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    OnePlus 11 review : The best one since the last one

    OnePlus’ early flagship phones built a reputation for themselves by boasting top-tier specifications but costing hundreds of dollars less than the competition.

    Those days appear to be behind the firm today, but the OnePlus 11 is still a reasonably priced Android phone that we recommend above more costly competitors.

    If you want a phone with a huge screen, excellent performance, outstanding cameras, and lengthy software support, you can’t go wrong with this for $699/£729 – hundreds less than the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and even a bit less than the ordinary S23.

    Design & build

    • Nicely thin
    • Alert slider still great
    • Only IP64

    The OnePlus 11 is a huge phone, but because to its rounded corners and curved display, it feels slender and compact even in small hands. It’s barely 8.5mm thick and fits perfectly in a pocket.

    I was given the Titan Black model, which is really slippery. It means the phone will easily slide off tables and out of your hands, and there’s no protection in the retail box (at least in the UK) – but I’ll excuse it because the matt glass coating means it picks up no fingerprints.

    The Eternal Green variant is less appealing to me, but its glossy glass back is tackier and easier to grip. The back of both models is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, while the screen is protected by the harder Gorilla Glass Victus.

    This phone includes the three-position alert slider that OnePlus strangely omitted from the current OnePlus 10T. Thank glad it’s back, because the silent-vibrate-ring option is a key distinction for the company’s products.

    However, while using the Chrome browser, flicking the slider activates the ‘Find in page’ search area – a daily annoyance I haven’t encountered on previous OnePlus phones.

    Most eye-catching is the new camera design, which is a black circle with flecks of silver in it – OnePlus says it’s meant to look like a black hole

    There is no connector for headphones, but there is a clicky volume rocker on the left and a power button on the right. This phone’s haptics are also satisfyingly clicky, with some of the greatest vibration feedback on an Android phone. The pips on the keyboard seem practically mechanical, which improves the user experience.

    The new camera design, which is a black circle with silver flecks in it, is the most eye-catching, replete with a ‘Hasselblad’ emblem to show a relationship on this phone with the camera company. According to OnePlus, the device is designed to resemble a black hole. The stainless steel U-shaped design surrounding it has a crack between it and the device’s aluminum sides.

    Despite its size, this is a nice-looking phone that doesn’t seem too hefty at 205g. It’s a pity there’s just IP64 protection, which is fully protected against dust intrusion but only provides splash protection. OnePlus usually cuts corners where they shouldn’t, and it’s a shame this doesn’t match all of the IP68 phones at this pricing.

    Screen & speakers

    • 6.7in AMOLED
    • 1-120Hz dynamic refresh rate
    • Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos

    The OnePlus 11 has a 6.7in AMOLED screen with a 3216 x 1440 QHD+ resolution that supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Colors are fantastic, and everything is constantly razor crisp. It’s a joy to work with.

    It’s an LTPO 3.0 display, which means it can change its refresh rate. It can reach 120Hz while playing suitable games or scrolling (smoothly) through social media and text, but it can also be set to 1Hz to conserve battery power when not in use. It’s bright, but not as bright as the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s excellent outdoor visibility.

    I’m hesitant to remove the pre-installed screen protector, but its cheap plastic covering attracts fingerprints and dust like no other.

    Because of the screen’s lofty 20.1:9 aspect ratio, the phone is only 74mm broad, making it ideal for one-handed reading or turning landscape to hold with both paws to play games.

    Dual stereo speakers in the earpiece and on the phone’s bottom can provide sounds at a reasonable volume without distorting. It’s wonderful for podcasts or the radio, but music sounds tinny and thin, as it does with all phone speakers.

    Better is Dolby Atmos compatibility, which is best experienced with Bluetooth headphones (OnePlus hopes their own Buds Pro 2) and can adjust the EQ according on the type of audio.

