Surprising Value: Get More Phone Than You Thought Possible for Under $250

I miss the old OnePlus. Despite the challenges of invites and shaky software support, the company had a clear mission: to create the flagship killer. The OnePlus One aimed to impress customers with its innovative approach to hardware, software, and marketing, and all at an affordable price point. However, those days appear to be long gone, and OnePlus has become a familiar player in the full-fat flagship market.

But, there is hope. While we may never see another budget OnePlus phone as well-executed as the OnePlus X, the Nord line has stepped up to fill the void. Last year, the Nord N20 5G became the most successful Nord to date, and now we have the Nord N300 5G. It has made its way onto the US market via T-Mobile, but can it compete with its predecessor or the old days of OnePlus ruling the budget space?

The OnePlus Nord N300 5G is a super-affordable smartphone option on T-Mobile with a price tag just north of $200. The N300 is not a powerhouse, but it does offer some excellent upgrades. The device is equipped with a 720p LCD display with a 90Hz refresh rate, a side fingerprint sensor, and NFC for contactless payments. The N300 launched with Android 12, and it is set to receive Android 13 and security patches into 2024. If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly device that can last a year or two and you’re on T-Mobile or Metro, the N300 is the right choice for you.

The Nord N300 boasts a MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC, a 720p 90Hz IPS LCD display, 4GB LPDDR4x RAM, and 64GB of storage. It has a 5,000 mAh battery, and it supports 33W SUPERVOOC Fast Charging. The device weighs 190g and has a dimension of 163.8 x 75.1 x 7.99mm. The N300 5G features a 16MP f/2.0 front camera and a 48MP f/1.8 primary rear camera with a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor. It is available in Midnight Jade and has a microSD card slot that can support up to 1TB.

OnePlus hasn’t made the Nord series a priority in North America, but that has changed. T-Mobile gave Nord a home, and the N300 5G is exclusively available via the network. You can either purchase it outright or sign up for T-Mobile’s service and receive it for free. The N300 5G features a boxy, plastic design with squared-off edges, and enough in terms of build and design to hold its own.

The device’s 6.56-inch 1612 × 720 IPS LCD panel is decently bright, but there are some issues around the teardrop selfie cutout. The panel also supports 90Hz output. The device runs on OxygenOS based on Android 12, with a MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC and 4GB of RAM, which delivers satisfactory performance. However, haptic feedback is displeasing and mushy.

The camera system on the N300 is functional at best, and you shouldn’t expect anything exceptional. The main lens has a 48MP sensor, but pixel binning is necessary to improve low-light sensitivity, which isn’t very successful. Video recording is capped at 1080p and 30fps.

Overall, the OnePlus Nord N300 5G offers a decent smartphone experience at an affordable price, and T-Mobile subscribers would be pleased with this offering. Nevertheless, it isn’t without its shortcomings, such as the low-res display, middle-of-the-road performance, and a cheap-feeling body.