Exclusive: OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite announced by Kinder Liu

A teaser image of the OnePlus Nord CE 4 Lite
(Image credit: OnePlus)

The OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite is coming very soon, and will arrive with a series of upgrades that give it a chance to be one of 2024's best cheap phones.

We know this because we got the chance to speak with Kinder Liu, OnePlus' president and COO, who talked us through some of the Nord CE4 Lite's features.  He also shared that the new Nord's launch will be taking place at 2:30pm UK time (that's 9:30am Eastern and 6:30am Pacific) on June 24th. That is just under a week from today, so mark your calendars accordingly.

The OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite will be the follow-up to the Nord CE3 Lite (which later launched as the OnePlus Nord N30 in the U.S.), a good phone for the money but one with a few areas in need of improvement. Liu calls the OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite "one of our most important products in 2024," and claims that it "will deliver a longer, brighter and smoother experience compared to its predecessor." Fortunately for us, he also shared some specifics of the big new specs changes that have contributed to this.

OnePlus president and COO Kinder Liu

OnePlus president and COO Kinder Liu (Image credit: OnePlus)

For one, the Nord CE4 Lite is getting a new main camera, the 50MP Sony Lytia 600, as well as a new aspherical lens. "The aspherical lens has a clear advantage in terms of aberrations and distortions control and it also provides a wider field of view" Liu explained. "Moreover, the lens is lighter, thinner, and flatter compared with a spherical lens, helping to control the thickness of the device. "

Alongside the new camera, the Nord CE4 Lite features a 120Hz AMOLED display like the Nord CE3 Lite, except this time rated for 2,100 nits of brightness. This would be quite a jump from the 520 nits we measured the Nord N30 at in our lab, if OnePlus' numbers stack up in the real world.

Liu says the upgraded display will mean it works "bright and smooth even in outdoor environments," something that's often a struggle for cheaper phones due to their less advanced screen hardware.

OnePlus is also using its Aqua Touch display technology from the OnePlus 12 on its new Nord. This helps you tap and scroll around the screen even when it or your hands are wet, and is a novel feature we're very happy to see make it to a budget phone.

The last big change to the Nord CE4 Lite is its larger battery with faster charging. As Liu explains: "It comes with a 5,110 mAh high-capacity battery, coupled with 80W SUPERVOOC fast charging, which eliminates users' concern regarding battery life." If that wasn't enough, then OnePlus has also added 5W reverse wired charging to help power up other phones and accessories if you need to.

Last year's Nord CE3 Lite/N30 had a 5,000 mAh battery and 50W charging, and posted impressive results on our battery life and refuelling tests. So we're excited to see how the Nord CE4 Lite's upgrades improve on these.

Balancing value and function

Liu also made sure to emphasize the importance of its community in developing its devices during our questioning.

"Community co-creation is the core to our product development process. At the very early stage, we have conducted thoroughly researches with our community members to better understand their real needs and wants for this price segment, and tried our best to identify their pain points in using smartphones in daily life." 

"Through research on the requirements of value phone users, we have identified two key factors. The first is value-for-money, and the second is the desire for a flagship-level functional experience. These are also the OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite's main strengths."

Liu also revealed that OnePlus has shipped 25 million Nord-branded phones as of 2023, a considerable number given that this series will only have its fourth birthday this August. But that's not the only milestone that the Nord phones can claim for OnePlus.

"The OnePlus Nord CE3 Lite was our best-selling product in 2023, gaining worldwide recognition," revealed Liu. "Consequently, our confidence remains steadfast regarding the imminent launch of the OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite."

We don't know everything about the OnePlus Nord CE4 Lite yet, as generous as Liu was with some details. But it's already sounding a worthy replacement for the Nord CE4 Lite/ Nord N30, especially if American users will eventually be able to buy this model under a different name.

We'll report back as soon as we get hands-on time with this phone, to see how it matches up to similarly-priced devices like the Nothing Phone 2a or the Moto G 5G (2024). Perhaps with its particular blend of specs and savings the new Nord could even take on the Google Pixel 8a, the top of our best cheap phones rankings, for ultimate value. But we'll have to wait until the 24th to find out.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.