OnePlus 11 Review: Daring To Be Different While Sticking To The Basics

The OnePlus 11 has got a fresh look for 2023. The square camera unit of the past is no more. It’s now got a circular camera bump.
OnePlus 11 Review
OnePlus 11 Review

A back-to-basics flagship smartphone. That’s the best and quickest way, to sum up, the OnePlus 11, the latest smartphone from the China-based manufacturer of Android smartphones. The underwhelming OnePlus 10 Pro from 2022 is being replaced by a radically different OnePlus 11, which is very exciting.

OnePlus 11 launched just after the Galaxy S23 series from Samsung, and just before a plethora of smartphones straight from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. For OnePlus, they have most of the competition beat in pricing and incredibly fast 100-watch charging.

Is that enough to slay the competition? I’ve been using the OnePlus 11 for over 10 days now, and while I think it’s a very good comeback for the company, there are a few things to think about. Let’s dive deep.

Design: Daring To Be Different

The OnePlus 11 doesn’t shy away from going the extra mile with respect to its design. It’s so out there that there’s a complete divide between consumers, reviewers and everyone that has seen the smartphone. The OnePlus 11 has got a fresh look for 2023. The square camera unit of the past is no more. It’s now got a circular camera bump. It curves to meet the edge of the phone and has a logo for Hasselblad, the Swedish camera brand, which it has a partnership with. It’s different, but also familiar.

Aside from the camera bump, the glass back isn’t up to standards. Sadly, it’s just way too slippery and the phone slides off even on flat surfaces. To be fair, the phone feels good in the hand and can be used one-handed without much trouble. The phone hardly attracts any fingerprints or smudges and that’s a plus point. The phone also lacks any sharp edges (unlike some of the competition) and comes in at 205g and 8.5mm. This means that the phone isn’t too unwieldy to use, unlike the behemoths that are the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

A Gorgeous Display

The OnePlus 11 features a 6.7-inch SuperAMOLED (3,216x1,440-pixel resolution) display that is utterly gorgeous. There’s nothing to fault here. It’s got a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. There’s Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the front and Gorilla Glass 5 on the back. While the panel isn’t the best in this price range, it’s better than 95% of the smartphones out there. OnePlus had to cut corners somewhere, to reach an aggressive price point. OnePlus went with Samsung’s E4 panel, instead of the E6 panel seen in most of the competitors’ smartphones.

Nonetheless, the OnePlus 11 is great for media consumption or for playing games. I had a few issues with viewing angles, but nothing that bothered me in the long run. 

Power Packed Performer

OnePlus has always prioritised speed and that shows with the OnePlus 11. Just look at some of the specifications:
- 8 or 16GB RAM
- 128 or 256GB storage
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
- 5,000mAh battery

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset is insanely fast. It’s a smooth and speedy experience with the OnePlus 11 Running my usual tasks comprising of multitasking between ten apps, streaming songs on Spotify and videos on YouTube, using Google Maps to help me get to my destination, doomscrolling on social media and having those hour-long gaming sessions, I didn’t notice any hiccups. The 16GB RAM and Qualcomm’s latest and greatest chip, helps the phone run without any lag.

Luckily, for the most part, the phone never got hot to the point where I had to stop all tasks I was performing. The one time it got close was during an intense gaming session.

Battery Life and Super Fast Charging Speeds: Very Impressive

It isn’t just performance where OnePlus has excelled over the years. Battery life and charging speeds are other areas where the company has been class-leading for a while. While they may not have the 240W charger of their rivals Realme, the 100W SUPERVOOC fast-charging technology was plenty fast.

The smartphone comfortably lasts a day and then some, with an average of 6 and a half hours of screen-on-time (SoT). If you run out of juice, the charger (provided in the box) will juice up the OnePlus 11 in just 25 minutes.

That All-Important Camera:

The OnePlus 11 features a triple-camera array on the back. There’s the 50MP main camera (with f.18 lens and optical image stabilisation), a 48MP ultra-wide camera (with macro capabilities) and a 32MP portrait camera (with 2x optical zoom). Straight off the bat, what’s disappointing, is the optical zoom. The 2x optical zoom is a step down from OnePlus 10 Pro’s 3.3x zoom and is even behind Pixel 7 Pro’s 5x optical zoon.

Overall, the OnePlus 11’s cameras nail the basics. Thanks to Hasselblad, colours and dynamic range is consistent across all the three lenses. The main camera, the best of the lot, captures accurate colours, has good dynamic range, and is fast to focus. Images are aesthetically pleasing and can easily be shared across social media platforms. Using the night mode in low-light situations and you can see how the noise has been eliminated and details have been retained. 

The landscape photos were excellent and I was pretty impressed with the main lens. The telephoto zoom lens, may not have as much optical zoom as some of the competitors’ but thanks to the larger sensor, shots are vastly improved vis-a-vis the OnePlus 10 Pro. The portrait shots from the OnePlus 11 were good, with excellent edge detection.

The downside, you may ask? If you plan on zoom in beyond 5x, then the OnePlus 11 isn’t for you. The Pixel 7 Pro, and even better, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, will do a much better job in this respect.

The ultra-wide is also not great in low-light conditions. That’s something to keep in mind. It loses out on details and dynamic range. The selfie camera captures natural skin tones, but the resulting photos are nothing exceptional. With that said, they are better than some of the competitors and their aggressive beautification features.

Is The Phone Worth Your Hard-Earned Money?

If you want a high-performance smartphone, and love to play games and consume media, then the OnePlus 11 is a phone you should seriously be considering. It’s got power to tackle all your tasks for months on end. To add to that are the fast-charging capabilities and long-lasting battery. It just doesn’t run out of juice!

The camera may not be the best in the business, but thanks to this being the third-generation Hasselblad Camera, photos are vastly better than previous generations.

The price is right. Yes, the OnePlus 11 nails the price and undercuts the Galaxy S23 from Samsung, the Pixel 7 Pro from Google and the iPhone 14 Pro from Apple. The problem is that OnePlus is undercutting the OnePlus 11 itself. I already reviewed the OnePlus 11R, and if Hasselblad isn’t what you’re after, then that’s the much better buy. The OnePlus 11R is equally as powerful as the OnePlus 11 and won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

The OnePlus 11 may lack wireless charging, and only has splash charging, but that shouldn’t negate the excellent smartphone that it is. The aggressive price point of ₹56,999 more than makes up for it.

The OnePlus 11 is an easy recommendation to most people on its own. Then there’s the OnePlus 11R, for the Indian market, and that’s where the OnePlus 11 faces some sturdy competition. 

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