OnePlus definitely did the smartphone market a solid with the Nord. Although not exactly flagship material, its combination of price and features definitely brings back the good old days of the OnePlus One. There is no such thing as a free lunch, however, especially in the smartphone business. Whatever cost-savings OnePlus was able to pull off naturally came at some other price, including ones that you hopefully will never see during the phone’s lifetime.
We’re not talking about the specs where the most obvious compromises were made. Even there, the Oneplus Nord is still a winner if you keep your expectations and use cases with reason. The hidden costs of the OnePlus Nord’s extremely accessible non-US price comes from things you can’t really see which, fortunately for us, JerryRigEverything discovered before we all did.
The usual stress test antics started normally enough and the are no complaints to be made in the phone’s scratch test or even the rather unrealistic burn test. True, the frame of the phone is made from plastic, just made to look like metal, but that’s still enough to save it from bumps and falls.
Unfortunately, that plastic material does come at the price of some structural integrity especially in areas where there isn’t much of it, like the part of the frame where holes for the volume rocker and buttons are. In Zack Nelson’s might hands, this becomes a point where the frame cracks and breaks, damaging the oh-so-important screen underneath the glass. Curiously, both the front and back glass survive intact.
Nelson does admit that the pressure he exerts in these bend tests isn’t the normal pressures and forces phones are subjected to in day-to-day use. That is unless you accidentally sit on them. The free clear case that OnePlus ships with the Nord could help dampen the effects of bends and drops but users should be just as careful with this 400 EUR phone as they are with 1,000 EUR phones.