OnePlus has built a strong name for itself with smartphones over the years but they’ve waffled between attempting to be a flagship-killer and a budget phone maker. The new OnePlus 11 5G attempts both: it undercut the flagships with a very affordable powerhouse of a phone.
To that effect, with the OnePlus 11, OnePlus has skipped big gimmicks and instead has focused on engineering a well-rounded phone that excels in the areas that the typical user values most. They even skipped the “Pro” moniker in favor of a streamlined lineup.
Power, performance, usability, and looks — OnePlus 11 5G has it all. Launched alongside the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 earbuds, we’ve been testing the OnePlus 11 for the last few weeks and other than some quirks this is mostly a no-compromise phone with serious bang-for-your-buck. As the OnePlus box says: “Never Settle”.
OnePlus 11 design
There’s just one size and model for the OnePlus 11, it’s a large 6.7” model that’s tall and not-too-wide. It’s only a bit wider than the iPhone 14 Pro, with a half-inch more screen on top. We like narrower large phones since it’s palm-able, but that is a personal preference.
The OnePlus 11 sports a familiar but refined design for OnePlus. The back of our Titan Black model looks like matte plastic but it’s actually made of Gorilla Glass Victus. It feels great and even has some shimmer in the right light. The Titan Black finish blends perfectly with the gunmetal stainless steel running around the sides and into the camera. There’s a circular platform on the back where the cameras fall flush. We find this more elegant than iPhone’s camera design, but this is another personal preference.
The OnePlus 11 is smooth all around — there are no hard corners. The screen melts into the sides, as does the Titan Black glass back. The smooth pebble-like design feels great in-hand.
OnePlus brought back their physical notification slider that toggles between ringer, vibrate, and silent. It’s nice to have a hard switch to control the three. There’s a lock button under this and a volume rocker on the other side.
There are dual speakers and dual microphones, with one of each on the top of the phone and the other on the bottom near the USB-C charger. The dual SIM card tray is also on the bottom and that’s the only thing that can be removed from the phone. There’s no expandable memory or removable back, which isn’t surprising these days. There’s also no 3.5mm headphone jack.
OnePlus 11 display
The display on the OnePlus 11 is beautiful and features a timeless design. Since the entire face of the phone is pretty much a screen, there’s not much to say other than note the small hole punch camera on the top left, and the screen curves on the sides. The screen’s corners are all rounded too.
The display is a stunning and high-res 6.7” Quad HD+ AMOLED. By default, the QHD 3216×1440 display is not always enabled and instead uses a Full HD+ 2412×1080 resolution. The phone can auto-select the best resolution to use but we immediately opted for the best possible resolution and would never turn back. For some comparison, it’s display offers 525 pixels per inch while iPhone is 460ppi and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is 501ppi. Needless to say, there’s incredible detail on OnePlus 11.
The display has a 120hz refresh rate for ultra-smooth transitions and animations. The LTPO 3.0 technology that OnePlus designed can seamlessly switch between 1hz and 120hz to conserve battery while not skimping on 120hz smoothness. You can downgrade to 60hz and you’ll notice transitions are choppier. The battery with LTPO 3.0 has been so good that we see no need to downgrade to 60hz.
OnePlus 11 comes with a very thin screen protector that’s applied at the factory, which is fairly common these days. While it’s nice to have a perfect application, this plastic screen protector attracts more dust and micro-scratches than a tempered glass protector. The screen protector doesn’t extend to the curved sides. One nuance we noticed with the factory protector is that light bleeds out the sides where the protector stops, this is more noticeable and distracting at night (especially when you’re half awake). After a few weeks, this factory screen protector started showing some small air bubbles, so we’ll likely purchase a tempered glass protector which should fix most of these problems.
Overall, the OnePlus 11’s display is really easy on the eyes, and that’s due to so many contributing factors: the Quad HD resolution, the 120hz display, the AMOLED screen with high contrast color and blacks, and the natural tone feature that adjusts screen color temperature to ambient lighting. We never get tired of looking at it, figuratively or literally.
OnePlus 11 Face and fingerprint unlocking
There’s a fingerprint scanner embedded behind the OnePlus 11’s display, and in a convenient location near the bottom. You can train up to 5 fingerprints. Unlocking with your fingerprint is impressively fast and near-instant. There are customizable animations that you’ll barely even see because of the quick unlock.
There’s also face unlock functionality that’s just as instant. Our display was being unlocked so quickly with face unlock that we disabled the feature that immediately opens the Home Screen. We like staying on the Lock Screen to read notifications and access the camera.
That said, both unlocking features were not just fast, but also accurate. We rarely ever had issues unlocking. Having both a fingerprint and face unlock is the best of all worlds. However, it doesn’t seem like the face unlock is as secure as Apple as there’s no infrared camera or 3D face scan.
OnePlus 11 Always-On Display
Like many of the features on the OnePlus 11, the Always-On Display is very customizable. There are various clocks, images, designs, colors, and contextual options to choose from. We have an animated polar bear with her cub beautifully displayed on the top of our screen at all times.
