OnePlus Nord CE 3 leak frames it as an affordable alternative to the OnePlus 11

OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G
A OnePlus Nord CE 2 (Image credit: Future)

Early 2023 could be a busy time for OnePlus phones, because, as well as the OnePlus 11, we’re also likely to see the OnePlus Nord CE 3, and a detailed specs list for this phone has now leaked.

This comes courtesy of @OnLeaks – a leaker with a good track record – on behalf of GadgetGang, and according to the leak, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 has a 6.7-inch FHD+ LCD with a 120Hz refresh rate, a Snapdragon 695 chipset, and a choice of either 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 also apparently has 5G, a 5,000mAh battery with 67W charging, a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a triple-lens rear camera, consisting of a 108MP primary sensor, a 2MP macro camera and a 2MP depth sensor. Finally, there’s apparently a 16MP camera on the front.

These specs are a mix of good and not so good, at least on paper. The 108MP camera is a promising inclusion, as is the 120Hz refresh rate, the large amount of potential RAM and storage, and the battery size and charging speed.

The 2MP macro and depth sensors sound rather less promising and more like filler, and the remaining specs sound middling, but still reasonable, if the price is right. So far we don’t know what the OnePlus Nord CE 3’s price will be, but it’s likely to be a rather affordable phone.

For reference, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 starts at £299 (around $340 / AU$530), so we might see a similar price here. However, the Nord CE 3 almost certainly won’t be available in Australia and probably won’t land in the US either, going by past form – but a UK release is highly likely.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G primary camera setup

The Nord CE 3 may share some specs with the Nord CE 2 Lite (Image credit: Future / Sachin George)

Analysis: a mix of the CE 2 and the CE 2 Lite, with some upgrades

If you’re wondering how these rumored specs compare to those of the OnePlus Nord CE 2, then, well, it’s not as simple as the upcoming model being an all-round upgrade. It looks to be in some areas, but in others it might actually be a downgrade.

If these specs are right then the OnePlus Nord CE 3 has a bigger battery and screen, a higher refresh rate, more potential RAM and storage, and more megapixels on its main camera.

But its charging speed is similar, it lacks the Nord CE 2’s 8MP ultra-wide camera, it has a marginally less powerful chipset, it uses LCD rather than the older phone’s superior AMOLED display tech, and it doesn’t have the Nord CE 2’s under-display fingerprint sensor.

In fact, some of the OnePlus Nord CE 3’s rumored specs are more in line with the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite, which has the same chipset, battery size, secondary cameras, and refresh rate.

So the OnePlus Nord CE 3 is in danger of finding itself confusingly positioned, which could hurt its chances of ranking among the best cheap phones. We’ll likely find out soon, as the Nord CE 2 landed in February 2022, so a launch around February 2023 might be on the cards.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.