    Specs & performance

    • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 flies
    • Up to 16GB RAM
    • Incredibly quick phone

    Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU is housed within, as it is in the Samsung Galaxy S23 and the iQoo 11, both of which I recently reviewed. It’s one of the most powerful CPUs for an Android phone at the time of writing in February 2023, and it shows.

    Whatever you throw at the OnePlus 11, it doesn’t miss a beat. High-end games with difficult-to-render graphics, multi-tasking across many apps, video calls while streaming video in split screen? Everything is wonderful here.

    In our normal benchmark app testing, it performed comparably to comparable hench smartphones:

     

    This is due in part to the 16GB RAM on my review sample (the cheapest model only has 8GB, though that should be fine for most people). The combination of this RAM with the 8 Gen 2 results makes the OnePlus 11 one of the quickest phones I’ve ever used – it’s snappy no matter what you’re doing.

    The 16GB variant comes with 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage, which is quicker than the 8GB model, which has 128GB of slower UFS 3.0 storage. It’s not a significant difference, but if you’re here to see if the OnePlus 11 is one of the most powerful phones available, that detail will be important to you.

    OnePlus also claims to have included its ‘RAM Vita’ machine learning smarts in the phone, which speeds up operations even more by constantly allocating enough RAM to applications like the camera to guarantee they never slow, while keeping everything else humming along. I can’t say how much of an influence this has, but the OnePlus 11 is really fast.

    Camera & video

    • Very good 50Mp main lens
    • Colour accurate results
    • Excellent manual and pro modes

    OnePlus has been wrongly chastised in the past for the quality of its cameras, so let me state right away that the OnePlus 11 has fantastic cameras. The only small difference is that the optical telephoto lens is 2x instead of the 3.3x seen in the OnePlus 10 Pro from 2022.

    It’s not a horrible thing, especially for $699/£729. The $799/£849 iPhone 14 lacks a telephoto lens entirely.

    The primary lens on a phone is always the finest, and the 50Mp shooter here is no exception. In fact, I would say it is excellent. It includes an f/1.8 aperture that lets in enough light to adequately expose images, as well as optical image stabilisation (OIS) to compensate for hand jitter.

    The OnePlus 11 also lacks the iPhone’s and Google Pixel 7’s sophisticated – and accurate – algorithms for retaining people’s natural skin tones. It boasts ‘natural color calibration with Hasselblad,’ which seeks to preserve the natural colors of situations but isn’t designed particularly for skin. Overall, this is nitpicking at what is a fantastic primary camera.

    A 115-degree ultrawide lens with a 48Mp half-inch sensor is also included. Shots aren’t as nice as with the primary lens, with colors that are somewhat darker than the scene, but photographs are clear and more than adequate for social media.

    The third sensor is the previously announced 32MP RGBW portrait telephoto lens. This is a fixed length lens built in collaboration with Hasselblad to replicate the bokeh effect of that company’s XCD 30mm lens, and it is employed at 2x whether ordinary photo or portrait is selected in the camera app.

    It achieves excellent results, primarily dealing with people’s hairlines and maintaining backgrounds pleasantly blurred, by utilizing both hardware and software. It’s also useful to use 2x zoom on occasion, but anything over that is digital zoom.

    There’s also a Hasselblad-branded X-Pan mode for shooting like an old film camera in a wide panoramic format, as well as a well-thought-out Pro mode with manual settings and RAW and 10-bit color choices. There’s a lot to explore beyond the auto-mode surface, and the phone is a lot of fun to photograph with.

    The night mode, on the other hand, is too enthusiastic, raising light much above a scene’s actual lighting to a comically dazzling result. However, video is powerful, with the ability to record in 4K at 60fps and 8K at 24fps.

    Battery & charging

    • 5000mAh battery for all-day power
    • 100W fast charging
    • No wireless charging

    OnePlus has packed a dual-cell 5000mAh battery inside the slimline OnePlus 11 with great all-day performance. I had no problem charging the phone at 7 a.m. and knowing it will last until 11 p.m. This was with consistent messaging, music listening through Bluetooth headphones, connecting to a wristwatch, and utilizing it for picture, video, navigation, and other purposes.