By default, we found the always-on display is not actually always-on but set to “Power Savings” where the display is shut if the phone has been stationary. We felt this defeats the purpose of the always-on display as it’s most convenient for glancing at on your desk to check the time or notifications. You can switch from this setting to actually “always” on, or on a schedule (like waking hours). The Always-On Display capitalizes on a 1hz refresh rate and the power-efficient AMOLED display to limit battery usage.
OnePlus 11 battery and charging
The battery is one of the most impressive features — the OnePlus 11 has a respectable 5,000mAh battery thats lasts well over a day. With light usage, the phone lasts for days. With regular usage, our battery lasted two full days. And, with heavy usage the battery lasted a day and a half. And these numbers are with full Quad HD resolution and high-performance mode enabled.
The more outstanding bit is that the OnePlus 11 can be charged from 0% to 100% in 27 minutes! I tested this many times. The included SUPERVOOC fast charger has a 100W max output and charges OnePlus at 80W. We charged from 20% to 65% battery in just 10 minutes. The included charger is USB-A to USB-C, which OnePlus felt would be more convenient for buyers. I would have preferred USB-C to USB-C and also prongs that are retractable, but it’s nice to even get a charger with your phone these days, let alone one that can charge up to 100W.
The biggest surprise is that OnePlus 11 does not have wireless charging. We could have done without reverse wireless charging, but not having regular wireless charging is a bummer considering how available and convenient wireless charging is these days, and we thought that by now OnePlus had learned its lesson about not including wireless charging.
The only other charging catch we noticed is that the insane wired charging speeds depends on the SUPERVOOC charger. Plugging this into a 65W charger with PD only charged the phone at around 20W, and it took an hour to charge 0% to 80%.
OnePlus 11 software
The OnePlus 11 comes packaged with the very beautiful OxygenOS, built on Android 13. Oxygen OS is stunning, vibrant, and fun. It’s also highly usable and intuitive.
On the face, the UI is clean, simple, and familiar for any Android or iOS user. Behind the scenes (via Settings) there’s incredible customization, optionality, and information. As someone who likes to go through every single toggle, I was surprised and also overwhelmed with how deep and custom you can get with so many of the features. There are a lot of useful features tucked away. There are various ways to conserve battery or enhance the power and capability. There’s also a ton of control over appearance, aesthetics, and usability.
OxygenOS is nicely tied into Android 13 to the point it’s hard to tell one from the other. There’s virtually no “bloatware”, just a handful of “special features” that are there if you want them. This includes split screen, flexible windows, quick launch, smart sidebar, kids space, simple mode, and a few more. The only annoying reminder that this is not vanilla Android is the settings item prompting you to “Login with OnePlus account” — you don’t need to do this but you can’t get rid of the option.
The most powerful mobile processor on the market for Android right now is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and the OnePlus 11 5G is one of the first phones to be powered by it, alongside the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S23 series. Pair that with 8GB or 16GB of RAM and there’s nothing the OnePlus 11 can’t handle.
Gaming, multi-tasking, working — we couldn’t make this phone sweat while testing the model with 16GB of RAM. Speaking of sweat, it’s also supposed to run much cooler than the competition. It uses a “Cryo-velocity VC Cooling System” which is technology that puts emphasis on improved heat dissipation. The only time we were able to get the phone to warm up is while it was charging at max speed.
The phone is available with 128GB or 256GB of storage. Sadly, there’s no expandable storage or larger storage option. If you take a lot of photos and videos then 256GB might not last you as long as you’d like. 1GB of video shot in 4k60 or 8k24 was only about 2 minutes of recording.
Between the OS and design, we found OnePlus 11 5G to be highly usable. Sometimes the custom OS on top of Android can add confusing or conflicting features to an already profoundly capable OS, but we found OxygenOS a worthy compliment to Android 13. There’s also good attention to detail on the user experience. The haptics, for instance, could be adjusted to be gentle, light, and soft when typing or interacting with your phone. Or, you can amp haptics up to really feel the phone respond to your actions.
It’s not yet published, and we didn’t test it, but we were told that the OnePlus 11 is IP55 waterproof and dustproof. We wouldn’t go swimming with it, but that IP rating adds a lot for peace of mind.
OnePlus 11 connectivity
It’s called OnePlus 11 5G so you can safely count on 5G coverage in North America. There’s 5G support for all the major carriers including T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Mint, and more. We signed up for an eSIM from Tello and had 5G connectivity within minutes of signing up (eSim is glorious!). There’s a dual SIM card slot (which is nice to see) and support for eSIM.
OnePlus apparently packaged the phone with Wi-Fi 7 which is the next generation of WiFi, but it’s deactivated in select regions due to legislation. It can be reactivated in the future with an OTA update. There’s still support for the ultra-fast Wi-Fi 6 and 6E. The latest version of Bluetooth is also supported, Bluetooth 5.3. NFC is included for easy device pairing and mobile payments.
