Why You Might Want to Skip the OnePlus Nord N200 5G

A solid budget phone undercut by lackluster update support

Key Takeaways

  • OnePlus’ Nord N200 5G is an exciting budget-friendly Android smartphone, offering nice features for an attractive price tag.
  • Despite being one of the best cheap Android smartphones out there with 5G support, the N200 5G’s lack of good software updates is worrying.
  • If you want a phone that will last for years and receive more than just one update, the N200 probably isn’t the best choice for you.
The OnePlus Nord N200 5G

OnePlus

OnePlus’ latest affordable 5G option has everything it needs to steal the spotlight, but the company’s terrible software update policy holds it back when comparing it to other affordable smartphones out there.

You don’t expect much from a phone when it costs less than $300, even with the advances many companies have made to their budget-friendly offerings. Still, even if you’re buying a phone on a budget, you want it to last at least a few years.

While the Nord N200 5G hits all the right buttons regarding performance and specs, the N200 5G only comes with one major update, unlike some other budget smartphones, which offer two or three years of major updates. This means users could miss out on vital changes made to Android in the next few years.

"I am a big proponent of budget phones. Smartphones have become a necessary part of our world, and you're at such a disadvantage without one," Christen Costa, a tech expert and CEO of Gadget Review, explained in an email.

"Many of these phones are very limited. You have abysmal amounts of default storage, and the capacity for updates is small, if not nonexistent. This is a huge issue because version updates to the Android OS are necessary to roll out new features including things designed to improve security."

Not Quite Future Proofed

One of the biggest appeals of buying any smartphone right now—especially when it comes specifically to 5G devices—is the idea of future-proofing. 5G coverage is abysmal at the moment, with many companies still struggling to roll out basic coverage to subscribers. 

"Many of these phones are very limited. You have abysmal amounts of default storage, and the capacity for updates is small, if not nonexistent."

So, when you’re looking to buy a 5G phone, you want something that will offer you the connection option in the future, while also not becoming outdated while you wait to take advantage of it. This is where the Nord N200 5G falls short. Sure, it offers decent specs for the price range, and the option for 5G is there, but with only one major update promised, that means you won’t see the benefits that Android 13 brings in 2022.

If you’re the type of person who only has a phone for a year, that might not be a bad thing. However, if you’re someone who prefers to purchase a phone and hold onto it for a few years, there are better options out there, but they might not be as budget-friendly.

Finding a Niche

Still, that’s not to say the Nord N200 5G is a bad phone. OnePlus has made a name for itself when it comes to affordable 5G phones, even if many Americans don't recognize the name right away.

The OnePlus Nord N200 5G smartphone.

OnePlus

Its previous offerings, like the Nord N10 5G, offered great performance for the price, but they suffered from the same kind of software update policies that currently hold the N200 back. The N10 has yet to receive its promised update, which means it is still running Android 10.

It is worth noting that OnePlus seems dedicated to continuing to offer three years of security updates, though, which means you aren’t completely left out of additional security features that are added to the phone’s OS over time.

Still, without any additional Android updates hitting the device, it is hard to recommend the Nord N200 5G over similar options like the Pixel 4a or even Apple’s iPhone SE—if you aren’t against joining the Apple ecosystem.

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