OnePlus Open and OnePlus 12: Samsung and Google will hate the huge comeback of the flagship-killer

As someone who’s criticized OnePlus for being all over the place, and struggling to find its place in the smartphone world in the past 3-4 years, I almost feel a responsibility to acknowledge the company’s successes. In fact, I’ve already done so via several stories that talk about the awesome value of phones like the OnePlus 11 and OnePlus Nord 3.But it’s time for a slightly more holistic take on “the state of OnePlus” in 2023-2024, and compared to what this story would’ve looked like a couple of years ago, the fan-favorite Chinese phone-maker has turned things around in full 180 style. And as a tech fan, I couldn’t be more glad to see that.

With phones like the OnePlus 11, OnePlus Nord 3, the just-announced OnePlus Open foldable, and the fast-approaching OnePlus 12, the original flagship-killer brand is in for a long overdue renaissance that (hopefully) makes OnePlus a force to be reckoned with… again.

Like the good old days: The latest phones from OnePlus prove the Chinese brand is taking a big swing at Samsung, Google, Xiaomi and Apple (again)

The excellent OnePlus 11 got OnePlus back on the “flagship-killer” track

Luckily, OnePlus seems to be tracking back on some of its prior decisions, and the phone to start it all was the OnePlus 11. I already wrote about the excellent value offered by this phone in this story, looking at the OnePlus 11 “six months later”.

In a nutshell, the OnePlus 11 did more than enough to justify its $700 starting price in a world of $800-$1,200 Samsung, Google and Apple flagships. It has excellent battery life and super-fast charging; an excellent camera system, which outright outperforms the likes of the Galaxy S23, iPhone 14, and Pixel 7 in several areas; a brilliant display; and incredible performance aided by OnePlus’ clean take on Android.

The OnePlus 11 put OnePlus back on the map when it comes to “flagship-killer” offerings, especially considering Google’s aggressively priced Pixel flagships, aiming to become the new alternative to the big dogs (read: Samsung, Apple). However, when compared to the Pixel 7 and even Pixel 8 series, the OnePlus 11 holds up incredibly well in all regards.

The OnePlus Nord 3 is a mid-range flagship-killer in its own right

Another 2023 OnePlus phone that brings amazing value is the OnePlus Nord 3, which I also wrote about a while back. A serious candidate for mid-range smartphone of the year, the OnePlus Nord 3 brings a flagship-grade MediaTek SoC, the same primary camera as the OnePlus 11; and a large battery with fast charging.However, what makes the OnePlus Nord 3 truly stand out amongst other mid-range Android phones is the jaw-dropping design of the phone, with accent on the display, which comes with insanely thin borders, which make it look just as expensive as the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which costs 3x as much!

OnePlus Open – the company’s foldable flagship-killer has finally arrived (and the wait was worth it)

Of course, we can’t talk about the renaissance at OnePlus without mentioning the just-announced OnePlus Open – the company’s very first folding phone. While I’ll leave the verdict for our full OnePlus Open review, since this is an editorial story, I’ll go ahead and say that the Open might be my favorite folding phone design (maybe) ever. In many ways, the OnePlus Open is what the Galaxy Z Fold 5 should’ve been.

From the bold, badass camera ring, to the super-premium faux leather on the back of the phone, the OnePlus Open looks like a million dollars – although it’s “only” $1,700 (really, $1,500 after discounts).

But the cherry on top might be the displays and camera system – the OnePlus Open now officially has the brightest displays we’ve ever seen on any phone (not just a foldable), while the triple camera with large, high-res sensors and up to 6x optical quality zoom is totally capable of leaving the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold in the dust.

Watch out, iPhone 15 and Galaxy S24! The OnePlus 12 might be the dark horse in the race for best flagship phone of 2024

While discussing existing phones is certainly easier, I’ll admit that talking about devices that aren’t out yet is my guilty pleasure as far as tech is concerned. And one phone that I find low-key intriguing is the OnePlus 12.We’ve already seen several design renders of the OnePlus 12, and while it doesn’t look all that different from the OnePlus 11, the rumored specs of the OnePlus 12 are painting a picture of a very high-end flagship. By the looks of it, the successor to the OnePlus 11 is going to be another flagship-killer, but this time proving that premium flagships aren’t reserved for OnePlus’ sister company Oppo anymore.

From the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 with up to 24GB of RAM (not a typo), to the ridiculous charging speeds, and all-new triple camera system with large, high-end Sony sensors, the OnePlus 12 might challenge not only Samsung and Google’s $800 flagship phones but even the Pro and Ultra models, which cost much more.

Hot take: I’d say… pretty good! Of course, the important question is whether the OnePlus 12 will be able to maintain the same $700 starting price as the OnePlus 11, considering the major upgrades to the camera OnePlus is reportedly planning.

Welcome back to the flagship-killer stage OnePlus: Let’s make Samsung and Google work even harder, and Never Settle (ever again)

A couple of years ago, I pretty much wrote OnePlus off, and I wasn’t necessarily wrong to do so.

OnePlus was lacking a cohesive product strategy; Xiaomi started making more impressive flagship and mid-range phones, and Google was ready to steal OnePlus’ spot as Android’s “flagship-killer”, and frankly, did, thanks to the Pixel 7 series (in case you forgot, the Pixel 6 series was a bit too buggy to make a positive impression). But now… things have changed. Big time.

The OnePlus 11 is arguably one of the best-value Android flagships of the year; the OnePlus Nord 3 looks like a $1,000 phone but costs only $400; and the OnePlus Open is an absolutely stunning first attempt at a foldable that (to me) looks even hotter than the Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 5. And then there’s the upcoming OnePlus 12, which might very well steal the show in the 2024 flagship race.

It’s good to see how one of the most youngest, most intriguing, and universally liked smartphone brands of the past ten years has managed to pull itself together, and get back in the game.

As corny as it sounds, having more competition is amazing for the industry and the average user, and with Apple, Samsung, Google, Xiaomi, Nothing, and now OnePlus going fully at it, 2024 might be one of the most competitive years for smartphones in a while. At least since the days of Huawei’s international takeover.

I guess… Never Settle… ever again, OnePlus! OK? Like for real… Come on. Oh… and let’s not send prices through the roof ever again? Maybe. The OnePlus Open doesn’t count.

Source link