OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G Vs Nothing Phone (2a): Picking the Perfect Mid-Ranger

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If you are in the market for a new mid-ranger, two names must have crossed your mind: the latest OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G and the Nothing Phone (2a). Both phones are priced at around Rs 20,000 and claim to offer the best bang for your buck. However, if you are confused between both devices, we have all the details you need to make the right decisions. We have been using both phones, so here’s our comparison.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G Vs Nothing Phone (2a): Price in India

Model Configuration Price
OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G
8GB + 128GB Rs 19,999
8GB + 256GB Rs 22,999
Nothing Phone (2a)
8GB + 128GB Rs 23,999
8GB + 256GB Rs 25,999

Both phones offer a maximum of 256GB of storage. But the Nothing Phone 2(a) pulls ahead with 12GB of RAM compared to OnePlus’s 8GB limit. It’s also worth noting that the Phone (2a) doesn’t include a charger, so factor that into the cost if you don’t already have one.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G Vs Nothing Phone (2a): Design

Dimensions 76.32 x 161.74 x 8.55 mm
75.3 x 162.5 x 8.4 mm
Weight 190 g 186 g
Colours White, Black
Dark Chrome, Celadon Marble

The OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite ditches the playful camera design of the Nord CE 3 Lite for a more classic look similar to the standard Nord CE 4. Our review unit, the Mega Blue, boasts a bold colour that turns heads (expect questions like “What phone is that?”). However, it appears less striking in person compared to promotional images.

On the other hand, we all know that design plays a big role in Nothing phones, and the Phone (2a) is no exception. It aims for a part-machine, part-human aesthetic, starkly contrasting to the typical sleek or light-up backs. A large, circular NFC strip that resembles an eye further emphasises this unique look. While the total area of the signature glyph lights has shrunk and is now confined to the top half near the camera. It maintains a captivating visual identity.

It becomes challenging to pick a winner based on a design’s biases, as it’s subjective. But if you ask us, we would pick the Phone (2a) over the latest Nord any day. It looks cool without being outrageously funky.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G Vs Nothing Phone (2a): Display

Type Color AMOLED Screen (1.07 B)
Color AMOLED Screen (1B Colors)
Size 6.7 inches, 1084 x 2412 pixels, 120 Hz
6.7 inches, 1080 x 2412 pixels, 120 Hz
Aspect Ratio 20:9 20.1:9
PPI ~ 394 PPI ~ 394 PPI
Screen to Body Ratio ~ 87.2% ~ 93.4%

Unlike the LCD panel on last year’s Nord CE 3 Lite, the latest one uses an AMOLED display. This translates to rich colours, deep blacks, and sharp visuals. Binge-watching 1080p YouTube indoors reveals a display that pops with vibrant images. The Phone’s 2100 nits peak brightness keeps things clear indoors, but direct sunlight might pose a challenge. Besides, the integrated fingerprint sensor offers reliable unlocking under most conditions.

On the other hand, Nothing has also upped its display game from its first Phone (1). The Phone (2a) ditches the OLED panel of the Phone (1) for an AMOLED display and offers 200 nits of extra brightness. There’s also something called an active matrix layer that helps save battery and improve picture quality. However, it’s difficult to notice a difference between the Phone (2a) and (1) in real-world scenarios.

Both phones boast near-identical screen sizes, AMOLED panels, and a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. So now, the choice hinges upon how much you value peak brightness. The Nord CE 4 Lite shines brighter (pun intended) with 2100 nits, surpassing Phone (2a), which maxes out at 1300 nits.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G Vs Nothing Phone (2a): Performance and UI

OS Android v14 Android v14
Custom UI Nothing OS 2.5 OxygenOS 14
Chipset Mediatek Dimensity 7200 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen3
CPU 2.8 GHz, Octa Core Processor
2.63 GHz, Octa Core Processor
Core Details 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A715 & 6x 2.0 Cortex-A510
1xPrime Core@2.63 GHz & 3xPerformance Cores@2.4 GHz& 4xEfficiency cores@1.8 GHz
GPU Mali-G610 MC4 Adreno 720

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. OnePlus continues with the older Snapdragon 695 SoC with the Nord CE 4 Lite. It has been part of Nord’s lineup since its inception, and everyone expected an upgrade. As of 2024 and these days, devices like the Motorola G34 and Vivo T2 pack this chipset, which are priced lower.

The Nord CE 4 Lite 5G scored 465,226 in our AnTuTu v10 benchmark test, placing it behind the Realme P1, which had a higher score of 568,006. On the upside, the Nord CE 4 Lite 5G offers a generous 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage, providing plenty of room for your apps and media.

On the other hand, the Phone (2a) comes with the Dimensity 7200 Pro. Many people were concerned about whether this chipset could do justice to the Phone, and the short answer is yes. This chipset delivers a noticeable performance boost compared to the Phone (1), offering ample headroom for everyday tasks.

