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July 23, 2021
🏃‍♂️ Hi there! The Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony starts right as this email should be hitting your inbox.
OnePlus Nord 2
OnePlus Nord 2 canvas mode 2
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The OnePlus Nord 2 launched yesterday, the next release of OnePlus’ mid-range game, covering India, Europe, and the UK with a fresh Nord release.

Nord but 2:

  • The Nord 2 is again a 6.43-inch 90Hz FHD+ display, at very similar dimensions, but with a slightly bigger 4,500mAh battery.
  • There’s now the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI SoC, replacing last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G. On paper, that gives some positives and negatives. 
  • The Dimensity 1200 SoC is closer to flagship-level performance, roughly aligning with specs and performance you’d expect from the Snapdragon 865.
  • On the imaging front, the camera is now a 50MP Sony IX766 sensor, with an 8MP wide-angle and a fairly pointless 2MP monochromatic snapper.
  • And it remains priced starting at €399 for 8GB RAM/128GB storage.


  • The good news for readers everywhere is that my colleagues Dhruv Bhutani and Rob Triggs already had the device for review ahead of the launch.
  • The bad news, well, there’s some. In short, OnePlus looks to have all the right pieces in place for a great mid-range option.
  • Once again, the phone in the hand seems to disappoint due to its camera: “The camera software just does not match up to the promising hardware, and that’s a big miss out of the gates,” writes Dhruv. There is OIS, there are hardware sensors that should do the job, but the software isn’t right.
  • “Images come out looking pretty inconsistent and the camera app has all of the same bugbears that plague OnePlus phones at launch.”
  • Those include heavily saturated images, with over-corrected blues and greens, poor low-light, and bad dynamic range, with middling HDR.
  • “I’ve seen better results from phones at half the price of the Nord 2,” adds our reviewer.
  • But this is classic OnePlus: if we go off the track record of previous launches, it will release update after update and refine the camera. 
  • Actually, as I write this morning, it already released a 285.8MB update with improvement.
  • Understanding why this is a OnePlus thing with recent releases isn’t easy.


  • The Nord 2 lands in a competitive market where it is launching: the Samsung Galaxy A52, Pixel 4a/4a 5G, Poco F3, just launched Poco F3 GT, iPhone SE, and even the OnePlus 9R (India-only) and OnePlus 8T exist at competitive pricing and specs. These markets are hot, with various sales and deals popping up. The Pixel 5a should be out within a month or two as well, in theory.
  • It’s available from July 28.
  • The Nord 2 didn’t launch in the US, where it’d be a great rival to the Galaxy A52 and iPhone lines.
  • OnePlus didn’t launch the original Nord in the US either, later bringing out the Nord N100 5G and Nord N200 5G, which were quite different devices, and didn’t really hold a candle to the Nord but found their own niche at sub $250.


  • OnePlus did announce the OnePlus Buds Pro for the US and Europe, new fast-charging earbuds launched at €149 or $149.99.
  • The Pro name indicates OnePlus means business, with active noise cancellation (ANC), and ten hours of battery for the case with just 10 minutes of wired charging.
  • The earbud market is about as competitive as it gets!

🎁 This is Motorola’s upcoming 5G mid-ranger with a 120Hz display, 108MP camera (Android Authority).

📸 There’s new Gorilla Glass for camera modules and lenses: Two new types: Corning Gorilla Glass with DX and Gorilla Glass with DX+, which should offer more scratch resistance, while helpfully “capturing more ambient light and minimizing reflections” (Android Authority).

🚗 Google has a new beta program live for Android Auto, and while you can in theory sign up to try, it filled up quick: it reached the “maximum number of testers” fast (Android Authority).

📈 Poco F3 GT lands with 120Hz display, gaming triggers to take on OnePlus Nord 2 (Android Authority).

🤳 Samsung patent hints at Galaxy Z Flip-device with Asus-style flippy camera (Android Authority).

🎧 You told us: Looks, fit, or sound quality? Here’s what you value in TWS earbuds(Android Authority).

🔮 Mark in the Metaverse is a 45-minute podcast with Casey Newton and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (or a long read if you want to read the transcript) explaining that Facebook is shifting the social network towards becoming “a metaverse company.” What that means is a deliberate attempt to help build a space for “physical, augmented, and virtual reality” to co-exist. Grains of salt required (The Verge).

🌶 Latest Dune trailer is quite the epic, with the best look yet at the Denis Villeneuve epic coming in October. What a great trailer. Someone on the AA’s Slack said: “Why don’t we, um, just get the trailer directors to make the movies, ‘cos this looks amazing?” to many, many nods (YouTube).

😬 Oops: A defunct video hosting site called Vidme lost its domain, and an enterprising porn site bought it, swapping embedded videos with something not quite intended by more normal sites like The Washington Post, Huff Post, Fox Sport, and so on (The Register).

📡 A helpful review of SpaceX’s Starlink, after four months (Jeff Geerling).

🕹️ Playdate, the tiny gaming device, is getting closer with preorders starting next week, and Wired had some hands-on time.

📺 “What product’s main purpose is ignored?” Slinky, History Channel, and more (r/nostupidquestions).

Friday Fun
Star Wars Movies On Hotstar

Mark Hamill is a legend. Aside from that indisputable fact, he’s part of Friday Fun because he revealed he’s secretly been in every Star Wars movie since 2015 (AV Club). Not as Luke Skywalker, but as, say, EV-9D9 in The Mandalorian (a bartender droid). But exactly which voices Hamill has added is not quite a secret, but it’s definitely a surprise.

  • “So who are these secret characters? Wookieepedia knows about a couple of namedaliens in the sequel movies, but those definitely aren’t secret, and the page says nothing about Hamill being in Solo or Rogue One. Obviously, then, somebody needs to sit down and watch all of the Disney-era Star Wars movies, even whichever one or ones they don’t like, and listen close to pick out which characters talk like Mark Hamill, or which characters make little guttural noises like Mark Hamill.”

Have a great weekend,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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