OnePlus is not a brand that most Australians would know.  They started off as an enthusiast’s smartphone brand the brainchild of a couple of phone geeks who worked for OPPO.  The OnePlus brand is and has always been owned by the same company that owns OPPO (and vivo, realme and more) but unfortunately except for a very brief dalliance they have yet to make any venture into the Australian market.

Given we live in a worldwide economy, that has not stopped many Australians from importing OnePlus smartphones with OnePlus telling us that they see a lot of activations of new devices in Australia.  Now they have launched their 2023 smartphone flagship, the OnePlus 11, in China and for the good of the Australian market it needs to come here.

What is so special about the OnePlus 11 5G?

The OnePlus 11 5G is an ultra-premium smartphone without the ultra-premium price.  For a premium price – let’s face it, it will still not be free – you get some great high-end specs including the newest smartphone chipset from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.  

The display is a massive 6.7-inch QHD+ AMOLED display which in past years has been the equal of that in OPPO’s flagship making it one of the best on the market.  The display supports the new LTPO3 with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz making it smooth but also even more battery-friendly than the LTPO2 displays.

Paired with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of onboard storage you will have one of the fastest phones on the market.  What aids OnePlus in their speed is their software and although they have been taken over by OPPO, they still retain some of their own design language and flair.  

Charging has always been a breeze with OnePlus and OPPO devices and this is no different with the 5,000mAh battery supporting 100W wired charging (yes, that is not a typo, one hundred watts!) – there is no word on wireless charging at this stage, but we expect the global version to arrive with at least 50W wireless charging.

At this stage, the colours launched are a matte green and a “silk glass” (black) but there have been rumours of an ocean blue floating about too.

Hasselblad camera goodness

The rear camera setup is a massive camera island with a 50MP main camera, a 48MP ultra-wide camera and a 32MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom.  The software will be enhanced by some fine tuning of the AI by Hasselblad and hopefully the partnerships starts paying dividends this year in the OnePlus 11.

Launching globally at an event in India on February 7, the OnePlus 11 should be competitively-priced – especially when the Chinese version starts at 3,999CNY (~AU$835).

Australia needs another premium phone without the premium price tag

The last bit brings us to why it needs to come here.  Although the OnePlus 11 (and all of their previous premium flagship smartphones) have had ultra-premium specs, they just lacked the polish of the design and software that we see in devices from manufacturers such as Samsung, OPPO and (especially) Apple.

The price of the OnePlus 11, if it were to arrive on our shores, would be sub-$1000.  There are no other devices on the market, or even close to it, that can match the specs and the user experience that the OnePlus 11 can (based on previous devices) at that price.  

Time are tough in Australia, and everyone wants the best device they can get for their buck.  Unfortunately, that often means folks have to settle for less.  A lesser camera, a slower device and user experience or an older device.  Australia needs OnePlus to bring their newest flagship here to shake up the market.  We need a (relatively) new upstart to come in and show the big boys how it is done.

At the moment there are maybe four premium brands on the market, OPPO, Samsung, Google and Apple.  That really doesn’t offer all that much choice as there is a big difference in specs and experience between these brands’ $1800 phones and their sub-$1000 phones.  OnePlus would fill that gap for us seamlessly.

Will it happen?

Now that OnePlus are a sub-brand of OPPO it may well happen.  Realme have seemingly disappeared from our shores so that does leave room for someone to come in.  Do OPPO want to bring in a competitor to their own phones?  If they think that the OnePlus 11 will eat other brands such as Samsung rather than their own, then I think they may.

You wouldn’t think it would be much hassle for OnePlus to share distribution and warranty services with OPPO, after all they share a factory in Shenzen, along with many of the same parts in their devices.

In the end, only time will tell, and we should know in the next month or so what OnePlus’ plans are for Australia – if there are any.  Hopefully OnePlus decide to expand to Australia because our market needs more competition at that premium end of the market.