OnePlus Nord N300 5G has a wired charging capability of 33 watts and a very reasonable price tag, but these features are insufficient to compensate for a lacklustre experience.
OnePlus’ most recent entry into the budget phone market is the OnePlus Nord N300 5G. It brings the company’s trademark lightning-fast charging to a lower price point than before. T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile are the only carriers that currently support it. T-Mobile lists the full price as $228; however, the phone is also prominently featured as one of the carrier’s “free” phones when purchased in conjunction with a two-year contract.
You can easily find “free” phones, and while the OnePlus Nord N300 5G has a cool feature that is uncommon in low-cost phones, there are alternatives that are better. This is especially true if you are paying for it yourself; there are better options available for roughly the same price, and if you can spend a little more, there are some upgrades that are well worth it.
The addition of wired quick charging support to the OnePlus Nord N300 5G is a huge plus. Its maximum speed of 33W is faster than many other phones that are significantly more expensive. Because it is not compatible with standard USB-PD, a proprietary charger is required to achieve those charge rates. The charger, thankfully, is included in the package. This is not the case with today’s most advanced smartphones.
Although quick charging is convenient, it is insufficient to compensate for the OnePlus Nord N300 5G’s poor performance in everyday tasks. The low resolution of 720p on the 6.5-inch display gives the impression that it is in poor condition. The onboard storage is only 64 gigabytes, and the processor occasionally struggles to keep up with the demands of more demanding jobs. OnePlus cut some of these corners to make room for faster charging; however, if I had to choose between faster charging and having a phone that does the fundamentals well, I would go with the latter.
There is only 64 gigabytes of built-in storage, and 13 gigabytes of that was taken up by system files on the unit I used for this review.
The OnePlus Nord N300 5G is equipped with a processor based on MediaTek’s Density 810 and 4 gigabytes of RAM. If you put too much pressure on it, you will notice that it stutters and slows down when attempting to complete tasks that are beyond its capabilities, such as heavy browsing or routine tasks. Several apps crashed as a result of the increased workload during the initial setup process, while I was downloading a large number of updates and signing into a large number of services. That hasn’t been a consistent problem, but I have noticed occasional delays when loading and quickly switching between apps, as well as slow responses to taps while the device is running.
There is only 64GB of built-in storage, and 13GB of that was taken up by system files on the device I used for this review. That doesn’t leave much room for photos, videos, or apps, so consider including the cost of a $15 or $20 microSD card in the total. This method can add up to one terabyte (TB) of additional space if you want to go all in.
From the outside, the OnePlus Nord N300 5G is a visually appealing piece of hardware. Its straight rails are easier to grasp and look better than the curved edges on other low-cost phones, such as the Motorola Moto G 5G. Other low-cost phones, such as the Moto G 5G, have rounded edges. The back panel is made of composite plastic and has a slight shimmer finish. When I tap and type, the haptics are gentle and reassuring without being jarring (the phrase “like a bunny” appears in my testing notes). There is even a headphone jack, which is fantastic. It lacks wireless charging and an IP rating, both of which are unusual for a device in this price range, and it ships with Android 12. The OnePlus Nord N300 5G will receive only one operating system upgrade, to Android 13, and two years of security updates, which is below average even for low-cost smartphones.
T-Mobile has exclusive distribution rights for the OnePlus Nord N300 5G at the time of publication, which supports all of the required 5G bands for access to the carrier’s excellent “Ultra Capacity” mid-band 5G network. There is no support for mmWave 5G, but this isn’t a big deal because it has a very limited range and T-Mobile doesn’t offer much of it anyway. Because it has NFC, you can use Google Pay to make contactless payments, which is something not all phones in this price range can do.
The OnePlus Nord N300 5G’s battery not only charges quickly, but it also has a capacity of 5,000 mAh and is quite large.
