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OnePlus Nord has a huge ‘bendgate’ design flaw of its own

Published Jul 28th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
OnePlus Nord
Image: OnePlus

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  • The OnePlus Nord has a serious durability issue that may be discovered during regular use, a “bendgate” issue of its own.
  • A YouTuber who regularly puts the latest smartphone releases through a variety of durability tests found that the phone’s chassis is made of plastic, and that’s a risk factor.
  • The OnePlus Nord can bend with relative ease, and this could lead to the destruction of the screen.

If you’re looking for a decent budget phone that runs Android, there’s no better option than the OnePlus Nord right now. It costs just €399 ($460) in Europe, a price that other handset vendors making phones based on the Snapdragon 765 chip can’t match. The Pixel 5 is rumored to feature a $699 price tag for a similar set of specs, so the Nord will be a much better choice than the Google “flagship.” You shouldn’t even consider the Pixel 4a, while we’re at it. The Pixel 4a might be marginally cheaper than the Nord, but it’ll feature a bunch of additional compromises.

That said, the Nord does have a huge design flaw you should know about, one that’s all the more annoying in 2020.

This is, without a doubt, the year of the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 has impacted everything about normal life, and that involves buying new phones. Handsets like the new iPhone SE and the Nord came at the right time, as they can cater to the needs of people who need new phones but can’t afford expensive flagships.

OnePlus Nord Bendgate
OnePlus Nord durability test: Phone can bend with relative ease. Image source: YouTube

If you have a limited budget for phones, then the last thing you’d want is for the handset you just bought to sustain any sort of accidental damage. It turns out the Nord does have a potentially fatal compromise that could harm the integrity of the screen.

The frame of the handset isn’t made of metal, even if it features the right kind of shine. It’s just cheap plastic that’s painted to make it look like the chassis is metallic. YouTuber JerryRigEverything put the phone through his regular durability tests and discovered the frame is not made of metal.

OnePlus Nord Bendgate
OnePlus Nord durability test: Plastic chassis can break near the volume buttons as the phone bends. Image source: YouTube

Later, he found that the frame can snap around the volume buttons when the phone is bent, and this can lead to irreparable harm to the display. It’s not the actual Gorilla Glass at the exterior of the phone that can brake, but the actual OLED screen underneath the glass.

While the YouTuber is applying extra force to bend the screen, this is still a significant durability issue. Similar tests are performed on the same channel on all the new phones, and you can compare the Nord to other devices.

OnePlus Nord Bendgate
OnePlus Nord durability test: OLED display is destroyed while the glass cover remains intact. Image source: YouTube

If you plan on buying the Nord, you should make sure you place it in a hard protective case. Also, it would be a good idea not to put the handset in a back pocket, or anywhere where it could risk accidental or repeated bending.

Of all the things OnePlus could have “never settled” for, the durability of the Nord shouldn’t have been on the list, especially in the year of the novel coronavirus.

The full OnePlus Nord durability test follows below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.