OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G Review: Worth a Nod?

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OnePlus’ CE Lite lineup offers some of the most affordable smartphones, directly challenging budget options from Redmi, Realme, and iQOO. Since 2020, the OnePlus Nord series has catered to budget-conscious consumers. Now, OnePlus has introduced its latest offering, the Nord CE4 Lite.

OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G

Rs 19,999
7.7

DESIGN & BUILD

7.5/10

DISPLAY

8.5/10

PERFORMANCE

7.0/10

BATTERY LIFE

8.5/10

CAMERA QUALITY

7.5/10

UI EXPERIENCE

7.5/10

AUDIO

7.5/10

DAY-TO-DAY USAGE

8.0/10

VALUE FOR MONEY

7.5/10

What Is Good?

  • AMOLED display, vibrant colours
  • Excellent battery life
  • Good daylight camera performance
  • Everyday performance is good
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

What Is Bad?

  • Same chipset as before
  • Bloatware
  • Room for improvement in low-light photography
  • No ultra-wide camera

The flat display on this phone looks impressive, offering a significantly improved viewing experience compared to its predecessors. However, it still uses the same chipset found in previous CE Lite models. Moreover, OnePlus deserves praise for fitting a substantial battery into a sleek design. But are these the only standout improvements? Can the OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite truly make an impact in India’s crowded budget smartphone market? Let’s find out in my review.

OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G Review: Pricing and Availability in India

The OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G is available on Flipkart and Amazon with multiple bank offers and cashback. The phone is available in two storage variants.

Variants Pricing
8GB RAM + 128GB Storage Rs 19,999
8GB RAM + 256GB Storage Rs 22,999

OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G Review: Design and Build Quality

I got my hands on the Mega Blue colourway of this phone, which the brand has designed to evoke nostalgia for the original Nord. While the Blue colour looked impressive in the promotional images, it didn’t quite have the same impact in real life. That said, it’s still a head-turner in the public due to its vibrant shade.

The phone feels perfectly balanced in hand—not too heavy, not too light. Despite packing a 5500mAh battery, it maintains a slim profile.

Design Specifications
Weight 191 grams
Thickness 8.1mm
IP Rating IP54
Port and Button Placements Bottom: Speaker grille, microphone, USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack

Left: SIM tray

Right Side: Power button and volume buttons

In terms of design, the Nord CE4 Lite 5G stands out from its predecessor, the OnePlus Nord CE3 Lite. The Nord CE3 Lite’s camera module is cute and has a unique design. On the other hand, the Nord CE4 Lite features a pill-shaped camera module paired with two flashlights below it.

I accidentally dropped the Nord CE4 Lite twice—once on the display and once on the back panel. The phone remained unscathed. If you’re prone to dropping your phone, the Nord CE4 Lite proves to be quite durable and can handle multiple (or at least a few) drops.

The predecessor—OnePlus Nord CE3 Lite offers an IP55 rating, which is slightly better than the IP54 rating of the OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite. Nonetheless, the IP rating is still quite respectable.

OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G Review: Display and Audio

The Nord CE4 Lite 5G boasts an AMOLED display, which is a significant upgrade from its predecessor. The 120Hz refresh rate also enhances the experience, providing smooth visuals with no lags or stutters during my usage.

The in-display fingerprint scanner performs reliably most of the time, though there were a few instances where it didn’t recognise my fingerprint on the first try.

I feel that curved displays give smartphones a more premium feel. It would have been a great addition if the Nord CE4 Lite had a curved display, similar to the Motorola Edge 50 Fusion at the same price point. That said, the flat panel adds more practicality and also avoids accidental touches.

Display Specifications
Size 6.67-inch
Type AMOLED
Resolution 1080×2400 Pixels
Refresh Rate 120Hz
Peak Brightness Claimed: 2100 nits, Tested: 849 nits
Minimum Brightness 03 nits

I enjoyed watching high-quality YouTube videos and Netflix series on this phone. The colours appear vibrant and bright indoors, and it supports Widevine L1 so you can enjoy movies at higher resolutions. However, the phone lacks HDR capabilities.

Indoors, the display is sufficiently bright, but it struggles under direct sunlight. With some adjustments in positioning, the viewing experience improves. It’s worth noting that OnePlus claims the Nord CE4 Lite reaches 2100 nits of peak brightness, but in our tests, it fell short of even 1000 nits, as detailed in the table above.

The audio quality at 80 per cent volume is crisp and clear. However, at maximum volume or in Ultra Volume mode—reaching up to 300 per cent— the audio becomes harsh. Additionally, the vibrations from the audio can be felt on the back panel, which detracts from the overall audio experience.

OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G Review: Performance and Software

The Nord CE4 Lite 5G comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC. It’s the same processor that you can find on the OnePlus Nord CE2 Lite and the Nord CE 3 Lite which was launched in 2022 and 2023, respectively. So, there haven’t been any changes on this front for the past two years, which is disappointing to see.

