OnePlus Nord CE 4 Review: A New Midrange Marvel?

Purchasing a budget smartphone that gets it all right in 2024 is not exactly easy, right? It’s not just about the plethora of options in front of us but about the compromise we are ready to make. You’ll either have to compromise on the performance, deal with subpar cameras, or get to uninstalling intrusive bloatware right out of the box. When I reviewed the Nothing Phone 2a a couple of weeks ago, I did praise it for bringing more solutions than problems to deal with.

Now, the OnePlus Nord CE 4 is here, and I have spent almost two weeks with it. Well, I have a lot of things to say, so let’s dive into my full-fledged review. Starting at Rs. 24,999 in India, is the Nord CE 4 worth the money? Let’s find out!

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Box Contents

Key Takeaways:

1. You get the charger and case right in the box.
2. The phone comes with a pre-applied screen protector.
OnePlus Nord CE 4 Box Contents

The OnePlus Nord CE 4 brings everything you’ll ever need in the box. From a good quality silicone case, an 80W fast charger, and a charging cable to the SIM ejector tool and even stickers, there’s all that you need right inside.

What’s more, the phone also comes with a pre-applied screen protector. If I were you, I’d consider myself sorted. With that, I shifted my focus to the handset itself.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Design and Build

Key Takeaways:

1. The Celadon Marble color variant looks the best for Nord CE 4.
2. In-hand feel is not anything extraordinary since it’s plastic all around.
3. Phone feels slippery in hand and the back panel is a scratch magnet. Using a case is highly recommended.

As for the device itself, I have with me the green Celadon Marble variant of the OnePlus Nord CE 4. There’s another color variant named Dark Chrome, which is enveloped in this glossy gray design that I’m not a fan of. The green variant certainly looks better, in my opinion. In direct sunlight, the green hues are suppressed and the whites take over, which also looks pretty good.

The Nord CE 4 is lightweight at 186 grams, which is always a welcome trait. However, the in-hand feel of the device is not spectacular and the plastic build feels cheap. Like the other Nord CE phones, the CE 4 comes with curved edges that don’t leave battle marks on your palm. The phone never felt uncomfortable to hold when doom-scrolling on Instagram or in landscape mode to watch YouTube videos for hours.

Even though the back panel design is pretty, the plastic build makes it feel cheap in hand.

But, the OnePlus Nord CE 4 is pretty slippery, and I never seemed to get that good a grip. With sweaty hands, it only got worse. Some sort of a textured finish at the sides would have been much appreciated. Also, if you are wondering, the device comes with an IP54 rating.

To be honest, it is not spectacular on the design front. The in-hand feel of the device also had me mistake it for the Nord CE 3 countless times. From the polished frame to the deceptively similar front, it all felt too much like its predecessor.

Thanks to the back panel design though, I could tell it apart from its predecessor. When I attended the Nord CE 4 closed-door briefing, OnePlus revealed this design to be inspired by the OnePlus 11’s Marble Odyssey variant. While it’s not the same design, I could see the marbly influence.

The green and white mixture of hues masks scratches really well; took me a while to spot the minor scratches that appeared at the back edges. Do note that I hadn’t kept it outside its case for that long. Going by that, this back panel seems quite the scratch magnet, and I’d recommend using a case.

That’s probably where the difference ends. While it’s not that bad to stick to familiarity, going with smarter design choices would have certainly been more appreciated.

For example, the power button placement. I have always found having both the power button and volume rockers crammed on one side of the frame inconvenient. We have seen this change since the introduction of an in-display fingerprint scanner on the Nord CE 3, and I’m not fond of it.

I also noticed how the camera module makes the handset wobble when you type with the device resting on a flat surface. For some reference, I carried out this small test on the Nord CE 3 too, and it wasn’t this unstable. While I prefer the smaller camera sensors on the CE 4, it did not seem like a practical design choice.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Display Quality

Key Takeaways:

1. The display is good enough, but HDR videos may seem washed out at times.
2. Blacks are rendered very well on the AMOLED panel used here.
2. Adequate brightness levels bring good visibility both indoors and outdoors.

