OnePlus 11 review

GSMArena Team, 7 February 2023.

OxygenOS 13 with Android 13

The OnePlus 11 runs on the latest version of Android 13 with its own OxygenOS 13 layer on top. But don't be fooled by the name. The new OxygenOS 13 is different from the OxygenOS we fell in love with in the past. Even though Oppo said it's keeping OxygenOS for the global market, after fans' reaction, the new OxygenOS is identical to ColorOS and even Realme's Realme UI 4.0, for that matter. It seems like ColorOS is not only running on OnePlus devices in China but in Europe, India and the US as well. We even found some underlying and hard-to-spot similarities between OxygenOS and ColorOS, suggesting that those are indeed one and the same operating system.

OnePlus 11 review

Sadly, OnePlus broke its promise from last year that it would revert OxygenOS back to its stock-ish state and abandon its plans to morph into ColorOS.

We get that most OnePlus fans will be deeply disappointed because the rather clean nature of OxygenOS, sprinkled with some additional features, was the sweet spot and kept them coming back. The good news is that ColorOS has come a long way since its first release and is now a snappy, polished and highly-customizable Android skin with its own exclusive feature set. Let's take a closer look.

Having said all that, it probably isn't a surprise that the OxygenOS 13's overall appearance and iconography are completely revamped to be in line with Realme UI 4.0 and ColorOS 13. And by iconography, we mean the quick toggles in the drop-down menu and the icons in the system settings menu.

Home screen, notification shade,  recent apps, settings menu - OnePlus 11 review Home screen, notification shade,  recent apps, settings menu - OnePlus 11 review Home screen, notification shade,  recent apps, settings menu - OnePlus 11 review Home screen, notification shade,  recent apps, settings menu - OnePlus 11 review
Home screen, notification shade,  recent apps, settings menu - OnePlus 11 review Home screen, notification shade,  recent apps, settings menu - OnePlus 11 review Home screen, notification shade,  recent apps, settings menu - OnePlus 11 review Home screen, notification shade,  recent apps, settings menu - OnePlus 11 review
Home screen, notification shade, recent apps, settings menu

Similar to the stock Android, the first two toggles in the notification shade are big, rounded rectangles. The rest are still circles, though, as opposed to the stock rectangles. Notification cards, however, are almost identical to stock, with the exception of the app icons. In ColorOS... uhm, we mean OxygenOS, the icons are simplified and colorless.

Customization options are the usual - wallpapers, fonts, icons, accent colors, quick toggles, fingerprint animation, Always-on display, you name it.

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Customization options - OnePlus 11 review Customization options - OnePlus 11 review Customization options - OnePlus 11 review
Customization options

Speaking of Always-on, this is probably one of the few traces left of OxygenOS. Most of the Always-on presets are in typical OnePlus style, and you also have the contextual feature where the Always-on would show relevant information depending on the scenario. You can see upcoming events, current music playing, weather conditions, etc., at a glance. It has deeper integration with Spotify as well.

Always-on display - OnePlus 11 review Always-on display - OnePlus 11 review Always-on display - OnePlus 11 review
Always-on display

The Home screen and Lock screen sub-menu offer a couple of new features, which aren't new for ColorOS, though. The Icon pull-down gesture is particularly useful on a big device like the OnePlus 11. Sadly, OnePlus got rid of the swipe-and-hold gesture from the Home screen that would send you directly to the search bar in the app drawer. It was one of the most useful functions. Sad to see it go.

Icon pull-down gesture - OnePlus 11 review Icon pull-down gesture - OnePlus 11 review
Icon pull-down gesture

When it comes to sound and vibration, the new OxygenOS 13 is pretty generous with customization options. The O-Haptics menu has been around for a while on ColorOS, but it's new for OxygenOS users. It grants you granular control over the intensity and the type of haptic feedback you receive - either Crisp or Gentle. All in all, the haptics motor feels great - natural, crisp and strong enough.

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Sound and vibration - OnePlus 11 review Sound and vibration - OnePlus 11 review Sound and vibration - OnePlus 11 review
Sound and vibration

Sound-wise, the new Android 13 allows for Spatial Audio support, while the Dolby Atmos support is courtesy of OnePlus.