Hardware Specifications
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC
RAM Up to 8GB
Storage Up to 256GB
Storage Test 479921
CPU Throttling Test 89 per cent of its max performance
Software Version OxygenOS 14 based on Android 14

Two years of OS updates and three years of security patches

Connectivity Details Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1

Despite the older chipset, the Nord CE4 Lite breezes through everyday tasks such as calling, texting, using Instagram, and watching YouTube videos.

iQOO Z9
725,780
POCO X6 5G
593,702
Motorola Edge 50 Fusion
558,439
OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite 5G
479,921
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G
406,506
AnTuTu Overall benchmark score analysis

Games like Subway Surfers run swiftly on this phone. However, when playing BGMI and Call of Duty: Mobile at the highest settings, I experienced noticeable lags and stutters, which detracted from the overall gaming experience.

OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G Software

The OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite runs on OxygenOS 14, based on Android 14. It offers useful features like Smart Suggestions for real-time information, Split View for multitasking, and Smart Sidebar for quick app launches. These features enhance usability and efficiency. However, the phone comes with pre-installed apps like Candy Crush, Agoda, and Myntra, among others. Fortunately, these apps are removable. Regarding longevity, the phone is expected to receive software updates for up to two years, which is nothing to write home about.

OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G Review: Cameras

As indicated in the table below, the OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite is equipped with a 50-megapixel primary camera featuring OIS, marking a noticeable step down from the 108-megapixel primary camera found on the OnePlus Nord CE3 Lite. That said, the cameras still produce likeable captures.

Camera Specifications
Primary Camera 50-megapixel with OIS, f/1.8

Sony LYT-600 sensor

Secondary Camera 2-megapixel depth camera, f/2.4
Selfie Camera 16-megapixel, f/2.4
Video Recording Capabilities Up to 2K at 30fps

In daylight conditions, the camera on the Nord CE4 Lite performs admirably, delivering accurate colours in most scenarios. Photos also have a very balanced dynamic range in most conditions. The colours are generally well-balanced, though the camera occasionally smooths skin tones and over-brightens colours in bright sunlight. Fortunately, these issues can often be corrected by changing the shooting angle or position.

Portrait shots are commendable, with precise edge detection in daylight. However, occasionally, the camera tends to smoothen out the skin textures. When it comes to selfies under daylight conditions, the phone captures natural-looking images that reveal good details, providing a realistic appearance. Unfortunately, the Nord CE4 Lite does not include an ultra-wide camera at this price point, a feature available in other phones like the Realme 12 Plus and Redmi Note 13.

However, in low-light conditions, the camera’s performance varies. When using the regular camera mode in dim lighting, photos often show significant noise and grain, compromising their quality. Activating night mode improves the overall image quality, though it can still produce some noise around the edges. Despite this, the colour accuracy in night mode remains impressive, capturing true-to-life hues in most situations.

Details like skin blemishes are clearly visible, offering a realistic portrayal. For those who enjoy enhancing their photos, the camera offers several filters, including Vivid, Warm, and Cool, perfect for social media.

OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G Review: Battery and Charging

The Nord CE4 Lite 5G boasts a robust 5500mAh battery, the same battery is found on the recently launched Realme GT 6T and Realme GT 6. Thankfully, the phone comes with an 80W SUPERVOOC charging adapter in the box.

During our tests, this charger fully charged the phone in just one hour and 11 minutes. It reached 45 per cent from dead in just 30 minutes, making it ideal for quick top-ups. However, it’s important to note that phones like the Motorola Edge 50 Pro and Motorola Edge 50 Fusion can achieve full charges in under 30 minutes. If rapid charging is a priority, alternatives may be worth considering.

Battery 5500mAh
Charging Adapter 80W SUPERVOOC, Charger in-the-box
Charging Time 1 hour 11 minutes
PCMark Battery Test 19 hours 9 minutes

In our PCMark battery test, the phone endured an impressive 19 hours and 9 minutes. Only two other phones in our testing came close: the iQOO 12, lasting 17 hours and 55 minutes, and the Samsung Galaxy XCover 7, at 18 hours and 45 minutes.

Regarding battery life, this phone easily lasts a day and a half with light to moderate usage, which is excellent. Hence, in terms of battery life, this phone is more than reliable.

OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G Review: Verdict

The OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite 5G is a considerable upgrade over the outgoing model. The vibrant and punchy AMOLED display ensures the movie geek inside you remains happy, while the inclusion of the 3.5mm headphone jack will help people with wired earphones. While the camera gets a downgrade in terms of numbers, it still produces good images provided there’s ample lighting around.

That said, it’s worth noting that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC, which powers this device, has been a staple in the OnePlus Nord CE Lite series for the past three years. As a result, in terms of performance, rivals like the Poco X6, Vivo T3, and iQOO Z9 are superior. Hopefully, this will be changed in the next iteration.

But, if that does not sit high on your priority list, and you need a phone that handles routine tasks, the Nord CE4 Lite can be a good choice.