The N300 5G takes the company's signature fast charging to a lower price range than ever before. It is only available through T- Mobile and Metro. It is one of the carrier's "free" phones with two years of service and is listed for $228 at T-Mobile.

It is easy to get a free phone, but you can do better with a budget phone. If you pay for it out of pocket, there are better options around the same price and some worthwhile upgrades if you can spend a bit more.

  • Fast charging is handy
  • Very affordable
  • Great battery life
  • Sometimes shaky processing performance
  • Only 64GB of built-in storage
  • Low-res display
$228.00 at T-Mobile$229.00 at Metro by T-Mobile

The N300 has fast charging. The 33W top speed is faster than most phones that cost more. It requires a proprietary charger to hit those charge rates, but at least the box has one. Today's flagship phones aren't like that.

It doesn't make up for the N300's lackluster day-to-day performance. The display has a low resolution. The processor struggles from time to time with heavier tasks due to the lack of onboard storage at just 64 gigabytes. I would rather live with slower charging and have a phone that gets the basics right than have a phone that takes forever to charge.

There is just 64 gigabytes of built-in storage on my review device.

The N300 has a processor with 4 gigabytes of memory. If you ask too much of it it will stutter and slow down. During my initial setup, when I downloaded a lot of updates and signed into a hundred services, I saw some apps crash under the heavy workload. It hasn't been a persistent problem, but I do notice the occasional delay loading and jumping quickly between apps.

There is just 64 gigabytes of built-in storage on my review device. It doesn't leave much room for photos, videos, and apps, so consider a part of the purchase price. If you want to go for it, you can add up to 1 ton of extra space.

OnePlus N300 in hand showing back panel.
The phone’s composite black features a shimmery finish.

The N300 is a nice device. The straight rails on the Moto G 5G look better than the curved ones on other budget phones. The back panel is made of plastic. As I tap and type, Haptics are soft and reassuring. Praise be, there's a jack for headphones. It has no wireless charging or an internet protocol rating, both of which are rare in this class, and it ships with the latest version of the software. Even for budget phones, the N300 will only get one OS upgrade and two years of security updates, even though it has an operating system.

The N300 supports the right 5G bands to access the company's very good mid-band " Ultra Capacity" 5G network. T-Mobile doesn't offer a lot of 5G support, but that's not a big deal. Not every phone at this price offers a way to pay with a credit card.

The 5,000mAh cell of the N300 is larger than any other cell on the market.

The big screen and 90Hz refresh rate make scrolling and animations a little easier than a standard 60Hz display. The 720p resolution is not very high for a big screen. The rough edges of icons and images make it difficult to see the whole picture. While it is bright in the sun, it is not as bright as the one on the N20.

The 5,000mAh cell of the N300 is large enough to provide enough power for a full day of use, even if you only use it for a short time. I always got well into a second day even with heavy video streaming or gaming.

Charger and cable show in retail box with lid off
OnePlus’ signature red cable and a fast charging brick are included in the box.

Fast charging is available when you need it. I realized halfway through baby naptime that I was coasting on 15 percent after not sleeping the night before. I wanted to make sure I could charge it up before he woke up. It took over an hour and a half to charge and finish.

If you already have an overnight battery life, fast charging isn't going to be a big deal, even though it's useful in a jam. If you're already religious about nightly charging, you probably won't use it.

It deserves a round of applause that the rear cameras on the N300 have been removed. There is only one main camera and a depth sensor on the back. There is also a camera for selfies.

It's a decent camera system for snapshots, but it struggles in low light, applying heavy smoothing to details and skin tones. I enjoy how the company handles image processing. The photos are bright and contrasty. There is lag in the camera app. Even when my toddler was relatively still, the lag couldn't keep up with him. You would have to pay a lot more for a phone that handles this situation well, but the N300 had a difficult time with it.

There are a few areas where the N300 could be better.

The N300 is rare in the price range where it is. I don't think its usefulness makes up for the N300's other drawbacks, like a low-res screen and shaky performance.

TheNord N20 is a good alternative. It is still within the budget range if you buy it from T-Mobile or unlocked. It is more enjoyable to use, with a rich screen, better processing, and more storage. Fast charging is included as well. It is one of T-Mobile's "free" phone promotions, and it is a better choice if you are paying upfront. The A13 5G is a great alternative. It costs a little more than the N300 at $249, but its performance is much better.

There are a few areas where the N300 could be better. It's more of an impact on my day-to-day than being able to charge up my phone in a second. The N300 is hard to recommend due to the fact that a lot of people feel the same way. If you really want fast charging, it is your best option at the time. If you want a slower-charging life, you should settle for the N20.

Allison Johnson is a photographer.

Agree to Continue: OnePlus Nord N300 5G

Every smart device has a set of terms and conditions that you have to agree to before you can use it. It is not possible for us to read and analyze all of them. We started counting the number of times you have to agree to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people can't negotiate.

You must agree to use the N300 5G.

You agree that this device may also automatically download and install updates and apps from your carrier, and your device's manufacturer. In-app purchases might be offered by some of these apps.

During setup, there are several optional agreements that you need to pass.

The Co-Creation User Programs include built-in app updates, push notifications for surveys and product updates. You can use location data to improve location accuracy and location based services. Allow scanning at any time, even when the internet is not available. Send usage and diagnostic data to help improve the experience of your phone.

There are three more optional agreements on this carrier locked device.

Sharing device performance, app and network usage data can help improve your experience.

At least seven optional agreements are included.