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OnePlus 11 review: 5 things to know

Impressive camera tech brings OnePlus' new phone into focus.

OnePlus 11 review: 5 things to know
07 February 2023

The OnePlus 11 comes at a time when OnePlus has been experimenting with its flagship line-up. Before last year, it decided it would offer three variants: A standard OnePlus, a Pro version and an updated T version later in the year. It was up to the consumer to decide which they preferred, Goldilocks' style.

Last year, we saw a shift, with no standard version launched. Instead we got the 'just-right' OnePlus 10 Pro and the later-released OnePlus 10T.

Skip to 2023 and things have gotten simpler still - well, it's only February so there's still time for complications - but for now we just have OnePlus 11 5G. No Pro nomenclature, no need when it comes to this flagship.

The OnePlus 11 is a phone that sees OnePlus back into its comfort zone. Its partnership with Hasselblad for the camera side of things has gained momentum, the processing and screen tech is top notch and we have a design that won't be for everyone but it's certainly eye-catching.

And the good news is that this is a flagship which brings OnePlus closer to its original intention as a brand: to offer high-end phones for a budget-conscious price.

We've been using the OnePlus 11 for a number of weeks now: here are five things you need to know...

1. The One Plus 11 specs are impressive

OnePlus 11 review
Image Credit: Marc Chacksfield / Future

We'll start with the screen. At 6.7 inches, it's the same size as the 10 Pro so even though the Pro name has been done away with, this handset is packing that level of specs. The screen is made from Gorilla Glass Victus, is 2K and up to 120Hz (it does ratchet all the way down to 1Hz).

The OnePlus 11 5G has both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos on board, so this is a handset primed for video streaming and gaming.

When I used the device, there wasn't a hint of judder when flipping through apps and the like (its processor is the super-powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2).

The screen was bright and responsive and while we still aren't hugely convinced by OnePlus' automatic brightness setting, I did love the fact that when you control it manually it takes you to the main screen, instead of having to guess the brightness when you are in the settings.

I also liked the personalisation that comes with the OnePlus. It's easy to move rows of apps up and down the home screen and the widgets can be changed and shifted in seconds, without going into myriad settings.

2. The OnePlus 11 design is high end

OnePlus 11 review
Image Credit: Marc Chacksfield / Future

I was given the Eternal Green variant of the OnePlus 11 to review - this is the more powerful handset, packing 16GB / 256GB). This is a glossy affair so you will be wiping away the fingerprints off the back of the thing. I haven't played with the black version (8GB / 128GB) but that has more of a matte finish. I would say that unlike the Pixel 7 range, the OnePlus 11 didn't feel like it was going to constantly slip out of my hand but the slip factor is certainly there.

The design of the OnePlus 11 is decent, with a small chrome border separating the back and the front of the device. On the left-hand side is a volume rocker, on the right is the power button and I was very pleased to see an old favourite back on the scene. That's right: the alert slider is back. There is something about physically moving from vibrate to ring to silent that is very appealing so it's great to have it back.

I wasn't as enamoured by the fact that the handset has an IP64 rating. This is fine if you get caught in the rain but unlike the majority of other flagships on the market. It's not a deal breaker but the fact that many phones can now survive a dreaded bath dip, we're surprised the rating is quite the full IP68.

3. The cameras come full circle

OnePlus 11 review
Image Credit: Marc Chacksfield / Future

Flip the OnePlus 11 over and this is when the design choices may divide opinion. Recently I got to try out the Samsung Galaxy S23 range and I praised it for essentially doing away with the camera bump - instead it just had the lenses protruding slightly from the back of the device.

There is none of that with the OnePlus 11. Its camera bump screams: I AM A CAMERA PHONE, with its three lenses and flash in a circle that blends into the frame of the device from the left-hand side.

Now, I like the design. I prefer it to the lozenge look on the back of the OnePlus 10 Pro and it really does highlight that OnePlus is serious about its camera technology and, just as importantly, its partnership with Hasselblad.

In fact the Hasselblad logo slices through the middle of the camera bump, the lip of which fits nicely to the edge of your finger when you are holding the handset.

This partnership can be seen in the photos the camera takes. First up, the lenses on board are fantastic. There's a: 50MP main sensor, 48MP ultra-wide, and 32MP portrait lens (also telephoto) on the rear and the front-facing 16MP camera (which is top left on the display).

The new portrait lens really adds depth to any face photos you are taking and I was impressed with the intelligent software features that were offered. This is where the Hasselblad connection comes in, with each photo taken given a software flourish by the camera giants.

I really liked the look of the lighting and the detail but your preference may well be to have a much more natural picture that you can tweak yourself in post.

I think the addition of this lens is more in keeping with the majority of the photos taken on the OnePlus 11 but it does mean that those looking for a dedicated telephoto zoom will need to look elsewhere.

There's also some great functionality with the ability to use the selfie cam while filming something (called Dual View Video) in front of you, offering a nice 'reaction' shot style video. Oh, an if you fancy shooting in 8K then there is that option on the OnePlus 11.

4. A punchy performance makes this great for games

OnePlus 11 review
Image Credit: Marc Chacksfield / Future

Inside the OnePlus 11 is a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset which makes it ideal for gaming. We tried COD Mobile on the thing and it played beautifully - the handset did get a tad warm while playing (there is cooling on board, the Cryovelocity VC Cooling system) but nothing out of the ordinary when compared to other models.

When gaming everything specs-wise can be upped to make sure that you can have the best gaming experience possible - it does drain the battery a bit, though. It's impressive stuff and the 6.7-inch screen means there's plenty of real estate to make gaming a pleasure on the OnePlus 11.

The 120Hz screen made sure everything was fluid, too, which made for a rich, rewarding gaming experience.

Netflix HDR streaming was a joy, too. The screen is really impressive for this and while there isn't a headphone jack, the inclusion of Atmos makes for a really expansive audio experience.

5. Battery is beefy but lacks wireless charging

OnePlus 11 review
Image Credit: Marc Chacksfield / Future

There is a big battery on the OnePlus 11: it uses a hearty a big 5,000mAh battery. Couple this with the AI functionality on board, which prioritises and de-prioritises features as and when they are needed and we got a decent use out of the thing.

We found that even by bedtime (around 10pm) there was usually 30-35% left. This did leave us with the option to not charge overnight, then give it a quick charge in the morning.

And when we say quick, the OnePlus 11 uses 80W SuperVOOC charging which gets the phone to 100% in around 30 minutes.

This almost meant that I didn't miss the lack of wireless charging. While there is ease of use of just putting a phone on a charger, rather than having to plug it in, this has always been a 'nice to have' rather than 'must have' option for me.

OnePlus 11: Final Verdict

OnePlus 11 review
Image Credit: Marc Chacksfield / Future

When looking at the OnePlus 11 in comparison to other flagships, it's really the price that stands out. The handset is available for a starting price of $699 / £729 (8GB, 128GB, black).

For flagship looks and specs, a camera that's more than capable and a battery life which is one of the best on the market it really is a great deal of phone for the money.

The lack of waterproofing and wireless charging may lose it some fans but given it comes in cheaper than the Google Pixel 7 range and WAY cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S23 range, this certainly feels like a contender.

The best thing with the price and the fact there's just one version of the OnePlus 11 available right now (albeit with variants in the specs) it proves that OnePlus has gone back to getting the basics right - and that's what people loved about the brand at the start.

Head to OnePlus' official site now to pre-order the OnePlus 11.