Moving on to the display, the Nord CE 4 brings vibrant colors and crisp details with its 6.7-inch 120Hz AMOLED screen. As for the display protection, you have Panda Twice-reinforced Glass Protection on the front. Gorilla Glass 5 would be my preferred choice, but never mind. The bezels here are also wider around the display and not as uniform.

The display is good enough and comes with DCI-P3 coverage as well. However, do note that there’s no dedicated mode to toggle on/off this gamut coverage like on the POCO X6 Pro or the Moto Edge 40 Neo, for example. Instead, like on the Nord CE 3, the CE 4’s display DCI-P3 kicks in when using the Vivid mode in display settings.

You also get HDR support on Netflix. So, I immersed myself in the magical world of Damsel on the platform, and it was good enough. The movie had a lot of dark scenes throughout and the AMOLED display rendered those blacks well. I also binge-watched the latest Avatar: The Last Airbender show on Netflix and Aang’s airbending was a visual treat.

The display is good and bright enough and the phone also support HDR on Netflix, which is great.

However, when I placed the phone against a couple of other phones in the budget, HDR videos on YouTube felt a bit washed out for some reason. If you don’t have other phones acting as a yardstick, you won’t notice this that easily. I didn’t either.

Talking about the brightness levels next, I had no problem on that front either. The Lux Meter at the office recorded a peak brightness of around 1,100 nits, and it falls in line with OnePlus’ claims. I viewed the display in direct sunlight as well and the brightness was adequate enough.

However, I noticed that 4K 60FPS videos on YouTube stutter miserably on the device. Whereas, its predecessor had no problem handling it. So, it seems like a software optimization issue of sorts. Do note that the device was running pre-production software at the time of writing.

I will post a small update here when the day 1 patch lands and let you know if the issue still persists. Note that videos of up to 1440p on YouTube ran without any such problems.

Oh, you can also force the display to 120Hz or 60Hz. Or, you can let it dynamically shift between 3 presets – 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz. This allows you to smartly save some of that battery juice, which is good.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Speaker Output

Key Takeaways:

1. One of the best speakers in the segment.
2. Balanced audio output, with highs, lows, and mids managed very well.

I’m someone who has super sensitive ears, and hence, try to avoid earbuds as much as possible. So, a phone or tablet’s speakers are super important to me. The Nord CE 4 passed with flying decibels here.

Whether I was watching movies or streaming music at home, the stereo speakers were more than enough. While the speakers were pretty loud, the output was rich and that really elevated the experience.

When playing different types of tracks, from EDM to some spicy jazz, there was no crackling of any sort at maximum volume. Neither was the audio too sharp for my ears.

From the highs and lows to the mids and the bass, it’s all well-balanced. On top of that, there’s a dedicated speaker grille at the top instead of the earpiece doubling down as one. That is also something that I have always preferred. Overall, you will have a solid audio experience with these speakers.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Software Experience

Key Takeaways:

1. While not completely bloatware-free, software experience is pretty clean.
2. OxygenOS 14 features like File Dock, Smart Cutout, and Auto Pixelate come in handy.
3. While the UI skin is good, it is not well-optimized on this device.
4. Two years of OS updates is a huge bummer.

At the time of writing, our Nord CE 4 unit is running Android 14-based OxygenOS So, my software experience with the device is solely based on this version. With that out of the way, let me take you through it.

While OxygenOS on the OnePlus Nord CE 4 is not entirely bloatware-free, it does deliver a clean experience. That did not leave enough room for complaints, with most preloaded apps like the ORelax, ZenSpace, and OnePlus apps being uninstallable.

Since I use the OnePlus 11R as my daily driver, I felt right at home. From the animations in every corner to the smart sidebar, which I use a lot, everything was as it should be. OxygenOS 14 features such as File Dock, Auto Pixelate, Smart Cutout for photos Clone Phone, and other features work as intended.

Even the haptic feedback was well synchronized with the UI. Akshay (our Content Strategist and a good friend) found the default haptic feedback to be a bit too strong. Since I prefer stronger haptics, it appealed to me.

