OnePlus 11 review: High on value, low on excitement
It's unusual for OnePlus to launch only the non-Pro variant, but it's not surprising as even last year, it only launched the OnePlus 10 Pro in the series, followed by the 10R and 10T. It completely skipped the vanilla variant for some reason. However, the eyes are back on the OnePlus 11, and the bets are big this time as it promises to "achieve the extraordinary." It gets the top-end chipset and hardware, an impressive display, and everything premium on paper. So half the job is done there, but it remains to be seen how true that turns out in real life and in the long run. I got a chance to spend more than a week with the phone and have some thoughts to share.
Price and availability
The OnePlus 11 has been priced at ₹56,999 for the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant and ₹61,999 for the 16GB RAM + 256GB storage variant. The device is currently available for pre-orders and will go on sale from February 14.
Design and display
The OnePlus 11 carries forward the design and form of the OnePlus 10 Pro. So much so that it's difficult to tell apart these two from the front and sides but don't take it as a complaint. I really enjoyed the in-hand feel, material, and build quality of the 10 Pro, which is the case with the OnePlus 11. Also, when you lay them flat with the screen facing down, you see the real difference - the new camera island. It's different not only from last year's model but also from any other phone in the market.
While I found last year's design to be neater and more flush, the new one also impressed me with a chrome stainless steel dial leaking off to the side. It's utterly subjective whether you like the camera design, but this is no longer a cheap-feeling smartphone. It's made out of good-quality glass and aluminum and feels very sturdy to hold. The back is smooth with a damp matte finish. That makes it slightly slippery, so slapping a case is highly recommended. The good part is that it's highly scratch and smudge resistant.
It measures 163.1 mm × 74.1mm × 8.53 mm and weighs 205 g, which is ideal for a 6.7-inch phone. It has Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the display and Gorilla Glass 5 on the back. Note that it misses out on IP certification for water and dust resistance, but the company says it can withstand splashes and drizzle.
The display is a 6.7-inch 2K 120Hz Super Fluid AMOLED with LTPO 3.0. It is HDR 10+ certified, has Dolby Vision support, and has a 10-bit panel in line with the camera that can capture 10-bit photos. The addition of LTPO enables it to adjust according to specific usage. It identifies the content on the screen and matches it with the refresh rate and touch response between 1Hz and 10Hz. So, for example, while reading an ebook, the screen will work at lower rates, and if you're running a game, it will shoot up to 120Hz or 60Hz, depending on how much the game supports.
Thankfully, these on-paper jargons also translate into real-life experience. The display is crisp, vibrant, super bright, and incredibly smooth. I can confidently call it a great display for its price, and any user would enjoy watching videos, playing games, and even scrolling on it.
I was really surprised with the loudspeaker performance on the OnePlus 11. Its display is Dolby Vision certified, and the speaker compliments it with its Dolby Atmos-powered sound quite well. Moreover, the audio performance is excellent not just from the loudspeaker but also from Bluetooth headphones.
AdvertisementThe OnePlus 11 has a triple-camera setup with a 50MP IMX890 image sensor with OIS (optical image stabilization) as primary, a 32MP IMX709 RGBW portrait telephoto lens powered by Hasselblad, and a 48MP ultrawide lens with Sony IMX581 sensor. The hardware is also topped by color science from Hasselblad. Although it's not the first time OnePlus has collaborated with the brand, the company says it's made some significant improvements in the optimizations.
All of that makes up for a good set of photography essentials, and I am particularly excited about the camera, to be honest.
The camera app launches quickly and is laid out neatly with easy-to-understand settings and icons. It gives you many options to play with, and my favorite is the X-Pan mode and the filters you get pre-installed.
The color templated in both makes it very easy for a layperson to click cinematic shots with a very peculiar color correction that usually pros get to create.
Note that you must turn on the hi-res option from the top of the viewfinder to use the 50MP sensor for photos. Turning it on automatically blocks zooming and auto macro features. But the results are pretty impressive.
Autofocus and shutter are very snappy in both still and videos. The portrait mode is also impressive in good lighting conditions, and what's better is that you can adjust the blurring effect while clicking a photo.
The daylight shots look very balanced in terms of colors, dynamic range, and white balance. As long as you have any amount of natural light, the results look very promising, and the shutter speed is also very quick. It's the same even for well-lit indoors, but as you move to darker situations, the colors start looking artificially blown, and the details are blown away.
In low light, there's a slight noise visible while using the night mode, but strangely the pictures look better in normal mode. I liked low-light photos, but they were not as good as flagships from Samsung and Pixel.
