Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs OnePlus 11

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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs OnePlus 11


Can underdog OnePlus beat the most popular Android phone out there? We pit the new OnePlus 11 against Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra in an epic battle of the 2023 Android flagships to find out!

The OnePlus 11 has a few aces up its sleeve: super fast charging that eliminates the need for overnight top-ups, fast and smooth performance, and a new Hasselblad-branded camera system with a focus on capturing high-quality portrait photos.

Those are all unique features, but the Galaxy S23 Ultra is without a doubt the more versatile phone: it has more features and longer software support, it has cool and versatile zoom cameras, it has an S Pen, it has a brand new 200MP camera that is now more capable in challenging conditions, and it's the most refined this phone has ever been.

So which one should you go for? Let us guide you and tell you all about these two!

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Galaxy S23 Ultra vs OnePlus 11 in a nutshell:
  • Galaxy is physically larger and weighs more
  • Galaxy has an S Pen stylus, OnePlus does not
  • Both have slightly curved screens
  • OnePlus has a convenient mute switch
  • Both have the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip
  • OnePlus has a version with 16GB RAM, more than the Galaxy
  • Galaxy has two zoom cameras, while OnePlus only has one
  • Both have the same size 5,000mAh battery
  • OnePlus has faster charging and a charger in the box
  • Galaxy supports wireless charging, OnePlus does not
  • OnePlus costs less

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

The OnePlus weighs less and is more compact than the Galaxy, but lacks an S Pen

The first and most obvious design difference between these two is just about their physical size. Both are big phones, but the OnePlus is more palatable, it's narrower so you can hold it more comfortably in one hand and it weighs less too, while the Galaxy is truly a gigantic phone.

Build quality feels premium on both of them, both have an aluminum frame, toughened glass on the front and the back, and a slightly curved screen, but all of those premium features are something we kind of expect out of a flagship phone these days.

The OnePlus only comes in two colors, a green and a unique glittery black finish, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra colors are more plentiful and you do have a white model too.

One detail worth mentioning is the positioning of the buttons. The OnePlus has its power key on the right and the volume keys on the left, much like an iPhone, while the Galaxy has both the power key and volume rocker on the right side. We also love that the OnePlus 11 keeps the Alert Slider, which is OnePlus' glorified mute switch, it works great and is very convenient.

We should also mention that the OnePlus comes in a larger box that includes the zippy 100W fast charger coupled with a signature red OnePlus cable (with standard USB-A to USB-C connections), and you even get a simply but useful case in the box. The Galaxy only comes with a cable in the box, but no charger and no case, both things you would need to purchase separately.

When it comes to screens, the Galaxy has the upper hand as it uses the latest and most advanced Samsung E6 OLED panel, while the OnePlus 11 relies on an older generation OLED screen that is just a bit less impressive.

Let us be clear: neither of these is a "bad" screen, but the Galaxy gets noticeably brighter outdoors and has slightly better characteristics.

The S23 Ultra features a 6.8-inch screen size with a wider aspect ratio, while the OnePlus has a 6.7-inch screen with a narrower aspect ratio, but both have 1440p resolution and support adaptive 1-120Hz refresh rate.

Display Measurements:

Both phones use a fingerprint scanner as their main biometric solution, but the Galaxy bets on an ultrasonic one, while the OnePlus uses an optical fingerprint reader. The OnePlus is particularly fast and easy to use. Both phones can also unlock using a 2D face scan, not quite as secure as a fingerprint, but still a welcome feature.

Performance and Software

Both have the top-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and it roars

The biggest news in Android flagships for 2023 has got to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.

It's more powerful, does not overheat as easily as previous Snapdragon chips and shapes up to be a huge success. Both phones have this chip, and despite some slight differences in the setup, both perform to the highest level.  

Performance Benchmarks:

Geekbench 5 SingleHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra1583
OnePlus 111488
Geekbench 5 MultiHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra4937
OnePlus 114872
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra3828
OnePlus 113692
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra1951
OnePlus 111739

The perceivable differences in performance between the Galaxy and the OnePlus come from the custom interfaces rather than the processors.

