OnePlus 11 5G Review: The One to Beat?
2022 was a strange year for OnePlus’ flagship smartphone lineup. We just had one proper flagship in the beginning of the year, the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G (Review), but no refresh after it. There was no OnePlus 10, but the OnePlus 10T 5G (Review) came later with a faster SoC and with most of the frills of the Pro stripped away, including the iconic Alert slider. Now, the company has just showcased its initial slate of products for 2023, which includes the OnePlus 11R 5G and the OnePlus 11 5G. Both smartphones feature a tweaked design with the Alert slider in place, and upgraded specs.
Today, we’ll be focusing primarily on the OnePlus 11 5G. Even though it doesn’t have ‘Pro’ in its name, the 11 5G can be considered a spiritual successor to the 10 Pro 5G as it has some upgraded hardware that gives it an immediate edge. However, it also misses out on a few features such as wireless charging and still lacks an official IP rating. Do the upgrades to the OnePlus 11 5G justify losing some of the frills we have come to expect from flagship phones? Let’s find out.
OnePlus 11 5G price in India
The OnePlus 11 5G price starts at Rs. 56,999 in India and the base variant comes with 8GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 128GB of UFS 4.0 storage. The second variant doubles everything, offering 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for Rs. 61,999. This is pretty aggressive pricing considering the 11 5G is on par with the 10 Pro 5G in terms of specs, and even exceeds it in some areas.
OnePlus 11 5G design
The OnePlus 11 5G looks very similar to the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G from last year and that’s not a bad thing. The most obvious change is that the rear camera module is now circular instead of square. There’s also also some added texture under the camera module’s glass that’s visible when viewed at certain angles. The Hasselblad logo is now placed horizontally, between the four camera lenses instead of to one side.
The rest of the dimensions, build quality, and in-hand feel are pretty much the same as those of the 10 Pro 5G. The OnePlus 11 5G is ever so slightly slimmer at 8.53mm, but it has gained a bit more weight at 205g. The curved sides of the aluminium frame make it comfortable to carry this phone around but it can be very slippery when held in one hand due to the smooth finish of the back panel, which has Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The rubber case included in the box does help. OnePlus sent us the Titan Black colour this time, but it’s also available in Eternal Green, similar to the 10 Pro 5G.
The display on the OnePlus 11 5G now supports Dolby Vision HDR playback, but is otherwise very similar to that of the OnePlus 10 Pro. It’s a 6.7-inch QHD+ AMOLED panel with a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz (can drop to 1Hz), and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. The phone comes with a pre-applied scratch guard, which I personally find very annoying. The display and back panel have curved edges just like before, which give it a premium look.
The OnePlus 11 5G’s box includes a cable and charging adapter. The phone now supports 100W SuperVOOC fast wired charging, which promises a full charge in 25 minutes.
OnePlus 11 5G specifications and software
No Android flagship is complete if it doesn’t sport the latest SoC and that’s exactly what you get. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC in the OnePlus 11 5G doesn’t seem to be customised in any way for the phone, unlike Samsung’s S23 series, but OnePlus claims that it has used a new, larger vapour cooling system that should offer better hear dissipation for sustained performance.
The OnePlus 11 5G technically supports Wi-Fi 7, which might become available in India soon. There’s also Bluetooth 5.3, support for 13 5G bands, and the usual suite of sensors and satellite navigation systems. The phone has a 5,000mAh battery, stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, an in-display fingerprint sensor (optical), and NFC.
The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G didn’t have an IP certification, except the US, but all models were confirmed to have the necessary protective measures equivalent to IP68 certification. It’s a similar story with the OnePlus 11 5G. The Indian units don’t get an official IP rating but OnePlus has confirmed that the 11 5G has IP64-equivalent ingress protection. The drop from ‘8′ to ‘4′ in the rating indicates that the 11 5G can no longer be submerged in water, so you’ll need to handle it with a bit more care.
The OnePlus 11 5G runs on OxygenOS 13, which is based on Android 13. The new skin now looks more like Oppo’s ColorOS than ever, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your preference. It comes with all the features we’re used to seeing in OxygenOS, along with some new ones such as RAM-Vita. This is said to optimise RAM allocation to active apps that need it the most. The OnePlus 11 5G is also expected to get four years of Android updates and five years of security updates.
OnePlus 11 5G performance and battery life
The OnePlus 11 5G delivers very good performance for casual use and packs enough power for demanding tasks such as games. In the fews weeks that I’ve been using it, the phone has performed exceptionally well with no sign of any unusual heating or lag in the interface. The fingerprint sensor is quick and precise, 5G works well, and the display’s brightness is more than adequate even outdoors during the day.
The stereo speakers on the OnePlus 11 5G get really loud and sound good. The stereo separation is slightly unbalanced, with the main speaker sounding a bit louder than the earpiece, but this isn’t uncommon. Games such as Call of Duty Mobile ran very well even with the graphics and framerate set to the highest levels. The back gets a little warm during gaming. Viewing HDR videos was a good experience too, although at the time of this review, the Netflix app wasn’t able to detect the HDR capability of the display.
In terms of benchmarks, the OnePlus 11 5G scored 10,16,772 points in AnTuTu, as well as 1,163 and 4,798 points in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests respectively. The phone maxed out most of the tests in 3DMark.
