OnePlus Nord N200 5G review: T-Mobile’s best phone under $250

The answer to whether or not you should buy the $239 OnePlus Nord N200 5G depends on who your wireless carrier is. If you’re using the T-Mobile and are considering the N200 thanks to its generous trade-in offers and carrier exclusivity, this is probably a great base device to get you on. It offers the company’s excellent 5G network at a very affordable price. The N200 5G only works on 4G networks from Verizon and AT&T, so it’s not the best choice if you’re using one of these carriers. Why would your carrier make such a difference? Verizon’s and AT&T’s 5G networks aren’t great right now, so using the N200 as a 4G-only device isn’t really a big deal. But, thanks to the newly acquired spectrum, it will start to get much better in the next few years, and if so, being stuck in LTE could be a real downside. The N200 5G has several features besides 5G connectivity, starting with a large 5,000mAh battery. It has a large 6.5-inch display with the fastest refresh rate in its class. You’ll also get three years of security updates, which isn’t great, but is a more general improvement over two years on phones under $300. Good stuff Good price Good display in its class Big battery Bad stuff No 5G on AT&T or Verizon Mediocre camera Poor built-in storage The downside is the camera system is basic. Overall phone performance is good for everyday email and browsing, but a bit slow for processing intensive tasks. 64GB of internal storage is available, but most people will have to add the cost of a MicroSD card when purchasing for expanded storage space. The N200 is an acceptable and inexpensive 5G device, and for now it’s a relatively good deal as a 4G device. However, recommending the N200 5G is complicated by carriers and their propensity to keep their phones for more than a year or two. The N200 5G is one of the few devices in its class that offers a screen with a 90Hz refresh rate. OnePlus N200 5G Screen, Battery and Performance When it comes to screens on budget devices, the N200 5G is one of the coolest. A large 6.5-inch LCD panel with 1080p resolution, an upgrade from the more common 720p in this class. It also stands out with a faster 90Hz refresh rate, and scrolling and animations look a little smoother than usual. The screen is very bright and can be used under direct sunlight. The battery life of the N200 is very good thanks to its large 5,000mAh cell. It also supports 18W charging using the included wired charger. It’s not as fast as the OnePlus’s more expensive devices, but it’s good enough to fully charge it from 12% in about two hours. With moderate use I got two days out of the N200 before falling into the low battery zone. Excessive use throughout the day is not a problem, and many, if not more, will last well through the second day. Most people need to add a MicroSD card for more space. The N200 uses the Snapdragon 480 5G processor, a relatively new chipset designed for budget 5G phones like this one. Combined with 4GB of RAM, it holds up well for everyday use switching apps and scrolling social media. It doesn’t take much time to push yourself out of the comfort zone where you feel a little hesitation and stuttering, especially on intensive tasks like zooming in/out of Google Maps, starting navigation. However, considering the price, I feel there is a decent piece of equipment that can provide usable daily performance for years to come. You can use the N200’s 64GB internal storage, but it’s at the bottom and in healthy chunks occupied by system files. Most people need to add a MicroSD card for more space. So, if you don’t have too little storage space, consider an extra $20 or so for a phone as part of your overall cost. The N200’s 5G connectivity works with T-Mobile, but with AT&T and Verizon, the phone is 4G-only. As mentioned above, the N200’s 5G connectivity works with T-Mobile, but with AT&T and Verizon, the phone is 4G-only. Only supports 5G below 6GHz. There’s no super-fast mmWave, but that’s not a big deal because it’s hard to find and T-Mobile doesn’t offer much. There’s also no support for the C-band spectrum to be used for 5G starting early next year, but if the phone can use AT&T and Verizon 5G, that would be a bigger deal. You can’t because you can’t. What you have access to is T-Mobile’s 5G sub-6 5G network, which, if not surprisingly fast, has a nice, wide coverage. Android 11 will load on the N200 by default, and OnePlus says it will offer one or more major OS platform updates over the life of the phone. You’ll also get the aforementioned three years of security update support, which is an above average policy for a budget Android phone. OnePlus’ Android implementation is less demanding than most, confusing, and has fewer pre-downloaded apps. It’s a grown-up interface that’s close enough to reach a ‘pure’ Android experience outside of Google’s own Pixel phone. The N200’s main rear camera uses a 13-megapixel sensor. OnePlus N200 5G Camera The camera performance of the N200 is a bit disappointing even considering the price of the phone, but it’s ok. It includes a 13-megapixel f/2.2 main camera, a 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. On the front is a 13-megapixel selfie camera. This 13-megapixel main camera is great for taking snapshots in good lighting, but it quickly hits the limit for high-contrast scenes like landscapes with deep shadows and bright highlights. Photos taken under moderate lighting conditions, such as inside, begin to seep into noise, and dark scenes reveal a lot of detail and noise. Night mode works well enough to preserve a little more detail, but is only suitable for scenes with no moving subjects. The Grid View N200’s camera system can be disappointing considering that the higher-tier Nord N10 5G’s 64-megapixel camera is surprisingly good. The N10 is $60 more expensive than the N200 (25% higher overall), so it’s not a completely fair comparison, but I can’t believe the N200 could have been fitted a little better. Pixel count isn’t everything, but in this case the newer high-resolution sensor would have made a significant difference in maintaining detail and handling high-contrast scenes. If you have a T-Mobile, the N200 is a good choice for a nice screen and 5G at an affordable price. If you’re considering the OnePlus N200 5G, I think there are good arguments for this phone, as T-Mobile is giving you a good deal. It doesn’t offer many nice extras and features, but you get a 5G device with a good screen, long battery life, and years of use. If you live in an area with poor T-Mobile 5G coverage or use a different wireless carrier, the other option is better. You can get a 4G-only N100 for $179 that saves a bit of money and offers many of the same features. The screen isn’t very detailed (720p vs 1080p), but you still get a 90Hz refresh rate, big battery, and a nice OnePlus user interface. You get a good screen, long battery life, and a 5G device that will last for years. On the other hand, if you can afford a little more, the $279 Samsung A32 5G is worth considering. While the interface is more complex and the screen isn’t as good as the 720p resolution and standard 60Hz refresh rate, wider 5G compatibility in the camera and strong four-year security support mean almost every aspect of the device has been significantly upgraded. Way. That said, if you’re familiar with the N200’s quirks and are tempted by T-Mobile’s sweet deals, I won’t bother you. Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge


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