While you might not have heard of OnePlus if you’re not super up-to-date on the modern smartphone market, this manufacturer has been releasing high-quality devices since 2013. While the company might have suffered a bit of a lull through the early part of the 2020s, the OnePlus 11 5G is here to put it back on the map, offering an impressive list of features and components, even if the design might divide the Android community.
The OnePlus 11 is one of the brand’s flagship products, serving as a viable alternative to big names like the Samsung Galaxy S23 and the Google Pixel 7 Pro. Arriving in early 2023, this handset is on our list of the best OnePlus phones for a reason, with the latest chipset technology in the form of the Qualcomm SM8550-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and a display that knocks your socks off. I’ve been using it for over a month now, and to say I’m impressed by this phone is a bit of an understatement.
- Incredible performance
- Long-lasting battery life and rapid charging
- Vivid display
- Wi-Fi 7 capability
Price and availability
With two models, the 128GB and 256GB versions, the price of the OnePlus 11 depends on how much internal storage you require. You can check out the RRP of each below, with prices differing depending on individual retailers or if you’re looking to pick the phone up on a contract plan. In terms of design, there aren’t a plethora of colors to choose from, but you can pick between plain old Titan Black and a slightly more exciting Eternal Green.
- OnePlus 11 5G 128GB – $699
- OnePlus 11 G5 256GB – $799
As you expect with a flagship smartphone like the OnePlus 11, this device is full of features that make it worthy of leading the line for the manufacturer, with some surprising additions that add to the overall value and usability of the phone. Wi-Fi 7 connectivity is a fantastic inclusion, especially in a market where multiple flagships still employ Wi-Fi 6, and the choice to offer a model with 16GB of RAM also outdoes many other Androids that max out 12GB, or often just 8GB, inside.
While we’ll get into the cameras with more attention to detail in the next section of this review, it’s worth mentioning that the Hasselblad setup is one of the features OnePlus prides this device on, just as it does the phone’s superfast charging. However, it’s some of the features that the company omits in its on-the-box marketing that I find the most engaging, especially performance, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset one of the factors that truly earns this phone a place in the higher echelons of modern smartphones.
The most impressive feature by far, though, is the pricing. At an RRP of $699, or $799 for the 256GB model, you get all the perks of a flagship device, including four generations of Android support and five years of security updates, for a price that pales in comparison to the top-end Samsung and Apple alternatives. While it’s true that companies like Xiaomi now offer similar long-term support, and the brand new Google Pixel 8 promises the same through until 2030, this commitment to keeping the OnePlus 11 relevant for years is worth highlighting.
While some features make the OnePlus 11 an attractive proposition, there are a couple of missing ingredients I’ve come to expect in a modern smartphone. Wireless charging is one of them, with more on that later. More concerning is the lack of IP68 water resistance. It’s splash resistant, sure, but this lack of true waterproofing makes the OnePlus 11 feel less well-equipped for the day-to-day, especially if you’re like me and use your smartphone to blare out podcasts in the shower or keep it playing tunes by the sink when washing the dishes.
While many turn to the Google Pixel range or the fresh Xiaomi 13T series for fantastic smartphone cameras, there’s enough in the OnePlus 11 to include the handset in the conversation. This device employs three Hasselblad cameras, a 50MP main, 48MP ultrawide, and 32MP ultrawide. The resulting images differ depending on the subject or what you’re attempting to capture, with landscape images coming out the best, even in low-light conditions.
As you can see from the picture of my lovely pup Floyd below, the main camera does a particularly captivating job of capturing color. Almost all the photos of Floyd taken on my iPhone and other devices I’ve tested struggle to capture that gorgeous orange tint that runs through his belly fur. The OnePlus 11 captures my fluffy pal in all of his majesty, detailing the intricacies in his coat in a way I thought I’d only ever see with my own vision.
