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Review Of The OnePlus Nord N20 5G: A Better Cheap Phone

The OnePlus Nord N20 5G represents OnePlus’s pinnacle. The business has perfected the recipe for a fantastic affordable phone even though it hasn’t yet mastered the flagship.

The N20 performs well and feels like you’re getting away with something for $282. Although it isn’t ideal, the fantastic price-to-feature ratio makes it simple to recommend – provided you’re on T-Mobile.

That’s one of a few “ifs” that make it challenging to strongly advise the N20 5G to anyone searching for a low-cost Android phone. The N20 5G will only be offered for purchase from T-Mobile when it is being introduced in the US. OnePlus claims that it would sell the phone unlocked in the future, but Spenser Blank, a company representative, declined to comment on whether the firm will apply for 5G certification on Verizon and AT&T at that time.

Additionally, by claiming that the N20 5G has a triple rear camera array, OnePlus is being a little deceptive. Although there are actually three image sensors there, only one of them is important.

There are a few other compromises to be mindful of as well, like as the phone’s lack of 4K video recording capabilities and its subpar built-in speaker. However, the general performance of the phone is a strength, as is the quality of the OLED display in a market dominated by subpar LCD screens. These are crucial details to get right, and the N20 succeeds in doing so.

Rarely do I have to wait for the phone to catch up while I go between emailing and scrolling through Instagram

The N20 has a respectable 128GB of internal storage that can be increased using the microSD card slot. This phone also comes with a fast charger and a true, functioning headphone jack. The trio of features, which are gradually vanishing from flagship and midrange phones but are still available in the affordable segment, is now complete.

The N20 5G comes with OnePlus’ renowned rapid charging, which bears Oppo’s SuperVOOC branding. This feature is another standout in the sub-$300 category. With the included charger, the phone is compatible with 33W wired charging (but, unsurprisingly, no wireless charging). The phone charged from zero battery life to 30 percent in under 20 minutes with the power off. In my tests, the phone charged from empty to 100% in an hour and 15 minutes, which is at least 15 minutes quicker than the charging time of the average low-cost phone. The majority of the time, you may get a very useable 90% of the battery much sooner because charging slows down significantly for the final 10% of the battery.

The N20’s 4500mAh battery isn’t the largest in its class, but it does keep the phone running for an entire day, even under demanding conditions. I’ve gotten close to 3.5 hours of screen time in the last 24 hours and I’m down to 20% battery, with the always-on display and high-performance mode enabled, a mix of Wi-Fi and 5G usage, and some battery-hungry activities mixed in. One of these activities was downloading and playing 20 minutes of Genshin Impact. These figures indicate that a light or moderate user can easily get through a full day of use on the N20 5G.

The phone charged from zero percent battery life with the power off to 30 percent in under 20 minutes

Google has begun making the Android 13 beta available to the general public, although the N20 5G is still running Android 11. Although it promised an update to Android 12, OnePlus was unable to provide a timeline. In the interim, OnePlus’ implementation of Android 11 (and 12, for that matter) is a touch more restrained and subdued than Samsung’s or Google’s. It’s simple to use, and thankfully there aren’t many T-Mobile apps that have already been downloaded.

With the next OS version just around the brink, it’s unfortunate that OnePlus says the N20 will only receive an OS platform upgrade to Android 12 and that it will continue to receive security updates for three years. Samsung has the greatest policy among Android device manufacturers with four or five years of support, depending on the phone. Three years of support isn’t the worst, but it’s also not the best. Although I’d love to see OnePlus commit to more years of software support for its products, I believe that three years of support would be more than enough for most users.

It will be a little more difficult to determine which 5G bands the OnePlus N20 supports until an unlocked variant is released. For instance, the n77 C-band frequency, which Verizon and AT&T heavily rely on, is not listed on the spec sheet. If it does receive 5G certification on those carriers, it might only be for the less-capable, slower version of LTE. The N20 5G supports T-Mobile 5G for the time being, therefore the tale is straightforward. While AT&T and Verizon are rushing to develop their mid-band 5G networks (read: the excellent 5G), T-Mobile gained a significant head start when it acquired Sprint years ago. To cut a long tale short, it’s excellent and excellent now, not in a year or two.

I haven’t recently used a 5G phone on T-Mobile, but I’m quite amazed with the speeds I experienced both inside my house and outside in the Seattle neighborhood where T-Mobile has its corporate headquarters. I frequently manage to catch T-better Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G signal, and when I do, I experience download rates of 300–500Mbps. My house Wi-Fi is roughly 100Mbps on a good day, just for comparison’s sake. All of this is to imply that, if you happen to live somewhere with good T-Mobile 5G coverage, the N20 is in excellent shape to benefit from a very fast network.

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