Are you searching for a big-screen budget smartphone? The most affordable smartphone from OnePlus might be what you need and reading this OnePlus Nord N100 review is a good place to start.
Itechguides' Take on OnePlus Nord N100
The OnePlus Nord N100 is an affordable smartphone, and as expected of an affordable smartphone, there are a few things it didn’t get right, such as its mediocre rear cameras, basic plastic design, and only an Android 11 update. Other than those, the OnePlus Nord N100 ticks several other boxes that make it worth buying.
- Very affordable
- Long battery life
- 90 HZ display
- Boring and basic design
- Mediocre rear cameras
- Only Android 11 OS update
This review is an unbiased analysis of the OnePlus Nord N100, I will critically highlight its pros as well as cons. I will specifically touch on areas such as design, display, camera, storage, sensors, and battery.
Also, as a closing paragraph for each section, I will add a rating over ten. Finally, I will give my unbiased final verdict so that you’ll be objectively informed prior to making your buying decisions.
My Initial Thoughts
The OnePlus brand is well known for its excellent and high-end smartphones. However, in 2020 the brand took a different turn by surprising us with the release of the affordable OnePlus Nord N100.
The OnePlus Nord N100, released in November 2020 is the cheapest smartphone offering from the brand. Speaking of which, at the time we published this article in October 2021, it starts at a price of $178.99 on Amazon.
- Nokia 7.1 Review: Its One Weakness is Battery Performance
- Nokia 6.1 Review: Fixing the Flaws of Its Predecessor
The price may be enticing, however, as is expected of a budget phone, there are certain compromises that kept its price down. In the preceding sections, we will find out if OnePlus has successfully made the ultimate budget smartphone that you can buy or it is a miss.
Therefore, let us get into that!
OnePlus Nord N100 Design, Dimension & Weight Review
The OnePlus Nord N100 is not a supporter of anything flashy, and it is not out here to impress with its design. Except for its glass front, the entire case is built out of plastic.
OnePlus Nord N100 looks similar to the OnePlus Nord but with a budget feel to it.
The front view is dominated by the 6.5-inch screen with no bezel at its top but there is a black bottom bezel. The three navigational controls are located on the bottom of the screen just above the black bezel.
There is a large hole punch by the top-left corner where the front camera sits.
Now, let us take a tour of the back view. The back panel is made of a thin plastic that makes a hollow sound when tapped and flexes under pressure.
Moreover, the back panel has a metallic and textured feel that makes it collect smudges quite easily. However, it has a nice grip on the hands.
The only color option available for the OnePlus Nord N100 is Midnight Frost. Hence, users have a limited color choice to make.
On the top-left corner of the back panel, there is the housing for the triple rear cameras and the flash. Also, there is a circular fingerprint scanner close to the top of the back panel.
Due to the size of the phone, the fingerprint scanner is not easy to reach except for people with a long index finger. Below the fingerprint scanner sits a silver OnePlus logo.
Further down the bottom of the back panel, you will find a OnePlus branding. Meanwhile, another feature of the back panel is the NFC area.
NFC stands for Near Field Communication and it is useful for making data transfer between NFC-enabled devices that are in close proximity. It is also useful for making contactless payments through payment platforms like Google Pay, Android Pay, etc.
Moving on, let us tour the edges of the OnePlus Nord N100 while looking at it from the front view. The right edge houses a power button while the left edge houses the volume buttons and the SIM card tray.
The volume and power buttons are located close to the middle edge and they are easy to reach even with small fingers. Meanwhile, the distinctive alert slider usually on OnePlus phones is missing on the OnePlus Nord N100.
The slider is usually useful for toggling between Silent, Do Not Disturb, and Vibrate modes. However, this omission is understandable considering the price bracket of the Onneplus Nord N100.
Meanwhile, there is a speaker on the top edge. Whereas, the bottom houses a microphone, speaker, USB Type-C charging port, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
When it comes to the size, the OnePlus Nord N100 measures 164.9 x 75.1 x 8.49 mm. Apparently, it is a big phone and more comfortable to use with two-hand except for people with large hands.