Similarly to the depth in the picture of my adorable dog from above, the OnePlus 11 offers fantastic landscape shots, capturing color from far off in the distance with the same vivid hues as something right in front of you. I’m lucky enough to live at the top of a hill overlooking quite the view, and in the picture below, you can make out the autumnal reds of the trees far in the distance, just as well as the greener foliage in my neighbor’s gardens. If you’re something of a tourist, especially one with a penchant for wide open spaces full of natural beauty, this device is sure to get you some Instagram-worthy snaps.
The 16MP selfie camera is another boon for this device, though it’s a touch unforgiving. It makes you wonder if other phones don’t opt for such high-resolution selfie images as seeing yourself in such detail, especially in what you might consider ideal lighting for photography, displays the most intricate details of your face. There doesn’t appear to be any automatic smoothing, either, so unless you’re completely blemish-free – and good for you, by the way – you might need to tinker with some of the picture editing tools before uploading to social media. Still, the quality is impressive.
However, the portrait mode is a little flat, considering how big a deal OnePlus makes about the technology that powers it. The bokeh effect and background blur are apparent, but it feels almost as if it bleeds into the subject you’re trying to capture slightly, making hair, or in the case of the image below, fur, seem fuzzier than you might like. It’s still better than the portrait options of most mid-range phones, but if you’re looking at flagship devices, the camera options I found in testing for our Xiaomi 13T Pro review seem to offer superior results.
When it comes to design, the OnePlus 11 feels a little more like it’s from 2013 rather than 2023. Whether that’s a bad thing or not depends on your taste, but I prefer the feel of the Google Pixel 7 or the Motorola Edge 40, both of which have a smooth back panel compared to the metal plating of this device. I wasn’t a fan of it in those early clamshell iPhone models, and all this time later, my opinion hasn’t changed.
It just feels a little slippery, and you have to adjust your hold every time you pick the phone up to make it feel secure in your hand. If you plan on picking one up yourself, a case is a must, as you might drop the thing or watch it slide off your desk if not. The sizeable camera notch doesn’t help much with the overall feel of the OnePlus 11, forcing you to hold the thing by the lower two-thirds to find any sense of comfort while using it with one hand.
However, if you’re a fan of buttons click and clack like I am, the responsive lock and volume buttons on the OnePlus 11 add something to the design. The same goes for the three-way slider that allows you to seamlessly switch between silent, vibrate, and ring modes, which is especially useful when you need to quickly make a change if you’re going into a meeting or have an incoming call to listen out for. It can just be a little annoying when friction in your pocket changes these options without you knowing, meaning you might miss a call or hear it ringing when you thought it was on silent.
The display is where the OnePlus 11 comes into its own. I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing phones from multiple manufacturers over the past few months, and this might be my favorite screen, offering vivid high-quality gaming and streaming no matter the lighting scenario in which you’re using it. The extra width in landscape mode further highlights the display, especially in games that size up to meet the extended dimensions.
The size of the AMOLED screen on this thing makes for a viewing experience that is second to none. The overall length of the device makes it feel more suited to movies and cinematic television in particular. To test this out, I watched two films on my OnePlus 11, the notoriously dark and gritty There Will Be Blood and Disney’s colorful Up, and both benefitted from the depth of color the phone offers. If you’re a frequent traveler who likes to check out the latest flicks on the move, it’s worth thinking about picking up this device for that factor alone.
Still, as silky smooth video streaming is on the OnePlus 11, gaming is even better. As an avid Marvel Snapper, I didn’t realize the depth of the animations in the game until I was playing on this device, with it knocking my iPhone 14 out of the park in terms of vivid expression. The same goes for games like Honkai Star Rail and Asphalt 9, offering a level of detail in these games that I’ve never had the chance to truly appreciate before playing on the OnePlus 11. As we delve into the performance section, the marriage of this standout display and top-tier performance makes this device perfectly suited for mobile gamers and one to check out if that’s your priority in an Android smartphone.
Many in the Android community regard OnePlus for powering its devices with long-lasting batteries, much like fellow Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, and that’s what you get with the OnePlus 11. Unless you opt for maximum gaming performance, which does drain the device quicker than usual, this thing can easily keep going for 48 hours, often even longer if you’re just using it for essential smartphone functions like messaging, calling, and internet browsing.