    OnePlus has crammed a dual-cell 5,000mAh battery into the svelte OnePlus 11 with excellent all-day results

    Unless you’re a really light user, it’s not a two-day phone. If you abuse your phone, you’ll appreciate the 100W rapid charging, which powered the phone from 0% to 71% in 15 minutes and was fully charged in 26 minutes in my tests.

    Fast charging transforms the way you use your phone. No more overnight charging – charge for 30 minutes before leaving the house and leave with 100% charge.

    There is no wireless charging, which I myself do not use even on phones, but it is worth noting. You might expect it at this price.

    Software & updates

    • Android 13
    • Four years of Android updates
    • Five years of security updates

    OnePlus phones now essentially run Oppo’s ColorOS Android software skin, despite the fact that OnePlus still refers to its own version as OxygenOS. That means the previous OxygenOS’s stock-ish, relatively unmodified Android design is no longer available.

    Instead, the current version, OxygenOS 13, which is based on Android 13, features rounded corners for alerts, widgets, and app icons. Although the notification shade includes large rectangular and circular icons, I found the alerts themselves to be the most bothersome aspect of using the phone.

    It’s difficult to swipe away alerts as they arrive, reminding me of Apple’s iOS and its rigidity. You must swipe to the right to dismiss, but it’s not always apparent whether to tap or swipe down on a stack to deal with it, and I occasionally ended up nuking the entire list out of exasperation.

    The auto-brightness is also very aggressive, making the screen far too dark for my tastes. I switched it off frequently, something I don’t do with other phones.

    However, the operating system is quite user-friendly, and the settings app is well-thought out and simple. Some options are hidden in sub-menus, but I found it easier and faster to customize Android aesthetically than the current Samsung phones.

    The OnePlus 11 doesn’t skip a beat no matter what you throw at it

    Perhaps most impressive is the guarantee of four years of Android upgrades and five years of security fixes, the first for any OnePlus phone and comparable to Samsung. It ranks the OnePlus 11 joint-best in the industry for Android software support at the time of release.

    Price & availability

    The OnePlus 11 costs $699/£729/€849 for an 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model, and $799/£799/€919 for a 16GB and 256GB storage model. Pre-orders are available directly from OnePlus, as well as from most other electronics shops and select carriers and networks.

    It goes on general sale on February 16th.

    This cost makes the phone reasonably reasonable given its specifications, but it is still significantly more expensive than the best Android offer available, the $599/£599/€649 Google Pixel 7.

    OnePlus has effectively undercut the $799/£849/€959 Samsung Galaxy S23, which only lacks wireless charging and waterproofing. The iPhone 14 costs the same as the S23 in the US and UK, but a little more in Euros.

    Specs

    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
    • Android 13 (Oxygen OS 13.0)
    • 6.7in, 3216 x 1440 QHD+, 1-120Hz LTPO 3.0, 20.1:9, AMOLED display
    • In-display fingerprint sensor
    • Camera:
      • 50Mp Sony IMX890 main camera, f/1.8, OIS
      • 48Mp Sony IMX581 ultrawide, f/2.2
      • 32Mp Sony IMX709 portrait telephoto, f/2.0
      • 16Mp Sony IMX471 selfie camera, f/2.45
    • 8/16GB LPDDR5X RAM
    • 128GB UFS 3.1/256GB UFS 4.0 non-expandable storage
    • USB 2.0 Type-C port
    • Dual nano-SIM slot
    • 5000mAh dual cell battery
    • 100W wired charging
    • NFC
    • 5G
    • Bluetooth 5.3
    • Wi-Fi 7-ready
    • 163.1 mm × 74.1mm × 8.5mm
    • 205g

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