iQOO Z3 5G vs OnePlus Nord CE 5G: Battle of mid-range 5G phones

iQOO made its debut in India with the iQOO 3 which is still one of the popular phones in the market. This year, the company launched the iQOO 7 series with top-end specifications at a competitive price tag. The most recent iQOO Z3 5G is once again the company’s value-for-money offering that packs India’s first Snapdragon 768G SoC, extended RAM, 55W fast charging and lots more that is rarely available for the price.

In this article, we are comparing iQOO Z3 5G with the OnePlus Nord CE 5G, which a cheaper version of last year’s Nord that retains the Core features.


The iQOO Z3 5G is equipped India’s first Qualcomm Snapdragon 768G which delivers 15%  faster CPU and GPU performance than the Snapdragon 765G. The Snapdragon 768G has 27% higher CPU clock speed compared to Snapdragon 750G, thanks to 2.8GHz Prime Core. The 768G uses 7nm process technology compared to 8nm technology, making it more power efficient.

Even though the GPU in the Snapdragon 750G has higher clock speeds of 950MHz compared to 750MHz in the Snapdragon 768G, the Adreno 620 is more powerful than the Adreno 619, thus providing a better gaming experience.

For an improved gaming experience, the iQOO Z3 5G also features a five-layer liquid cooling system that uses Super Liquid Cooling Pipe, 5814mm² graphite layer, high thermal copper foil,  thermal gel and has 6 temperature sensors that reduces the temperature by 10° C. The OnePlus Nord CE 5G doesn’t have any kind of liquid cooling.

Both the SoCs use 5th gen Qualcomm AI Engine includes Qualcomm Hexagon Tensor Accelerator for 5.5 TOPS AI performance in the Snapdragon 768G compared to 4 TOPS in the 750G. Check out the benchmark scores below.

The iQOO Z3 5G comes in 6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB and 8GB + 256GB versions, while the OnePlus Nord CE 5G comes in 6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB and 12GB + 256GB versions. However, the iQOO Z3 5G comes with a hybrid SIM slot option, but the Nord CE 5G doesn’t have an expansion slot.

The iQOO Z3 5G has “Extended RAM” which can extend a part of the memory to be used as an extra RAM. An 8GB RAM is equivalent to that of a 11GB RAM offers improved multitasking compared to OnePlus Nord CE 5G that lacks the feature. This improves hot start rate of apps for faster start speed and reduces the probability of processes being killed in the background due to insufficient memory, especially in high-end games that requires more memory.

5G and connectivity

5G support is one of the main reasons for buying these smartphones. Both the phones use X52 5G modem. The iQOO Z3 5G comes with support for two (N77 and N78 ) 5G Network Bands in India, but the OnePlus Nord CE 5G only supports N78 band for India.

The iQOO Z3 5G supports Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz) and GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO. The OnePlus Nord CE 5G supports Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, NaVIC and NFC. Both the phones feature a bottom-ported loudspeaker that offer a loud audio output and doesn’t distort in high volume.

Battery and Charging

The iQOO Z3 5G has a 4400mAh battery versus the 4500mAh battery on the Nord CE 5G. With perfect software optimization and power efficient hardware, you can easily cruise throughout a day on a single charge on both the phones. The iQOO Z3 5G comes with 55W Flash Charge fast charging that can charge up to 50% Charge in 19 minutes and up to 100% in 55 minutes. The Warp Charge 30T Plus 30W fast charging in the OnePlus Nord CE 5G can charge from 0 to 67% in 30 minutes, and takes 63 minutes to charge up to 100%.


The iQOO Z3 5G sports a 6.58 -inch FHD+ LCD screen, and also comes with 120Hz refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling rate for a better gaming experience, while the Nord CE 5G comes with a slightly smaller 6.43-inch AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate.

Since the iQOO Z3 has 120Hz refresh rate, you can manually select between 60Hz, 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rate or use the smart switch that automatically selects the refresh rate according to the content. The Nord CE only has 60Hz or 90Hz option without smart switch option, but when the 90Hz option is selected, it automatically switches to 60Hz when it is not required.

Both the phones come with HDR 10+ certification, which enables true-to-life colours with improved brightness and contrast. Thus, in general, the viewing experience on both devices is exceptional.

The iQOO Z3 5G comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that can unlock the phone in a fraction of a second. Even though the Nord CE 5G’s in-display fingerprint scanner is a good addition, the physical fingerprint scanner is slightly faster.


The iQOO Z3 5G comes with a triple camera setup:

  • Primary camera – 64MP (f/1.79, 0.7μm) Samsung ISOCELL GW3 sensor
  • Secondary camera – 8MP Ultra-wide angle (f/2.2, 1.12μm)
  • Third camera – 2MP Macro (f/2.4, 1.75μm)
  • Front camera – 16MP (f/2.0)

The OnePlus Nord CE 5G also comes with triple-camera setup:

  • Primary camera – 64MP (f/1.79, 0.8μm) Omnivision sensor
  • Secondary camera – 8MP Ultra-wide angle (f/2.25, 1.12μm)
  • Third camera – 2MP Mono (f/2.4, 1.75μm)
  • Front camera – 16MP (f/2.45)

Both come with a similar configuration for the 64MP primary and 8MP ultra-wide, but the iQOO has a 2MP macro camera instead of 2MP mono depth sensor in the Nord. However, when it comes to photography, it’s not always about the number of cameras, but how well, they have been implemented. The iQOO Z3 makes up for the lack of a depth sensor with advanced software optimisations and depth processing, so you end up missing nothing. Plus an advanced camera UI packed with an incredible number of AI modes, makes the imaging experience on the iQOO Z3 better than the OnePlus Nord CE. When it comes to front camera, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G is slightly better.

The iQOO Z3 5G supports 4K 60fps and 1080p 60fps video recording and also has ultra stable mode, while the Nord CE 5G supports 4K 30fps and 1080p 60fps video recording and doesn’t mention any dedicated stable video mode, even though it has EIS.

Check out the camera samples. The left one is iQOO and the right one is OnePlus.


The iQOO Z3 runs Android 11 with FuntouchOS 11.1 on top with a lot of customization features. It’s worth mentioning that we love various customization options it has, giving the user the ability to change almost every visual element and animation. The OnePlus Nord CE 5G is shipped with Android 11 with OxygenOS 11 out of the box that has a simple user interface.

Pricing and launch offers

So far, the iQOO Z3 5G stayed ahead in most of the aspects compared to Nord CE 5G, but where the iQOO Z3 5G takes the cake is the incredible pricing. The iQOO Z3 5G at just Rs. 19,990 for the 6GB RAM with 128GB storage version is Rs. 3000 cheaper than base version of the OnePlus Nord CE 5G.

Both the phones come with bank offers. The iQOO Z3 5G comes with flat Rs. 1500 Instant Discount on SBI Credit cards and EMI, 100% refund on when you return the phone within 7 days and no cost EMI up to 6 months which really makes this deal unbeatable! This is applicable for purchases within June 30th on

The OnePlus CE 5G offers instant discount of Rs. 1000 for HDFC Bank Credit Cards, Credit Card EMI & Debit Card EMI on It also offers no cost EMI up to 6 months and Jio benefits.

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram