official announcement last week? Well, while the budget-friendly handset did unsurprisingly prove to be true (and truly amazing in terms of the theoretical value offered at an essentially unbeatable price), it turns out that certain sacrifices had to be made in order to keep this bad boy so incredibly affordable and technologically advanced.
In addition to the obvious stuff that is missing from
the 6.4-incher’s list of features when compared to the high-end
OnePlus 8 or
8 Pro 5G, like a newer main imaging sensor, faster processor,
wireless charging, or water resistance, a major and somewhat unexpected compromise has been revealed in Zack Nelson’s traditional JerryRigEverything durability test video.
In case you were wondering why
OnePlus avoided to hype up the seemingly premium design of the Nord 5G both before and during its virtual launch event, that might be because the build quality is actually not as impressive as it looks. While the phone does rock a shiny glass back, its frame is only made to resemble metal with the old silver-paint-over-plastic trick.
That’s right, the OnePlus Nord 5G combines premium-looking glass with… premium-looking but cheap-feeling plastic, which is not inherently a bad thing, especially in this particular handset’s price bracket. The real problem is the unusual fragility of the phone’s frame, which isn’t necessarily connected to the use of plastic. After all, we’ve seen plenty of devices constructed this way or even entirely made from plastic pass Nelson’s grueling durability tests with flying colors in the past.
Instead of doing that, the OnePlus Nord catastrophically breaks after a couple of bending attempts, which means back pockets are to be avoided at all times and hard protective cases used in most day-to-day circumstances. Of course, that’s generally advised even when dealing with significantly tougher phones made from real metal and glass, so if you like the specs and price of the Nord 5G, you shouldn’t consider this apparent structural weakness an absolute deal breaker.
Interestingly, the handset doesn’t physically snap in half like other similarly fragile gadgets in past durability experiments, but the functionality of its display is ruined beyond repair. For what it’s worth, the screen itself is protected by a standard Gorilla Glass 5 coating, the volume rocker, power button, and mute switch are all made from metal, and the in-display fingerprint scanner withstands quite a bit of scratching.