Everything We Know About The Upcoming OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite

OnePlus may have started its journey by creating an entirely new category of products that we know today as affordable flagships, but that isn't the case anymore. The past few years have seen the company take a different approach towards its smartphone business. This has resulted in the most expensive OnePlus handsets competing in price (and features) with offerings from Samsung and Apple. That's not to say OnePlus has abandoned its loyal user base, which continues to expect OnePlus to deliver affordable, feature-loaded value for money smartphones.

This is exactly why the company created an entirely separate line of products under the OnePlus Nord branding. The OnePlus Nord series is now entering its third year, with the most recent launch from this series being the OnePlus Nord 2 CE. Recent reports, however, indicate that the company is preparing to launch yet another – even more affordable – Nord Series smartphone called the OnePlus Nord 2 CE Lite.

If not evident already, this phone is likely to be positioned below the OnePlus Nord 2 CE — which launched in select markets a few weeks ago. This article lists everything we know about the upcoming Nord 2 CE Lite so far.

What does it look like?

On March 11, 2022, the folks at 91Mobiles released the first images of what they claim to be the OnePlus Nord 2 CE Lite. The renders – which the publication claims to have acquired from an industry source – show a phone that is markedly different looking compared to the Nord 2 CE.

Instead of the curved edges that most OnePlus handsets have sported for a long time now, the OnePlus Nord 2 CE appears to be a much boxier-looking phone. In fact, the handset in the leaked photos is closer in looks to some of Vivo's recent offerings

The rectangular camera module is quite large and integrates three camera lenses along with an LED flash. Two of those camera sensors seem to be much bigger than the third lens. While not evident in the photo, 91Mobiles claims the device will get a glossy rear panel made of plastic.

The OnePlus Nord 2 CE Lite also appears to be a thin phone that integrates a side-facing fingerprint scanner. The report adds that the power button and the volume rocker keys are located on the right side of the frame. Interestingly, the company's trademark alert slider seems to have been given a miss. OnePlus seems to be retaining the good ol' 3.5mm jack on this one, though. While not evident from the images, 91Mobiles is claiming the OnePlus Nord 2 CE Lite may feature a hybrid SIM card slot instead of the triple slot found on the Nord 2 CE.

When launched, the OnePlus Nord 2 CE is likely to run Android 12 with OnePlus' revamped OxygenOS. This is also likely to be the first Nord series smartphone to feature Android 12.

What are the expected specifications?

According to 91 Mobiles, the OnePlus Nord 2 CE Lite is likely to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 chipset. In addition, OnePlus is expected to equip the phone with a 6.58-inch FHD+ display that supports a 120Hz refresh rate. While there may be lower configurations on offer, the top variant will likely feature 8GB RAM and offer 128GB of internal storage.

The triple camera setup on the phone is likely to feature a 64MP primary camera. Even though 91Mobiles claims the secondary camera could use a 2MP sensor, this assertion does not match the leaked images that show a secondary camera almost equal in size to the primary sensor. 91Mobile also indicates the OnePlus Nord 2 CE Lite may feature a 5,000 mAh battery. However, this claim has to be taken with a pinch of salt, given that the device shown in the photos is way too thin to cram in a battery this large.

New developments

A week after the 91Mobiles report, another publication – MySmartPrice – came across FCC documentation belonging to the OnePlus Nord 2 CE Lite.

In the documentation, the phone is known by its internal code name – GN2200. This document reveals the phone will support 5G networks. This report adds the likelihood of the phone using a different Qualcomm processor (Snapdragon 480) as opposed to the Snapdragon 695 we talked about earlier. The version the FCC evaluated appears to feature 6GB of RAM.

In addition to FCC certification, the OnePlus Nord 2 CE Lite has also appeared on the TUV certification website that now claims the phone packs a 4,500 mAh battery. This report also talks about the likelihood of the phone supporting 33W fast charging.

In addition to all these, yet another source has indicated the primary camera on the OnePlus Nord 2 CE Lite will use a 1/1.8" sensor (0.7 µm pixels) with an f/1.7 aperture. It will also support electronic image stabilization. The front camera is likely to use a 16MP sensor.

Our take

As of March 16, 2022, we think it is too early to believe the OnePlus Nord 2 CE would end up looking like the phone in the leaked renders. The handset is way too different looking compared to its immediate cousin — the OnePlus Nord 2 CE. If that wasn't all, there also seems to be a lot of mismatch in terms of feature availability between the initial leak and the subsequent ones. We believe it is highly unlikely for OnePlus to make such drastic design changes on a mid-range smartphone. 

We would, therefore, urge you to take these initial leaks with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, now that the OnePlus Nord 2 CE Lite has indeed appeared at the FCC, there is a very good chance this model is the real deal. Do expect it to look markedly different from the initial renders, though.