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OnePlus Nord alternatives: other cheap phones with the device's top features

OnePlus Nord
OnePlus Nord (Image credit: TechRadar)

The OnePlus Nord was recently announced, and people are going wild for it for a variety of reasons - it’s a cheap 5G phone, it’s got a 90Hz display, and it’s the first OnePlus phone in ages that isn’t knee-shakingly expensive.

But as with all OnePlus phones, the brand's fans seem to be taking the hype to hyperbolic levels, acting almost like it's the first ever smartphone - though of course it isn't.

There are plenty of smartphones in existence, and more come out all the time. There are big ones, small ones, cheap ones, expensive ones, ones for gaming, ones for photography, ones for watching content, and ones for people who don’t even like smartphones. 

And lots of these phones have already done stuff the OnePlus Nord's fans seem to think it did first.

So in case you're sick of OnePlus Nord fans getting too excitable, or genuinely don't know about the rival phones in existence, we've listed a few handsets below that do similar things - and all cost the same as or less than the Nord in some regions.

The Moto G 5G Plus has 5G and a 90Hz display

Moto G 5G Plus

Moto G 5G Plus (Image credit: Future)

Motorola unveiled its first cheap 5G phone not long before OnePlus unveiled the Nord, and it's hard to see the two phones as anything other than close rivals, given that they both offer features of mid-ranged phones at slightly lower prices.

Case in point, the Moto G 5G Plus offers 5G connectivity and a 90Hz display, two of the Nord's selling points, but it also costs a bit less in the regions where we have prices for both. The cheapest Nord model goes for £379 (around $480, AU$680), while the lowest-spec Moto G 5G Plus costs £299 (roughly $375, AU$535).

So while many people have been claiming the Nord is the cheapest phone with these two specs, that's not true. The two phones' specs are on par for the most part too with similar screen resolutions, camera capabilities, and battery lives.

The OnePlus Nord does have one major thing up on the Moto G 5G Plus though - a tolerable name.

You can check out the Moto G 5G Plus on Motorola's website here.

Redmi phones have similar or better cameras

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Image credit: Future)

The OnePlus Nord has a 48MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP depth-sensing, and 2MP macro camera. That's about an average setup for a phone of its price,  but many in the cult of OnePlus are acting like it's a surprisingly impressive collection of snappers. It's not.

For example, Redmi phones often have high-res sensors. The Note 8 Pro, for instance, has a similar setup to the Nord, other than a 64MP main and only 2MP depth-sensing snapper, and the recently-unveiled Redmi Note 9 Pro bumps the macro sensor up to 5MP, leaving it with more high-res main and macro sensors than the Nord.

All that, and the Redmi Note phones retail for substantially less than the OnePlus Nord.

Of course, sensor resolution isn't everything for smartphone photography, but given cheap phones typically have less RAM and a weaker chipset for post-processing, it means a lot. In addition, OnePlus' image optimization has never been particularly mind-blowing, so the company doesn't get an edge there.

Loads of other cheap phones have headphone jacks

Oppo A5 2020

The Oppo A5 2020 has a headphone port (Image credit: Future)

If you're a user of wired headphones - as many people still are - you're almost always in luck with cheap phones, as while plenty of premium devices have been missing the port as of late, inexpensive phones almost always pack the feature.

We say 'almost', but that could have read 'all' until the OnePlus Nord came along - it doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone port, so you're forced to use it with wireless audio or an adapter (or just play music and sounds out loud).

If you're looking for affordable handsets, odds are you don't want to then spend lots of money on good wireless headphones, so it's probably best you look for some phones other than the Nord. That's not going to be too hard, because like we said, basically all cheap phones have 3.5mm headphone jacks.

Below we'll list the prices of a few handsets from our list of the best cheap phones, all of which have 3.5mm headphone jacks, so you can plug in and play.

Tom Bedford

Staff Writer, Phones

Tom's role in the TechRadar team is as a staff writer specializing in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness trackers and more.