The Nord N10 5G does make certain sacrifices. For example, it runs the outdated Android 10 operating system and has an LCD display rather than an OLED one. It also lacks an in-screen fingerprint sensor and has a slower processor than any OnePlus phone released in 2020. But, it also offers some high-end features like 5G, a 90Hz display, and a powerful 4,300 mAh battery, as well as some vintage surprises like expandable memory and a headphone jack that other OnePlus phones don’t have.
Recognizable design cues on the N10 5G
The N10 5G sports a glossy, dark blue design that appears smooth and professional. It doesn’t appear to be a “cheap” phone from a distance. But, I could tell it wasn’t as high-end when I first took it up. It is heavier, thicker, and has broader bezels than any of the OnePlus phones from the previous year, particularly the bottom chin bezel. Also, it lacks the handy toggle option for vibrate/silence that OnePlus phones are famous for. It is still a rather appealing tablet, though, and its soft side edges are cozy to grip.
While OnePlus phones often feature AMOLED displays, the N10 5G also includes an LCD screen. When compared to the Nord, the AMOLED screen has a little bit more brightness, color, and contrast. I also observed that the color shifting was more obvious while looking at the N10 5G from different angles. However you can only see these specifics next to another phone. The screen of the N10 5G isn’t really broken, and viewing films and looking at pictures appeared crisp and sharp. The 90Hz refresh rate makes it feel quick and fluid to browse between feeds and applications.
Last but not least, the N10 5G boasts two features that are familiar but have been absent from many high-end devices: a headphone port and a quick-acting visible fingerprint sensor on the rear of the phone.
The N10 5G only requires two back cameras despite having four.
The N10 5G boasts four rear cameras, but like many OnePlus phones, it only really requires two of them. The normal and ultra-wide cameras are excellent and the ones I used the most, however the monochrome camera is only helpful if you want to capture black and white images, which is something I seldom ever do. Also, the 2-megapixel macro camera for up-close photographs produces images that appear to have been captured with a 2-megapixel camera. While it did let me zoom in and get very close to an item, the final images came out looking washed out and muddy.
But once more, both the normal and ultrawide cameras are really good. Images had vivid HDR effects and were crisp with lots of contrast. Although the default resolution of the regular camera is 16 megapixels, you may photograph at the maximum 64 megapixel resolution. The camera’s 10x digital zoom is likewise respectable; although being slightly blurrier, it was still able to catch details of distant objects.
Nightscape, the N10 5G’s low-light feature, wasn’t very amazing. I was able to distinguish a few more details and book names while photographing a black bookshelf in near darkness, but the image remained largely dark. The same scene was much brighter on all three phones when I compared it to the same image on the OnePlus Nord, One Plus 8T, and Pixel 5.
Battery and performance of N10 5G
The phone has a Snapdragon 690 CPU inside. The Snapdragon 765 chipset in the OnePlus Nord, Motorola One 5G, and Pixel 4A 5G is faster and more powerful on paper, but in benchmark tests, the N10 5G roughly matched those devices. Also, I experienced no latency or speed difficulties when using the phone.
A robust 4,300 mAh battery powers the N10 5G, the same amount as the more pricey OnePlus 8. (The 4,500-mAh battery of the OnePlus 9 is significantly larger.) Anecdotally, the phone can operate without a charge for a day or two with light usage. I took the phone out during the day to snap a lot of photographs and browse the internet, but by the end of one specific night, the battery was only at 70%. The average duration of the battery testing for continuous video playback in Airplane mode was 16 hours, 27 minutes. The OnePlus 8 lasted over 19 hours in contrast.
Software and user interface for N10 5G
When OnePlus unveiled the 8T in October of last year, the company also refreshed its OxygenOS user interface, streamlining menus and alerts to make them appear more streamlined, contemporary, and clean. It disappointed me that it wasn’t available on the N10 5G because I was a fan. This is probably because the device runs Android 10, but even if the N10 5G doesn’t come with Android 11 preinstalled, OnePlus may still choose to modify some aspects of the UI to match the most recent OxygenOS style. Yet according to OnePlus, the N10 5G will get one OS upgrade (from Android 10 to Android 11) and two years’ worth of security patches.
A native screen recorder, Dark Mode, and ZenMode—OnePlus’ digital wellbeing tool that restricts phone activity when you need to concentrate—are among the beneficial software features that the N10 5G still has.
When the 2021 models didn’t make the cut, readers emailed us asking which low-cost phone is the best. Motorola’s Moto G series has consistently topped our Editors’ Choice list for affordable phones. The OnePlus North N10 5G is our solution. It boxes off all the basics, has very decent cameras for the price, preserves cheap phone features such as the headphone port, and adds a few goodies such as 5G connection and a 90Hz display.