OnePlus 11 supports wireless Android Auto, if your car does too. We were able to test this and were impressed with its ability to extend the Android experience to the car’s large touch screen. It’s usable and fast and like having Android built straight into the car… and wirelessly.
OnePlus 11 Camera
Given that in the past our biggest issues with OnePlus devices have been their cameras, we didn’t have the highest expectations for OnePlus 11’s camera, but it turned out to be quite good, even when compared to the iPhone 14 Pro.
OnePlus made a big deal about partnering with Hassleblad starting with their 9 series. But we ended up being disappointed with the 9 series and 10 series Hassleblad cameras. For the Oneplus 10T, Oneplus opted to omit Hassleblad’s tech altogether. We’re pleasantly surprised to see that the Hassleblad tech is finally shining with the OnePlus 10.
This has finally been achieved with a lot of tech, megapixels, and calibration. OnePlus 11 sports 3 cameras on the back: the main camera, the ultra-wide, and the portrait telephoto. The main camera is 50MP with optical image stabilization and 24mm equivalent focal length and a ƒ/1.8 aperture. The ultra-wide camera has a 115° field of view and is 48MP. The telephoto portrait lens is 32MP and is capable of 2X optical zoom. On the front is a 15MP fixed focus selfie lens. All the sensors are Sony. The cameras are all tuned and calibrated by Hasselblad for precision and accuracy.
When comparing our OnePlus photos against the exact same shots from iPhone 14 Pro we often preferred the OnePlus shots, though there were a lot of close calls. Both offer incredible detail, vibrance, and clarity when taking a quick shot. It’s hard to say which phone is more accurate but we did find that OnePlus was generally brighter and a little warmer in color temperature than iPhone, and without over-exposing.
The primary camera and the wide angle were mostly comparable on iPhone 14 Pro and OnePlus 11 5G. Zoom is better on iPhone since it has 3X optical zoom, while OnePlus is just 2X. The selfie camera photos were usually better on iPhone too. We found iPhone’s selfies to be more accurate, plus having auto-focus and different zoom options is better than OnePlus’s fixed focus lens.
OnePlus usually took better low light photos and even seemed quicker than iPhone. iPhone did better if it was very dark. Portrait mode was a toss-up between the two phones. If my kids stood still then OnePlus took more enjoyable portraits, but my kids don’t stay still and so iPhone was better at capturing those scenarios.
iPhone wins for video, though OnePlus videos are still very nice. That’s because I found some choppiness in OnePlus video that didn’t exist on iPhone. The exception is that OnePlus 11 5G can actually shoot 8K video at 24 frames per second. iPhone tops out at 4K and 60 frames per second, which OnePlus can also do. OnePlus can also do slow-motion at 240 or 480 frames per second, while iPhone can just do 120 and 240. The 480 FPS slow-motion video is not so useful, but really cool when you have a fun use-case like popping a bubble. If you know what you’re doing you can also use the OnePlus camera in Pro mode and configure ISO, shutter speed, aperture, focus, and white balance.
The camera app on OnePlus is pretty simple. It generally just works, and there’s not even as much customization behind the scenes as we’d expect from this phone. The only thing I find annoying is if you have high-resolution enabled (50 MP) then you can’t zoom in at all. The correct UX would just disable high-res when zooming. In any case, the high-resolution shots are amazing. They can range from 10MB to almost 30MB in size, so you have to watch your storage. Regular photos are usually just a couple of MB and can be shot with 10-bit color.
OnePlus 11 colors and pricing
OnepPlus’ latest flagship has certainly been simplified and refined this year for the OnePlus 11. There are two memory options: 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. And, there are two colors: Titan Black and Eternal Green.
We were testing the phone before we knew the pricing and were surprised to see such a highly spec’d and competitive phone price out for $699.99 and $799.99 respectively. You’ll even be able to get $100 off or a $100 gift card for pre-ordering. After pre-ordering there will be a short window to get the 16GB/256GB for $699.99 before it goes back to $799.99.
The OnePlus 11 is even guaranteed to receive software updates for 4 years and security updates for 5 years, and its hardware should easily withstand the test of time.
OnePlus 11 review verdict
There’s currently a lot of close competition to the OnePlus 11 that are charging over $1,000 for similar hardware. Ultimately, our biggest gripes with the OnePlus 11 are its lack of wireless charging, and its maximum 256GB of storage.
That said, in comparison to the Pixel 7, the Pixel offers a better camera, and it costs $200 less than the OnePlus 11. So if the camera is your number one priority, the Pixel 7 is likely a better value for you. But in comparison to the likes of the pricey Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, the OnePlus 11 is wholly a better value.
Which brings us to this. As much as the OnePlus 11 is certainly a return to the company’s ethos, we still think that the OnePlus 11 could use a price point that’s $100 lower for it to be truly competitive in the current market.
Ultimately, the OnePlus 11 is a return to the company’s roots and we’re thrilled with that. As OnePlus says: “Never Settle”, and with the OnePlus 11 you’re getting a lot of value out of the OnePlus 11. Even better is that for the first time ever, OnePlus’s camera can hold its own against other flagship cameras.