OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite review: Good display and fast charging but less battery life

It’s amazing to watch what the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite regards as crucial to the OnePlus experience. CE stands for “Core Edition” in OnePlus-speak, and this £300 phone attempts to provide the OnePlus experience on a budget. OnePlus is mostly successful at this, but a phone of this price cannot be successful everywhere.

While the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite offers 67W charging, an unexpectedly high-resolution 108 MP primary camera, and a huge 120Hz display, the overall experience is hindered by an outdated chipset, poor battery life, and underwhelming photography beyond the 108MP main camera. If you and OnePlus agree on the essential qualities of a smartphone and you have no wiggle room in your budget, the Nord CE 3 Lite could be a fantastic partner. However, it is not one of the best cheap phones available, as such handsets offer significantly more value for a little more money.  

Specifications Table

ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 695
No of cores8 (octa core)
Weight195 grams
ColoursPastel Lime, Chromatic Gray
Resolution1080 x 2400 pixels
Display TypeIPS LCD, AGC Dragontrail
Colour Reproduction16M Colours
TouchScreenYes, Capacitive, Multi-Touch
Rear camera setupTriple
Rear Camera108MP(Primary), 2MP(Secondary), 2MP(Tertiary)
Front camera16 MP Resolution
FlashLED Rear flash
Video Resolution1920×1080 @ 30 fps
Camera FeaturesAuto FlashAuto FocusFace detectionTouch to focus
Battery Type and capacityLi-polymer, 5000 mAh
Fast ChargingYes, Super VOOC, 67W
Internal memory type128 GB, UFS 2.2
Operating SystemAndroid v13
Custom UIOxygen OS
SIM ConfigurationDual SIM
BluetoothBluetooth v5.3
GPSYes with A-GPS, Glonass
Fingerprint sensorYes, Side
Face UnlockYes
Other SensorLight SensorProximity SensorAccelerometerCompassGyroscope


The Nord CE 3 Lite’s flat edges make it appear more luxurious than it is, but handling the phone shows its cheaper materials, like the plastic of its side rails and the glass/plastic laminate back panel. Flat-sided phones can be more difficult to use because they don’t fit in your hand as well as devices with curved edges. However, thanks to the OnePlus’ curved back and bevelled sides, as well as its comparatively late 6.8-ounce weight, the Nord CE 3 Lite still fits nicely in your palm.

The headphone jack has miraculously survived another year, so anyone trying to avoid giving up their wired headphones will rejoice. That jack can be found next to the USB-C charging port, around the corner from the volume controls and the power button/fingerprint scanner.


The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite’s pricing is low, but its display is not. The front of the phone is dominated by a 6.72-inch screen, which is the same size as the one on the flagship OnePlus 11, and has the same maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. However, when it comes to the other specifications, the Nord CE 3 Lite’s panel is clearly inferior. For starters, the Nord CE 3 Lite has an FHD resolution rather than QHD, which is comparable to considerably more expensive flagship phones. It’s also an LCD panel, which means it uses less power and has less colour accuracy than the 11’s OLED panel. 

This phone has a peak HDR brightness of 680 nits, which is relatively low according to OnePlus. Even when I was indoors, I had to crank up the brightness slider to see what I was doing.


OnePlus appears to have spared a significant portion of the Nord CE 3 Lite’s hardware budget in order to provide the phone with a 108MP camera, one of the highest resolution sensors available on smartphones today and the first time OnePlus has employed a sensor with that megapixel grade. OnePlus claims that employing this resolution lets the phone have a 3x lossless digital zoom in addition to shooting full 108MP images and more compact 12MP everyday photos.

The other two rear cameras aren’t as impressive. The pair of 2MP sensors cover depth and macro duties, which are both types of cameras that phone makers like to use when striving to increase sensor count. 


The Nord CE 3 Lite is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695, the same chip as in the Nord CE 2 Lite. A mid-tier processor that’s almost a year old doesn’t inspire confidence in this phone’s performance, albeit a minor improvement over last year’s model is that you now get 8GB RAM by default, with a single 128GB storage standard, rather than 6GB. There’s also up to 8GB of virtual RAM accessible from the phone’s storage, as well as a microSD expansion slot for up to 1TB more storage if needed.

Benchmarks show that the Nord CE 3 Lite phone lacks power, especially when compared to other handsets in a similar price range, such as the Google Pixel 7a and the Galaxy A54.


The Nord CE 3 Lite has a 5,000 mAh battery, as you’d expect from a phone of its size. Even with this enormous cell, though, it is not the most efficient phone. In my 1080p YouTube rundown test, the Nord’s battery dropped 30% after 2 hours and 56 minutes. This isn’t ideal for a phone with such a large battery, as phones with larger batteries, such as the 4,800 mAh Honour 70, can run for nearly an hour longer on the same percentage of battery power. It’s possible that this is due to the OnePlus’ static 120Hz refresh rate, which is unable to scale down like a more modern display.

In better news, you can recharge quickly with OnePlus’ 67W charging, which is somewhat faster than its predecessor’s 65W.


The Nord CE 3 Lite comes standard with the newest Android 13 software, OxygenOS 13.1. It’s the same system that comes with the OnePlus 11, and I enjoy how it looks, especially with features like the Widget Shelf, huge app folders, and the HyperBoost game hub. However, you can see it’s more firmly coupled to Oppo’s ColorOS than ever before, something we didn’t like in our OnePlus 11.


With the Nord CE 3 Lite, OnePlus maintains its core values by providing fast charging and a surprisingly good display for the price. Unfortunately, this simply emphasises the primary flaws of typically subpar photography, a weak chipset, and, unfortunately, limited battery life. With as much to admire as there is to dislike about the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite, this phone will not meet the needs of the ordinary buyer. You must be dead set on getting the most screen, charging watts, or camera megapixels for your money. 

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