OnePlus 11 5G review: closer to the promised land

Review Summary

Expert Rating
7.5/10

Design
★  
7.5
/10
Display
★  
8.0
/10
Software
★  
7.5
/10
Camera
★  
7.0
/10
Performance
★  
7.0
/10
Battery
★  
7.5
/10

Pros

  • Premium design 
  • Splendid display
  • Fast charging 
  • Capable main camera

Cons

  • No IP rating
  • Macro shooting can be cumbersome
  • Can throttle under load

The OnePlus 11 has just landed in the Indian market. This time around there is no Pro model in the lineup, a first for the company since it announced the OnePlus 7 series back in 2019. However, what the OnePlus 11 lacks in name, it makes up for with the ‘Pro’ specs on offer. Chief among them is the inclusion of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC and a 50MP Sony IMX890 primary camera.

Hasselblad is continuing its partnership with OnePlus and the former’s branding is featured prominently both on the box and the phone’s optical setup. Last year’s OnePlus 10 Pro (review) did not particularly impress my colleague when comparing it to the competition. So has OnePlus spiced up its formula to crown itself as the undisputed flagship champ? Let’s take a deeper dive into the OnePlus 11 in this detailed review.

Verdict

The OnePlus 11 can be considered a loaded, premium offering with traits that almost match the phone’s price tag. As advertised, the phone boasts a best-in-class display that goes with its svelte design language and a clean UI. Apart from a few niggles arising from the macro camera mode and some sporadic thermal throttling, the rest of the OnePlus 11 experience remains top-notch.

Design and display

OnePlus rarely falters in its design department with the company seldom imparting a sense of ingenuity in its handsets. The OnePlus 11 comes with two finishes: a glossy look with the Eternal Green colour scheme and the other being a matte-finished Titan Black. I have received the latter and it is my preferred look on a smartphone. The construction is sleek, and premium, and has an elegant feel to it. Apart from that, the weight distribution across the chassis is quite even while the device tips the scales at about 205g. Like last time around, the OnePlus 11’s metallic-finished camera hump melts into the frame but the housing is circular instead of square. Hasselblad’s logo is plastered in between the three lenses and dual-LED flash module.

For audio, the phone packs in dual ‘reality’ speakers for a thumping stereo sound experience. OnePlus’ signature alert slider finds its way to the phone’s right edge below which sits a textured power button. On the right side, is a volume rocker bar positioned quite ingeniously inside the slim frame. The bottom of the device has the usual assortment of USB Type-C port, a speaker grille, and a dual-SIM slot. In my professional view, the OnePlus 11’s exterior is well-made while also extending a touch of panache to the overall build. My qualms are basically the lack of IP certification on the device for water resistance. The phone does have Corning’s Gorillas Glass 5 protection on the back but you would do well to make use of the silicone case provided inside the box.

Given the display specs being brought to the table, the OnePlus 11’s viewing experience is top-notch. You get a 6.7-inch QHD+ Super Fluid AMOLED panel that can refresh at 120Hz. It uses the new LTPO 3.0 technology, also seen on the iQOO 11 (review), that allows the phone to dynamically alter the refresh rate from 1 – 120Hz depending on the app. Apparently, it is said to have a much more focus on power efficiency than the last generation of LTPO. In any case, the real visual heavy lifting is done by the panel itself which has the ability to output 10-bit images (1.07 billion colours) while facilitating HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support. However, when I opened Netflix, the device’s maximum output was being shown as just WideVine L1. Even so, I think that a future software update can definitely fix this problem.

To wit, I did play a few HDR videos on YouTube and the picture quality had me enthralled. You can also fine-tune the colours in the Screen colour mode which is part of the overall display settings. There is also the Video Enhancement Engine with toggles for further sharpening images and increasing saturation levels. An unobtrusive punch-hole camera sits at the top-left of the screen and often disappears from view when I’m immersed in media content. There’s a slight curvature on each side of the display which I think adds to the device’s elegance while not being responsible for any accidental touches. Finally, the screen can deliver a peak brightness of up to 1,300nits which can be considered decent enough for any kind of outdoor usage.

Cameras

For optical usage, the phone has a trio of Sony sensors ie. a 50MP Sony IMX890 primary shooter, a 48MP ultra-wide Sony IMX581 sensor, and a 32MP IMX209 portrait tele lens. With this setup, it really looks like OnePlus is stepping up its camera game, and from my usage, I can safely say the company is going in the right direction. Putting aside whatever tuning Hasselblad has provided, daylight images churned out from the main shooter were sharp and rich in detail.

Contrast ratios did seem a bit off balance and the saturation levels were a tad bit on the higher side. However, users who like more vibrancy in their shots will likely appreciate the colour scheme being opted for by OnePlus. The dynamic range and exposure handling of the sensors are on point. The shutter speed is more-or-less instantaneous and it almost always captures a fast-moving object in near-perfect detail. The focus is also top-notch, so much so that I hardly ever had to tap in the viewfinder to get the subject in sharper detail.

Hasselblad’s filters are baked into the camera menu but I generally avoided using them. I also didn’t turn on the AI scene recognition as it produced the usual brand of oversaturated shots that rob the scenery of realism. Again, users inclined towards highly social media-ready images can definitely find some great use cases from this mode. Then there is the usual assortment of shooting modes such as the Hasselblad-powered Pro mode, Long Exposure, Tilt-shift, XPan, and more for users to experiment and play around with.

