OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition hands-on review


The OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition is the latest special edition smartphone collaboration. In the past, the company has done similar special editions by working with brands like McLaren, Marvel, and Star Wars. This time around we get to meet the venerable eponymous character from Pac-Man, the game millions of people have enjoyed over the last four decades.

Packaging

The Pac-Man Edition comes with a unique packaging that includes a new custom box design as well as a new wrapping paper. The wrapping paper has a simple white design with a grid of dots and iridescent logos for Pac-Man and OnePlus branding.

The inside of the wrapping paper is much more interesting, with a pattern made out of the four Pac-Man ghosts, Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde.

OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition hands-on review

Then there’s the actual box of the phone that features a maze-like pattern. The maze also has an iridescent finish with the word Nord incorporated into it.


Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition packaging contents
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition packaging contents
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition packaging contents

Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition packaging contents

Inside the box, you find some custom paperwork greeting you, as well as some Nord stickers in yellow color. Unfortunately, there are no Pac-Man stickers here nor are the OnePlus or Nord stickers particularly interesting.

OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition hands-on review

Underneath the box is the new custom silicone case. The case features Pac-Man and the four ghosts on a maze-like pattern. The case is semi-transparent and you can still see the phone’s design from within.

OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition hands-on review

Lastly, you will find the charger and the cable within the box. OnePlus has upgraded the charger for the Pac-Man Edition to the same one that comes with the OnePlus 9 series and supports USB-PD charging. However, neither the charger nor the cable feature any Pac-Man branding and are just the usual OnePlus accessories that you get with other phones.

Overall, the packaging for the phone is pretty good but it lacks the extra items that came bundled with previous OnePlus special editions. The lack of a customized charger and cable is also disappointing.

Hardware

The OnePlus Nord 2 Pac-Man Edition features a custom colorway for the back of the phone. Usually, you’d just see a seafoam green color with shiny dots forming a grid and Pac-Man below the camera. On the left of the camera is the OnePlus x Pac-Man wordmark and on the bottom right is the OnePlus logo.

OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition hands-on review

But it’s what happens after the lights go off that’s exciting. The back of the phone is coated in phosphorescent paint, which glows in the dark after it’s been exposed to light. This reveals another maze-like pattern with the Nord and OnePlus logos incorporated into it. The back of the phone glows green and will glow brighter if it had been exposed to strong light.

OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition hands-on review

The glow in the dark back looks pretty cool but you may not necessarily see that often. Usually, the phone is on the back or inside the case, which reduces how much light falls on it. Also, the back can’t glow for too long and tends to fade after a while. You also need to be in a very dark environment to be able to see the glow properly.

Still, it’s a very cool effect and does look quite nice under the right circumstances.

OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition hands-on review

The rest of the design of the phone is similar to the standard OnePlus Nord. The only interesting bit is that the alert slider is painted blue. As for the internals, the Pac-Man Edition is again similarly specced to a high-end Nord 2 model.

Software

The rest of the tricks of this special edition are in the software. Right as you start the phone you are greeted by a special OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man wordmark where Pac-Man appears and eats half the words. If you’re setting up the phone for the first time you will see even more custom messages and text about the hidden Easter eggs on the phone.

OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition hands-on review

The Easter eggs are essentially stickers that get unlocked whenever you complete some task on the phone. For example, when we connected the charger for the first time, we unlocked one Easter egg, which gave us a new Pac-Man sticker. These stickers can be used in the Gallery app to apply to images.

The Pac-Man Edition comes with a set of Pac-Man-inspired wallpapers. This includes four static ones and one animated wallpaper that is set by default. There’s also a new yellow clock widget and a yellow always-on display clock.


Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI
Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI

Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition UI

The phone also includes a set of custom icons. Unfortunately, these are only available for OnePlus’ own apps and because there aren’t that many of them, they tend to easily get lost among all the Google bloatware that comes pre-installed on the phone.

Also pre-installed is the Pac-Man 256 game from Bandai Namco. This game isn’t exclusive to this phone, however, and can be downloaded for free by anyone from the Google Play Store.

Pre-installed content aside, what’s more interesting are the small flourishes that are present across the UI. For example, the notification shade has a custom blue and yellow color theme, which places a prominent blue border around the notification toggles. But, as you slide around on this screen to reveal more toggles, you will see a small Pac-Man below eating the page indicator dot and going back and forth as you move between the pages.

There’s also a new fingerprint unlock animation on this special edition. The fingerprint sensor logo looks like a maze and every time you touch it Pac-Man and the four ghosts appear and move around the maze while the phone unlocks.

Charging also has its own animation. When you plug in a charger, Pac-Man appears on the screen and starts eating dots while the phone charges.

Also cool are the little audio alerts. The Pac-Man Edition comes with a custom Pac-Man ringtone, alarm tone, and notification sound. These are all sounds from the game or inspired by the game and the notification sound, in particular, is pretty good.

Lastly, the camera also features a custom camera filter, which adds a color tone with heavy chromatic aberration and also Pac-Man and the ghosts moving around the frame. Since the characters move around, you get them in different places with every shot. It’s a shame this effect isn’t enabled for video as it would have made a lot more sense there.


Pac-Man filter off
Pac-Man filter on

Pac-Man filter off • Pac-Man filter on

The rest of the software experience is identical to that of the standard OnePlus Nord 2.

Conclusion

The OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition is not considerably more expensive than the standard Nord 2 of similar storage and memory. For that extra money, you get a cool glow-in-the-dark back, a custom case, some nice packaging, and fun UI and audio effects.

It would have probably been a bit nicer, however, if it cost a little more money and came with more custom hardware like matching charger and cable or some sort of memorabilia in the box like previous OnePlus special editions.

OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition hands-on review

There’s also a question of why OnePlus chose Nord 2 for this, which isn’t a particularly great phone, over its flagships as it has done in the past. A special edition OnePlus 9 Pro would have likely been a better fit and the higher cost of the extra items that were left out would have been easier to swallow.

Still, as it stands, the Nord 2 Pac-Man Edition is now the Nord 2 to buy if you wanted to buy a Nord 2 anyway and can spend the extra cash on the special edition.



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