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Review Of the OnePlus Nord N300 5G: Fast Charging Is Insufficient

The next budget phone from OnePlus, the N300 5G, brings the brand’s renowned rapid charging to a lower price range than ever before. It is currently only offered by T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile. Although T-Mobile lists it as having a full price of $228, it also prominently advertises it as one of the company’s “free” phones with a two-year contract.

Although the OnePlus Nord N300 features a useful function that’s uncommon in inexpensive phones, you can do better. “Free” phones are widely available. This is especially true if you’re paying for it out of your own cash; there are better solutions available for the same price, and if you can afford to spend a little more, there are some worthwhile enhancements.

Only 64GB of built-in storage are available, and on my review unit, 13GB of the space is taken up by system files

A MediaTek Dimensity 810 processor and 4GB of RAM power the N300. Light browsing and everyday duties are no problem for it, but if you ask too much of it, it will stutter and slow down. Apps crashed a few times during my first setup as a result of the heavy workload caused by downloading numerous updates and signing into a hundred different services. Although it hasn’t been a consistent issue, I occasionally notice a delay in the loading of an app and a quick switch between them, or a slow response to a tap as it chugs.

There is only 64GB of built-in storage, and 13GB of it on my review unit is taken up by system files. Consider a $15 or $20 microSD card to be part of the purchasing price as there won’t be much storage left for photographs, films, and apps with that configuration. You may add up to 1TB of additional space in this method if you really want to go all out.
The N300 is a likeable smartphone from the outside. Its straight rails are nicer to look at and simpler to hold than the curved edges of comparable low-cost phones like the Motorola Moto G 5G. A composite plastic with a subdued shimmering finish makes up the back panel. As I tap and type, haptics are wonderfully soft: reassuring but not abrupt (I used the expression “like a bunny” in my testing notes). Thank goodness there is even a headphone jack. It comes pre-installed with Android 12 but lacks wireless charging and an IP rating, both of which are unusual in this class. Even for inexpensive phones, the N300 will only receive one OS update to Android 13 and two years of security patches.

At the time of publication, the N300 was only available through T-Mobile, and it supports the appropriate 5G bands to connect to the provider’s excellent mid-band “Ultra Capacity” 5G network. The lack of mmWave 5G compatibility isn’t a huge loss, either, as T-Mobile doesn’t offer much of it and it has a very limited range. NFC allows you to use Google Pay for contactless payments, which is something that not all phones at this price point support.

The N300’s battery features a massive 5,000mAh cell in addition to being quick to charge

The 6.56-inch screen is more than sufficient in size, and the 90Hz refresh rate makes scrolling and animations a little more fluid than on a panel that runs at a conventional 60Hz. However, the 720p resolution, which is really low for such a large screen, is what I notice more than that. Images and icons have jagged edges where the individual pixels may be seen. It has an LCD screen, so while it can be rather bright in the sun, it doesn’t have the same vibrancy as the OnePlus N20’s OLED panel.

The N300’s battery charges quickly and has a large 5,000mAh capacity, which is more than enough power for most people to use the device continuously for a whole day. By the end of the day, heavy video streaming or gaming may have worn it out, but I was always able to last far into the next.

The N300 doesn’t have any glaring flaws, but there are a few crucial areas where it may be improved

In a pricing range where it’s uncommon, the OnePlus N300 delivers incredibly rapid charging. Although it’s a valuable feature, I don’t believe it makes up for the N300’s other drawbacks, such as a low-res screen and occasionally unsteady performance.

The Nord N20 from OnePlus is a fantastic substitute. Its MSRP of $299 unlocked or $282 via T-Mobile is still well within the price range. But with a gorgeous 1080p OLED screen, improved processing, and twice as much storage, it’s considerably more pleasurable to use. Additionally, the same 33W rapid charging is provided. It’s currently one of T-“free” Mobile’s phone deals, and whether you pay upfront or not, it’s a better option overall. Alternatively, the Samsung Galaxy A13 5G is a solid choice. It costs $249, which puts it slightly closer to the N300, and performs more quickly while carrying out routine chores.

The N300 doesn’t have any glaring flaws, but there are a few crucial areas where it may be improved. Those issues affect my daily life more than being able to quickly charge my phone. It’s difficult to promote the N300 because I have a suspicion that many other people share same opinion. If you absolutely want rapid charging, there is a tenuous case to be made in favor of it, and it is now your best “free” phone alternative. If so, you’re better off opting for OnePlus’ slightly more expensive N20 or putting up with a slow charging life.

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