OnePlus 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Which flagship is best?



OnePlus has finally revealed the OnePlus 11 for the global market, but how does it compare to Samsung’s top-end flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra? 

While the two differ in price by quite a lot, there’s a surprising number of similarities between the OnePlus 11 and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra that might sway consumers away from Samsung. Here are the key differences between the OnePlus 11 and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. 

Design and screen

When it comes to design, the OnePlus 11 and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra take very different approaches.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra keeps that large boxy Galaxy Note-esque form factor and large 6.8-inch display. And while a 6.8-inch display may not sound much bigger than the 6.7-inch display of the OnePlus 11, trust us when we say it is. 

Measuring in at 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm and 234g, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is thicker, larger and heavier than the comparatively svelte 163.1 x 74.1 x 8.5 mm, 205g OnePlus 11. 

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

That’s not to say the Galaxy S23 Ultra is an ugly, unwieldy device – far from it – but it is a challenge to use one-handed, and we think the boxy design makes it feel bigger in the hand than it actually is.

The OnePlus 11 is much easier to use one-handed and with a slight curvature to its edges, it sits very comfortably in the palm.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra easily has one of the best displays on the market, boasting a 6.8-inch dynamic AMOLED 2X display with key features including a 120Hz refresh rate, peak brightness of 1750nits, support for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision and, crucially, support for Samsung’s S Pen. 

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The stylus can really make the most of that extra scene real estate on offer, be it for doodling, note taking or just simply interacting with the phone. And the built-in button can be used for air gestures or to remotely activate the camera shutter. When not in use, the S Pen lives within the S23 Ultra’s chassis, making it a particularly handy accessory exclusive to the S23 Ultra.

The OnePlus 11’s 6.7-inch AMOLED display isn’t to be sniffed at though; it’s also high resolution at 1440 x 3216, and it boasts a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate with LTPO 3.0 tech that lets it drop down to as little as 1Hz to save battery life, as well as support for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Ultimately, there’s very little difference between the two top-end displays, though Samsung’s S23 Ultra looks to be the better option for those that simply want the largest display possible – and the S Pen is a nice touch too.  

Cameras

In most comparisons, the OnePlus 11 would have a fighting chance with its rear-camera offering comprised of a 50MP main, 48MP ultra-wide and 32MP telephoto lens – but the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a special case.

Though we’re still not that far into 2023, we feel that the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s camera offering will be one of the most competitive on the market this year, with a combination of a new (and exclusive) 200MP main snapper, a 12MP ultrawide, a pair of 10MP telephoto lenses at 3x and 10x and the ability to digitally zoom up to 100x. 

Sure, the latter does degrade overall image quality, but it can still take particularly impressive close-ups of the moon on clear nights. 

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

It’s that 200MP snapper that’s the real star of the show, effortlessly capturing some of the most detailed, vibrant images we’ve ever taken on a smartphone – and that’s regardless of light levels. In fact, the S23 Ultra’s main 200MP snapper can provide something close to night vision with its impressive ability to use 16-in-1 pixel binning and improved OIS to capture much more light than the naked eye.

The supporting fleet of lenses further extends its photography prowess with equally impressive performance in well-lit conditions, though they can’t quite compete in low light, especially when you get to the telephoto lenses that look comparatively dark. Still, it’s a versatile shooting system that goes a long way to justifying the S23 Ultra’s super high price tag. 

The OnePlus 11’s trio of cameras is indeed capable, offering a notable jump forward in terms of quality compared to last year’s OnePlus 10 Pro, particularly in low-light conditions. Though it’s not quite as capable as the S23 Ultra, a smartphone that costs £500 more, it does a great job at capturing low-light environments with decent accuracy. However, without dedicated laser autofocus, low-light images can sometimes turn out a little softer than I’d like. 

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Performance across the ultra-wide and telephoto lenses is also decent, helped in part by impressive Hasselblad camera tuning that makes it difficult to spot which camera has taken any particular image (aside from the angle, of course). 

So, while the S23 Ultra undoubtedly has the more capable camera setup, the OnePlus 11’s trio of rear cameras will still suffice for the vast majority of consumers – especially with a £729 price tag. 

Performance

Performance is set to be top notch no matter which smartphone you opt for, though Samsung’s S23 Ultra could eke out a win in benchmarks with its special Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy chipset compared to the OnePlus 11’s standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. That’s combined with 12GB of RAM for the former and either 8GB or 16GB of RAM for the latter.

Qualcomm claims that the S23 Ultra’s chipset boasts a higher CPU clock speed and improved GPU performance and efficiency compared to the standard 8 Gen 2 chipset, though you’re unlikely to notice huge differences in day-to-day performance. 