The display has a 6.56-inch screen and a refresh rate of 90Hz, which makes scrolling and animations smoother than on a standard refresh rate of 60Hz display. However, the screen’s resolution, which is only 720p, which is a relatively low number for such a large display, stands out the most to me. Icons and images have jagged edges that can sometimes be seen as individual pixels. The screen is an LCD, and while it can get bright enough to be usable in direct sunlight, it lacks the vibrancy of the OnePlus N20’s OLED panel.
The OnePlus Nord N300 5G ‘s battery is not only rechargeable in a short period of time, but it also has a massive capacity of 5,000 mAh, which is more than enough juice for almost anyone to get through an entire working day. Streaming video or playing games may drain the battery by the end of the day, but I never had to charge my phone until well into the second day without using it.
The charger and cable were revealed after the retail packaging was opened. The OnePlus smartphone comes with a quick charging brick as well as the company’s signature red cable.
When it comes time to fill up your tank, high-speed charging is available. I was operating on only 15% of my capacity one afternoon after skipping the overnight recharge, and it hit me about halfway through the baby’s naptime. I took advantage of the opportunity to put my ability to fully charge it to the test before he awoke. It finished charging in a little more than an hour, just in time.
If you are already in the habit of charging your device while sleeping, fast charging is unlikely to be a game changer for you. This is especially true when you consider that the OnePlus Nord N300 5G already has an impressive battery life. It’s great to see it included in a phone at this price point, but if you charge your phone every night, you won’t find it very useful.
Congratulations to OnePlus, as the OnePlus Nord N300 5G does not include the unnecessary rear cameras that the company typically includes in its products. This is an admirable manoeuvre. On the back of the device, there is only one primary camera with a resolution of 48 megapixels and an aperture of 1.8 millimetres. A depth sensor with a resolution of 2 megapixels is also included to help with portrait mode photography. A front-facing camera with 16 megapixels and an f/2.0 aperture is also included.
It is a basic camera system that is adequate for taking snapshots; however, it struggles in low light and, as a result, heavily smooths out details and skin tones in the images it produces. Aside from that, I really like the way OnePlus processes images. The photographs have good contrast, and the colours are vibrant without being too Samsung-like. Nonetheless, there is a noticeable lag when using the camera app, particularly in portrait mode. Even when my child was (relatively) still, the lag was so severe that the camera struggled to keep up with him in normal lighting. Even when the toddler was still, this was true. This is a difficult scenario for the camera on a low-cost smartphone, and you’d have to spend a lot more money to get a phone that handles it well. However, the OnePlus Nord N300 5G performed particularly poorly in this scenario.
The OnePlus Nord N300 5G won’t turn heads for all the wrong reasons, but there are a few key areas where it could be just a little bit better.
OnePlus has introduced the OnePlus Nord N300 5G, which offers seriously impressive performance in a price range where such lightning-fast charging is uncommon. It’s a useful feature, but I don’t think it compensates for the OnePlus Nord N300 5G’s other flaws, such as a low-resolution screen and shaky performance at times. Nonetheless, it is a useful feature.
OnePlus‘ own Nord N20 is one of the best alternatives. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), which is $282 if purchased through T-Mobile or $299 if purchased unlocked, is still well within budget. It is, however, a lot more enjoyable to use because it has a bright OLED screen with a resolution of 1080p, improved processing power, and twice the storage space. There is also the same 33W rapid charging as before. It is currently included in one of T-“free” Mobile’s phone promotions, and whether you pay for the phone in full up front or not, it is the better option overall. In the form of the Samsung Galaxy A13 5G, there is also a viable alternative. It performs more quickly with day-to-day tasks, and its $249 price tag is slightly lower than that of the OnePlus Nord N300 5G.
Nothing about the OnePlus Nord N300 5G is so bad that it should be avoided at all costs, but there are a few key areas where it could be slightly improved. These other factors have a greater impact on my daily life than the speed with which I can recharge my phone’s battery. Given that I suspect many other people feel the same way, I find it difficult to recommend the OnePlus Nord N300 5G. There is a case to be made for choosing it if you truly desire quick charging and it is the best “free” phone option available to you at the time. In that case, you’d be better off buying OnePlus’ slightly more expensive N20 or accepting a life of slow charging.