OnePlus 11 Preview: can this bring the OnePlus glory days back?

OnePlus 11 Intro

OnePlus is at a crossroads. The company, which started with the ambition to make “flagship killer” phones seems to have missed the mark a bit in the last couple of years, and these days, it’s known more for its great budget phones rather than top-notch superphones.

The upcoming OnePlus 11 is its chance to change that. As a fresh start, the OnePlus 11 comes with a redesigned camera system, and it gets a helping hand by one of the most impressive processors recently: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Coupled with the insanely fast charging speeds that OnePlus are known for and with meticulous attention to detail, this phone is a beast in disguise.

But can it finally match and even rival the big names like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Google Pixel 7 Pro? Let’s find out.

*Disclaimed: This article is a preview based on preliminary information in the form of leaks and rumors about the OnePlus 11. We are continuously updating it with new information as it comes in, but since the device is not officially unveiled yet, that information is subject to change in the final version.

What’s new about the device

  • New design with gorgeous round camera system
  • OnePlus alert slider is back
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside
  • 100W fast charging

Table of Contents:

OnePlus 11 Specs

We’ve already mentioned the new processor and camera system, but take a look at all of the OnePlus 11 specs highlights below:

OnePlus 11 Models

The OnePlus 11 is the flagship OnePlus phone for 2023. There is no OnePlus 11 Pro this time, as OnePlus seems to have ditched the “Pro” name for the moment.

Previously, before the phone was released, rumors speculated that it might be called the OnePlus 11 Pro, but subsequently evidence surfaced that it would be known as just “OnePlus 11”.

We expect to see at least three models, and possibly a fourth. They are all the same in terms of specs and features except for the amount of RAM and on-board storage:

  • 8GB RAM + 128GB storage
  • 12GB RAM + 256GB storage
  • 16GB RAM + 256GB storage
  • 16GB RAM + 512GB storage

OnePlus 11 Design & Colors

Big phone with a gorgeous round camera system

The OnePlus 11 is first and foremost a big phone with a 6.7-inch screen size, but it is not quite as wide as say a Galaxy Ultra, so it is easier to hold in just one hand.

The design is mostly similar to the OnePlus 10 Pro, glass back, aluminum frame, and you also have the familiar Alert Slider on the side, also known as the mute switch, which is super convenient.

The power button and Alert Slider are on the right, volume buttons – on the left. On the bottom, you have a USB-C port, a loud speaker and a mic.

The OnePlus 11 is expected to feature IP68 water and dust protection rating.

We don’t yet know all the colors the OnePlus 11 will be available in, but we’ll update you on that as soon as we have that info.

OnePlus 11 Display

The 6.7-inch screen here is expected to continue the tradition of top-notch quality OnePlus screens.

It runs at 1440p resolution for extra crispy detail, and it supports a dynamic refresh rate that goes up to 120Hz.

So far, we don’t have much intelligence about the new features for this display, so stay tuned for more on that later.

In terms of biometrics, the OnePlus 11 uses an optical type in-screen fingerprint scanner. OnePlus traditionally has some of the fastest fingerprint scanners in the industry and we don’t expect this to change on the 11. Also, you will have face unlock via the front camera, so it’s not a 3D secure type of Face ID, but it’s still nice to have on board.

OnePlus 11 Camera

Strange camera choices

The OnePlus 11 comes with a redesigned camera system that looks big and impressive from afar, but look closer and you will see some very strange decisions were taken with this camera.

First, let’s break down the camera specs:

  • 50MP main camera, Sony IMX890 sensor
  • 48MP ultra-wide, Sony IMX581 sensor
  • 32MP 2X zoom, Sony IMX709 sensor

You get a 50MP main snapper, but interestingly, OnePlus seems to have opted for the Sony IMX890 sensor, which other phone makers use for the ultra-wide camera on their phones. It’s certainly not in the same category as the 1-inch Sony IMX989 sensor used by Xiaomi and Vivo. The ultra-wide camera sensor is also far from being the most impressive in the industry.

Last, but not least, the third camera in this system is a 2X zoom lens, and while we’d be the first to admit that 2X is an absolutely must for portrait photography, we have seen other phone makers provide a 2X mode via a crop from the center of the main camera sensor and the quality is very, very close to a dedicated camera. So it might have been a better idea for OnePlus to equip this phone with a longer-range zoom, instead of a 2X lens which could be simulated with a capable main camera sensor.

Still, it’s way too early to pass judgment, it’s just that so far, strange is the least offensive word to describe the OnePlus 11’s camera system and we hope there is something more at play here.

OnePlus 11 Performance & Benchmarks

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 goodness

OnePlus may not have a reputation for being the ultimate camera experience, but it sure has impressed us with its relentless focus on performance and speed.

The OnePlus 11 is a “OnePlus” in every sense of that word with the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a processor that might go down in history as some of Qualcomm’s best.

Not only that, if you opt for the beefed up versions, you can get the OnePlus 11 with as much as 16GB of RAM, which gives it the kind of performance you could only get out of say an Asus ROG phone.

We will bring you more color on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and OnePlus 11 performance soon, with benchmarks and all the rest, so check back here in a while.

OnePlus 11 Connectivity

The one thing you should know about the OnePlus 11 is that it is expected to first launch as an exclusive in China in December 2022, while the global version will probably arrive a few months after that.

The Chinese model will not be sold globally, but some specialized traders can import the model from the Asian country. Just keep in mind that those Chinese OnePlus models usually have different software with Chinese bloatware and different cellular bands, so you might not be able to use proper 5G on such a phone. Even for impatient folks, we’d recommend waiting until a global model becomes available to purchase this one.

OnePlus 11 Android version

The OnePlus 11 will ship with Android 13, but the actual skin on top of it will differ depending on the model. The Chinese version is expected to launch with the latest ColorOS on top, for example, while the international model will have Oxygen OS.

OnePlus 11 Battery

Plenty of juice

The OnePlus 11 is expected to have a 5,000mAh battery on board, which has become the de facto standard among Android flagship phones.

But what is not so ordinary is the incredibly fast charging speed on the phone. Expectations are for 100W max charging speeds, a neat upgrade from the 80W supported on the 10 Pro. This should top up the battery fully in under 30 minutes. Do keep in mind, however, that as fast as that is, it’s not the fastest around, an honor currently held by Xiaomi and its 210W charging system.

Interestingly, the OnePlus 10T mid-year refresh from 2022, supports 150W fast charger with the charging brick included in the box for free.

You will also have wireless charging support too, at speeds of up to 50W with a compatible charger.

OnePlus 11 Competitors

If the OnePlus 11 is priced like its predecessor at more than $1,000, it will enter the big leagues and will complete directly with devices like the Galaxy S23 Ultra, iPhone 14 Pro, and Google Pixel 7.

OnePlus makes solid phones, but traditionally camera performance is not quite on par with those three big names above, so we’ll be curious to learn more about that. Those who value performance, fast charging, and gamers, however, would really appreciate what the OnePlus 11 brings to the table.

OnePlus 11 Summary

It’s way too early to know whether the OnePlus 11 will be the flagship success that will bring OnePlus back to the limelight, but we do expect the new chip and performance improvements to help.

As always, the big question with OnePlus is all about the camera and that is what we will be looking at in our full in-depth review.

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