In February, we saw Samsung launch the much-anticipated S23 lineup. We also saw the OnePlus 11 make it to Indian markets at an excellent price. This brings OnePlus back to the flagship killer territory since the phone nails the core specifications.
These two make it difficult for the new iQOO 11, which costs 60,000 INR for the base variant. The OnePlus 11 and iQOO 11 are large ~6.7″ phones, and the S23 is the compact option.
However, Samsung sells a bigger S23+, 6.7″ in size. Since the only significant difference between the S23 and S23+ is screen size and battery size, we can alternate between the two phones when making a comparison.
The S23+ is also more expensive if you compare it to the S23, but it shares the same processor and camera hardware. If you’re only looking for a compact option, then the S23 already wins, thanks to the balance it provides at the 6.1″ size.
These phones aren’t ultra-high-end flagships, so all three companies cut some costs on the way. Samsung’s pricing wildly varies depending on the region, and it goes from a good deal to objectively worse value in other regions.
These phones share one thing: the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. The performance is more than adequate on all three for all kinds of users.
In this on-paper comparison, we’ll explore the main differences between these phones through all the key categories, giving you a better idea of which one to get. Since it’s a comparison, the article is bound to contain subjective preferences and opinions.
OnePlus 11 vs iQOO 11 vs S23: Display
Samsung is known for excellent display tuning, and the S23 boasts the highest 1750 Nits on paper. However, that’s all the S23 has since it still ships with an LTPS panel in 2023. LTPS isn’t a dealbreaker, but the efficiency of LTPO screens is much better.
The S23 and S23+ share the exact 1080P resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. While 1080P is sufficient on a 6.1″ display, the sharpness difference is easily perceivable on a larger 6.7″ display.
The OnePlus 11, on the other hand, ships with a Samsung E4 AMOLED panel with a 1440P resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s a 10-bit screen, so colors will appear much more vibrant, and there’ll be good differentiation between darker and lighter hues.
The display also supports Dolby Vision HDR (proper when consuming content on Netflix or Disney+) and HDR10+. The problem with the OnePlus 11’s screen is that the typical brightness is only 525 Nits, which might pose problems outdoors.
In High Brightness Mode, the OnePlus hits 800 Nits, and the peak brightness is 1300 Nits. It isn’t easy to put these numbers into perspective since brightness perception is logarithmic, but we recommend trying the phone outdoors to see if the brightness levels work for you.
The iQOO 11 has the latest Samsung E6 AMOLED panel with the exact high 1440P resolution. It doesn’t support Dolby Vision but does come with HDR10+. The refresh rate is 144Hz but capped at 120Hz throughout the UI.
The iQOO 11’s screen also has a 10-bit color depth for a Billion colors and offers 1800 Nits of peak brightness.
The theoretical win goes to iQOO since E6 is more efficient and gets brighter than the OnePlus.
Winner: iQOO 11> OnePlus 11> S23.
OnePlus 11 vs iQOO 11 vs Galaxy S23: Cameras
We know about the cameras on these three phones from hardware details and online reviews. On paper, the primary sensors are very comparable on all three.
The iQOO 11 and Galaxy S23 ship with Samsung’s 50MP GN5 sensor (23mm equivalent on the iQOO and 24mm on the Samsung), which is 1/1.57″ in size. The OnePlus 11 has a slightly better Sony IMX890 sensor.
The IMX890 is an advanced IMX766 sensor with better video recording capabilities and hardware-based high dynamic range. The IMX890 is 1/1.56″ in size and 50MP in resolution, nearly identical to the GN5.
However, OnePlus shines in terms of the primary camera performance thanks to improvements in Hasselblad tuning and the new HDR capabilities.
OnePlus, for now, has the edge over Samsung in low light and beats iQOO’s HDR since the iQOO 11 probably needs more updates to get the camera tuning right.
The ultra wide-angle camera is the most disappointing on the iQOO 11. It has a tiny 8MP ultra-wide, which lacks corner and center sharpness and a wild color shift from the primary lens.
The OnePlus 11 uses a 1/2″ (IMX 581) 48MP ultra-wide camera, which is better on paper than Samsung’s 1/2.55″ 12MP ultra-wide. It’s much better than the 1/2.76″ 50MP JN1 ultra-wide that OnePlus used for the 10 Pro.
However, a lot rests on color preferences and software processing, so it’s hard to pick the better performer in the ultra-wide camera.
Front Camera & Zoom
Samsung has the best front camera in the lot. The 12MP front camera on the S23 series performs much better than the tiny 1/2.9″ 16MP S5K3P9 that the OnePlus uses and is also better than iQOO.
Also, Samsung has the edge with zoom, offering 3X optical zoom in the 70mm range, making it suitable for portraits. Both OnePlus and iQOO have 2X optical zoom, which is better than no zoom but still behind Samsung.
So, it’s clear that OnePlus leads with low-light performance and HDR and has better ultra-wide hardware. However, Samsung’s edge with zoom and the front camera turn that battle into a draw.
The winner here depends on what you want from your camera. If you’d like to tinker with editing software, RAW shooting, or the Google Camera, the better OnePlus hardware will come in handy.
If you want to take good selfies, shoot front videos in 4K, and zoom past 3X without losing much quality, then the Samsung is for you.
Unfortunately, the OnePlus 11 and iQOO 11 cannot shoot 4K with the front camera in 2023 at such high prices.
Winner: S23= OnePlus 11> iQOO 11.
OnePlus 11 vs iQOO 11 vs Galaxy S23: Battery & Charging
The S23 ships with a 3900 mAh battery, slightly larger than the S22. S23 has the smallest battery, with the OnePlus 11 and iQOO 11 shipping with 5000 mAh batteries.
