The OnePlus Nord 3 is an exciting prospect for fans of best OnePlus phones. It’s expected to be the next big mid-range handset from the company, after many budget spin-offs and alternatives to the OnePlus Nord 2.
It’ll also be a more affordable take on the OnePlus 11, letting people get a new Android phone without paying to-shelf prices. Saying that, we don’t really know when the next top Nord will land.
The Nord brand is OnePlus’ family of affordable and mid-range Android phones; designed to offer useful features that people actually want, tailored to budgets which don’t stretch to the company’s pricier powerhouses.
We’ve seen the original OnePlus Nord and Nord 2 joined by a whole host of spin-offs; including the OnePlus Nord 2T, OnePlus Nord CE 2, OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite, OnePlus Nord N10, OnePlus Nord N200 and more. But the Nord 3 is expected to be the next big addition to the range, expected to arrive in the middle of the year.
So far, we haven’t come across that many rumors or leaks concerning the OnePlus Nord 3, so we don’t yet have a complete picture of what to expect. However, that’s starting to change, not to mention we’ve got a good idea of what we’d like to see, based on past mobiles and the current state of the Android phone market. As such, while we wait for more news, we’ve shared what we’ve learnt about the phone so far, as well as our feature wish-list, below.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The third generation of mid-range OnePlus phones
- When is it out? Likely mid-2023
- How much will it cost? Probably around £399 (about $550, AU$750)
OnePlus Nord 3: release date and price
Based on precedent, we’ll likely see the OnePlus Nord 3 announced and released in the middle few months of the year. The original and second-gen models were both unveiled in July of their respective launch years, so that seems like the obvious month to expect the Nord 3; it could be a little earlier or later, however.
When we get nearer to July, we’ll likely hear some rumors regarding specific dates but in the meantime, the phone’s been spotted on various certification sites by way of MySmartPrice (opens in new tab), which many believe means it’s nearly ready for prime-time, set to debut soon.
In terms of price, we’ll also have to wait until nearer the time for some leaks, but we can look at past performance for a good idea. The Nord and Nord 2 launched for £379 (around $480, AU$680) and £399 (about $550, AU$750) respectively, so a price in that ballpark remains very likely.
The previous phones in the family series never launched in the US or Australia though, so don’t hold your breath for releases in those regions.
OnePlus Nord 3: design and display
We haven’t heard much about the hardware and software the OnePlus Nord 3 will pack in, but one leak has revealed many of the possible specs, including a 6.7-inch 1080 x 2412 display.
Known tipster Max Jambor (who admittedly was a little off his game with regards to OnePlus rumors, recently) previously suggested that the Nord 3 would essentially be a repackaged version of the China-exclusive OnePlus Ace 2V (opens in new tab) for global audiences, potentially with less RAM and a more modest chipset.
If true, this would suggest a straight-side design, along with a flat display and a mostly-flat glass back, with subtle rounding at the edge where the glass meets the phone’s metal frame. OnePlus’ signature physical alert slider features the on the Ace 2V, so we’d hope it would carry across to the Nord 3 too, while display and resolution specs match up with those previous rumors.
OnePlus Nord 3: specs and features
As for what’s going on inside the Nord 3, those same spec leaks from all the way back in March 2022 pointed to an upper mid-range Dimensity 8100 chipset, 12GB of RAM and an in-screen fingerprint scanner, among other things.
While the chipset could differ, there is a world in which the Nord 3 retains the Ace 2V’s top-shelf MediaTek-made Dimensity 9000 SoC, which is a little longer in the tooth at this stage.
As for software, based on the recent exclusive confirmation to TechRadar of OxygenOS 13.1 debuting on the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite, there’s every chance that the Nord 3 will also run on this same Android 13-based user experience out of the box.
OnePlus Nord 3: camera and battery
A triple-lens rear camera seems likely, continuing the trend of its predecessors, with the last batch of leaks pointing to an impressive-sounding with 50MP main sensor, accompanied by 8MP and 2MP sensors; presumably ultrawide and depth snappers, respectively, however, that’s guess work on our part. A 16MP front camera is also said to feature and if like the Ace 2V’s will appear as a punch-hole sensor, set into the top-center of the Nord 3’s screen.
