The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is the latest midrange smartphone from the brand to arrive in the Philippines. OnePlus is covering their bases in the country as the device arrives just a month after the flagship OnePlus 11. This time around, however, the CE 3 Lite is much more reachable with a price tag of PhP 14,999 but still respectable specifications including a 6.72-inch FullHD+ 120Hz display, a Snapdragon 695 5G, a 108MP f/1.7 main camera, and support for 67W SuperVOOC charging.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G|
|Screen||6.72-inch IPS, 2400 x 1080, 120Hz|
|OS||Android 13, OxygenOS 13.1|
|Rear Camera||108MP f/1.7 Samsung S5KHM6SX03 Main Camera, 2MP f/2.4 Depth, 2MP f/2.4 Macro|
|Front Camera||16MP f/2.4|
|Storage||128GB UFS 2.2, MicroSD|
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, USB-C, 3.5mm Audio Jack|
|Battery||5,000mAh, 67W SuperVOOC, Dual Stereo Speakers|
|Others||Side-Mounted Fingerprint Scanner|
|Dimensions||165.5 x 76.0 x 8.3mm|
|Colors||Pastel Lime, Chromatic Gray|
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G Review – Unboxing
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G ships in a black box with its branding boldly printed on it. Bundled with the smartphone is a silicone case, SIM ejector pin, documentation, a red USB-A to USB-C cable, and a 67W SuperVOOC wall adapter.
Design and Aesthetics
The design of the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is minimalist with a glossy finish and the company’s brand embossed at the center. Our unit is the Chromatic Gray variant that doesn’t particularly look flashy but those who want something snazzier can check out its Pastel Lime colorway
There are two large circular bumps for its triple camera setup and a cutout for the LED flash. The shiny finish is nice to look at but is a dust and fingerprint magnet. The chassis is made out of plastic but feels solid in the hand.
The sides are flat with curved corners. At the right-hand side is a power button with a responsive fingerprint scanner while at the reverse side are the volume rocker and hybrid SIM tray that can house two SIM cards or a SIM card and a MicroSD expansion.
At the bottom are grilles for the bottom-firing speaker and microphone, a 3.5mm audio jack, and USB-C port.
Most of the smartphone feels good when it comes to haptics but the Nord CE 3 Lite 5G’s vibration can be a tad weak especially with the keyboard.
Screen and Audio
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G comes with a 6.72-inch 2400 x 1080 120Hz IPS display. It’s a fairly large screen great for watching content and has a pre-applied screen protector. 120Hz makes everything feel smooth especially in general use but it’s smartly brought down to 60Hz when viewing static content or videos to save battery life.
Color gamut is impressive for an IPS display. It seems that it supports 95.40% DCI-P3 and 99% sRGB colors. Brightness is spectacular as well reaching 553.91 cd/m2 on manual, which rivals some flagships in the market. It’s only IPS so it won’t get the deep blacks found on AMOLED screens in the midrange market but colors do pop and details look sharp.
- sRGB – 99.00%
- AdobeRGB – 79.80%
- DCI-P3 – 95.40%
- Luminance (Minimum) – 2.12 cd/m2
- Luminance (Maximum) – 553.93 cd/m2
- Gamma – 2.22
- Contrast Ratio – 1456:1
The Nord CE 3 Lite 5G manages to use dual stereo speakers with the earpiece backing the bottom-firing speaker. Audio is decent with clear vocals and treble while maxing it out can output good volume. The bass is lacking though and the highs can be a bit harsh at times in select tracks that focus on upper notes.
Much like the OnePlus 11, the Nord CE 3 Lite 5G comes with Android 13 with OxygenOS 13. It is similar to ColorOS from OPPO but they are sister brands. The OS is fairly lite and has removed most of the bloatware found on ColorOS but some may prefer a more stock Android experience like in the early days of the company.
There is a ton of customization options on OxygenOS. You can choose from several UI options, widgets, and even the look of the icons. Icons are circular by default but can be changed to several shapes and you can choose from presets or download themes. Aside from its wide array of personalization, all Android 13 improvements are present such as better security and multitasking options.
OnePlus is including Zen Mode that allows you to focus on the moment and limits interruptions from the smartphone. HyperBoost also enables you to have a quick system manager to clear background apps and switch power modes while playing games.
It’s worth mentioning that since it does not have an AMOLED panel, you will not have access to always-on display options on the Nord CE 3 Lite 5G.
