Right on cue, OnePlus delivered its largest launch event showcasing the OnePlus 11 5G smartphone, Buds Pro 2 earphones, Pad tablet and the Keyboard 81 Pro. In some respects there were no surprises but the big takeaway was OnePlus’ ambition to build an ecosystem with phones at the centre.
OnePlus has always had a strong fan base or “community”, as they’d probably prefer but even I was surprised by the numbers. The OnePlus Red Cable Club has 30 million members and you actively have to join; you aren’t automatically enrolled. In comparison, OnePlus has sold 55 million phones, which is nothing compared to Apple’s 2 billion phones, but it means that nearly 55% of owners are in the Club. I think that’s impressive and important. And over 14,000 people watch the live event broadcasting from New Delhi, India.
OnePlus’ new cryptic legend is “1+4+X”. 1 is the phone at the heart of the ecosystem, 4 are the categories of TV, wearables, tablets and earphones. X is entertainment, efficiency and health. There we have it – OnePlus’ strategy for the next few years. It’s not an entirely new approach as there have been hints of this as far back as the early Nord phones.
For comparison, Samsung’s been at this for awhile and have been very successful at it, though some of their gear only interoperates with other Samsung products, cf SmartTags, which I find frustrating. Xiaomi is another useful comparison but hasn’t been as successful in building an ecosystem. Xiaomi have lots of products in different categories but they don’t present as a unified system.
As OnePlus unveiled new products, the presenters often emphasised the interoperability between, say, the Buds Pro 2, and the OnePlus 11. Having devices from the same stable is now an advantage and while the event was really about the high-end offerings, I imagine this will trickle down to the Nord phones and lesser Buds.
With the strategy out of the way, let’s talk about the products, pricing and availability. The specs are well covered elsewhere so I’ll highlight a few of the main features only.
The OnePlus 11 5G is largely as expected with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powering a 6.7″ fluid AMOLED QHD+ display with 120 Hz refresh. Two colour ways, Eternal Green and Titan Black. There’s Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos and plenty of clever AI trickery called RAM-Vita to compress unused apps and reserve RAM for particular apps.
Inside is a 5000 mAh battery that will charge from 1 to 100% in 25 mins using the 100W SuperVOOC charger supplied in the box. While OnePlus reckons you’ll get at least 4 years of good battery health, I’m disappointed that there’s no wireless charging – I think that feature was last seen on the OnePlus 9. The phone is WiFi 7 ready and has dual WiFi acceleration to improve download speeds.
The 11G’s cameras are managed by Hasselblad’s 3rd generation of mobile software with hardware assistance and computational photography. The three cameras offer 50 MP OIS for the main lens, a 32 MP 2x optical zoom for portraits (and bokeh) and an ultra wide 48 MP lens. In addition there’s a new colour calibration sensor that really should ensure colours are true to life.
US$699 / 829€ / UK£729 for the 8GB+128GB version
US$799 / 899€ / UK£799 for the 16GB+256GB
Pre-orders are open now with shipping in around 20th February.
The OnePlus Pad is the first tablet from the company and I get slightly mixed messages on this device. OnePlus tout the entertainment credentials of the Pad – big screen, hi-resolution, large battery for video, great sound – but Pad also comes with a stylus and a magnetic keyboard, which makes me feel they’re going after the more work-like Samsung Tab S series. As pricing and availability hasn’t yet been announced we’ll have to see.
The Pad is powered by the Dimensity 9000 chipset with up to 12 GB RAM. The screen is 11.6″ with a 2800×2000 pixel resolution which ought to look lovely. There’s an unusual 7:5 screen ratio and from the pictures, it’s clear that OnePlus expect the Pad to be used in landscape orientation and it comes in a lovely Halo Green to match the Eternal Green of the 11.
There’s a large 9510 mAh battery which will take advantage of 67W SuperVOOC to charge rapidly but the most interesting part is that allegedly the Pad will retain power for a month on standby.
The OnePlus Pad will only be offered with WiFi connectivity as owners are expected to seamlessly connect through to their OnePlus phone.
No details on price but pre-orders are expected in April.
There’s nothing much to say that hasn’t already been covered in previous articles here on GNC. The Buds Pro 2 will come in three colours; Arbor Green, Obsidian Black and Misty White. Co-created with Dynaudio, the Buds Pro 2s have dual drivers for exceptional sound reproduction and with three external mics, there’s up to 48 dB of a active noise cancellation. When used with the charging case, there’s up to 39 hours of listening and 10 mins of charge gives 10 hours of music.
Pricing is $179 / 179€ / UK£179 and pre-orders are open.
The OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81 Pro is an interesting addition to the portfolio. Yes, it’s a high-end mid-sized keyboard with some cool features but it doesn’t really seem to fit into the ecosystem. Yes, it will work with PCs, Macs and other devices but I don’t see what makes this OnePlus special other than a couple of red keycaps. The premium materials are lovely and there are some nifty features like the metal stand, but it would have been nice to see some customisation for the 11 or the Pad. One for the fans, I think.
Price and availability to be announced later.
Overall, a solid launch event from OnePlus with an exciting long term vision for the future and some pretty cool products as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a few of them in for view from the nice folks at OnePlus.