Samsung Galaxy A52s vs OnePlus Nord 2: which wins?

Last updated: 13 September 2021   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

In the battle of the mid-range smartphones, both the Samsung Galaxy A52s and OnePlus Nord 2 are stellar devices.

The two phones are so closely matched that they retail for almost the same amount and feature similar sized screens and batteries.

Yet the Samsung Galaxy A52s pulls ahead of its rival in some key ways, notably offering water and dust resistance while the OnePlus Nord 2 does not.

Even so, either one of these Android devices would be a good choice for a customer looking for a decent smartphone at a decent price point.

samsung galaxy a52s vs oneplus nord 2

In this guide:

At a glance

Samsung A52s 5G OnePlus Nord 2 5G
Price from £409 £399
Dimensions 6.3 x 3.0 x 0.33 inches 6.3 x 2.9 x 0.33 inches
Weight 189g 189g
Display 6.5-inch Super AMOLED 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED
Resolution 1080 x 2400 (405 ppi) 1080 x 2400 (409 ppi)
Chip Snapdragon 778G MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI
RAM 6GB, 8GB 6GB, 8GB, 12GB
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB
Battery Li-Po 4500Mah Li-Po 4500mAH
Rear camera 64MP + 12MP + 5MP + 5MP 50MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera 32MP 32MP
Resistance IP67 (water resistant up to 1m for 30 mins) No IP rating
Colours Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Purple, Awesome Mint Gray Sierra, Blue Haze, Green Wood
5G ready Yes Yes


Winner: The OnePlus Nord 2 5G is cheaper than Samsung's Galaxy A52s - but there's not much in it.

Upfront price
Samsung Galaxy A52s £409
OnePlus Nord 2 5G £399

Both the Samsung Galaxy A52s and the OnePlus Nord 2 5G are mid-range smartphones, offering a more budget-friendly option for customers who want to steer away from the flagship devices these two brands also offer.

If we're looking at upfront costs, the two handsets are similarly priced. The OnePlus Nord 2 5G launched at £399 while the Samsung Galaxy A52s came in at £409.

Here's how the Samsung Galaxy A52s compares on mobile deals from major networks:

Handset Minutes Data Initial price Monthly price
Three Samsung Galaxy A52s (128GB) Unlimited Unlimited £19 £41
24 month term
Vodafone Samsung Galaxy A52s (128GB) Unlimited Unlimited Max £19 £41
36 month term
O2 Samsung Galaxy A52s (128GB) Unlimited Unlimited £10 £44
36 month term
EE Samsung Galaxy A52s (128GB) Unlimited Unlimited Free £48
24 month term

The OnePlus Nord 2 5G isn't available from as many networks, but here are some examples on unlimited data:

Handset Minutes Data Initial price Monthly price
Three OnePlus Nord 2 5G (128GB) Unlimited Unlimited £19 £39
24 month term
O2 OnePlus Nord 2 5G (128GB) Unlimited Unlimited £10 £44.99
36 month term

Taking into consideration the different contract lengths on offer, it's slightly cheaper to take the OnePlus Nord 2 5G on contract, but there's little in it.

Bear in mind that mobile networks frequently run special offers that discount data packages or add accessories like earphones, so watch out for those on both these handsets.


Winner: The Samsung Galaxy A52s has a better camera set-up than the OnePlus Nord 2.

Main lens Ultrawide lens Other Front camera
Samsung Galaxy A52s 64MP 12MP 2 x 5MP for macro shots and depth 32MP
OnePlus Nord 2 5G 50MP 8MP 2MP monochrome sensor 32MP

The Samsung Galaxy A52s comes with a quad camera set-up featuring a main 64MP lens, a 12MP ultra wide lens and two 5MP lenses for macro shots and depth.