Still, even more impressive than the battery life is the charging speed. If you’re plugged in and using mains power with the official adaptor, the OnePlus 11 can go from nothing to 50% in just under 15 minutes or 100% in a touch under 30 minutes. I don’t have to explain how user-friendly this is, as most of us have experienced that frenzied moment where you realize you’re on a low charge percentage with little time until you need to leave the house. That isn’t an issue with this device, with even five minutes enough to boost up a solid 10-15% to get you through to your next charging opportunity.
While many other components and features arriving with this device are up-to-date with what you expect from a modern smartphone, it’s let down by a lack of wireless charging. In my opinion, it should be a given for any smartphone that costs you more than $500. Sure, the wired charging is wicked fast, but OnePlus isn’t the only manufacturer that offers that in the year 2023, and wireless capability is something I’ve come to expect.
With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset powering the OnePlus 11, you expect best-in-class performance, and it delivers. There isn’t a game you can throw at this thing that it doesn’t easily manage, with options to raise the performance levels far and above anything you can currently get from the last generation of iPhone or Google Pixel devices.
As a primarily gaming site, I’ve got a list of titles I always turn to to see how the performance compares between devices. In this regard, the OnePlus 11 is one of the more potent options on the market. The stellar display complements performance, with something like Watcher of Realms, which I’m used to playing via an Android emulator on my PC, looking and playing better than it does on my laptop. Simply put, it’s a marvel for gaming, and considering its lower price point than other gamer-friendly devices like the Samsung Galaxy S23, that’s something that OnePlus should make a bigger deal of.
Despite some reports of overheating issues with the OnePlus 11, I never felt the device running hot. Still, this might have something to do with those complaining of these issues often running into them in hotter climates, and I’m writing this review in Britain in early October. It gets a little toasty during charging, as many devices do, but I wouldn’t call it overheating, and if that’s the price to pay for how quickly this thing charges, I’m happy enough to deal with it.
Should you buy the OnePlus 11 5G?
Where the OnePlus 11 shines, it really shines, offering stellar performance, crystal clear visuals, and a battery life worth marketing the device on alone. Sure, it’s not a looker, but like all the Disney movies I’ve watched on this phone have taught me, what’s on the inside counts the most. In that regard, the OnePlus 11 is worthy of its flagship status, and it deserves more credit than it gets compared to some of the more recognizable names on the smartphone scene.
There are caveats, though. If the feel of a design is crucial to deciding on your next phone, the OnePlus 11 is slightly out of its depth there, with clicky buttons and comparisons to make with smartphones that have been out of the market for half a decade. There are also the glaring omissions of IP68 waterproofing and wireless charging, combined with the design quibbles, making this device almost feel retro compared to the Google Pixel 7 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S23.
If, after reading our OnePlus 11 5G review, you don’t think it’s the phone for you, we’ve got some alternatives you can check out below.
Xiaomi Mi Ultra 13 / Xiaomi 13T Pro
For those in the U.S.A., the Xiaomi Mi Ultra 13 5G is a fitting substitute for the OnePlus 11, with similar strengths in battery life and performance. It comes down to what you’re looking for in a camera, with the Xiaomi offering slightly better portrait shots, in our opinion. For those reading in the UK, the brand new Xiaomi 13T Pro is similar, with even better images thanks to Leica co-engineered cameras.
Google Pixel 7 Pro
If it has to be an Android, the Google Pixel 7 Pro is another solid shout for an alternative to OnePlus’ flagship device. The cameras in the Pixel phone are just a touch better, while features like Magic Eraser make it easier to edit your photos on the go. It’s not as good for gaming, but if you’re interested in grinding Honkai Star Rail for hours on end, that shouldn’t be a problem.
The OnePlus 11 is an undersung powerhouse, providing mostly impressive cameras, an incredible display, and top-tier smartphone performance. However, some features I expect in a modern handset are missing, including IP68 waterproofing and wireless charging. The design of this handset also feels slightly sup-par for 2023, harkening back to outdated models from other manufacturers.