In comparison, the Realme 7 is shorter, wider, and thicker. The Realme 7 has a dimension of 162.3 x 75.4 x 9.4 mm.
For the weight, the OnePlus Nord N100 weighs 188 g. Surprisingly, the OnePlus Nord N100 is light for a smartphone its size and this could be attributed to its plastic build.
Comparatively, the Oneplus Nord N100 is lighter than the Realme 7 which weighs 196.5 g. Hence, it is fairly easy to carry around the OnePlus Nord N100 in the pocket or in the hands since you won’t easily feel its weight.
Sadly, the OnePlus Nord N100 has no IP68 rating, a common feature among higher-priced phones. This implies that the OnePlus Nord N100 is not water-resistant.
However, if the waterproof feature is very important to you, you need can purchase a waterproof casing. It currently sells for $14.95 on Amazon.
Finally, considering the design features described above, I will rate the OnePlus Nord N100 a nine in this design and dimension review section.
OnePlus Nord N100 Display Features Review
The OnePlus Nord N100 employs a 6.5-inch display which falls outside the preferred screen size preferred by most users. Research has it that most phone users prefer a screen size between 5-inch and 5.5-inch.
However, that does not apply to large screen lovers, who like as much screen as they can get. Thankfully, the OnePlus Nord N100 is giving them enough of that.
The screen has an aspect ratio of 20:9 this implies that you will get a longer screen estate than the standard 16:9 aspect ratio. Thereby, you will enjoy your movies, gaming, and browsing experiences.
Thankfully, there is even an option to mask the camera punch hole to create a better unobtrusive viewing experience.
The OnePlus Nord N100 uses an LCD display with a resolution of 720p. Both the display technology and resolution are poor for a screen this big, however, they correspond to the price in view.
LCD displays lack the punchy contrast or deep blacks of OLED displays that are used on higher-priced OnePlus phones. Likewise, with a low resolution of 720p, you will not get the crispness or clarity of higher-priced phones.
However, despite the low resolution of the display, it has a high refresh rate of 90 Hz. This is surprising to see at this price point because even the iPhone 12 has a refresh rate of 60 Hz.
Consequently, the OnePlus Nord N100 display makes for smoother transitions and animations than 60 Hz displays.
Apart from the display technology, aspect ratio and resolution, another important feature of a phone’s display is is pixel density.
The OnePlus Nord N100 has a rather mediocre pixel density of 264 PPI. This is lower than the 300 PPI standard quality.
On a positive note, the screen brightness is okay, measuring up to a maximum of 536 nits which makes it legible enough even in direct sunlight.
For viewing angles, when you view the screen from acute angles, there is a difference in brightness.
The OnePlus Nord N100 has a corning gorilla glass layer that helps to protect it from cracks. This means that even without a tempered glass protector your phone will survive some amount of falls.
Finally, I will rate the OnePlus Nord N100 a seven in this display review section.
OnePlus Nord N100 Camera Features Review
The Oneplus Nord N100 has 4 cameras. There is a 13MP main camera with an aperture size of f/2.2.
There is also a 2 MP macro shooter with an aperture size of f/2.4. The macro lens is useful for taking closeups.
However, the performance is a huge miss, shots are uniformly grainy. This is not surprising because more multiple camera phones have gimmicky macro lenses added just for the count.
There is also a 2MP depth sensor with an aperture size of f/2.4 as well. It is useful for taking portraits.
The depth sensor takes natural shots with bokeh effects where the focus is targeted on the subject making it detailed and sharp while blurring out the background.
The background blur is respectably realistic with an equal level of blur throughout the background irrespective of the distance. However, the edge detection of the subject is not so perfect.
The rear camera takes good pictures in proper lighting conditions, the subject gets enough clarity while the background looks soft.
However, indoor pictures are mostly a miss, the sensor struggles to capture adequate light which usually results in soft and noisy pictures. The shutter speed is also slow and most times pictures tend to be blurry.
Lastly, there is an 8MP front camera with an aperture of f/2.0. The front camera takes decent selfies and portrait mode selfies in good lights.
The pictures are crisp, color accuracy is acceptable and the depth of field is solid. There is also a beauty mode that helps to smoothen the face.
