OnePlus Nord N30 5G Review: At $300, It’s an Excellent, Budget-Friendly Smartphone Choice

The Lowdown

For under $300, there is a lot to like about the OnePlus Nord N30; it has a large display, 5G connectivity, smooth performance, a long-lasting battery, and a very good main camera, plus its memory can be expanded with a microSD card, and it even includes a 3.5 audio jack. The killer feature for this price range is its 50W SUPERVOOC charging.

Overall
4

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Capable 108-megapixel main camera that can take really great photos
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • You can expand the user memory with the microSD slot (up to 1TB)
  • Three years of security updates
  • Excellent battery life
  • Speedy charging with the included SUPERVOOC charger
  • Loud stereo speakers
  • Unlocked version doesn’t have any bloatware
  • The Snapdragon 695 5G chip is quite capable
  • 8GB RAM can be expanded to 16GB
  • IP54 dust and waterproof rating

Cons

  • There’s no ultra-wide camera lens, and the macro lens is largely useless since it doesn’t include stabilization
  • Only one major OS update included

The OnePlus Nord series is known for mid-range smartphones that deliver better-than-expected cameras, impressive performance for their class, vibrant displays with fast refresh rates, ample RAM, and features that are generally found on more expensive models; the new OnePlus Nord N30 5G is no exception. The unlocked N30 features a refined slab style, a 108-megapixel main camera, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G processor, 8GB RAM (adjustable to 16GB), 128GB user memory, a 5,000mAh battery, and more for just $299.99. Read on to see if this might be a good choice for you.

The back of the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

There are plenty of reasons why paying for an unlocked mid-range smartphone like the OnePlus Nord N30 might be a good choice for you or a younger household member; for starters, not everyone might need (or want) to buy a flagship smartphone. Some of those reasons can be broken down like this:

  1. Cost: Flagship smartphones are typically the most expensive devices on the market, and their high price tags can be a significant deterrent when you’re looking for more budget-friendly options or if you are someone who doesn’t prioritize having the latest features.
  2. Diminishing returns: While flagship smartphones often come with cutting-edge features and specifications, the improvements over previous generations or available mid-range devices might not be significant enough for you to justify paying the higher cost. Mid-range smartphones generally offer a good balance of performance and affordability.
  3. Rapid advancements: The smartphone industry evolves rapidly, with new models and technologies being released all the time. It’s a total buzz-kill to invest in a flagship device, realizing that within a short time, newer and more advanced models will hit the market, and your phone will feel outdated in less than a year while you’re still making monthly payments on it through your carrier. Buying a mid-range smartphone outright can mean less angst when a newer model comes out, and you’re ready to upgrade.
  4. Less focus on specific features: Flagship smartphones often emphasize features like camera quality, display resolution, and processing power. However, not everyone prioritizes these particular features, even if they’re nice to have. Mid-range phones generally shine in areas like battery life, and their cameras can still be quite good, as you’ll see.
  5. Alternative options: Mid-range and budget smartphones have improved significantly in recent years, and the current offerings generally provide decent performance, attractive designs, and compelling features at lower prices that can provide an excellent user experience without having to invest in a much pricier flagship device.
  6. Overkill for average usage: Flagship smartphones are designed to handle demanding tasks such as gaming, video editing, or running resource-intensive applications. However, if your smartphone usage primarily involves browsing the web, social media, making calls, and basic app usage, a flagship device may offer more power and capabilities than you actually need.

In other words, mid-range smartphones like the Nord N30 may suit your needs just fine while providing the best value for your money. So with that said, let’s dig right in!

Unboxing the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

Included in the box are the Nord N30, a SUPERVOOC Power Adapter, a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable, a SIM ejector tool, a welcome letter, a start guide, a Red Cable Club membership card, and a factory-installed screen protector.

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OnePlus Nord N30 5G Device Walk-Around

The Nord N30 looks like pretty much every other Android phone from the front; it has a flat display (which I prefer), straight sides, a punch-hole 16-megapixel selfie camera (f/2.4) in the center top, and a speaker built into the slim bezel above the display.

The OnePlus Nord N30 5G showing the home screen

Measuring 6.5″ long by 3″ wide by 0.3″ thick, it weighs 6.88 ounces. The phone doesn’t creak when torqued; it feels quite solid.

The N30’s 6.72″ LCD is covered with Panda Glass (a Gorilla Glass competitor). The display has a resolution of 2400×1080 pixels (391 ppi) with an aspect ratio of 20:9. It features a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz (although you can lower it to 60 Hz if you want to conserve battery life) and a touch response rate of 240 Hz.; this is really good for a mid-range priced phone!