Both feel equally as responsive in use, with the ability to handle 3D mobile games with ease, though I did notice that the OnePlus 11 can get hot at the top and bottom edges over extended gameplay sessions.

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Samsung takes a win in the storage department with a range of storage options including 256GB, 512GB and 1TB while the OnePlus 11 comes in only 128GB and 256GB variants. Neither have expandable storage, so extra base storage could come in handy for particularly snap-happy consumers. 

Elsewhere, the two flagships are fairly evenly matched with support for the likes of 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3 and NFC. Here’s how the two stack up side-by-side:

UK RRP

USA RRP

EU RRP

Manufacturer

Screen Size

Storage Capacity

Rear Camera

Front Camera

Video Recording

IP rating

Battery

Wirless charging

Fast Charging

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

Operating System

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Resolution

HDR

Refresh Rate

Ports

Chipset

RAM

Colours

OnePlus 11

£729

$699

€849

OnePlus

6.7 inches

128GB, 256GB

50MP + 48MP + 32MP

16MP

Yes

Not Disclosed

5000 mAh

Yes

8.53 x 74.1 x 163.1 MM

205 G

Android 13 (OxygenOS)

2023

07/02/2023

3216 x 1440

Yes

120 Hz

USB-C

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

16GB, 8GB

Black, Green

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

£1249

$1199

Samsung

6.8 inches

256GB, 512GB, 1TB

200MP + 12MP + 10MP + 10MP

12MP

Yes

IP68

5000 mAh

Yes

Yes

8.9 x 163.4 x 163.4 MM

234 G

Android 13 (OneUI 5.1)

2023

3088 x 1440

Yes

120 Hz

USB-C

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

12GB, 8GB

Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender

As you’d expect from flagships in 2023, both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and OnePlus 11 ship with Android 13, though with different skins applied. 

Samsung opts for its OneUI interface, with the latest OneUI 5.1 update bringing small features like the ability to schedule routines and the option of replying to an incoming call via text using Bixby. It’s one of the most polished Android skins around, with plenty of additional features exclusive to Samsung devices to make your life a little bit easier.

The OnePlus 11, on the other hand, sports the OxygenOS 13 update. Though it’s coming closer to new owner Oppo’s ColorOS in general look and feel, I still really liked the software experience on offer with genuinely useful features like Zen Mode and the ability to set up work and personal profiles to stop work notifications from bothering me in the evenings. It’s also highly customisable for those that like to tweak the look of their smartphone.

Software promises are also up there with the best with both OnePlus and Samsung offering four years of OS upgrades for their flagships, which should take both the S23 Ultra and OnePlus 11 through to Android 17.  

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Battery life

While both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and OnePlus 11 sport an identical 5000mAh battery, the larger, higher-res display of Samsung’s flagship means that the OnePlus 11 can last a little longer away from the charger. 

I’ve found that the OnePlus 11 can comfortably last all day with the ability to go for a second day if I’m not hammering the battery. The same can’t quite be said for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, with a couple of days during testing where I hit the 20% battery mark by the end of the first day. 

That’s still fine for an all-day device, but you won’t quite get two days without compromises like reducing the resolution of the display. 

OnePlus clearly wins out when it comes to charging capabilities too, with its 100W SuperVOOC charging providing a 50% charge in just over 12 minutes and a 100W charge in 28 minutes. Samsung’s combination of slower 45W charging and a large battery capacity means it takes around an hour and 20 minutes to reach a full battery.

Price

Where the OnePlus 11 and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra truly differ is in the price department, with Samsung’s top-end flagship coming in at £1249 – and that’s just for the 256GB base model. That’s almost £500 more than the OnePlus 11 with 128GB of storage, which comes in at £729. 

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra will set you back the following:

256GB of storage: £1249/$1999512GB of storage: £1399/$13791TB of storage: £1599/$1619

While the OnePlus 11 is much more affordable:

128GB of storage: £729/$699256GB of storage: £799/$799

Verdict

Both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and OnePlus 11 are great smartphones, but they’re tailored towards different people. 

The OnePlus 11 is a solid all-rounder offering a great display, impressive performance and a capable – but not the most versatile – camera setup. It’s also much more affordable than the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which could tip the scales in terms of value for money.

However, if money is no object and you don’t mind the big boxy form factor of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, it’s undoubtedly one of the most capable smartphones we’ll see this year with its Samsung-exclusive Snapdragon chipset, a top-tier display with S Pen stylus support and the most resourceful camera offering – including a 200MP main camera – you’ll find right now.



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