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.

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

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 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 possible 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

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

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

OnePlus might 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.