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OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition: Just enough for fans to chase in the maze

There is something about smartphone maker OnePlus and the limited-edition versions of their popular phones. Not that they do it often, but when they do, the results are impressive. The McLaren editions of the OnePlus 7T Pro and the OnePlus 6T, as well as the OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Limited Edition, are the elder cousins of the new OnePlus Nord 2 x PAC-MAN Edition.

The OnePlus Nord 2 x PAC-MAN Edition is same on the spec sheet as the OnePlus Nord 2 that’s been on sale since the summer. A lot of the focus has been on the visual differentiation, including the use of phosphorescent ink on the back panel to give it a completely different look when the lights are turned off. And there’s more too in the box, and OxygenOS gets tweaks with content and visual updates to link it better with the special edition exteriors.

Whether all this is worth the ₹37,999 price tag ( ₹3,000 premium over the standard editions of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G) depends on how much of a fan you are. That’s where some visual trickery comes in quite handy, as a value addition to entice you. What you will see as the default colorway on the OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition is the seafoam green finish with a Pac-Man below the camera module and equidistant dots forming a grid. For once, it proudly shows off the phone name too, to the left of the camera.

Now, turn the lights off in the room, and watch the magic. The back panel of the OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition glows in green to reveal a maze-like pattern. And somewhere within is the OnePlus icon. The pattern doesn’t serve any purpose apart from being a visual treat, but that’s already more than anything other phones have done in their rare release of special edition versions.

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OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition: Just enough for fans to chase in the maze

How does this work? Basically, it’s the layer of phosphorescent ink that’s been applied to the innermost layer, and this is what makes the back panel glow. Remember that the back panel needs to be exposed to ambient light for the glow effect to work. If you’re packing your phone inside a case, the occasional show-off moments with friends may not work as well. Be prepared, give your phone some sunlight beforehand.

OnePlus had tweaked the OxygenOS software for the McLaren editions earlier, and those were some nice touches. We are seeing a similar treatment with the OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition as well, with visual tweaks and easter eggs hidden along the way, waiting to be discovered. There are new wallpapers, a new animation that shows up when you plug in the charger, a different fingerprint animation and widgets with new colour coding to go better with the wallpapers as well as the custom blue and yellow theme.

There are additional audio cues too, such as new notification sounds—these are sounds from the game or inspirations. There’s the preloaded Bandai Namco game as well, but then again, that’s not an exclusive and available for all Android phones from the Google Play Store. OnePlus has tried to add some Pac-Man touch to the camera filters as well, but randomly placed ghosts around the frame isn’t always ideal. We don’t think this is available as an overlay for video recordings, which would have slotted in well there.

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The specs are the same as the standard OnePlus Nord 2 5G editions, which means you’ll have the power from the very capable MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI, a 6.43-inch AMOLED display, a troika of cameras (50-megapixels + 8-megapixels + 2-megapixels) and a 4500mAh battery. Mind you, this is only available as the 12GB RAM + 256GB storage configuration, another tick in the box reaffirming the premium factor.

There is always a thing with limited edition phones that are designed to appeal to the fans of the franchise it ties in with. Often, there remains a lingering sense of wanting more. In the case of the OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition, we can always complain that the charger and the charging cable isn’t given the special edition treatment (the McLaren edition phones got aptly branded charger and cable). Or for the fact that OnePlus could have given us a bunch of stickers or maybe a collectible. The OnePlus 7 Pro McLaren edition had a collectible which included a piece of actual carbon fiber from racing cars, and a coffee table book on the history of the team’s racing pedigree.

With that as the backdrop, perhaps it would have made more sense for OnePlus to have given the special edition opportunity to one of the more expensive OnePlus 9 series phones, which in turn would have given OnePlus a bit more headroom to play with the price and gain a margin to add more touches. Yet, as it is, the OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition is quite likeable. More than anything else, it livens up a sea of sameness that’s the smartphone market.

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