OxygenOS now comes with more notification-related options. You can tinker with the notification cards on the Lock screen, the banners that show over other apps, and the status bar icons. The reduced notification feedback when in a full-screen app is particularly interesting. Vibration intensity is decreased and the notification sound is more subtle. Also, the banner you get on top of a full-screen app is simplified. One annoying thing, though, is that you can't clear the notification cards from the lock screen with a single swipe. You should either swipe left twice or swipe once and tap on the trash bin.

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Notification and status bar options

Unfortunately, OnePlus seems to have skipped any customization options regarding the physical alert slider. We remember when OxygenOS offered at least some basic options to the three available profiles (Ring, Vibrate, Silent) but not anymore. All you can do is flip the switch and that's it.

You are probably tired of hearing it, but the so-called Special features in the Settings menu are new for OxygenOS users, but not for ColorOS. You now get Flexible windows (floating, adjustable apps in windows), Smart Sidebar (an edge bar you pull out from the side that contains favorite apps or actions) and Work-Life Balance. The latter aims to help you focus on your work-related tasks and limit distractions from your phone.

Floating windows and Smart sidebar - OnePlus 11 review Floating windows and Smart sidebar - OnePlus 11 review Floating windows and Smart sidebar - OnePlus 11 review Floating windows and Smart sidebar - OnePlus 11 review
Floating windows and Smart sidebar

It's sad to see OxygenOS go, but we hope that Oppo and OnePlus try to find a middle ground and cater to their die-hard fans. It's not that there's something inherently wrong with ColorOS 13/Realme UI 4.0/OxygenOS 13, but the similar hardware and identical software across all three brands might lead to cannibalizing sales. People may find little reason to opt for a OnePlus phone.

In any case, we felt that OxygenOS 13 behaves well in day-to-day usage - it's fast, snappy and reliable. At least we didn't encounter any problems, except for the issues we've outlined in the display section.

Benchmark performance

The OnePlus 11 runs on the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 - the definitive chipset for high-end Android smartphones in 2023.

OnePlus 11 review

We went into more detail on the generational improvements on the announcement date, but the key takeaways are 35% higher performance and 40% improved efficiency of the CPU thanks in no small part to a reworked core configuration (1+2+2+3 in place of the 1+3+4 of before), 25% and 45% performance and efficiency bumps on the GPU side, and support for new, faster memory technologies (LPDDR5X and UFS 4.0).

Additionally, OnePlus 11 offers a RAM-Vita feature that accelerates every layer of RAM allocation, which can sometimes mean closing current cached tasks and clearing up the room for more immediate tasks. AI-related tasks are served with priority, like the camera app, for example. It may use up to 1GB of RAM.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 8 Pro
    5211
  • OnePlus 11
    4899
  • Motorola Edge 30 Ultra
    4265
  • Tecno Phantom X2 Pro
    3984
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    3682
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    3657
  • ROG Phone 6D
    3531
  • Realme GT2 Pro
    3501
  • OnePlus 10 Pro
    3447
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    3433
  • OnePlus 10T
    3401

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 8 Pro
    1486
  • Motorola Edge 30 Ultra
    1276
  • Tecno Phantom X2 Pro
    1248
  • Realme GT2 Pro
    1238
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    1180
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    1169
  • OnePlus 11
    1150
  • OnePlus 10T
    1043
  • ROG Phone 6D
    1015
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    1002
  • OnePlus 10 Pro
    975

Interestingly, the OnePlus 11 struggled to keep up with the recently reviewed nubia Red Magic 8 Pro in the multi-thread scenario but fared well against the older chipsets. However, the single-core score got us wondering as it wasn't enough to overtake last year's Exynos 2200, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and even the Dimensity 9000 SoC.