However, low light selfies are noisy, muddy, and flat. The front camera is also useful for face unlock which works without a problem.
Unfortunately, the OnePlus Nord N100 does not have a Nightscape mode and many other modes you will find on more expensive OnePlus phones. Hence, nighttime pictures are usually contrast-heavy, blurry, dark, and noisy.
Other than the missing Nightscape mode, there are several other missing modes that you will find on more expensive OnePlus phones. However, OnePlus Nord N100 has a portrait mode and an HDR mode.
There is also a panorama for taking images with a wide aspect ratio. The Pro mode helps to take professional shots by tweaking the settings to your expectation.
Additionally, there is slow-motion that helps to record videos at a high frame rate so that when the video is played, the movements are slow. Meanwhile, the opposite of that is the time-lapse which records videos at a high frame rate so that when the video is played, the movements are fast.
For video recording, both the front and rear cameras are capable of recording 1080p resolution videos at 30 fps. The camera does not have an Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) but it uses an Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) together with the gyroscope to prevent video jitters and shakes.
Finally, all things considered, I will rate the OnePlus Nord N100 a seven in this camera review section.
OnePlus Nord N100 Battery Life and Talk Time Review
The OnePlus Nord N100 has a 5,000 mAh non-removable battery. I consider a non-removable battery a disadvantage because you cannot replace a flat battery with a charged one on days when you need a quick power fix.
Neither can you replace the battery yourself when it gets faulty. For this, you will need to visit a service center.
On a brighter note, a 5,000 mAh capacity battery seems like a big enough battery to provide you with all the juice you need to keep your phone running. To test the battery endurance, a test performed by androidauthority.com resulted in over two days of battery life.
The test involved streaming a video, music, and playing over WiFi and LTE network at a maximum screen brightness. At the same time, the total on-screen time measured 8 hours over the two days period.
Impressively, the endurance level of the OnePlus Nord N100 is great. However, how long your phone battery will last depends on the level of usage.
Hence, light phone users can go days without the need to charge their OnePlus Nord N100. However, when you eventually need to charge it, it doesn’t take a breath at all due to the 18W bundled charger which supports fast charging.
Consequently, it takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to completely charge the battery. This might not be as fast as you would get on more expensive phones.
However, considering that you only need to leave your phone to charge for less than 2 hours while you use it for the next few days, that is fair enough.
As expected for this price category, OnePlus Nord N100 does not have wireless charging capability. However, if you will like to wirelessly charge your OnePlus Nord N100 you can buy a wireless charging adapter and pad.
Currently, the wireless charging adapter and both sell for $32.98 on Amazon.
Finally, I will rate the OnePlus Nord N100 a nine in this battery performance review section.
OnePlus Nord N100 Storage Options & Performance Review
For storage purposes, the OnePlus Nord N100 has 64 GB of onboard storage. 64 GB of storage space is not exactly sufficient considering that these days people store a lot of media files on their phones.
Thankfully, the OnePlus Nord N100 does not even have a single bloatware preinstalled. This is a good thing because bloatware occupies the storage space and might be impossible to uninstall.
However, out of the 64 GB internal storage, the OS occupies about 18 GB, leaving you with 46 GB for personal use. This can get filled up quickly when you share this limited space between applications and media files.
Thankfully, the OnePlus Nord N100 supports storage expansion via a microSD card. Speaking of which, you can use a microSD of up to 256 GB.
That is more than enough storage space to store your media files while leaving the internal storage for the apps alone. However, you still have to watch the number of applications you install since applications cannot be installed on the memory card.
In conclusion, considering the storage specs and features of OnePlus Nord N100, I will rate the phone an eight in this storage options review section.
OnePlus Nord N100 Security Features & Sensors Review
All smartphones including the OnePlus Nord N100 come loaded with lots of useful sensors. Sensors are tiny components built into these smartphones to detect users’ activities and provide intuitive responses.
The advantages of sensors in smartphones cannot be overemphasized. For instance, they are useful in motion detection, and biometric authentication.
Additionally, sensors perform vital roles in power management, helping to preserve battery power.
When it comes to the sensors available on the OnePlus Nord N100, there is an accelerometer, a gyroscope. Additionally, there is an ambient light sensor, a magnetometer, a proximity sensor, and a fingerprint sensor.
