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Carl Pei OnePlus 11 review reveals company co-founder's thoughts on brand's software and cameras

Carl Pei is re-united with OnePlus...sort of. (Source: Nothing)
Carl Pei is re-united with OnePlus...sort of. (Source: Nothing)
Ex-OnePlus CEO Carl Pei has not held a position at that company for more than two years now. The executive has just made a public return to its hardware - albeit as a reviewer. Pei compares the new flagship 11 to the inaugural smartphone from his own new Android brand, the Nothing phone (1), and offers some opinions and insights on OnePlus and its changes since he left the OEM.

Possibly based on the success of its 'Carl Pei Reviews iPhone 14 Pro' video (having amassed about 3.2 million views on YouTube over the last 2 months or so), Nothing decided to send its CEO a second mobile device to assess. The executive got an Android handset this time: none other than the OnePlus 11.

Despite Pei's prior relationship with that OEM, he and Nothing apparently declined to inform OnePlus of this new project. Pete Lau's well-known brand would have had little enough to worry about, however, as the ex-CEO's feedback was mostly positive, praising its feel in hand and new Black Hole rear camera style in particular.

Then again, Pei had some niggles, pointing out the fact that the real-life unit's hump does not blend into the frame, as portrayed in OnePlus' own official marketing renders. In addition, the increasingly fractured design-language continuity in the OEM's flagship line in general came in for some criticism - a fair point that may or may not hint at minimal esthetic changes between the Nothing phone (1) and its upcoming (2) successor.

On that note, Pei reasonably conceded that the 11 is more powerful than the phone (1) in some ways due to the inevitable gulf between the older Snapdragon 778G+ of the latter and the new 8 Gen 2 SoC of the former. Then again, the executive asserted that there is not all that much difference between the 2 in certain areas, such as detail in their low-light photography.

That might strike some as ironic, especially as OnePlus has secured a partnership with Hasselblad to work on areas such as these. On that note, Pei estimated the 11's total bill of materials at ~US$480 thanks to those extra licensing costs, thereby possibly boosting the device's starting price: about twice that of the phone (1) at present.

OnePlus' original co-founder also found that the 11's new build of OxygenOS slightly less than "polished" and a little too feature-heavy for his purposes, with changes compared to the Android skins of his tenure "that worked", leaving the executive wondering at the need for all its changes since then.

Ultimately, Pei deemed the OnePlus 11 "a really solid, premium" piece of hardware - although he would still recommend the Pixel 7 Pro to Android users, an iPhone to other tech enthusiasts and/or those who like iOS, and the phone (1) to everyone else who "don't want to spend $800 on a smartphone". 

Stay tuned to see if we agree with Carl in our comprehensive OnePlus 11 review!

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 02 > Carl Pei OnePlus 11 review reveals company co-founder's thoughts on brand's software and cameras
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2023-02-14 (Update: 2023-02-14)