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The ultra-wide lens also has a macro mode built in, a feature absent from last year’s OnePlus 10 Pro. A major benefit of this is that one can get an extreme close-up shot of the subject while not compromising on the resolution. However, the automatic macro mode keeps sporadically switching the lenses from the primary to ultra-wide when approaching closer to the subject. It can be quite hard to get a good shot with a decent amount of focus. Regular ultra-wide shots had colours and details reproduced quite amicably although colour temperatures were a bit warmer when compared to the primary shooter.

The portrait lens, which also acts as a 2X telephoto shooter, is capable of quality edge detection and background separation. Subject highlights were kept in focus and the skin tones matched in real life. Apart from that the zoom capabilities on the lens were respectable enough but the detailing can get a bit sketchy in less-than-optimal lighting.

Coming now to the phone’s low light capabilities, which I think can be termed pretty decent for the price. The most impressive feature I thought was the level of detail being preserved in each shot when there was ambient lighting. Both dimly lit indoor conditions and outdoor scenes are handled quite well by the sensor.

However, when compared to some low-light shots from my iPhone 14 Plus, the colours on the OnePlus 11 seemed a bit dull. This was more apparent when I focused on some street lights and saw the yellow fluorescent bulbs being outputted in a whiter shade. The dedicated night mode helped in bits but most shots didn’t require its input as the sensor was large enough to capture a lot of light. My overall experience with night photography was satisfactory but there are pockets of improvements that can be made via software updates. Finally, you get a 16MP selfie camera up front which does take excellent selfies with good contrasts, background exposure in control, and matching skin tones.

Performance and software

The OnePlus 11 5G has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 running underneath the hood. It is currently the fastest silicon on the market for Android devices and it stands to reason that any daily tasks thrown at the device are brushed aside with ease. There’s just one problem though and that is the power efficiency of the device. I ran two intensive throttling benchmarks to see how the device fared under sustained load. On 3DMark’s Wild Life Extreme Stress test the phone actually got a rudimentary 53 percent stability score.

iQOO 11 (L) vs OnePlus 11 (R)

As for the CPU Throttle benchmark, twice the device dipped to nearly 56 percent of its peak capacity for what I can only believe to be a counter to heating. Indeed this was not a one-off affair, I ran the device through the two benchmarks a few more times and the results stayed the same. In comparison, the iQOO 11, having the same chipset, had a stability score of 70.4 percent and up to 86 percent peak performance maintained under load.

This is not to say that your day-to-day usage will get affected by the OnePlus 11. Tasks like social media, Chrome, Spotify, Netflix, and more can be breezed through with zero issues. The up to 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM assures that a multitude of apps can stay open in the background and can be recalled at a moment’s notice. Also, the overall Antutu score of 1,243,661 and Geekbench 5 multi-core result of 4,559 are pretty remarkable and can be considered in line with the iQOO 11’s results. As far as storage goes, the OnePlus 11 has up to 256GB based on the new UFS 4.0 standard.

iQOO 11 (L) vs OnePlus 11 (R)

However, I noticed the device had lower read speeds on CPDT’s sequential and random test when compared again to the iQOO 11, which also has 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. The real-world implications did not seem very apparent to me as the OnePlus 11 was lightning-fast when closing and opening apps. Even so, there were instances of momentary jitteriness when closing an especially large app like CoD: Mobile.

Speaking of which, the gaming experience on the phone is thoroughly enjoyable. I tested a few heavy-duty titles like CoD and PUBG: New State with very favourable results. The average fps was maintained at 60 while the graphics were set at max although I did feel the phone getting warm after extended usage. Also a shoutout to the excellent haptic feedback provided on the device and the even more exceptional dual-speaker setup. For authentication purposes, the in-display fingerprint sensor does a fantastic job of unlocking the phone. Apart from that you also have 5G capabilities on the OnePlus 11 with support for the popular sub-6Ghz bands.

The software skin of choice on the device OnePlus’ Android 13-based OxygenOS 13. Though largely indistinguishable from OPPO’s own ColorOS, the software experience on the device is fluid and bloatware-free. I also like the customisable dashboard menu which appears when swiping down from the home screen, although it can be disabled in the settings menu. The icon packs could do with a little more fine-tuning to make them look less jarring, but there’s a plethora of different themes that can be implemented across the UI. Apart from that, there’s further tweaking that can be done with the always-on-display. In general, OxygenOS’s previous charm may have dwindled a bit over the years, but for general use cases, the UI will serve most users well.

Battery

The OnePlus 11 packs in a 5,000mAh cell that is supported by 100W SuperVOOC charging. During my usage of the device, I actually operated the device mostly on a 5G network and used navigation extensively. I got about five hours of screen-on time with this heavy usage and on a normal day this extended to nearly seven hours. Apart from that inside the box, OnePlus has provided its 100W charging solution which juices up the phone in just about 20 minutes.

Final verdict

The OnePlus 11 5G is a phone that can be best described in a single word: glamorous. It is a stylishly crafted piece of hardware that is capable of completing any and all performance-oriented tasks. On top of that the device also brags of a world-class viewing experience and more than reasonable camera hardware. One can say that in comparison, the iQOO 11 handles sustained load and thermals better than the OnePlus 11. However, the use cases for these would be very specific to hardcore gamers and not so much for the majority of the audience. With its relatively clean software, super quick charging speeds, and much more, OnePlus 11 gets my vote as a premium yet reliable Android affair.

Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5

Pros:

  • Premium design
  • Splendid display
  • Fast charging
  • Capable main camera

Cons:

  • No IP rating
  • Macro shooting can be cumbersome
  • Can throttle under load

Key Specs

OnePlus 11
RAM8 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Rear Camera50 MP + 48 MP + 32 MP
Front Camera16 MP
Battery5000 mAh
Display6.7 inches (17.02 cm)
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OnePlus 11 Price
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Rs. 45,999.00
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