When it comes to the battery, like the Nord 2T and the Nord 2 before it, the Nord 3 is thought to pack in a 4,500mAh cell, this time paired with impressively-fast charging. One early rumor claimed speeds of up to 150W, which would coinciding with talk of a forthcoming OnePlus phone promising such speeds. However, this would also make the Nord 3 the fastest-charging OnePlus phone out there at launch; outpacing even the company’s flagship OnePlus 11, which seems unlikely.
Further dispelling this notion are those aforementioned certifications, which as well as suggesting an impending release, also reference 80W fast charging. This is still impressively rapid – especially for a mid-ranger – even beating out recent flagships, like the Xiaomi 13, with its 67W fast charging.
OnePlus Nord 3: What we want to see
1. A higher display refresh rate
Display refresh rate refers to how many times per second a smartphone’s display updates. While 60Hz (or 60 times per second) used to be used in basically all phones, the last few years has seen a move up to 90Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz and in some rare cases, even higher; for a select few mobiles.
When a refresh rate is higher, on-screen interaction and motion looks smoother, which is beneficial for streaming content and playing games, but even just for swiping between menus and home pages.
Now, many budget and most mid-range and premium phones use at least 120Hz, but the previous OnePlus Nord phones have been outliers; sticking with 90Hz.
We’d like to see the OnePlus Nord 3 make the jump to 120Hz, to match other mobiles at the same price point, and just so the phone feels more premium and more responsive to use.
2. Some Hasselblad camera tricks
For its flagship series, OnePlus currently partners with camera company Hasselblad; granting its top devices optimized camera experiences with extra features, modes and filters that make them fantastic for photography. We’d like to see the fruits of this relationship come to the Nord series too.
Examples include the Hasselblad Pro Mode, which captures in a higher color profile and saves in a version of RAW which is more space-efficient, compared to your phone’s standard ‘Pro’ mode or equivalent.
Even if the mid-range Nord 3 can’t handle flashy and intensive camera tricks, we’d like to see some camera features which elevate the phone over same-price competitors.
3. No app throttling
OnePlus found itself in hot water in mid-2021 when users discovered that the OxygenOS user experience found on its phones secretly throttled popular apps (this means it reduced how much of the phone’s processing power they could access).
Some of the few apps not throttled were benchmarking apps (which tell you how much processing power a phone has), and the company didn’t admit this was happening until it was caught out, which obviously wasn’t a good look for the brand.
The eventual resolution of the furore was that a toggle was introduced in the settings so you can turn off throttling if you like, but it’s still turned on by default, so most people won’t ever notice and will just think they have a slow phone.
We’d like the company to remove this throttling feature, or at the very least have it off by default (OnePlus says having it on saves battery life, something disputed by user reports).
4. An easier-to-buy range of colors
You could buy the OnePlus Nord 2 in blue, gray or green (as well as in a weird Pac-Man design) but there was a catch – not all versions were available in all regions.
Green was exclusive to India, while blue was only available paired to certain memory configurations; at least in the UK.
We’d like to see OnePlus embrace the bright, colorful and energetic, as Samsung did with the Galaxy S20 FE’s huge range of vibrant hues. Let’s see reds and oranges, and yellows, or maybe something a little weird like the color-changing gold and blue of the Vivo V23 from OnePlus’ sister company.
5. Another crossover
As we mentioned, the OnePlus Nord 2 was available in a Pac-Man edition with a dot-patterned rear which glowed in the dark, as well as software full of Easter eggs for the popular vintage game.
That’s not the only crossover OnePlus has enjoyed either, with multiple Cyberpunk 2077 devices and McLaren editions of some of its phones too.
We’d like to see the Nord 3 get something fun too, and maybe more recent than the ancient Pac-Man or maligned CyberPunk 2077. What about Starfield? Or The Witcher?