With the launch of OnePlus Nord CE in India recently, the sub-25k mobile segment has heated up again. It has started the rat race for smartphones to become the best 5G phone in India. Apart from OnePlus Nord CE, the iQOO Z3 is already there with stellar hardware and great pricing, and Mi 10i is also a promising 5G device from the reliable house of Xiaomi. So if you want to find out which one of these three 5G devices offers a better experience, check out our comparison between OnePlus Nord CE vs iQOO Z3 vs Mi 10i. On that note, let’s jump into the article.
OnePlus Nord CE vs iQOO Z3 vs Mi 10i: In-depth Specs Comparison (2021)
Here, we have pitted OnePlus Nord CE against iQOO Z3 and Mi 10i. We have discussed their processors, benchmark numbers, 5G band support, software experience, and much more. You can expand the table below and move to the desired section with just a click.
OnePlus Nord CE vs iQOO Z3 vs Mi 10i: Specs Comparison
|OnePlus Nord CE 5G||iQOO Z3 5G||Mi 10i 5G|
|Dimension||159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9 mm||164 x 75.3 x 8.5 mm||165.4 x 76.8 x 9 mm|
|Weight||170 grams||185.5 grams||214.5 grams|
90Hz refresh rate
IPS LCD, HDR10
120Hz refresh rate
IPS LCD, HDR10
120Hz refresh rate
|Processor||Snapdragon 750G||Snapdragon 768G||Snapdragon 750G|
|CPU Cores||2x2.2 GHz Kryo 570 Gold (A77)|
6x1.8 GHz Kryo 570 Silver (A55)
|1x2.8 GHz Kryo 475 Prime (A76)|
1x2.4 GHz Kryo 475 Gold (A76)
6x1.8 GHz Kryo 475 Silver (A55)
|2x2.2 GHz Kryo 570 Gold (A77)
6x1.8 GHz Kryo 570 Silver (A55)
|GPU||Adreno 619||Adreno 620||Adreno 619|
|Modem||Snapdragon X52 5G||Snapdragon X52 5G||Snapdragon X52 5G|
|5G Band Support||N78 (India)||N77, N78 (India)||N77, N78 (India)|
|RAM||6/ 8/ 12GB LPDDR4X||6/ 8/ 12GB LPDDR4X||6/ 8GB LPDDR4X|
|Storage||128/ 256GB UFS 2.1||128/ 256GB UFS 2.2||128GB UFS 2.2|
|Rear Camera||64MP (Standard)|
8MP (Ultra Wide, 119-degree FoV)
|64MP (Standard, Samsung GW3) |
8MP (Ultra Wide, 120-degree FoV)
|108MP (Standard, Samsung HM2)
8MP (Ultra Wide, 120-degree FoV)
|Selfie Camera||16MP (Sony IMX471)||16MP||16MP|
|Video||4K @ 30FPS, 1080p @ 30/60FPS||4K @ 30/60FPS|
1080p @ 30/60FPS
|4K @ 30FPS, 1080p @ 30/60FPS|
|Software||OxygenOS 11 (Android 11)||Funtouch OS 11.1 (Android 11)||MIUI 12 (Android 11)|
|Wi-Fi Support||Wi-Fi 5, 2.4GHz, 5GHz||Wi-Fi 5, 2.4GHz, 5GHz||Wi-Fi 5, 2.4GHz, 5GHz|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.1, aptX HD, LDAC||Bluetooth 5.1, aptX HD||Bluetooth 5.1, aptX HD|
|3.5mm Audio Jack||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|SD Card Slot||No||Yes||Yes|
|Price||Starts at Rs. 22,999 for 6+128GB||Starts at Rs. 19,900 for 6+128GB||Starts at Rs. 20,999 for 6+64GB|
CPU and GPU
Before anything, let’s talk about the CPU of all three competing devices – OnePlus Nord CE 5G, iQOO Z3 5G, and Mi 10i 5G. OnePlus Nord CE and Mi 10i share the same Snapdragon 750G 5G processor and the exact same core architecture. So in terms of performance, you should get a similar experience from both of these smartphones.