However, when actively using the software, I stumbled upon a couple of things that I feel should be addressed and refined:

  • I got a Warzone Mobile notification letting me know about an update availability. As soon as I opened the device and swiped down to get into the quick access panel, the software lagged out and the device hanged for a good 2 minutes. I couldn’t exit the notification shade and all other actions wouldn’t register. Classic freeze, in other words.
  • I had placed a Calendar widget on the home screen. Seven out of 10 times, exiting to the home screen when I had around 10 apps open in the background would cause the widget to reload.
  • On the same note, when exiting to the home screen from an app, noticeable stutters pop up.
  • There’s also a lack of consistency with the UI animations, as Shashwat (one of our researchers) pointed out, and I noticed too. Sometimes, apps open right from their respective icons. While other times, the app opening animations originate from the center of the screen for no reason. Again, seems like an optimization issue.

Similarly, there are a couple of other minor noticeable stutters throughout. Nothing too major to spoil the experience, but it does affect my perception of the device when recommending it to you good folks. Anyway, OnePlus, if you are reading this, please fix these issues.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Performance

Key Takeaways:

1. Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 is a capable processor and brings amazing performance.
2. Gaming performance is stellar, but being a new chipset right now, you don’t see 90FPS or higher graphics settings in games.
3. Daily usage is also pretty seamless, but there are some UI optimization issues that can be fixed with a round of updates.

While the software experience wasn’t dreamy and kind of unoptimized, I’m glad it didn’t come in the way of the phone’s solid performance. The Snapdragon 7 Gen 3, backed by 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage translates pretty well in real life. As always, I have divided this pizza (section) into three pieces. So, let’s gobble it right away:

Day-to-Day Usage

I have already talked about the issues I had with the UI. So, keeping those software issues aside, this bit is going to be more about the overall daily experience I had with the CE 4. Fortunately, I had no issues on that front, with app opening/ closing being snappy.

I didn’t hold back and had around 25 apps open in the background. Apart from the UI stutters when exiting to the home screen from some apps, shuffling between them was rather seamless. The phone handled multitasking well.

Whether I was making stickers out of my friend’s hilarious images and drag-dropping them on WhatsApp or making use of the split screen, the phone handled it all without breaking a sweat. Kind of made me wonder how it would perform in benchmarks. That’s what brings us to the next section.


I ran a series of tests on the OnePlus Nord CE 4. From five different Wild Life GPU tests to the usual AnTuTu, Geekbench, and even 5G speed tests, I didn’t miss a single benchmark. Moreover, since the Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 is touted to be a bit of an AI chipset, so I ran an AI benchmark test too. So, here are all my findings. However, for an in-depth analysis, I suggest you check out my colleague Arjun’s Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 benchmark overview.

1 / 9


While the Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 passed all the tests with flying colors, you have to see it to believe it, right? Nothing does it better than playing some graphic-intensive games that push the phone to the edge of its performance threshold. So, I did just that.

To fulfill the objective of my Nord CE 4 gaming test, I couldn’t think of a better game to start with than Genshin Impact. I played the game at 60 FPS in high graphic settings with motion blur toggled off without any issues. Every touch felt responsive and looking around to view the world of Tevyat butter smooth. I also noticed how the phone wasn’t uncomfortably warm to hold even after an hour or so of playing the game.

The Nord CE 4 is a solid performer and does all too well in gaming and is fluid in day-to-day usage.

With that, I gave Warzone Mobile a try. Yeah, bad idea, I know, my friend Anshuman called the game an unoptimized mess recently. But, I had to see if the device could handle it somehow. While the optimization issues persist, it didn’t get any worse on the device. The game was playable, and it performed well with the Medium+60 FPS setting unlocked on it.

After a nauseous round of Warzone Mobile, it was time to move on to CoD Mobile, the actually good Call of Duty game. Here, you can go up to a maximum of High + Max graphic settings. So, no 90 FPS here, and you will be limited to mostly 60 FPS. However, the gameplay is smooth with zero stutters or micro-lags, of any sort. There were no frame drops either, maintaining a consistent 60 FPS throughout, even with multiple enemies on the screen.

