OnePlus 11R 5G Review: Back in Form

OnePlus 11R 5G Review: Back in Form
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The OnePlus 11R 5G is the company’s latest ‘value flagship’ and it’s not hard to see why this phone is getting a lot of attention, maybe even more than the flagship OnePlus 11 5G (Review) which was announced at the same time. To fans of the OnePlus brand, the 11R 5G represents the company’s original philosophy of offering lots of premium features at a disruptive price, which is something we haven’t seen for a long time. The 11R 5G is a big upgrade to last year’s 10R 5G (Review) and thankfully, OnePlus hasn’t cut too many corners this time.

The OnePlus 11R 5G offers users a flagship-grade processor, the same primary camera that the OnePlus 11 5G has, and very quick charging — all at a starting price of Rs. 39,999 in India. There aren’t many phones at the moment in India that offer this combination of features at this price, which is what makes the 11R 5G a very enticing option. It’s time to see if it’s actually as good as it looks on paper.

OnePlus 11R 5G price in India

The base variant of the OnePlus 11R 5G has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but there’s another variant on offer with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage which is priced at Rs. 44,999 in India. I think the base variant should be sufficient for most users, but if you need the extra storage then the second variant is decently priced too. We’re also seeing a trend begin to develop this year; companies seem to be forgoing a 12GB RAM option and jumping straight to 16GB. OnePlus sent us the top-end variant for this review in Sonic Black, and it’s also available in Galactic Silver.

OnePlus 11R 5G design

The design of the OnePlus 11R 5G really surprised me, as it looks nearly identical to much more expensive OnePlus 11 5G – unless you know what to look for. The absence of a Hasselblad logo on the rear camera module, no visible antenna bands on the frame, and the centrally placed selfie camera are the only ways to easily tell the 11R 5G apart. Other than these, the dimensions, weight and even the design of the curved-edge display are nearly identical on both phones. While this does diminish the premium appeal of the 11 5G a little, it’s a huge bonus for the 11R 5G, especially when you consider the polarising design of the 10R 5G.

The OnePlus 11R 5G does have the trademark OnePlus ‘Alert slider’, and as a first on a OnePlus phone, an infrared (IR) emitter on the top. The phone comes with an IR Remote app which lets you control electronics and appliances in your home once set up. The glass back of the black variant of the 11R 5G has a matte texture which easily resists fingerprints, but doesn’t offer much grip.

The OnePlus 11R 5G (right) looks very similar to the OnePlus 11 5G (left), so you have to know what to spot

 

The OnePlus 11R 5G has a 6.74-inch display with the same curved edges on the left and right as the 11 5G, but with slightly narrower top and bottom bezels. However, the positioning of the in-display fingerprint sensor is much lower, making it a little inconvenient to operate. The display uses an AMOLED panel with a 1.5K resolution (2772 x 1240 pixels) and 120Hz peak refresh rate. It supports HDR video playback (except Dolby Vision). The glass on the back is Corning Gorilla Glass 5 but the display uses Dragontrail glass for scratch protection.

The retail box of the OnePlus 11R 5G includes the usual accessories such as stickers, a case, USB cable, 100W power adapter, and the SIM ejector tool.

OnePlus 11R 5G specifications and software

The OnePlus 11R 5G is powered by the very capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. This processor won’t deliver the same benchmark numbers as the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, but is still plenty powerful for most practical use cases. The phone also gets Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 6, NFC, and support for multiple satellite navigation systems.

The 11R 5G supports a total of nine 5G bands in India. You get stereo speakers plus Dolby Atmos enhancement. The phone has a 5,000mAh battery and supports 100W fast wired charging. It does not support wireless charging and it doesn’t have an official IP rating either, although basic seals to repel water and dust are said to be in place.

The software on the OnePlus 11R 5G is the same as that on the 11 5G. You get OxygenOS 13 which is based on Android 13. There are the usual customisation options, shortcuts, and gestures that we’ve seen in Oppo’s ColorOS, along with some legacy OxygenOS features such as Zen Mode. There’s not a lot of bloatware except for a couple of OnePlus apps and Google’s suite of apps. The Internet browser app is a bit redundant when you have Chrome, and this can’t be uninstalled.

OnePlus has promised three years of Android updates and four years of security updates for the 11R 5G.

oneplus 11r 5g IR gadgets360 ww

The OnePlus 11R 5G has an infrared emitter on the top

 

OnePlus 11R 5G performance

General performance of the OnePlus 11R 5G was very good in the few weeks that I had it for testing. The fingerprint scanner is quick at authentication, and face recognition is quite reliable too. The interface is fluid, animations are slick, and there’s never any sense of lag no matter what task you perform on the phone. The software is feature-rich and thankfully, I didn’t see any unsolicited notifications.

The display is said to have an adaptive refresh rate between 40Hz and 120Hz (support for 45Hz, 60Hz, and 90Hz) based on the content being displayed. The interface always runs at 120Hz and only drops to 60Hz if there’s no touch input for a few seconds. Certain apps always run at a lower constant refresh rate such as the camera app at 60Hz and the gallery app at 90Hz. Unlike phones with LTPO panels which constantly vary the refresh rate based on input and the content being displayed, that’s not the case with the 11R 5G. Scrolling is smooth within apps but this might have a minor impact on battery life.

