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OnePlus 11 5G review: The return of the flagship killer
OnePlus comes out strong with a focused strategy and a superb phone that won't break the bank
5/5 Medals of Yavin: Highly recommended for people looking for a high performing Android phone available for less than $800
No compromises on specifications
Super fast wired charging with the brick and cable in the box
No wireless charging, but who needs it with long battery and a provided charger?
Nine years ago OnePlus launched the OnePlus 1 and it was labeled as a “flagship killer”. This moniker held for a bit, but with increasing prices and multiple devices it seemed that OnePlus phones didn’t always stand out from Samsung, LG, Google, and Motorola offerings.
Last year’s OnePlus 10T was a solid phone with a reasonable $649 launch price, but removing the iconic OnePlus Alert Slider was a bit controversial and it was hard to say that the OnePlus 10T was a step forward.
After spending more than three weeks with the OnePlus 11 5G, I am happy to say that OnePlus has returned to its roots with a well-priced flagship killer. It is a full third less than Samsung’s competing Galaxy S23 Ultra and I’m not convinced that capturing photos of the moon and using the S Pen is worth another $400.
As explained in my palmsolo’s Refresh Rating Scale post, I’m awarding the OnePlus 11 5G five (5) Medals of Yavin. The powerful specifications, flawless performance, solid camera performance, useful Alert Slider, long battery life, and price make it easy to recommend for anyone looking for an Android phone. It checks nearly every box and won’t break the bank.
The Good and the Bad
It’s pretty rare for me to not find something that can be improved with a product, but it was tough with the OnePlus 11 5G.
Newest Qualcomm flagship processor
No bloatware or ads
Ample RAM and storage
Three-way Alert Slider
Super fast wired charging, brick and cable in the box
No wireless charging
Green model is slippery as an eel
When the OnePlus 11 5G first arrived, I was struck by the unique rear camera arrangement and back glass design.
The three cameras and the LED light are housed in a circular protrusion with a single piece of glass mounted over the four openings. Compared to the iPhone and Galaxy models with distinct circles on the back, I am a fan of this protective layer over the lenses.
The glass panel around the camera module curves up from the back to meet the round camera array while a stainless steel ring then blends into the right side — where you can find the tactile three-way Alert Slider.
The Alert Slider lets you quickly and easily switch between silent, vibrate, and ring modes. Unlike the terribly small and difficult to use iPhone ringer switch, the Alert Slider has tactile grid pattern that makes is seamless to slide up and down to switch between the modes reliably.
The metal frame and glass front and back have seamless transitions with an elegant look and feel.
I was sent the Eternal Green model that looks rather stunning, but is also extremely slippery so I am on the hunt for a case to help it from slipping out of my hand.
The superb Super AMOLED high resolution display with LTPO 3.0 looks fantastic. Dolby Vision support is provided — one of the first Android phones to support this feature. The display is curved at the edges and flows into the side metal frame, but I have yet to experience a single inadvertent screen activation. It also has a high refresh rate and I’m seeing the OnePlus 11 perform more smoothly with scrolling than the Google Pixel 7 Pro.
I love that most Android phones are narrower than the wide iPhone and the OnePlus 11 has this same design. The narrow form factor makes it easy to hold and use with one hand too.
A plastic screen protector was installed on the phone and I have left it in place, but it has also gathered a lot of scratches so I will also be looking for a glass replacement to continue to protect the display.
The dual stereo speakers sound great while watching media content and playing games. Dolby Atmos support is provided via the onboard speakers and Bluetooth headphones. OnePlus continues to offer a very capable gaming platform with advanced cooling technology that uses new materials and a large area to dissipate the heat.
The ability to charge from 1 to 100% in 27 minutes is stunning and really shames the long charging times of the Google Pixel 7 Pro. OnePlus also has an advanced battery health engine that took three years to develop. This technology helps preserve the health of the battery in the phone and ensure a safe and fast charging environment with long battery life.
While I have been using the camera extensively and capturing comparison photos with other smartphones, I will post future content diving into those details because OnePlus offers an extensive number of modes for being creative with the OnePlus 11 5G. I’ve been very impressed by the results of the camera, including the natural color calibration with Hasselblad.
OnePlus also impresses me with it’s software. The OnePlus 11 5G is powered by Android 13 with OxygenOS. OxygenOS enhances the Android experience through several advanced settings and options while still providing a fairly stock Android experience. There is no bloatware, ads, or other miscellaneous apps added to take away from the experience of having a powerful and capable phone.
Specifications alone don’t mean much, but they are useful for comparing similar devices and checking that you are getting value for your money.
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform
Display: 6.7-inch, 3216 x 1440 pixels, 1-120Hz refresh rate
Operating system: Oxygen OS based on Android 13
RAM: 8/16GB LPDDR5X
Internal storage: 128GB UFS 3.1 or 256GB UFS 4.0
Cameras: 50MP main, 48MP ultra-wide, 32MP portrait/tele, and 16MP front-facing
Battery: 5000 mAh with 80W fast wired charger
Dimensions: 163.1 x 74.1 x 8.53 mm and 205 grams
Colors: Titan Black and Eternal Green
If you are considering the OnePlus 11 5G, then I highly recommend you order one during the pre-order period, before 16 February, when you can get the 16GB RAM/256GB ROM model with a $100 Amazon gift card. This makes the effective price of the larger capacity model the same as the lower capacity model.
OnePlus stands apart from Samsung this year with more RAM, super fast wired charging with the charger in the box, and a price that is $300 to $400 less than the competing S23 Ultra.
I’ve been enjoying flawless cellular connectivity on both T-Mobile and Verizon, a battery that lasts me well into a second day with extensive use, and an Android smartphone experience that is nearly perfect.
Not bad for $799 and now let’s see if people outside of the enthusiast audience realize the value of a OnePlus 11 5G.
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*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. OnePlus sent the OnePlus 11 5G for evaluation purposes as a long-term loaner, but has no influence over the content in this review. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that add no additional cost to you and I may earn a small commission.