AnTuTu 9

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 8 Pro
    1288866
  • OnePlus 11
    1140661
  • Motorola Edge 30 Ultra
    1074722
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    1012896
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    985226
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    968359
  • Realme GT2 Pro
    966251
  • Tecno Phantom X2 Pro
    961576
  • ROG Phone 6D
    948594
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    940400
  • OnePlus 10 Pro
    886248
  • OnePlus 10T
    786238

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 11
    61
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 8 Pro
    61
  • OnePlus 10T
    46
  • OnePlus 10 Pro
    43
  • Motorola Edge 30 Ultra
    43
  • ROG Phone 6D
    43
  • Realme GT2 Pro
    42
  • Tecno Phantom X2 Pro
    42
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    41
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    40
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    32
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    31

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 11
    68
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 8 Pro
    68
  • OnePlus 10T
    51
  • OnePlus 10 Pro
    48
  • Realme GT2 Pro
    46
  • ROG Phone 6D
    46
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    45
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    44
  • Tecno Phantom X2 Pro
    44
  • Motorola Edge 30 Ultra
    43
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    35
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    34

3DMark Wild Life Extreme (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 8 Pro
    3643
  • OnePlus 11
    3594
  • ROG Phone 6D
    2555
  • Tecno Phantom X2 Pro
    2393

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 8 Pro
    75
  • Motorola Edge 30 Ultra
    65
  • ROG Phone 6D
    61
  • OnePlus 10T
    60
  • Tecno Phantom X2 Pro
    59
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    51
  • OnePlus 11
    49
  • OnePlus 10 Pro
    37
  • Realme GT2 Pro
    36
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    36
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    35
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    30

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 8 Pro
    79
  • ROG Phone 6D
    64
  • Motorola Edge 30 Ultra
    62
  • Tecno Phantom X2 Pro
    62
  • OnePlus 10T
    60
  • OnePlus 11
    53
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    46
  • OnePlus 10 Pro
    41
  • Realme GT2 Pro
    39
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    37
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    36
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    29

On the combined AnTuTu test and the rest of the GPU-heavy benchmarks, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside the OnePlus 11 performed as expected. It still wasn't enough to dethrone the Red Magic 8 Pro in the AnTuTu test, but it tied for the lead in all the GFX Benchmark tests. Except, of course, the onscreen tests where the OnePlus 11 fell behind many other handsets because it has to render everything in 1440p instead of 1080p. Naturally, it did better than last year's 1440p flagships, though.

Sustained performance

OnePlus has picked a fancy name for the OnePlus 11's cooling design - Cryo-velocity VC Cooling. It's quite usual to see upgrades to the cooling system every year as companies need to adapt their products for the more powerful chipsets that Qualcomm releases every year.

The Cryo-velocity VC Cooling system here uses a passive Vapor Chamber cooling, as the name suggests, but it has a larger-than-usual surface. Thanks to the new structural design of the heat dissipation system, OnePlus has allegedly managed to improve the heat dissipation capabilities of the system by 92%. Now, the company doesn't quite say which device is the baseline, but whichever it is, there has been some innovation involved. The cooling system not only uses a larger VC surface but it's also leveraging a mid-frame layer of graphene and a layer of new crystal-graphene material to improve the heat dissipation towards the display.

And the OnePlus 11 does seem to handle prolonged heavy workloads with ease. In our CPU stress test, the device maintained at least 74% of its performance at the end of our hour-long test.

CPU throttle test: 30 min - OnePlus 11 review CPU throttle test: 60 min - OnePlus 11 review
CPU throttle test: 30 min • 60 min

It's unrealistic to expect the device to maintain full performance for such long periods of time, and in our books, the OnePlus 11 performed excellently. The part is that there are no big fluctuations in performance, so you can expect smooth and steady frame rates during your gaming sessions.

OnePlus has also implemented a new HyperBoost Engine that aims to optimize the gaming experience while balancing out performance and power consumption. The company says that it's constantly monitoring what's happening on the screen and adjusting the performance when needed. For example, it may boost the GPU in graphically-intensive tasks and tone it down a bit in scenes where not much is happening. One thing to consider here - only Genshin Impact and PUBG Mobile can take advantage of the HyperBoost Engine. And since there's no adequate way to measure this, we can only take OnePlus' word for it. Otherwise, these games ran smoothly with no hiccups.

Reader comments

Would love to buy until I saw the daylight samples from the main cam. Image outputs have noticeable noise in them.

  • BJRG
  • 04 Oct 2023
  • X$i

Yes, it is smoother and fluid than ever and it is as clean as the OnePlus 6. Maybe more clean with less bloatwares or no bloatware at all.

The smoothness is that the same ? Is the UI as clean as it is in Op6 ?