On the other hand, the OnePlus Nord 2 provides a triple rear camera with a 50MP main wide lens accompanied by an 8MP ultrawide one and a 2MP monochrome sensor. This monochrome lens may feel unnecessary given the ease of editing and filtering images yet shooting directly in monochrome can add richness to the image. It's a neat extra that may appeal to some budding photographers.

Both phones also offer Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) to try and limit blurry photos by reducing motion and the selfie camera on both is 32MP.

Although we like the inclusion of the monochrome sensor, it isn't enough for the Nord 2 to beat the A52s.


Winner: The refresh rate on the Samsung A52s elevates this mid-range smartphone above its rival.

Screen size Display Refresh rate
Samsung Galaxy A52s 6.5" Super AMOLED 120Hz
OnePlus Nord 2 5G 6.43" Fluid AMOLED 90Hz

With a 6.5-inch display, the Samsung Galaxy A52s is slightly bigger than the OnePlus Nord 2's 6.43-inch offering, although users are hardly likely to notice.

The A52s has Samsung's Super AMOLED display while the Nord 2 uses Fluid AMOLED. These displays are similar, with the refresh rate featuring as the main difference in the two devices. The A52s has a refresh rate of 120Hz (the same we see on premium Samsung smartphones) while the Nord 2 5G offers refresh rate of 90Hz.

This means the A52s can refresh a maximum of 120 times per second to enhance the display and improve the brightness of the screen, but the Nord 2 can only do this 90 times per second.

If you haven't had a 120Hz refresh rate device before, you probably won't notice the difference and the display of the Nord 2 is excellent for a mid-range handset. Even so, in a contest, the Samsung Galaxy A52s comes out on top.


Winner: These two devices are evenly matched on style, but the OnePlus Nord 2 edges it.

Samsung have stuck to their tried and tested design with the A52s. It's a sleek device with a punch hole camera on the front and the triple camera housed in a bump on the rear. The bump's big enough to cause a wobble on a flat surface, so a case is desirable.

Similarly, the exterior of the OnePlus Nord 2 has curved edges and a punch hole selfie camera, although it's situated at the top left of the screen making it a more unobtrusive gap than we find the A52s.

The camera unit on rear of the Nord 2 is a smaller bump and one that's distinctively less noticeable when the device is flat - but most customers are going to opt for a case to keep the whole device safe anyway.

It's no surprise that both these mid-range handsets have plastic frames rather than aluminium. Yet while the Samsung Galaxy A52s has a plastic back and a Gorilla Glass 5 front, the OnePlus Nord 2 protects both the front and rear of the device with Gorilla Glass 5.

In terms of weight, there isn't a gram between them, and both are light in the hand compared to more premium, heavier smartphones.

There's a tick for Samsung in the 3.5mm headphone jack department. The A52s has one and the Nord 2 does not.

Colours available from networks in the UK for the A52s are Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Purple, Awesome Mint while OnePlus fans will be able to pick up Gray Sierra and Blue Haze in the UK, with Green Wood only available in other markets for the time being.

Overall, neither of these phones will set the world alight for their design and it might be difficult for some to even tell them apart. If we're nit-picking, we prefer the left-side selfie camera and the slightly more compact rear camera bump of the Nord 2.


Winner: The OnePlus Nord 2 offers faster wired charging than the Samsung Galaxy A52s.

Battery Charging rate
Samsung Galaxy A52s 4500mAh 25W
OnePlus Nord 2 5G 4500mAh 65W

The headline numbers on the batteries in the Samsung Galaxy A52s and the OnePlus Nord 2 are the same - 4500mAh.

What sets them apart when it comes to their batteries is how long it takes to charge them. The Samsung Galaxy A52s offers 25W fast charging while the OnePlus Nord 2 ramps that up to 65W. It means it's much faster to charge the Nord 2, even if you forget to plug it in overnight or just need a quick boost of charge before you head out somewhere.

Unsurprisingly at this price point, neither of these devices supports wireless charging but both do some with a charging brick in the box unlike some other handsets on the market.


