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oneplus nord n30 hero
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

OnePlus Nord N30 review: Should you buy it?

Come for the fast charging, sharp primary camera, and cheap price. But your stay might be quite short.
By

Published onFebruary 25, 2024

OnePlus Nord N30

The OnePlus Nord N30 races past budget competition with 50W wired charging, a sharp primary camera, and a sleek, simple design, but limited camera versatility, some aging hardware, and the underwhelming software support make the Nord N30 a phone for the present rather than the future.

What we like

Speedy wired charging
Solid primary camera
Good battery life
Sharp display and 120Hz refresh rate
Headphone jack and expandable storage

What we don't like

Poor secondary cameras and video options
Feels cheap and weak haptics
Underwhelming update commitment
No official water or dust resistance rating

OnePlus Nord N30

The OnePlus Nord N30 races past budget competition with 50W wired charging, a sharp primary camera, and a sleek, simple design, but limited camera versatility, some aging hardware, and the underwhelming software support make the Nord N30 a phone for the present rather than the future.

OnePlus Nord N30 review: At a glance

  • What is it? The OnePlus Nord N30 is the largest, most spec'd out entry to date in the Nord family of budget Android phones. It packs an expansive 6.72-inch Panda Glass display with a hefty 5,000mAh battery and a crisp 108MP primary camera. While it packs upgrades over its predecessor, the Nord N20, in almost every way, the two budget phones still share Qualcomm's Snapdragon 695 chipset.
  • What is the price? The OnePlus Nord N30 costs $299 when purchased unlocked in the US, or you can get it for $264 from T-Mobile.
  • Where can you buy it? You can pick up the OnePlus Nord N30 unlocked from the OnePlus website starting on June 15, 2023, and from Amazon or Best Buy. The phone is also available at T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile.
  • How did we test it? I tested the OnePlus Nord N30 for 10 days. The review unit was supplied by OnePlus.
  • Is it worth it? If you're after an affordable Android phone with speedy wireless charging and a solid primary camera, the OnePlus Nord N30 is worth a look. It delivers excellent battery life and keeps features like expandable storage and a headphone jack to help you wring the most value out of your $299. However, the weak update commitment and underwhelming peripheral cameras limit the Nord N30's long-term prospects.

Should you buy the OnePlus Nord N30?

oneplus nord n30 box contents
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The OnePlus Nord N30 hopes to condense the most important parts of the premium OnePlus experience into a value package. It checks the boxes for Oxygen OS, speedy SuperVOOC wired charging, and a sharp primary camera while cutting a few corners to keep the price in check. OnePlus even managed to keep the Nord N30’s price pegged to that of its predecessor, floating right under the $300 barrier.

Unlike most budget phones, which tend to crib their designs from flagship counterparts, the OnePlus Nord N30 stands on its own. It sports a fingerprint-loving glossy plastic back panel with a matte — but color-matching — frame, paired with the sweeping 6.72-inch Panda Glass display and its 120Hz refresh rate. Instead of the bulky camera bump that marks the last few OnePlus flagships, the Nord N30 carries each of its three lenses in small circular cutouts that give the phone a much cleaner look. OnePlus hasn’t followed the popular trend of stacking buttons on one side, either. The power button and fingerprint reader are on the right side, while the volume buttons hold down the left edge. The Nord N30 also has a headphone jack on the bottom edge and expandable microSD storage in the SIM slot.

Our OnePlus Nord N30 came running Android 13 out of the box, complete with the Oxygen OS 13.1 skin. Oxygen OS is no longer the light, clean Android skin it once was, though the latest version seems to have a better balance of features and style. There’s not much bloatware (at least on the unlocked model I tested) — only Netflix, which you can uninstall — though OnePlus has added a few unnecessary duplicates of apps. Its classic Zen app now exists as Zen Mode and O Relax, and the former still locks your phone down while the latter seems to be a white noise machine. While a few extra apps don’t matter much, OnePlus’ weak update commitment does. The Nord N30 will only get a single Android update and three years of security patches, which lags far behind Samsung’s update policies for its rival budget phones. So far, the Nord N30 has picked up a few security patches, and it finally received Android 14 in the middle of January 2024, which means it’s relying on security patches from here on out.

Inside the Nord’s plastic shell, you’ll find a few familiar components. In a rare move for OnePlus, the Nord N30 relies on the same Snapdragon 695 chipset as its predecessor. This was likely done to save money and apply upgrades elsewhere, but it means that the Nord N30’s main performance bumps come from better memory management via its additional 2GB of RAM. It still runs fine, as the Snapdragon 695 offers decent performance for everyday needs and light gaming, but I was hoping to see some gen-on-gen improvement here. You still get 128GB of storage which you can expand thanks to the microSD slot — a rarity in 2023. The chipset isn’t the only holdover from the OnePlus Nord N20, with the Nord N30 only offering Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1 support. Unfortunately, the Nord N30 kept its predecessor’s weak haptics, too. There’s not much response when unlocking the device or typing more than a few words.

The OnePlus Nord N30 clings to some outdated standards in hopes that a sharp main camera and speedy charging are upgrades enough — and I'm not sure that they are.

