OnePlus 11 5G Brings Value And Performance To An Affordable Android Flagship

OnePlus 11 5G Brings Value And Performance To An Affordable Android Flagship

There’s little question that the average selling price of high-end Android phones has been creeping up over recent years, though this current launch cycle seems to have softened a bit, likely due to the uncertain economic climate. OnePlus has historically lead the charge with respect to bringing top-end “never settle” specs and features to a reasonably-priced flagship offering, though the company’s more recent releases were inching up in price as well. Fortunately, with the OnePlus 11 5G, the company has returned to its value-oriented roots and in doing so has delivered what I feel will be one of the better Android flagship phone values this year, starting at $699.

High-Level Specs: Killer Display, Redesigned Camera Pod, Powered By Snapdragon

Let’s start with the vital signs here. The OnePlus 11 5G is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which, in my opinion, is one of the best mobile platforms the company has delivered yet, with both strong and sustainable performance across a wide variety of phone workloads. More on that in a bit.

The back of the device is sheathed in Gorilla Glass 5, and the Eternal Green color you see here is gorgeous, and resists fingerprints well, but is super shiny and slippery. It’s a shame to cover it up, but OnePlus makes some great cases and I’d highly recommend strapping one on to protect this gemstone finish. The front display is covered in Gorilla Glass Victus for a bit more durability.

Speaking of the display, the 6.7-inch 3216×1440 resolution OLED LTPO panel OnePlus brought to the table sports a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate that can auto-switch to lower refresh rates when not needed, to conserve power. This is one gorgeous, bright (1300 nit), punchy OLED display that has a slight waterfall curved edge to it that blends perfectly to the contour of the phone’s aluminum side rails. And yes, ladies and gents, the OnePlus alert slider is back, allowing you to drop the phone into vibrate mode or DND with a simple flip of this edge-mounted switch. Why others haven’t adopted this simple, thoughtful feature is beyond me.

The backside of the OnePlus 11 5G features a stylish, round re-designed camera pod with a primary shooter driven by Sony’s excellent 50MP IMX890 sensor, measuring in at a bodacious 1/1.56-inch, with an f/1.8 aperture and optical stabilization. This camera snaps great pics on the fly, with just a touch more fiddling required for focus at times, versus say the Pixel 7 Pro. And like the made by Google competitor, occasionally can over-sharpen things a bit too. However, for all intents and purposes, the results are very satisfying and OnePlus’ partnership with Hasselblad is really starting to pay dividends. The color science Hasselblad brings to the table results in superior accuracy, and I much prefer the true-to-life color capture of this phone, over the occasionally muted imaging of the Pixel 7 Pro.

Here’s a quick taste…

The wide-angle camera of the OP 11 is larger than the previous gen, but with a narrower field of view at 115 degrees versus 150 degrees for the OnePlus 10 Pro. The color capture in the shots above are very true to life, for January in New England. There’s also a solid 2x telephoto shooter on board the OnePlus 11, though it lacks image stabilization. Regardless, zoom shots with the camera, along with digital zoom, get the job done well enough, with a steady hand.

My teammate Ryan over at HotHardware captured this shot on his OnePlus 11 5G, and here you can see Hasselblad color science in action. This is a busy, detailed shot with lots of color variances that are all rendered well, with good separation and accurate capture.

This is a relatively easy portrait mode shot for the OnePlus 11, though it was captured on top of a glass table top with a glass sliding door in the background and lots of reflection, which can make things tricky for edge detection and background blur rendering, especially with this glass jar of pepper salad. Regardless, again the OP11 manages the subject detection pretty well. I’m still debating if Google’s Pixel 7 Pro has an edge here, though I think it does, by a hair.

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Top-Notch Android Performance, Powered By Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Moving along to general performance results from this new OnePlus flagship, the numbers it put up were pretty fantastic. Qualcomm’s move to TSMC for fabrication of its mobile platform SoCs (System on Chip), has been very successful, resulting in great performance even over time and thermal saturation of the OnePlus 11 5G’s internal cooling solution. Here’s are few numbers that speak volumes…

You can see that the OnePlus 11 5G is right there neck-and-neck with two other new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered flagships, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and The RedMagic 8 Pro. Performance differences here for the number 2 and 3 competitors are really within the margin of variability for the benchmark. However, when we drop down to the 3DMark Wild Life Stress Test to see how performance changes under a continuous 20 minute load that loops the benchmark, we were treated to literally almost zero variability in performance.

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra, which has a special, higher speed bin version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, called Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy, puts up slightly stronger scores in the main test, but it bleeds off about 8 – 10% or so over time, while the OnePlus 11 is rock stable.

Software, User Experience And Fantastic Battery Life

OnePlus’ new OxygenOS 13 is a lightly skinned theme over Android 13, however with more of an Oppo Color OS flare than ever before. I will say that this is probably my least favorite version of OxygenOS, as previous Android versions from OnePlus didn’t try to reinvent the wheel so much and just felt like cleaner versions of Android, closer to bone stock, which is what I prefer.

It’s not a showstopper, however, and these preferences are more user subjective than anything else. In general, I still prefer OxygenOS 13 over Samsung’s One UI, but again that’s personal preference, and I prefer Google’s stock Android setups in Pixel phones, generally speaking.

What I do really enjoy is the OP 11 5G’s battery life. It’s definitely a two-day capable device, and I’m thoroughly impressed in mixed day-to-day heavy usage, how capable this phone’s power management is. I also feel it’s a great testament to the power efficiency of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

However, though I’m totally bummed that OnePlus omitted wireless charging (likely to save cost) from the OP 11, what I do love is this phone’s 80 Watt wired fast charging, which is ridiculously fast. With the included SuperVOOC 80W charger, the OnePlus 11 will pull a full charge in just 27 minutes and in only 12 minutes will give you a 50% top-off.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 And The Wrap-Up

I’m still running around and hitting the gym with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 earbuds, but so far I’m impressed. Their Active Noise Cancellation and acoustics are excellent with full, rich bass, clear, open mids and crisp, clean high-end reproduction. I’m still digging in on mic sound quality, however. Either way, for $179 with a $20 Amazon gift card deal currently, they’re a solid value I think.

All told, I think OnePlus nailed it with the new OnePlus 11 5G, and though I really wish wireless charging was on board, the 80W wired charging with this phone is delightfully fast. And at an MSRP of $699 for the 8GB of RAM/128 GB of storage model, and $799 for the 16GB RAM/256GB storage model, this is one of the best Android phone deals on the market right now. Amazon also has a $100 gift card deal going on with these phones as well, to sweeten the pot even further.

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