The S23 charges at an achingly slow 25W and takes over an hour for a full charge. However, the S23 is the only phone in this list that supports 15W (Qi) wireless charging and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.
The OnePlus 11’s 5000 mAh battery takes approximately 25min from 1 to 100% at 100W, which is good. In the USA, the OnePlus ships with an 80W brick, which is still fast.
The iQOO 11 has the fastest 120W charging on paper, but it takes nearly the same time to fill up entirely as the OnePlus 11.
Samsung’s OneUI 5.1 is efficient, and Samsung does try to make the most out of the 3900 mAh battery. However, it’s impossible to compete against 5000 mAh batteries and expect a win.
The S23’s battery life is still good, but it won’t be anywhere near what OnePlus and iQOO will give. We can’t pick a winner between OnePlus and iQOO since that depends on which company optimized the software better.
Winner: iQOO 11= OnePlus 11> S23.
OnePlus 11 vs iQOO 11 vs Galaxy S23: Performance
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powers all three phones. Samsung, however, has a partnership with Qualcomm, and the 8 Gen 2 on the S23 has a higher CPU and GPU clock. That’s pure marketing, though, since the only place it makes a difference is Geekbench CPU tests.
In real-life use, the performance comes down to the cooling system, sustained performance, amount of throttling, and how well the software optimization is done.
We don’t have many tests comparing the three, but the iQOO has the most extensive cooling system. All three phones should perform more than adequately in daily use and even demanding games.
All phones can do CPU/GPU intensive tasks like video editing, RAW photo editing, and layering without breaking a sweat for a long time. They’ll all perform nearly the same if you’re at a typical room temperature under 30C.
Outdoors under sunlight, iQOO’s cooling system might give it an edge since the phone won’t throttle performance too early. iQOO typically works with developers for better game integration, too.
Winner: iQOO 11> OnePlus 11= S23.
OnePlus 11 vs iQOO 11 vs Galaxy S23: Software Experience
The iQOO 11, OnePlus 11, and S23 all ship with Android 13 out of the box, with their respective skins on top. Samsung and OnePlus promise four years of major Android updates and five years of security updates.
Samsung’s OneUI currently has the best track record with updates in the Android world. While OnePlus promised four years, we can’t tell when the update will land or go into beta testing. OxygenOS updates are pretty late and are often bug-ridden, too,
iQOO’s FunTouchOS isn’t any better. The software has serious privacy concerns with intentional data collection everywhere, and many reviewers reported bugs and stutters with initial testing.
FunTouchOS also has advertisements in the UI, a ton of bloatware, and spam notifications, which ruin the entire experience. This isn’t how flagship phone software is done.
OneUI 5.1 makes Samsung animations much smoother, and transitions now look pretty good. The design is pretty modern on all three, and it comes down to personal preference.
OxygenOS still has many inconsistencies after the merge with ColorOS. There’s still no 5*5 App Drawer grid, and the notification system is a mess. Tapping on group notifications does not open the app. It’ll simply expand the group.
Notification icon indicators are still missing, and there’s still no widget search. You can’t uninstall an app directly from the home screen.
Also, swiping to enter the menu while moving your finger across a Google search widget won’t pull up the app menu. Both OxygenOS and FunTouchOS could use significant improvements to the software.
Not to mention, Samsung has the best, well-connected ecosystem of products and also excellent features like Secure Folder, DeX Mode, and Goodlock Modules.
Winner: S23> OnePlus 11> iQOO 11.
OnePlus 11 vs iQOO 11 vs Galaxy S23: Reliability & Resale Value
If you check online resale stores, OnePlus retains value the best. You can now sell last year’s OnePlus 10 Pro for ~45,000. It came out at 66,000, so it lost about 30% value in one year.
The S22 and iQOO 9 Pro sell only for 35,000 and are lower than the OnePlus 10 Pro from last year. The iQOO 9 Pro and S22 lost over 50% of their value in just one year.
If you consider selling these phones in two or three years, OnePlus will probably retain the best value.
Winner: OnePlus 11> S23= iQOO 11.
OnePlus 11 vs iQOO 11 vs Galaxy S23: Build Quality & Design
The S23 and S23+ have a new rear design, with three camera lenses directly attached on the back, similar to the S23 Ultra or S22 Ultra. The OnePlus 11 has a camera island to the left, and the iQOO has a square module.
Curved versus flat displays rests on personal preference, but the OnePlus 11 and iQOO 11 use curved panels, while the S23 and S23+ have flat displays.
Samsung has Gorilla Glass Victus 2, while the OnePlus and iQOO have slightly older Gorilla Glass Victus. Samsung has the IP68 water resistance rating and also better speakers on paper.
Samsung’s output is 384 KHz/ 34-bit, while OnePlus and Vivo’s output is 192 KHz/ 24-bit. OnePlus has the alert slider perk regarding functional design, and that’s about it.
Winner: S23> OnePlus 11> iQOO 11.
From the above categories, it’s clear that the only area where the iQOO wins is performance. The other two aren’t that significantly behind on that front, either.
This makes the iQOO a specialty option for hardcore gamers who won’t be dissatisfied with the other two. It’s much harder to pick between the S23 and the OnePlus 11 until we bring price into the argument.
The S23 is just 100$ higher than the OnePlus 11’s base model in the US, but the difference is over 250$ in India.
Suppose you’re looking for a value phone with fantastic performance. In that case, with solid cameras, crazy fast charging, and a great screen but willing to compromise on IP Rating, wireless charging, and 4K front video, the OnePlus 11 is the phone to buy.
However, if you’re looking for a phone with an IP68 rating, 3X zoom, great front camera, wireless charging, and more reliable software, then the S23 is a better choice, though you’ll have to spend more money.
Winner: OnePlus 11 = S23> iQOO 11.