One of the Nord N30’s most significant upgrades (at least on paper) is the new 108MP primary camera, which OnePlus hopes is enough to land among the best cheap camera phones by itself. It’s large, in charge, and delivers pretty good detail at its base 1x zoom — unlike its supporting cast. The OnePlus Nord N30 still packs 2MP macro and depth sensors, both of which leave something to be desired. I regularly found the Nord N30’s shutter lagging, giving me image results that clearly didn’t process until I was already lowering the phone. Also, instead of listing the macro focus as one of the camera app’s default toggles, it’s hidden under the More menu, suggesting that OnePlus doesn’t think you’ll use it very much either. OnePlus claims that its primary camera has lossless zoom up to 3x, which is a crop from the 108MP sensor, but results tend to fall off quickly after that point up to the maximum of 6x zoom. You can check out our full gallery of camera samples at this Google Drive link.

Like many OnePlus launches, the color profile leans towards punchy, and post-processing takes it even further. The process isn’t speedy, so you can watch the Nord N30 send your color saturation that much higher if you tap your gallery right after snapping a picture. Unfortunately, the OnePlus Nord N30 isn’t an excellent option for video, either. It tops out with 1080p resolution at 30fps on both front and back, meaning you’ll have to look elsewhere for 4K quality or smooth frames.

The biggest reason to pick up the OnePlus Nord N30 is its battery and charging setup. Not only does the 5,000mAh cell chug through daily tasks when paired with the Snapdragon 695, but 50W SuperVOOC wired charging is among the best you’ll find on US-bound budget phones. I had no issues reaching a day and a half of usage during my testing, with most of my time centered around testing the camera and scrolling social media through a weekend of stormy weather. The Nord N30 landed between trips, which meant I could dig into some light gaming and waste the hours away on social media rather than chew up my battery with navigation and ridesharing. When you finally need the included 50W charger, the OnePlus Nord N30 takes about 50 minutes to reach a full battery.

OnePlus Nord N30OnePlus Nord N30
OnePlus Nord N30
Speedy wired charging • Good battery life • Sharp display and 120Hz refresh rate
MSRP: $299.00
A fast-charging, low-priced budget phone.
The OnePlus Nord N30 5G is a well-equipped budget phone with a 108MP camera, 6.72-inch display, 5,000mAh battery, and high-power 50W charging.

What are the best OnePlus Nord N30 alternatives?

oneplus nord n30 vs galaxy a14 vs motorola moto g power 5g
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Despite its speedy wireless charging, the OnePlus Nord N30 comes with its share of omissions — some of which might be enough to tempt you elsewhere. Here are a few other phones to consider if the Nord might not be for you:

  • Google Pixel 7a ($314 at Amazon): The Pixel 7a is not only newer than the Nord N30, but it packs a much bigger punch. It has a flagship-grade Tensor G2 chip inside, which offers more reliable image processing, and Google’s update commitment easily beats that of OnePlus.
  • Samsung Galaxy A14 5G ($199.99 at Samsung): Samsung’s budget-friendly offering comes in a full $100 cheaper than the Nord N30 and has a strong list of advantages. It also offers a better software commitment, though Samsung’s 15W charging is among the slowest on the market. If you want a budget phone that looks like a flagship, the Galaxy A14 5G follows closely in the Galaxy S23’s footsteps.
  • Motorola Moto G Power 5G ($249 at Amazon): Motorola brought 5G to its Moto G Power for the first time and created a Nord N30 rival in the process. The Moto G Power 5G is more durable than the Nord thanks to its IP52 rating, its battery will go the distance, and its 256GB of storage out of the box means you can wait longer before tapping into its expandable storage.
  • OnePlus Nord N300 ($228 at OnePlus): If you’re after the most affordable OnePlus experience, the Nord N300 is a good starter smartphone. It drops the dedicated macro camera and doesn’t offer quite as much storage, but the 33W wired charging still outpaces Samsung and Motorola. You’ll save a bit more money, but you’ll also have to make do with a 90Hz refresh rate, HD+ resolution, and the same underwhelming update support.

OnePlus Nord N30 specs

OnePlus Nord N30
Display
6.72-inch LCD
2,400 x 1,080 resolution (FHD+)
120Hz refresh rate
391ppi
Processor
Snapdragon 695
RAM
8GB
Storage
128GB
Expandable up to 1TB
Power
5,000mAh battery
50W wired charging
Cameras
Rear:
- 108MP wide, f/1.7, PDAF
- 2MP macro, f/2.4
- 2MP depth, f/2.4

Selfie:
- 16MP wide, f/2.4
Audio
Stereo speakers
Video
Primary: 1080p at 30fps
Selfie: 1080p at 30fps
Durability
Plastic back and frame
Connectivity
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
Biometrics
Side-mounted fingerprint reader
Ports and switches
USB 2.0 via USB-C
3.5mm headphone jack
Software
Android 13
1 full Android updates
3 years of bi-monthly security patches
Dimensions and weight
165.5 x 76 x 8.3mm
195 grams
Colors
Chromatic Gray
In the box
OnePlus Nord N30
USB-A to USB-C cable
SIM ejector tool
Quick start guide

OnePlus Nord N30 review: FAQ

No, there’s no option for wireless charging on the OnePlus Nord N30, though it does support 50W wired charging.

The OnePlus Nord N30 does not offer an IP rating for water and dust resistance.

Yes, the OnePlus Nord N30 supports NFC for wireless payments.

The OnePlus Nord N30 doesn’t have a dedicated memory card slot, though it supports a microSD card in its SIM tray.