What is OnePlus?
The OnePlus 11 marks a return to the Oppo spinoff's roots
Welcome back to Multicore. This week's big phone news is the OnePlus 11.
OnePlus is a weird company. It burst onto the scene in 2014 as a pseudo-startup selling good phones at suspiciously low prices, but they tended to share a lot in common (screens, components, entire designs) with products from Oppo, itself a subsidiary of Chinese giant BBK Electronics. Until fairly recently, OnePlus would always deny the connection except to say that it "shares" investors and supply chain resources; the truth is that both are privately owned by BBK.
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Ownership aside, OnePlus won over a small but dedicated fanbase in the West by putting out a series of well-received phones with high specs and low prices. The company focused on selling unlocked devices online, often drumming up demand for limited batches. In recent years, though, OnePlus started setting its prices in line with flagship devices from the likes of Samsung and getting its phones into carrier stores. It's not that the phones weren't competitive, but they weren't differentiated in the way they used to be.
The new OnePlus 11, however, costs $699, has strong specs across the board, and is only available from the company itself or unlocked through certain online retailers. It sounds like a return to form — for better or worse.
Allison Johnson, The Verge:
With the 11, OnePlus has produced its best phone in years. It has made some significant strides forward, patching up some of the weak spots I’ve criticized the company for in the past. It now matches Samsung’s strong software support policy, with five years of security updates, and the phone will work on all three major US carriers’ 5G networks right out of the box. Beyond that, performance is excellent, the screen is top-notch, and fast charging is truly impressive.
Johnson goes on to note, however, that its audience in the US will likely be limited not only because of the lack of in-store sales, but also because the "OnePlus faithful" may have already moved on.
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