OnePlus 11 Review – A return to form, but a tough sell

I love saying this, but it feels like OnePlus almost back with OnePlus 11. In hindsight, I feel like I was probably complementing the OnePlus 10 Pro in a few areas by calling it an unfinished work of art, which it was. The problem is that it was such a step towards what OnePlus had been up against in the past that it probably should never have been a OnePlus-branded device.

The OnePlus 11 feels like, both literally and figuratively, a return to what OnePlus was originally meant to be; It’s more reasonably priced, the specs aren’t bleeding edge, but more than adequate for most users, and the device really looks the part.

A look at the hardware and specifications

The physical hardware looks nice, like almost all previous generations of OnePlus devices. The color choices are pleasing to the eyes – Eternal Green and Titanium Black – and the phone’s design has once again evolved. The evolution of the camera bump is fascinating, with a rounded shape that blends into the side of the device, almost reversing the OnePlus 10’s evolution to the layout offered on the OnePlus 9 devices.

On top of that, the OnePlus 11 is also noticeably slimmer than previous generation OnePlus devices, making it easier to hold and less likely to drop your device. Perhaps more important than this is the point to be made. The volume slider is back!!

On the surface, the specs are what you’d expect from a high-end, flagship-killer device, but if you just skim the surface, you’ll miss some important points. This is an interesting point for me in several areas, but we will first examine the specifications as a package. On the outside, you get what you’d expect from a flagship killer, with a current-generation Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, a reasonable amount of storage, and good RAM.

But there’s more to the story here, as the memory on the 256GB model is UFS 4.0, with the 16GB starting at LPDDR5X. These are small but measurable differences and will make the user experience much better in the long run.

The screen is a QHD 6.7-inch Super Fluid AMOLED with LTPO, and the display offers an amazingly smooth 525 PPI and a dynamic 1-120Hz refresh rate. The less technical side is that it’s smooth and has a fairly efficient battery. I feel like this is becoming a common statement on OnePlus phones, that the display is a real highlight of the user experience.

Keeping with the market norm, OnePlus has decided to keep the in-display fingerprint scanner. I’m convinced that we’re probably at a point where the fingerprint reader probably becomes secondary, if not tertiary, to how people unlock their devices, and face unlock is now the preferred option, very quickly. is

Given the overall high level of what the OnePlus 11 delivers, I’m disappointed that it only has an IP64 “splash and dust resistant” rating. IP68 feels like the level it should be at, it’s where a lot of higher-end devices fall, and if OnePlus wants to reclaim the mantle of ‘flagship killer’ then they need to deliver on the specs.

The OnePlus 11 is a device with solid specs that will see you through the next few years. it’s a nice looking device and feels solid in your hand.

It charges fast and the battery works well, but something is missing

OnePlus charging is fast and has been for several generations of the device now. The OnePlus 11 continues to be fast, it’s actually funny how fast this thing charges. With the OnePlus Charge Brick, you’ll go from borderline shutdown to dead battery to fully charged in half an hour.

However, there are several problems here. the first is that the charging brick doesn’t come with an Australian plug, the second is that because of this it’s not actually approved for use in Australia. You can use the OPPO SUPERVOOC charger with pretty fast charging results, but you won’t have to buy another charger when you’ve just bought the device.

The other problem is that there is no wireless charging. Don’t get me wrong, I get it… the OnePlus 11 is built to meet some high standards while still staying budget-friendly, but this is another swing and miss. Maybe they rely on outstanding wired charging speeds, but if you’re shooting in that high-end market. you have to check some simpler boxes like Qi charging.

However, instead of relying on wired charging speeds, I suspect that OnePlus actually thinks that their battery and power optimization will get everyone through the day.

My phone charges overnight, unplugs around 6am and charges again at 11pm. Even on hard working days, when video calls, emails with several hours of screen time for mail, social media, and streaming media, I’d go to sleep with more than 20% of the 5,000 mAh battery. This is a really impressive result, but the power optimization is sometimes quite aggressive.

This was disabling applications that I want, in some cases need, to always be pinging for data, such as my Emergency Services Response application. Where, if we are called to a rescue situation, a few minutes of delay in message delivery can make the difference between making my truck or missing, and a significant difference to the person who called for help.

The camera is getting better

This is the second generation of OnePlus cameras to benefit from the Hasselblad partnership. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, because the photos you get when subjects are still and well-lit are great; the color balance and sharpness of the pictures are outstanding. There’s obviously quite a bit of post-processing going on, but this led to the OnePlus 10 Pro overheating issues…

The other problem is that fast moving targets are extremely difficult to capture the way you want. The OnePlus 11 is a step up from its predecessor as the shutter lag is reduced, but there’s still a moment when you to think you took a great photo, but what you see on that preview looks like the moment you click the shutter screen. What is actually captured is a fraction of a second later and can completely change the photo.

That’s not to say the OnePlus 11 has a bad camera, far from it. The camera specs are impressive, and unless your target is moving quickly, you’ll get great photos.

If you’re going to be doing a lot of night photography, I’d probably recommend a small tripod just to make sure you get slightly brighter results. Low-light photography is, again, very good, but a little movement will translate into a potentially poor-quality photo, especially during a time-lapse.

The software is still very “OPPO”.

Last year’s review noted that the software had begun to transition to ColorOS, and that transition hasn’t stopped. There are many die-hard OnePlus fans out there who, like me, prefer the original feel of previous versions of OxygenOS over the current one; however, I understand why.

If you’re trying to update multiple versions of Android for multiple phones, the workload is significantly greater than if you only have one version (ColorOS) to update. This also helps position OnePlus as a more commercially viable option, rather than just for enthusiasts, in new markets.

Unlike last year, this version of the software appears to be finished.

So how does this translate to everyday use?

The short answer is: It’s really good if you can get over the fact that it doesn’t support VoLTE. Now, that’s pretty soon to be a problem for many potential buyers, especially if you’re on the go and rely on your phone’s data to get your work done.

Aside from that, the specs are at a level that means the phone just does its job and does it well throughout the day.

Battery life is very good; the charging is amazing, the camera is a good pass mark, and the performance, even in games, is more than enough to keep even relatively heavy users happy.

The OnePlus 11 is a really nice device, but it’s just not for Australians

There are a few reasons I say this, starting with the fact that there is no official way to get a OnePlus device in Australia. Yes, you can get them relatively easily, but it’s usually through importers and can cause you problems if your phone is defective.

If you shop around, you should be able to pick one up for between $1,100.00 and $1,200.00 at various online retailers. At that price, though, I’d probably point most people toward the Pixel 7 or (when it’s on sale) the Pixel 7 Pro.

I’m really excited about OnePlus’ next offering, but until there’s a way to get the device “officially” via a recognized support path, with Australian network and electrical certifications, I just can’t recommend them to anyone in Australia.

Disclosure statement

Due to the cost of shipping, OnePlus did not request a return of the device.

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