Ensured support is rather short as OnePlus is only promising 2 generations of Android OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates from the launch date unlike their flagship which will receive 4 years and 5 years of updates, respectively.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G Review – Cameras
The smartphone packs three cameras at the back: a 108MP f/1.7 main lens, a 2MP f/2.4 depth, and a 2MP f/2.4 macro. There is no ultrawide secondary camera to be found here. Functionally, only its primary camera is worth the attention. At the front is a 16MP f/2.4 selfie shooter.
The camera app is basic but gives you all the functionalities you need. You get quite a few filters on top of the usual modes and you can take full 108MP photos with ExtraHD mode. Both HDR and AI scene recognition are supported. Video, however, is limited to only 1080p and 720p both of which are only 30fps.
Its 108MP f/1.7 main lens is powered by a Samsung S5KHM6SX03 sensor and takes binned 12MP photos. Daylight photos are good with natural colors, plenty of detail, and plenty of dynamic range even in harsh light. There’s also 3x lossless zoom that offers a good amount of detail but colors are slightly washed out when compared to its native zoom level.
Photo quality isn’t as good in low-light. A noticeable amount of noise is introduced to snaps and color reproduction does not look as well-saturated. Using night mode alleviates some of the issues by a margin but you’ll need to shoot for longer.
You can take selfies with its 16MP f/2.4 front-facing camera. Photos look natural even at its default settings. It seems that OnePlus has lessened the aggressive skin smoothing unlike its sister brand. You can still apply filters if you wish with expansive options found on the wand symbol within the camera app.
Subject separation on its Portrait mode is decent but not perfect. Using tighter aperture values will do a good job but more aggressive settings will result in hair and accessories being blurred as well.
Nighttime or low-light photos come out usable but there is noticeable noise found within the frame. Colors don’t get hit as much unlike its main cameras. It does support screen flash to illuminate nearby subjects if you really want to take photos in the dark.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G Review – Benchmarks
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 chipset lies inside the device providing it with support for 5G, WiFi 5, and Bluetooth 5.2. It is backed with 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 256GB internal storage the latter of which can be expanded thanks to its Hybrid SIM slot. Overall performance during use is good and we rarely encountered any stuttering.
Benchmark figures aren’t particularly impressive but its on par with most midrange smartphones in the market. It does breach the 400,000 mark in AnTuTu and reaches just below 10,000 in PCMark Work 3.0, which are nothing to scoff at but just not the best in its bracket.
Gaming performance is decent but could be better. Mainstream games will be able to reach a steady 60fps like on Call of Duty Mobile, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and League of Legends: Wild Rift. Unfortunately, none of these titles officially support 90Hz or 120Hz on the device yet. Gensin Impact runs steady at about 44fps while exploring but dips down to a playable 30fps when particle-heavy effects are used in combat.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G Review – Battery Life
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G the standard 5,000mAh battery found among midrange smartphones. It can easily run for more than a day and a half with average use occasionally connecting to 5G while outside. On sustained workloads like PCMark Work 3.0, however, it scores slightly below than its peers at about 13 hours with medium volume and brightness.
Charging speed is exceptionally fast thanks to its support for 67W SuperVOOC. You can expect to fill up an empty battery to 80% in about 30 minutes and completely charge the tank with an additional 20 or so minutes.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G Review – Conclusion
OnePlus is entering the over-competitive market where brands need to balance price, performance, and compromises. The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G boasts long battery life, a fast display, good enough cameras, 5G connectivity, and support for the blazing-fast 67W SuperVOOC charging.
There are some trade-offs as the chipset isn’t be best when it comes to sheer performance only making do with most tasks. Its 108MP main camera works well in daylight but quality dips when it comes to low-light shots.
While its display is decent, we would have preferred a 90Hz AMOLED display for deeper blacks and support for always-on display. Some might say that gaming might be affected but remember that most games aren’t officially supported for 120Hz on some mobile platforms.
Generally, we understand how OnePlus strikes a balance with the Nord CE 3 Lite 5G. If you give utmost importance to long battery life, fast charging, and 5G and you like the OxygenOS platform, then this is a solid midrange choice for the money.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G Price and Availability
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is priced at PhP 14,990 in the Philippines. It is now up for pre-order from April 21 – 30, 2023. You can get a free OnePlus Bullets Wireless Earphone Z2 when you pre-order the device until May 4. The smartphone will hit retail shelves starting May 5, 2023. They are only bringing the 8GB/256GB variant locally.
The brand will be supporting 45-day installments via LazPayLater on Lazada starting April 21 and 3 months 0% installment on April 26 through SPayLater on Shopee. Ordering either from Shopee and Lazada until April 30, 2023 will also net you a free OnePlus Bullets Wireless Earphone Z2.