The Phone (2a) falls short of the POCO X6 Pro’s mark of a million on the AnTuTu v10 score. However, it outperforms the pricier Redmi Note 13 Pro+ and Realme 12 Pro+. We also ran Geekbench tests on these devices to give you a more nuanced picture. Here’s a breakdown of their performance:

Nothing Phone 2a
1,132
Geekbench single-core benchmark score analysis
Nothing Phone 2a
2,601
Geekbench multi-core benchmark score analysis

The Phone runs on OxygenOS 14, based on Android 14, offering a user experience familiar to OnePlus fans. However, it does come with several pre-installed apps, such as Spotify and Candy Crush. Fortunately, these can be easily uninstalled if not needed.

The Phone (2a) also runs on the Android 14 out of the box. It has a minimal yet functional layer of Nothing OS 2.5. The company has put a lot of emphasis on UI with its latest offering. Nothing has toned down the latest wallpaper. Unlike the first few “Fresnel lens-inspired” wallpapers, it no longer makes widgets and icons unreadable; apart from that, they also introduced four new widgets, including a pedometer, screen usage, camera shortcut and media controls. Want a deeper dive into the Phone (2a) ‘s UI? Check out our full review here.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G Vs Nothing Phone (2a): Cameras

Rear Camera 50 MP 1/1.56″ f/1.88 (Wide Angle)
50 MP 1/2.76″, 114° FOV f/2.2 (Ultra Wide) with autofocus
50 MP 0.8 µm, 1/1.95″, 26mm f/1.8 (Main)
8 MP 112°, Pixel Size: 1.12 µm f/2.2 (Ultra Wide) with autofocus
Camera Sensor 50 MP (Main) Samsung GN9 + 50 MP (UW) ISOCELL JN1
Sony LYT-600 (50MP), IMX355 (8MP)
Video Recording 4K @ 30 fps UHD, 1080p @ 60 fps FHD
4K @ 30 fps UHD, 1080p @ 60 fps FHD, 720p @ 60 fps HD
Front Camera Punch Hole 32 MP 1/2.74″ f/2.2 (Wide Angle) with Screen Flash
Punch Hole 16 MP f/2.4 (Main) with Screen Flash
Front Video Recording 1080p @ 30 fps FHD 1080p, 720p

OnePlus has stepped down from Nord CE 3 Lite in terms of optics. The latest iteration includes a 50MP primary sensor paired with a 2MP mono cam, unlike the 108MP sensor on its predecessor. However, the camera performs well in bright daylight, and the photos boast natural-looking colours in most well-lit scenarios. Images stay sharp, with minimal distortion or blurring around the edges. Portrait mode shines with smooth results and impressive edge detection. Under natural light, portraits’ skin tones appear true to life without additional filters.

The 16MP front camera performs well when the sun is up. Selfies preserve accurate skin tones and maintain a natural look without overtly enhancing the image.

We might surprise you with this, but we like the camera on the Phone (2a) over its pricier sibling, the Phone (2). Unlike the Phone (2), the (2a) avoids any “short-sightedness” issues, excelling at capturing distant objects with clarity. Intrigued by the Phone (2) ‘s setup? Check out our full review here.

Photos taken during sunlight were crispy, and skin textures were properly reproduced. Even at 2x zoom, photos remained sharp. This was also true indoors under artificial lighting. When it comes to the ultrawide camera, all the phones share the same ultrawide camera, and their processing is nearly identical.

However, in a pitch-dark situation, the main camera shows its limitations. Thankfully, it’s not as bad as the Phone (1). Nighttime selfies also see an improvement, ditching the washed-out look. Updates have also addressed the initial portrait cutout issues with the selfie camera.

OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G Vs Nothing Phone (2a): Battery Life and Charging

The Nord CE 4 Lite packs a hefty 5500mAh battery and even bundles an 80W charger. This translates to a full day’s use on a single charge, with casual users potentially stretching it to a day and a half.

We attempted the PCMark Battery Test, but the Phone constantly shut down around the 20% mark. Although we couldn’t obtain precise numbers, the Phone ran for approximately 14 hours before hitting the 20% threshold, which is pretty impressive.

The Phone (2a) opts for a reliable 5000mAh battery, the largest capacity offered by Nothing yet. It tackles a full day of use without breaking a sweat. It supports 45W fast charging and is claimed to go 0 to 50% in just 23 minutes and reach 100% in one hour. However, we could not achieve that number during our time with the device due to the lack of a compatible charger.

Verdict

It’s a tough call.

  • Choose the Nothing Phone (2a) if you want something that stands out from the crowd in a positive way, has good cameras, and offers dependable performance.
  • Go for the OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite if you prioritise battery life and charging capabilities above everything else. Further, if you want a brighter display and don’t want the hassle of buying a charger separately, then Nord is the right call.

If none of these devices appeal to you, consider exploring other worthy contenders, such as the Samsung Galaxy M55/F55, Motorola Edge 50 Fusion, and Poco X6 Pro.