The front of the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

There is a microphone on the top.

The top of the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

On the left side are separate volume buttons and a SIM tray that can hold a nanoSIM card with up to a 1TB microSD card. Let’s just pause for a moment and appreciate the fact that even though the Nord N30 is only available with 128GB of user memory, it can be easily expanded with an inexpensive memory card!

The left side of the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

On the bottom, there’s another rarity for modern smartphones — a 3.5mm headphone jack! It’s followed by a microphone, a USB-C charging port, and a speaker.

The bottom of the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

On the right side is a power button with a built-in fingerprint reader. One small quibble is that the ridges around the power/fingerprint button are subtle, so I sometimes felt like I was hunting for it when trying to access it by touch.

The Nord N30 can also be unlocked with the standard PIN (4 to 16 digits), pattern, or you can use an alphanumeric password. You can also unlock it with your face.

The right side of the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

The Nord N30 is only available in Chromatic Gray with matte plastic sides and a glossy plastic back; the cluster containing the two large, circular camera lenses and the LED stands out, and I find it visually appealing.

The back of the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

When not in a case, the back can be a bit of a smudge and fingerprint magnet.

The OnePlus Nord N30 5G Cameras

The cameras on the back include the 108-megapixel main camera (with electronic image stabilization, an f/1.7 aperture, and 1X to 6X zoom), a 2-megapixel depth-assist camera (f/2.4), and a 2-megapixel macro camera (f/2.4) with a large white LED flash on the side.

Cameras on the back of the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

Photos Taken with the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

My family recently took a trip to Italy, and I felt that the Nord N30 did a great job in all kinds of conditions, but I did find that I often had to back up for larger photos in order to fit everything in. I wish the phone had come with an ultra-wide camera instead of the largely useless macro lens (it doesn’t offer any stabilization!).

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Using the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

The Nord N30 runs Android 13 with an OxygenOS 13.1 overlay, and OnePlus promises one major OS update with three years of security updates. That’s not quite as good of an OS update as most flagships will offer, but it’s not a dealbreaker.

The unlocked version I tested came with the usual Google and OnePlus apps installed without any added bloatware, which I appreciate.

The OnePlus Nord N30 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G chip, and it comes with 8GB RAM that can be expanded up to 16GB in the settings, assuming you have enough available user memory to bump it from. The 695 processor is considered to be one of the Snapdragon’s midrange models, but for my use, I didn’t experience any lags or stutters; it’s solid!

The Nord N30 has a 5,000mAh battery which I found reliable for getting me through a solid day of use or easily several days with sporadic use. There’s no wireless charging, but since the phone comes with a SUPERVOOC charger and is capable of up to 67W charging (50W in the US), top-offs are done quite quickly when needed.

Watching videos is a good experience; the earpiece and the bottom speaker provide stereo sound that can get quite loud, and the display brightness can be adjusted quite a bit for better viewing of videos with darker settings.

OnePlus Nord N30 5G Review: At $300, It's an Excellent, Budget-Friendly Smartphone Choice

The Nord N30 works with all US Carrier’s 5G networks, but it doesn’t support mmWave.

It’s worth noting that OnePlus has an IP54 rating for dust and waterproofing, so it’s safe to use it in the rain or when you’re in the hot tub.

Should You Buy the OnePlus Nord N30 5G?

For under $300, there is a lot to like about the OnePlus Nord N30; it has a large display, 5G connectivity, smooth performance, a long-lasting battery, and a very good main camera, plus its memory can be expanded with a microSD card, and it even includes a 3.5 audio jack. The killer feature for this price range is its 50W SUPERVOOC charging.

The Nord N30 is a highly capable phone that won’t break the bank, and that’s definitely nothing to sneeze at if you’re trying to stick to a budget or if you are considering buying a smartphone for a youngling who hasn’t yet proven that they can be trusted with something more expensive.

The OnePlus Nord N30 5G sells for $299.99; it is available directly from the manufacturer and other retailers, including T-Mobile, Best Buy, and Amazon.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Attractive design; Capable 108-megapixel main camera that can take really great photos; 3.5mm headphone jack; You can expand the user memory with the microSD slot (up to 1TB); Three years of security updates; Excellent battery life; Speedy charging with the included SUPERVOOC charger; Loud stereo speakers; Unlocked version doesn’t have any bloatware; The Snapdragon 695 5G chip is quite capable; 8GB RAM can be expanded to 16GB; IP54 dust and waterproof rating

What Needs Improvement: There’s no ultra-wide camera lens, and the macro lens is largely useless since it doesn’t include stabilization; Only one major OS update included

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct smaller.com; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.