There’s very little to complain about in terms of gaming and multimedia performance. The SoC is more than capable of running even heavy games with ease. Asphalt 9: Legends looked great and ran very well. The gaming tools menu of OxygenOS can be quickly accessed from within any game via a simple swipe gesture. This lets you keep an eye on the phone’s temperature and the current framerate of a game, as well as adjust additional features such as anti-aliasing.

oneplus 11r 5g back vs 11 gadgets360 ww

The OnePlus 11R (right) doesn’t get the Hasselblad treatment for the cameras like the 11 5G (left)

 

The OnePlus 11R 5G gets a little warm when gaming. The stereo speakers get fairly loud and sound good. As for benchmarks, the OnePlus 11R 5G scored 775,602 points in AnTuTu, and 908 and 3,430 points in Geekbench 6’s single and multi-core tests respectively.

The battery life of the OnePlus 11R 5G was excellent during the review period. The phone lasted for 21 hours, 43 minutes in our HD video loop test, which is a very good time. It had no trouble running for a full day with heavy use, or even two days with lighter usage. While I did miss wireless charging, the speed of the 100W adapter did make up for it. I was able to fully charge the 11R 5G from empty in under 30 minutes.

OnePlus 11R 5G cameras

The OnePlus 11R 5G prides itself on having the same main camera as the OnePlus 11 5G. It’s a Sony IMX890 50-megapixel sensor with optical stabilisation (OIS). However, the other rear cameras are more in line with those of the OnePlus 10R 5G, which is to say, not as good as what the 11 5G offers. There’s an 8-megapixel ultra-wide and a 2-megapixel macro camera. You get a 16-megapixel camera in the front, and OnePlus hasn’t specified which sensors it has used for these.

The camera app is more or less similar to what you’d get with the 11 5G, except for a few changes such as the removal of the red shutter button, Xpan mode, and no Hasselblad Pro mode, since the the 11R 5G doesn’t incorporate Hasselblad Colour Science (HCS). I don’t think this should be a major dealbreaker, since according to OnePlus, HCS is applicable only when shooting RAW in Pro mode.

Even with AI scene enhancement disabled on both phones, I noticed that still photos shot with the OnePlus 11R 5G generally had a cooler colour tone compared to the same subjects taken with 11 5G at the same time. Details in photos were roughly the same since both have the same primary sensor, but there were one or two instances when the 11R 5G failed to match the image quality of the 11 5G. Close-ups shot with the 11R 5G packed very good detail and colours. The macro camera, unsurprisingly, was not great and produced unsatisfactory results.

OnePlus 11R 5G main camera samples (tap to see full size)

 

The ultra-wide camera on the OnePlus 11R 5G produced weaker details and colours compare to the equivalent camera on the 11 5G. Images looked a bit washed out, even in daylight. Thankfully, the camera app automatically takes long exposure shots in low light, so you do get usable night photos.

The main camera on the 11R 5G captures the best low-light photos, with very good exposure, colours and details. Close-ups also look good and autofocus is quite reliable in low light. The 11R 5G can only do digital zoom up to 10X, but even in daylight the quality is quite poor. The selfie camera on the 11R 5G seems to be the same as what the 11 5G has, as their output in most cases was identical. It gets the job done but selfies aren’t very sharp, detail is a bit weak, and colours and skin tones can be misrepresented at times. It manages decent low-light shots though, thanks to Night mode.

OnePlus 11R 5G ultra-wide camera samples (tap to see full size)

OnePlus 11R 5G selfie camera samples (tap to see full size)

 

The OnePlus 11R can shoot up to 4K 60fps video, but only with the main rear camera. The ultra-wide is restricted to 1080p and so is the selfie camera. 4K videos shot during the day and in low light look good, with good stabilisation and very little jitter when walking. Videos captured by the ultra-wide camera are noticeably weaker, especially in low light, although its electronic stabilisation works well. The camera app does feature a lot of familiar shooting modes such as Film, which lets you capture of a wider aspect ratio, and LOG video recording.

Verdict

The OnePlus 11R 5G will appeal to many OnePlus fans who have been waiting for something similar to the OnePlus 7T to come along — a phone with a flagship SoC under Rs. 40,000. If you play a lot of demanding mobile games and require good battery life, the 11R 5G will not disappoint. The main camera is also very capable, although the rest of them leave a lot to be desired. I think what many people are going to like most is the fact that the 11R 5G looks just like the more expensive 11 5G, giving it flaunt value.

For those who are not convinced, the Realme GT 3 should be arriving in India soon and it will have similar specifications as the 11R 5G but with support for 240W wired charging. If you don’t care too much about the processor, then the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G (Review) is another great option to consider for roughly the same price. This phone offers a very good specs but more importantly, it has an IP68 rating and wireless charging. The top variant of the Nothing Phone 1 (Review) could also be worth looking at, as it is currently selling for less than the base variant of the 11R 5G.

The OnePlus 11R 5G could have been better in few areas, but especially after last year’s offering, I think it’s a solid comeback.


From smartphones with rollable displays or liquid cooling, to compact AR glasses and handsets that can be repaired easily by their owners, we discuss the best devices we’ve seen at MWC 2023 on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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For details of the latest launches and news from Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo and other companies at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, visit our MWC 2023 hub.

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