Hands-on with the OnePlus Nord 2 X Pac-Man Edition
OnePlus isn’t in the business of making gaming phones, but it’s made some of our favourite phones for gaming in recent years.
The OnePlus 9 Pro and the OnePlus 9 have been two of the fastest and slickest flagship phones of 2021, while the OnePlus Nord 2 brought excellent gaming performance at a mid-range price.
It’s that latter phone that OnePlus has chosen to focus on for its new game-themed special edition: the OnePlus Nord 2 X Pac-Man Edition. Here’s how it shapes up.
A-maze-ing design?The OnePlus Nord 2 was never the most stylish phone out there, with a slightly generic design. It’s pleasant to hold, though, with a pleasingly rounded back and a nice weight and balance.
This special edition gives the phone a welcome splash of colour. Just a splash, though. The signature OnePlus alert slider is now a deep blue, while the yellow dot-muncher himself makes an appearance on the back of the phone, just below the camera module.
That rear comes in a slightly pearlescent minty-sagey-green tone, but when you switch the lights out an isometric Pac-Man maze (more Pac-Man 256 than OG Pac-Man) glows forth in brilliant green.
Given that gaming phones are almost invariably garish horror shows, I actually approve of this relatively subtle design embellishment.
That signature OnePlus attention to detail runs right through the wider package, with a themed plastic case stashed away in a little compartment, and a breadcrumb trail of gamified easter eggs to follow for the dedicated. You also get a Lego-like phone holder to assemble, which is cool, if somewhat hopeless at actually propping up a phone.
Even the OxygenOS software that runs on all OnePlus phones has received a Pac-Man makeover, with colourful new wallpapers, bleepy 8-bit notification sounds, and custom menus and icons. It’s all rather charming.
Jam-PACd specsAs mentioned, this isn’t a new phone by any means. The OnePlus Nord 2 X Pac-Man Edition is literally a top-spec OnePlus Nord 2 5G, but with a jazzy Pac-Man theme.
Thankfully, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G was already one of the best mid-range phones on the market. Its MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI chip is impressively rapid, especially in the GPU stakes.
Backed by a hefty 12GB of RAM, the OnePlus Nord 2 X Pac-Man Edition is more than up to running CoD Mobile on maxed-out settings.
You only get a 90Hz display here, rather than the 120Hz display of a mid-range rival like the Realme GT Neo 2 or the Poco F3. But it’s a cracking display all the same, with vibrant AMOLED colours and contrast, and an ample FHD+ resolution.
It’s flanked by a pair of stereo speakers, which is always welcome for gaming, though you don’t get a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Gobbling up the loose pillsWhile I haven’t taken the OnePlus Nord 2 X Pac-Man Edition’s camera for a full test run, I have used the OnePlus Nord 2 extensively and found the main 50MP snapper to be very accomplished indeed for the money.
In my experience of the original Nord 2, its 4500 mAh battery isn’t the most outstanding in its class, but it will generally get you through a day of fairly heavy usage without issue.
This special edition isn’t the absolute bargain that the Nord 2 was, though. It costs £499 for the sole available model, which is £30 more than the equivalent top model of the plain Nord 2. Keep in mind that you can buy the Poco F3, with equivalent gaming power and a more fluid 120Hz display, for less than £300 these days.
Still, this is a highly polished all-round smartphone with a number of delightful little bonuses for fans of a bone fide gaming icon.