After a never-ending parade of expensive flagship devices that have seen smartphone prices skyrocket, OnePlus broke away from the pack last month to follow up its premium OnePlus 8 Pro (winner of T3's Gadget of the Year and Best Phone Award) with a budget/ mid-tier device that saw it return to its roots.
The OnePlus Nord boasts some great features at an amazing price - starting from just £379. But a challenger approaches in the form of Xiaomi's brand new Redmi 9, and with an even lower price point, the Nord should be worried.
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Launching today, the Redmi 9 (opens in new tab) is just £149 - an unbelievably low price for a smartphone, and £230 cheaper than the OnePlus Nord. It's currently discounted by £10 thanks to Xiaomi's 10th anniversary sale, and comes with a free Mi Smart Band 4 to boot (RRP £34.99 (opens in new tab)/ $34.99 (opens in new tab)), which made T3's list of best sleep trackers.
If you're in the US, the Redmi 9 price tag will come in at around $195 using a straight conversion, but that's just an approximation, as you'll have to allow for tax and regional pricing. The Nord isn't out in the US yet - with rumours of a second budget handset, codenamed Aurora, debuting there instead - but the £379 price tag converts to around $496 - that's a $300 difference!
On the specs front, the Redmi 9 sports a 6.53-inch FHD+ LCD display, compared to the Nord's 6.44-inch FHD+ AMOLED display; the Nord's screen is disrupted by the Notch in the top left corner, while the Redmi 9's front-facing camera has the brand's usual waterdrop notch in the centre.
Speaking of cameras, the Redmi 9 has an 8MP selfie camera with a palm shutter feature that lets you snap selfies by holding up your palm, and a quad camera setup on the rear - 13MP wide-angle main lens + 8MP ultra-wide lens + 5MP macro lens + 2MP depth sensor.
The OnePlus Nord on the other hand features a 32MP + 8MP front camera setup and over on the rear, a 48MP main camera + 8MP ultra-wide lens + 2MP macro lens + 5MP depth sensor, so they're fairly similar with the exception of the main rear camera, and the dual front-facing camera setup.
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Battery-wise, the Redmi 9 has the OnePlus Nord beat with its generous 5020mAh battery. The handset comes with a 10W charger but supports 18W Fast Charge. It has a fingerprint scanner on the back, as opposed to the Nord's in-display sensor, and unlike the Nord, the Redmi 9 houses a headphone jack.
The Redmi 9's Media Tek Helio G80 processor will undoubtedly be outperformed by the Nord's 5G compatible Snapdragon 765G chipset, but real-world performance and properly optimised software could do away with any concerns in that department.
The Redmi 9 is available in three colours - Carbon Grey, Sunset Purple, and Ocean Green - with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. There's a 3GB+32GB option but it's not for sale in the UK.
As budget handsets go, neither the Redmi 9 or the Nord are the best in terms of photography, but they have solid specs elsewhere, and if you're looking to keep spending to a minimum, Xiaomi's new offering is worth a look. It's got nothing on the company's Mi 10 Ultra, but we won't see that here in the UK anytime soon. For more budget smartphone options, checkout out our round-up of the best cheap phones.