Winner: Samsung Galaxy A52s can be upgraded with up to 1TB of extra storage with microSD.

Internal storage MicroSD
Samsung Galaxy A52s 128GB 1TB
OnePlus Nord 2 5G 128GB or 256GB None

Both handsets come with 128GB or 256GB of storage in theory, but a glance through the main mobile networks show 128GB is likely to be the only option available for most customers.

If the two are finely matched on this, however, Samsung pulls ahead with the inclusion of a microSD slot for adding up to 1TB of extra storage. While the SD slot is sadly missing from many of Samsung's more expensive devices, its inclusion here is a good reason to opt for the mid-range for some.

We've got more information on how much mobile phone storage you need in this guide.


Winner: OnePlus Nord 2 uses the MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI processor which offers faster CPU speed and faster downloads in industry benchmarking tests against Samsung's Snapdragon 778G chipset.

Samsung Galaxy A52s Snapdragon 778G
OnePlus Nord 2 5G MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI

Samsung use the Snapdragon 778G chipset in their A52s. While it may not be the latest and fastest (see the Snapdragon 888 used in their flagships), it's still a powerful mid-range chip that will keep up with most things we want to do.

On the other hand, OnePlus dispenses with the Snapdragon chips they've used in previous mid-range devices and that they still use in their Pro flagships to use a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI processor instead. This is a slightly modified version of the typical Dimensity 1200 chipset that OnePlus say offers enhanced machine learning for improved performance.

In industry benchmarking tests, the Dimensity 1200 seems to be the champion, offering a faster CPU speed and faster downloads.

However, it's worth noting that OnePlus hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in 2021 thanks to blacklisting (whether by accident or design) certain apps from using a Snapdragon 888 chipset to its full capacity while still allowing the benchmarking apps to access the full performance and potentially skewing results. While this row isn't directly related to this phone, it's still worth remembering tests aren't always what they seem.

With all this in mind, we're going to call this one a tie - both chips will offer good performance to users, even it isn't quite at the top level of the latest Snapdragon chips.


Winner: Samsung's Galaxy A52s device comes with an IP-rating while the OnePlus Nord 2 does not.

IP rating
Samsung Galaxy A52s IP67
OnePlus Nord 2 5G None

Water and dust resistance is an important hurdle for most smartphones to clear these days but, while Samsung leaps over it with an IP67 rating on the A52s, the OnePlus Nord 2 does not have an IP rating at all.

As we explain in our guide to the best waterproof phones, IP67 means the device is as fully dust resistant as it gets and can be submerged in up to 1 metre of fresh water for 30 minutes.

Again, this isn't the best available on the market (that's IP68), but Samsung beats OnePlus on this, with the Nord 2 offering basic resistance against splashes but no official rating.


Overall winner: The Samsung Galaxy A52s is a familiar style of handset but it's no less a winner for that.

When we put these two smartphones side by side, there's not much to choose between them with similar screen sizes and exactly the same battery capacity.

They both retail at a similar price and have similar contract offers from major UK networks, although the availability of the Nord 2 is more limited and that may impact the decision making for some.

We like the Samsung Galaxy A52s because:

  • It's everything you expect from a Samsung mid-range device and customers upgrading from previous Samsung handsets will find it familiar and welcoming
  • It has a good quad camera set-up
  • It has an IP rating for water and dust resistance
  • It includes a microSD card slot for expanding storage
  • It offers a higher refresh rate

Conversely, we like the OnePlus Nord 2 as well:

  • It's faster to charge
  • It has a slightly more appealing design
  • It has a good chipset for this price range

On balance, though the Samsung Galaxy A52s offers various features of a high-spec premium smartphone in the guise of a mid-range device.

We particularly appreciate the IP-rating on the Samsung Galaxy A52s, something many customers now expect of their mid-range smartphones and something OnePlus hasn't yet included on their more budget-friendly devices.


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