nord to see which phone truly comes out on top!
After years of only releasing top-tier flagships, OnePlus is back in the mid-range category with the OnePlus Nord. It cuts some corners, but we think many people will really like this phone — especially because of its £379 price tag.
iPhone SE iPhone 11 power in an iPhone 8 body.
The iPhone SE offers the power of Apple’s latest and greatest, for less than half the cost.
That’s our early look at the OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE. Which one are you considering?