I am highly impressed with the video capability. It can shoot 8K at 24fps and 4K at 60fps (which I prefer). The videos look great, especially of well-lit scenes, and they're at par with other flagships. The stabilization is very impressive, also the audio recording. It's safe to say that it can be a reliable companion for a content creator or a vlogger.
Front camera is a 16MP shooter, and it doesn't seem like a significant upgrade over last year. You can get good-looking selfies in daylight and well-lit situations but low light shows prominent noise and lack in detail.
Overall, I'm impressed with OnePlus 11's camera performance. I can't call it as good as the Pixel 7 Pro or the iPhone 14 Pro, but it's certainly up there with them based on what I've seen so far.
The software part of the OnePlus 11 is what I am not a huge fan of. That's also because I am spoiled with the look and feel of good old OxygenOS over the years, as I've used almost every OnePlus phone till the OnePlus 8-series.
The OxygenOS 13 is based on Android 13, and it's no secret that it's a tweaked version of Oppo's ColorOS 13. While I prefer the older OxygenOS, I was surprised by the fluidity of this one and the number of smart features on this one. You get many customization options and features like split screen, flexible windows, quick return, and more. All of this makes it a good productivity tool.
It will also come with the OxygenOS 13 and a promise that it will receive at least four years of major software updates and at least five years of security updates.
My major concerns were regarding the optimizations. But so far, the software has felt stable, and I have not faced any issues. Still, I appreciate the older feel more than this colorful version, with a revamped user experience. I am supremely impressed with the haptics, though, as it feels very natural and solves the purpose of giving precise feedback to create visual and physical synergy in usage.
So if you are okay with adapting to the new interface and are open to exploring more customizations, this version of the OS will not bother you much. It's quite swift and efficient in what it does.
Performance and battery
The OnePlus 11 runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC (system on chip), and I have the 16GB RAM and 256GB of UFS4.0 storage variant. It does pretty well in a 9-5 setting where one would start the day by scrolling social media, reading news, listening to music or watching something on the way to the office/college, making phone calls, and checking emails—then ending the day with some Call of Duty: Mobile action.
It's snappy and breathes and behaves the same way during all tasks throughout the day. At least, it has been that way for me, and I have no complaints. I am a smartphone gamer and have an hour-long Call of Duty: Mobile session every day. While the phone and its battery hold up well with the demanding graphics and gameplay, I still wouldn't call it the best gaming phone available. My go-to phone for gaming is the iPhone 14 Pro, and despite a bigger display, it did not intrigue me enough to want to switch to the OnePlus 11. In fact, the iPhone 14 still feels much smoother, or my eyes are accustomed to that experience. But if only Androids are counted, this one stands among the league's top for sure.
AdvertisementHeating has been on the higher side while gaming and using the camera. It never got unusually hot, but temperatures are lower in winter; it was still 42-43 degrees Celcius hot at 23-24 degree Celcius room temperature.
Multitasking is pretty smooth; I could open and use up to 8-9 apps simultaneously, and OnePlus claims the 16GB RAM can keep up to 44 applications active in the background.
The OnePlus 11 has a 5,000mAh battery that supports up to 100W SUPERVOOC charging that fuels it up in around 30 minutes. The screen on time turned out to be 7.5 hours on moderate usage, and on heavy days, I managed to kill it in 5.5 hours. But note that I played COD: Mobile for over 2.5 hours and used Instagram and YouTube shamelessly for over five hours on that day.
You get the 100W charging brick and cable in the box, which is slowly vanishing from an increasing number of phones.
AdvertisementOnePlus 11 lands among the few available phones with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and doesn't disappoint. It has a great set of hardware, a good design, a reliable camera, and better battery life - making it a value for money buy at ₹56,999 for the 8GB variant and ₹61,999 for the 16GB variant.
For those looking for a phone that does everything fast, has a great display, and can run anything you throw at it, the OnePlus 11 is a perfect option for its price. But if you are willing to spend more, you should wait for the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 phones.
An enthusiast-catering brand like OnePlus is playing it very safe for its stature. There's nothing so extraordinary that makes people talk about it. Should you buy it? Yes. But my disappointment is a bit personal as I expect the company to develop at least one element of the phone with a "wow" factor. What makes a good phone great? A little bit of courage to do things differently.
I can only be hopeful to see something wow-worthy when it comes up with its foldable. But if we keep aside the phones, its new OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is super-impressive. We'll be posting a detailed review of the latest OnePlus TWS soon.
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