Finally, it was time to test BGMI, which does not provide you with the 90 FPS option either. But, with the HDR+Extreme graphic setting, it hit anywhere between 55-60 FPS. In lower settings, 60 FPS was maintained constantly. There’s also the Ultra HDR + Ultra FPS setting that makes you hit around 40 FPS. Gameplay was smooth and I saw no issues with it.

The surprising thing is that the device never overheated even after around 2.5 hours of gaming. The temps were maintained extraordinarily well by the device, not exceeding 41 degrees. I was thoroughly impressed.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Cameras

Key Takeaways:

1. The primary Sony LYT600 sensor does capture details but doesn’t manage the highlights and shadows well. Shots also look washed out.
2. Ultra-wide shots through the 8MP are even more washed out and lack detail.
3. The selfie shooter is good, but there’s some over-sharpening of details that can be off-putting.
4. You can capture up to 4K @ 30FPS videos through the primary setup, but the selfie limits it to just 1080p @ 30FPS.

Discussing the optics, the Nord CE 4 features a 50MP Sony LYT600 primary sensor with OIS. Additionally, there’s a secondary 8MP Sony IMX355 ultra-wide-angle sensor. At the front, you get a 16MP selfie shooter. Enough about the on-paper camera details. It’s time to put these sensors to the test:


During the day, the Nord CE 4’s primary sensor took some pretty solid shots. Those natural hues were maintained well. Details are also well rendered as you zoom in. However, the shadows and highlights are not maintained well, and as a result, the dynamic range suffers. There’s also some noticeable overexposure in some photos.

When shifting to the ultra-wide-angle sensor though, I noticed some additional issues. The details were out of the window and colors also got cooler, appearing rather washed out. The color parity in the main sensor and ultra-wide sensor was missing here.

Moving indoors, I noticed that the shots started to get noisy when not taken in adequate lighting conditions. For example, if you look at the WALL-E figurine below, you will see that there’s quite a lot of noise as you zoom in. Even the details start getting muddier.

The problem persists with the ultra-wide-angle sensor as well. Again, there’s some color disparity between the primary and ultra-wide sensor shots.

When capturing human subjects during daytime, I noticed that the edge cutout was not precise. If your friend is a hyperactive poser, don’t expect to see good edge detection here. For example, in one of the first shots, if you zoom in on the fingers, you will see the detection falling apart and blurring out the thumb entirely.

The depth mapping is decent. Another thing I noticed here is that the skin tones aren’t consistently maintained, and there are subtle differences in every other shot. Sometimes, you see the skin tone is natural, and other times completely off. Example here:

Night Time

With that, it was time to get some night photography in. That’s when camera problems really start surfacing. When capturing indoor shots during the day, I had already predicted to see more noise in shots taken at night. I was right.

While the primary sensor still manages to take pretty decent pictures and offers good details till the evening, the ultra-wide starts deteriorating thereon. You see a lot of noise in those ultra-wide-angle shots. Details also take a hit.

However, when capturing human subjects through the primary sensor in well-lit environments at night, the images looked pretty natural. The results were the same both indoors and outdoors. But, while the skin tones were natural enough, the details weren’t spot on. But, not too shabby at all.

Selfie Shooter

The Nord CE 4 takes rather good selfies. However, the details may seem a tad too well-maintained, suggesting some level of sharpness enhancing processing. But, it didn’t bother me much and I liked the outputs. Kind of social media ready, to be honest.

However, the edge detection seems wonky and is not consistent throughout the picture. I noticed the absence of major skin tone enhancements in the shots here, which is great. There wasn’t some off-putting skin smoothening either. That is always welcome as well. All in all, the Nord CE 4 takes good enough selfies during both the day and at night.

Nord CE 4’s cameras are unreliable and inconsistent in most situations. Here, the highlights and shadows are also poorly handled.


As for videos, the Nord CE 4 can capture up to 4K @ 30 FPS videos, which is disappointing. If you favor fluidity over quality, you can also capture at 1080p @ 60 FPS. However, when capturing these videos, I noticed disturbing lags in places.