The Snapdragon 750G chipset is built on the 8nm process node and employs the Kryo 5-series core, which is based on Cortex-A77 clocked at a maximum frequency of 2.2GHz. In addition, you have got the usual Cortex-A55 core clocked at 1.8GHz. You can learn all about the OnePlus Nord CE from our YouTube video:
Talking about iQOO Z3, which packs the Snapdragon 768G 5G SoC, is more powerful than Snapdragon 750G, but there is more to it. It uses the older Kryo 4-series Cortex-A76 core, but at a higher 2.8GHz clock speed. That means in a single-threaded intensive task like gaming, iQOO Z3 will do better than the OnePlus Nord CE or Mi 10i. In multi-threaded tasks, iQOO Z3 and Mi 10i are on the same plain, but Nord CE seems to lag behind due to the older UFS 2.1 storage.
Benchmark Numbers: OnePlus Nord CE vs iQOO Z3 vs Mi 10i
The performance trend is corroborated by Geekbench scores and AnTuTu benchmark numbers of iQOO Z3, OnePlus Nord CE, and the Mi 10i that we have mentioned below. Before we jump to the numbers, I want to say that the overall performance difference between OnePlus Nord CE, iQOO Z3, and Mi 10i will be marginal in actual usage.
But if you want to pick the most powerful device among the three, it’s the iQOO Z3, followed by Mi 10i, and lastly, the OnePlus Nord CE. Check out the Geeekbench and AnTuTu benchmark scores for these three phones in the graphs here:
Brands are rallying behind the 5G hype and adding 5G support to budget smartphones in hopes to position 5G as a USP, even though the technology is nowhere in sight for public use in India. Nevertheless, if you are interested, all three smartphones – Nord CE, iQOO Z3, and Mi 10i – have 5G support, and in fact, pack the same Snapdragon X52 modem.
For your information, the Snapdragon X52 modem supports both the sub-6GHz and mmWave frequencies, but none of these smartphones have got support for premium mmWave frequencies. iQOO Z3 and Mi 10i come with N77 (3.3-4.2 GHz) and N78 (3.3-3.8 GHz) band support, which fall under the sub-6GHz frequency band. And OnePlus Nord CE brings only one N78 5G band support.
By the way, the Indian government has just approved 5G trials in India, and it includes spectrums between 3.2 GHz to 3.67 GHz, in addition to premium mmWave 24.25-28.5 GHz frequencies. That means both N77 and N78 will be covered when the 5G service goes live in the future in India.
All in all, if you are looking for a budget 5G phone in India, all three smartphones are good picks, but between OnePlus CE vs iQOO Z3 vs Mi 10i, the latter two will offer you wider 5G band support due to the addition of the N77 band. In case you want to learn more about 5G in India, go through our detailed explainer.
Talking about the build quality and design, the OnePlus Nord CE has an entirely plastic build, including the frame and back panel. However, it’s the thinnest and lightest among all the three phones, measuring at 7.9mm thickness and 170g weight. It also comes in three color options, namely Blue Void, Charcoal Ink, and Silver Ray. Nord CE also includes an under-display fingerprint sensor. Having said all of that, the disappointing part is that OnePlus Nord CE does not come with the alert slider, which has been a distinctive factor for OnePlus phones in the market.
Coming to iQOO Z3, it also has a plastic body with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. In terms of dimensions, it sits right in the middle between Nord CE and Mi 10i. The iQOO Z3 weighs around 185g and has a thickness of 8.5mm. The phone is available in two colors, namely Ace Black and Cyber Blue. Also, it has a waterdrop notch as opposed to a punch-hole cutout on the front.
Finally, the Mi 10i is the bulkiest of the three and has the same plastic frame as its peers, but it sets itself apart with a premium glass back. Gorilla Glass 5 protection is available on the front, back, and circular camera module. As a result, the phone weighs around 214g and has a thickness of 9mm. Mi 10i comes in three colors, namely Pacific Sunrise, Midnight Black, and Atlantic Blue.
In terms of display, OnePlus Nord CE has gone for a well-balanced 6.43-inch Full-HD+ AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. I believe it’s the right choice given the modest Adreno 619 GPU onboard. On the other hand, both iQOO Z3 and Mi 10i have chosen a 120Hz IPS LCD display, with 6.58-inch and 6.67-inch panels, respectively. In addition, both the panels are HDR10 certified. I won’t jump into the whole LCD vs AMOLED debate, but the overall experience matters more than just deeper blacks, better colors.