The accelerometer is useful for detecting changes in tilt, orientation, and displacement around three axes by measuring the forces of acceleration. Meanwhile, the gyroscope measures the speed of rotation of the device along the three axes.
Overall, both the accelerometer and gyroscope work together. They make it possible for your phone’s orientation to change automatically when you tilt the screen.
Moving on, the ambient light sensor is a photodetector sensor that measures the surrounding light of the device. Consequently, it reconfigures the screen brightness accordingly.
When it dims the screen’s brightness, it is beneficial in two ways. Firstly, it saves battery consumption, and secondly, it protects the user’s eyes.
Next is the magnetometer. It is useful for measuring the strength of the magnetic field around a phone. Thereby, enabling the phone to obtain its direction relative to the earth’s geomagnetic field.
The magnetometer is useful in compass apps, it enables the phone to detect the North and auto-rotate the map.
Furthermore, the proximity sensor is another sensor that works well in power management. Its function is to detect when the phone is close to the face during a call.
Consequently, this sensor turns off the display which is helpful for saving battery power. In addition to that, switching off the display prevents unwanted random screen presses by the face.
Finally, there is the fingerprint sensor which is useful for fingerprint biometric authentication. Fingerprint biometric is the most secured security option for protecting your phone from unauthorized access.
It is also useful for protecting sensitive data like online payments. The OnePlus Nord N100 fingerprint sensor is fast and responsive.
There are other security options available on the OnePlus Nord N100. For instance, you can unlock your phone via face unlock as well.
However, it is a tad slower than the fingerprint unlock but it does its job. Additionally, you can also secure your phone from unauthorized access via the traditional PIN, password or pattern unlock.
All things considered, I will rate the OnePlus Nord N100 a nine in this security options and sensors review section.
Frequently Asked Questions
The OnePlus Nord N100 was released in 2020, breaking hearts by shipping with Android 10 and not 11. OnePlus has stated that it is only entitled to one OS update which is Android 11.
Sadly, this implies that you won’t get an Android 12 update on your OnePlus Nord N100.
The few disadvantages of the OnePlus Nord N100 are mediocre rear cameras, only Android 11 OS update, and a basic plastic design.
The OnePlus Nord N100 has a 5,000 mAh battery. According to a test carried out by androidauthority.com, the battery delivered over two days of battery life.
The test involved streaming videos, music, and playing games over WiFi and LTE network at a maximum screen brightness. Meanwhile, the total on-screen time measured 8 hours over the two days period.
Yes, the OnePlus Nord N100 has an inbuilt NFC chip. NFC stands for Near Field Communication and it is useful for making data transfer between NFC-enabled devices that are in close proximity.
It is also useful for making contactless payments through payment platforms like Google Pay, Android Pay, etc.
By itself, the OnePlus Nord N100 does not support wireless charging. However, if you will like to wirelessly charge your OnePlus Nord N100 you can buy a wireless charging adapter and pad.
Currently, they both sell for $32.98 on Amazon.
My Final Thoughts
The OnePlus Nord N100 is a budget-category smartphone with some impressive hits but few misses. Speaking of its hits, the selfie camera is outstanding, and its 90 Hz refresh rate display is commendable.
In addition to those hits, with over two days of battery life, the OnePlus Nord N100 is one to beat. However, the OnePlus Nord N100 fails to impress with its basic plastic build, and its multiple rear cameras are mediocre.
Most disappointing is that the OnePlus Nord N100 ships with Android 10 where it should have shipped with Android 11. Not just that, OnePlus has guaranteed only one OS update to Android 11 after which consequent updates cannot be guaranteed.
This is an era of Android 12 and unfortunately, the OnePlus Nord N100 is limited to the previous version of Android OS. However, this might not be a dealbreaker for some people since it checks other boxes and it is even more affordable now.
I hope you found this OnePlus Nord N100 review helpful. If you found the review helpful, share your thoughts with our community platform at Itechguides Community.
You may also ask questions or make comments regarding this review at Itechguides Community. Our team and other community members will respond to your questions or comments as soon as possible.