These lags would show up when capturing 1080p @ 60FPS or 4K @ 30FPS videos. For some reason, I’ve also noticed that the OIS wasn’t fully kicking in when recording 4K @ 30FPS videos. There was also some focus hunting issue. However, these issues did not persist in 1080p @ 60FPS videos.

I was also disappointed to see the front sensor is limited to capturing 1080p @ 30FPS videos. But, the microphone quality is pretty good and maintains clarity even in noisy environments. With that said, let’s talk about the battery backup next!

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Battery and Charging

Key Takeaways:

1. Average screen-on-time is somewhere around 6.5-7 hours.
2. With casual daily usage, the battery can last up to 2 days.
3. The phone takes around 30 minutes to fully charge from 1-100%.

On the Nord CE 4, you get a 5,500mAh unit inside. This battery capacity is backed by a whopping 100W fast charging support. This is the first time that we’re seeing a Nord phone come with this big a battery and this fast a charging. I like the fact that you are not losing out on anything here.

While the on-paper battery specifications were impressive, it was time to see how well that holds up in real life. Talking about the battery backup first, I watched a couple of YouTube videos, almost an entire movie on VLC media player, and even threw some gaming in the mix.

With this, I consistently got anywhere between 6.5 hours to 7 hours of screen-on time. Note that this was with auto brightness turned on as well. These numbers are amazing, and if you are a casual user, you can easily expect to get around 1.5 to even 2 days of backup.

Once the battery was drained to 1%, it was time to test the 100W fast charging speeds. It took only around 30 minutes to full charge the Nord CE 4 from 1% to 100%.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Connectivity

Nord CE 4 comes with comprehensive connectivity options as well, which will meet most of your demands. I’m saying “most” because you don’t get NFC onboard. However, there is Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.4 alongside Dual SIM support. Also, the handset offers expandable storage of up to 1TB. The Nord CE 3 offers similar storage expansion as well.

As for the 5G bands, you get only seven of them. But, you get to see the N77 and N78 bands, which are important. Hence, despite there being a lower number of 5G bands, I haven’t faced any major issues in connectivity and download speeds. However, I’m guessing the network may not be able to hold up as well in more remote areas.

Of course, some detailed testing needs to be done in this regard. But, in normal to high-network areas, it worked without any hiccups. I also ran a 5G speed test in my room which doesn’t receive the best JIO 5G network, and it hit pretty decent numbers there too:

Final Verdict: Should You Buy OnePlus Nord CE 4?

If you are paying Rs. 24,999 for a smartphone, you would expect it to come with the least number of problems right out of the box. However, the OnePlus Nord CE 4 fell short of my expectations. There are way too many UI and camera optimization issues right now, and in this state, I’m thinking twice about recommending this phone to you. Sorry not sorry, OnePlus.

Why buy a phone that feels more like an experiment, when there are finished and optimized devices like the POCO X6 Pro (starts at Rs 25,999) up for the taking? In all honestly, I’d recommend adding Rs. 1,000 more and going with the POCO X6 Pro instead.

If you are someone who puts their faith in OnePlus phones, I recommend not buying the Nord CE 4 right away and instead waiting for the company to roll out updates to fix the issues. Then, it will be a good idea to pick up this smartphone at its Rs 24,999 price tag (on Amazon).

Right now, it tries to be too many things at once and misses the mark with most. So, if you ask me, skip this one in its current unoptimized state.

Pros and Cons
The Pros
Excellent price-to-performance ratio
Commendable battery backup
Good and bright display
Fast charger and case in the box
Expandable storage of up to 1TB
The Cons
Plastic build feels cheap
Below average cameras
UI optimization issues in places
Final Verdict
Design and Build
Software Experience
Battery and Charging
While other phones in the budget fail to tick all the boxes, Nord CE 4 manages to check most of the important ones but it's the optimization that misses the mark. In its current state, the phone does need an update to resolve a few software and a whole lot of camera optimization issues. So, for now, I recommend you to hold off your purchase and wait for a few updates.
Comments 1
  • Hanka says:

    Does the Nord CE 3 have the “green line” issue? If so, I suspect if this will fare any better

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