We all know that in the budget segment, HDR and high refresh rate display don’t result in a consistent experience due to mediocre panel, low brightness nits, and lack of GPU power to drive the 120Hz panel. Having said that, the Mi 10i particularly comes with AdaptiveSync technology that can go from 30Hz to 120Hz according to the task at hand. So you might see fewer stutters on this phone.
Talking about the software experience, I would say, despite the recent criticism of slow updates, OnePlus Nord CE wins this round against iQOO Z3 and Mi 10i. It offers a clean, mostly bloat-free software experience.
OnePlus Nord CE ships with OxygenOS based on Android 11 and might get Android 12 perhaps by the year-end or in Q1 2022. As for the update timeline, OnePlus promises 2 years of software updates and 3 years of security updates for Nord CE. Other than that, the best part is that Nord CE comes with an Always-on display feature, so that is awesome.
Moving to Mi 10i, it ships with MIUI 12 with Android 10, but it recently got the MIUI 12 update based on Android 11. Sure, MIUI is feature-packed, but we can’t overlook all the bloatware, relentless push notifications, and worsening ad situation plaguing Xiaomi’s skin. If you want to debloat MIUI from ads, trackers, and bloatware, follow our linked guide.
Finally, iQOO Z3 brings Funtouch OS 11.1 based on Android 11. Frankly, I like what Vivo has done with Funtouch OS over the past year. Now, it boasts a clean and stock Android-like UI but adds unwanted bloatware and serves ads here and there. Nevertheless, you get Game Mode and Always-on Display feature which is a welcome addition.
In terms of cameras, all three smartphones are chasing big numbers. OnePlus Nord CE comes with a 64MP primary sensor along with an 8MP ultra-wide lens having a 119-degree field of view. In addition, it uses a 2MP monochrome sensor for taking some cool B&W photos, but it will be low-res.
On the front side, the OnePlus Nord CE employs a 16MP Sony IMX471 sensor for bright and sharp selfies. It can also do 4K videos, but there is no 60FPS support for UHD video recording. Also, we are well aware of OnePlus’ camera performance history.
On similar lines, the iQOO Z3 packs in a 64MP Samsung GW3 sensor along with an 8MP ultra-wide lens (120-degree FoV) and a 2MP macro lens. For selfies, you have got a 16MP camera.
Finally, coming to the Mi 10i, well, it comes with a high-res 108MP Samsung HM2 sensor with an 8MP ultra-wide lens, 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth lens. Overall, in terms of image quality, we will have to wait and see which of the three phones outdoes another. As far as the camera hardware is concerned, all three have capable camera systems.
Battery and Charging
In the battery and charging department, the iQOO Z3 seems to kill the competition in the budget category. It comes with a 4,400mAh battery along with 55W flash charging. It can charge the phone 50% in just 19 minutes, which is amazing.
On the other hand, the OnePlus Nord CE comes with a 30W Warp charger and 4500mAh battery capacity. OnePlus claims that it can charge the battery from 0 to 70% in just 30 minutes, which is actually faster than iQOO’s 55W charger. We need to test more to find out which one charges a phone to 100% quickly and more efficiently.
Moving to Mi 10i, it packs a larger 4820mAh battery and offers 33W charging on the go. Xiaomi claims it can fully charge the battery in just 58 minutes, thanks to the Dual Split Charging technology. On top of that, Mi 10i also supports USB Power Delivery charging up to 18W.
OnePlus Nord CE vs iQOO Z3 vs Mi 10i: Which One Would You Pick?
In terms of hardware, the iQOO Z3 surely has the upper hand over Nord CE and Mi 10i. It comes with a better processor, wider 5G band support, UFS 2.2, a capable camera system, and a lower price to boot. But hardware is not enough. Software experience and after-sales service are important as well, and you should consider these factors before spending your money on any device. Anyway, that is all from us. If you found the comparison helpful, comment down below and let us know. Also, do mention your favorite device among the three.