The OnePlus 11 5G has an option to automatically change the display resolution from full-HD+ to QHD+ based on the app or content, and it’s the setting I primarily used. This, coupled with the display’s ability to scale its refresh rate down to 1Hz when needed (like for the Always-on display) resulted in very good battery life. Even with long gaming sessions and camera use, I was easily able to go beyond one full day on a single charge. This was reflected in the stellar runtime of our HD video loop test, which lasted 23 hours, 25 minutes with the resolution set at full-HD+, and 21 hours, 46 minutes when set to QHD+.
I did miss wireless charging on the OnePlus 11 5G, but the super-quick wired charger somewhat made up for it. I was able to charge the phone from zero to full in roughly 26 minutes. What’s nice is that you don’t need to enable any special mode to charge at 100W, as the phone manages this optimisation automatically.
OnePlus 11 5G cameras
OnePlus has overhauled all the cameras on the 11 5G, compared to the 10 Pro 5G. The main camera now uses a Sony IMX890 sensor which is slightly smaller than the one in the 10 Pro 5G, but has gained a bit more resolution (50 megapixels). The focal length has increased by 1mm but the aperture is still the same f/1.8. The ultra-wide camera gets a much-needed upgrade to a 48-megapixel Sony IMX581 sensor. It has a narrower field of view than before (115 degrees vs 150 degrees), but the sensor is now larger and it supports autofocus which means macro mode is back.
The third rear camera is a 32-megapixel Sony IMX709 sensor with 2X optical zoom and a wider f/2.0 aperture. Weirdly, despite the increase in resolution, the maximum zoom level is just 20X, which is lower than the 30X offered by the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G which had an 8-megapixel telephoto camera. For selfies, OnePlus has gone back to its old Sony IMX471 16-megapixel sensor which is a downgrade from what the 10 Pro 5G offered.
Photos captured by the OnePlus 11 5G get the Hasselblad ‘natural’ colour treatment but at the same time, the camera app also has a toggle for ‘AI scene enhancement’ which tends to artificially boost the colours of scenes and certain objects. You also get special filters in Photo and Portrait modes which were co-developed by Hasselblad brand ambassadors. The app also lets you capture 10-bit colour photos for use in professional workflows.
Images shot with the main camera in the daytime were quite good. Colours are vivid but not oversaturated, HDR is handled well, and the autofocus is reliable. In landscape shots, the finer details on distant objects have slightly better definition compared to shots taken with the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G. Close-ups look good too with sharp details and a smooth background blur. At night, the 11 5G automatically takes long exposure shots that pack a decent level of detail with little to no noise.
The ultra-wide camera on the OnePlus 11 5G is a marked improvement over the one on last year’s 10 Pro 5G. Colours and textures on objects are clearer and more vivid. Even low-light photos look very good with sufficient exposure and punchy colours. The camera app will automatically switch to the ultra-wide camera for macro shots once you get close enough to an object. If you find auto-switching annoying, you can disable it from within the app. Macro shots look good although I did face some focusing issues at times, and the focusing distance is not as tight as what the iPhone 13 Pro offers.
Images shot with the telephoto camera have also improved slightly. Details, textures, and the colours of objects are better at all magnification levels when compared to what the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G can capture. In low light, the camera app usually uses digital zoom through the main camera unless the subject is well lit. Night mode still works even at 2X magnification.
The selfie camera produces usable images during the day and in low light. As long as you don’t zoom in to crop photos too much, most users should be happy with the results. There are plenty of filters and skin retouching tools to play with if you want. However, compared to the 10 Pro 5G, selfies shot with the 11 5G tend to have paler skin tones and weaker textures.
The OnePlus 11 5G can record video at up to 8K 24fps, although I don’t think a lot of OnePlus users would actually use this. Most people should be happy with 4K 30fps as you can switch to the ultra-wide camera or zoom up to 10X while recording. It’s worth noting that magnification at any resolution and framerate, except for 1080p 30fps, is done digitally using the main camera rather than the telephoto one. Stabilisation is good and footage taken in daylight packs good details. Low-light videos are also decent but they can look a bit noisy, and walking while recording does introduce some jitter in the footage. ‘AI Highlight’ video works at 4K but when enabled, you cannot zoom in or out while recording. It didn’t seem to make much difference during the day but it does help brighten videos taken in extreme low light, at the cost of added noise.
One thing worth pointing out is that 8K video recording is actually usable on the 11 5G, unlike the 10 Pro 5G which would overheat after a few minutes, at least at the time we reviewed it. On the 11 5G, I was able to record 20 minutes straight in 8K and the phone only got sightly warm.
The OnePlus 11 5G comes in at a fairly aggressive price, starting at Rs. 56,999. Even the top-end variant that we reviewed is well priced at Rs. 61,999, undercutting the iQoo 11 5G (Review). The OnePlus 11 5G also makes the higher variants of the OnePlus 10T redundant. The one feature that would have made the 11 5G a complete package is wireless charging, but if you don’t much care about this, it shouldn’t matter. I think the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G is still relevant as it’s only slightly behind the new model but (unofficially) offers better waterproofing and very fast wireless charging.
For all those waiting to upgrade to a smartphone with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, the OnePlus 11 5G is a solid offering that builds on the strengths of the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G and is priced attractively.