OnePlus 11 Review
Nothing to lose?
For over nine years now, OnePlus has been churning out smartphones globally. The relatively young founders: Pete Lau and Carl Pei, believed that a smartphone with high-end specs running Cyanogenmod at a competitive price would become a 'flagship killer.' Although OnePlus is a subsidiary of the Chinese giant Oppo, OnePlus has always had a unique design that made it stand out. Coupled with its Oxygen OS that allowed a blazing-fast Android experience while maintaining that light and stock Android look with a modern design, I have always had a soft spot for OnePlus phones. An alert slider on an Android phone and super fast charging have kept them apart from an ocean of Android phones that looked the same.
In 2020, things started going south for OnePlus. Carl Pie left the company in October 2020. In 2021, OnePlus announced it would merge Oppo's Color OS with Oxygen OS. New OnePlus phones would look identical to Oppo phones that would be released within a few weeks. OnePlus 10t was the first OnePlus flagship phone not to include a dedicated silent/ring switch. MKBHD awarded the OnePlus 10t as Bust of the year 2022.
Come February 2023, OnePlus is trying to turn things around with the OnePlus 11. The phone ticks all boxes specs-wise. The fastest Snapdragon Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4 nm) processor. A gorgeous 1440p AMOLED Display with 120Hz LTPO and Dolby Vision. A decent Camera housed in a phone with a 2023 appropriate hardware design. Haptics that would rival the blue bubble gang. And an alert slider!
I have used the 16GB RAM — 256GB storage model for two weeks. Android 13 on the phone is clean and zappy. I do miss the Oxygen OS after having used it for years now. Color OS is slowly starting to grow on me. The magic of UFS 4.0 makes the phone feel fast. The Hasselblad Integration offers a lot of features in the default Camera app. Overall, I am happy with the photos of this phone in normal lighting conditions. The 100W VOOC Charger is the cherry on top.
With Android, you are given free rein over how the phone should work for you. There are endless ways to customize the phone to make it right for you. My philosophy with Smartphone customization is — just like each individual is unique and different in their way, their phone should be customizable to suit their thinking and methods of working.
The OnePlus 11 has a wide gamut of tools that help you customize the phone and function how you want it to run. Wallpapers, Themes, Lock Screens, Icons, Always On Displays, Status Bars — everything is easy to tweak. Unlike Samsung phones, there is no bloatware on the device.
The market has a lot of options if you are looking to get a new phone. The Nothing Phone(1) or the Pixel 7 were my alternatives. The only downside is that those phones came out last year.
With the OnePlus 11 phone, OnePlus is on the cusp of returning to its former glory. Many folks in the OnePlus Community were unhappy with the design choices made in the past few years. Maybe 2023 is when OnePlus returns on track and becomes the 'Flagship killer' again.