We should note that the OnePlus is available in a version with a whopping 16GB of RAM, which is sweet overkill and will ensure your dozens of open tabs stay open and you multitask with ease.

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We should also say that the Galaxy comes with a promise of four major software updates, which is a huge win in the Android space where you typically only get three years of support, so it is the more future-proof device.


Galaxy is more versatile, but OnePlus puts the focus on portrait shots to stand out

Both phones make some significant changes to their camera systems: the Galaxy adopts a brand new 200MP main camera with a promise to capture cleaner low light shots, while the OnePlus 11 brings a 2X zoom telephoto camera to the mix to help it capture better-looking portraits.

Here is a breakdown of the camera specs:

While we tested the Chinese version of the OnePlus 11, we're yet to do that with the international one that was just unveiled, so differences in the camera experience are expected.

Camera App and Viewfinder Quality

The OnePlus camera app is a copy of the iPhone one, down to the rotating dial that pops up when you zoom in and out. The viewfinder quality is high resolution, unlike say the Galaxy S23 Ultra, so that is good news.

You should also know that it is not always an accurate representation of the actual photo you will get. You often get burned out highlights in the viewfinder, but then when you take the photo you will see that after the processing is done the picture brings back the color in the skies and dynamic range is very good.

Main Camera - Day

During the day, the OnePlus takes photos that have lively, saturated and warm colors, but not as extreme as on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Dynamic range is excellent, as highlights are never overblown in the final images and shadows have a nice depth to them.

Detail is sharp, but not extremely oversharpened, which is a typical problem on the latest flagships like the Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max, which is good to see. Images have a contrasty look, which we like.

Main Camera - Night

At night, the OnePlus 11 is a very solid performer. We like the clarity of photos, the color, these are good looking night shots.


The OnePlus 11 only has a 2X zoom lens, so it's using digital zoom for longer zoom ranges, but the quality is surprisingly good. Sure, it's not quite as detailed as the dedicated 10X zoom lens on the Galaxy, but the difference is not really as big as you might think.

Ultra-wide Camera

The OnePlus 11 has one of the most capable ultra-wide cameras we have seen in a while. Colors are mostly consistent with the main camera, which is to say they are rich with a good amount of saturation, but not too extreme.

Portrait Mode

A 2X zoom in our opinion is the best lens for portrait mode shots for its versatility, and that alone gives the OnePlus an upper hand against the Galaxy, which has a longer, 3X zoom lens. When it comes to subject separation, we think the Galaxy is just a step ahead.

One thing we do notice is that the OnePlus aggressively brightens the skin tones which might be just a bit too much and may sometimes appear a bit fake, so we'd give a slight preference to the Galaxy after all.


Samsung used to have the best front camera in the industry for a couple of years, but it seems that it has taken a step back with the Galaxy S23 series. With much rougher detail that doesn't sit well with human faces, we prefer the softer look out of the OnePlus which does look a bit more flattering.

The OnePlus, however, only has one wider mode for selfies, while the Galaxy also offers a close-up view (not pictured here) that is great for well... close-up selfies!

Video Quality

Video Thumbnail

While both the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the OnePlus 11 support 8K video recording, we think most people should still stick with 4K as the file sizes are more reasonable.

We tested 4K30 video recording on both phones, and we found that video recording is one of the weaker sides of the OnePlus 11. Colors in videos from the OnePlus appear washed out and there are quite a few other issues like this pulsing effect even when you hold the phone still which results in colors in the background constantly changing. Video stabilization is also noticeably worse than the Galaxy.

Night-time video recording looks plain bad in the OnePlus viewfinder, but one surprise is that after you capture the video some processing seems to happen that improves it quite a bit. Still, the quite poor video stabilization and the rampant noise make video recordings at night barely usable on the OnePlus, while the Galaxy feels far more refined. 

Audio Quality and Haptics

Both phones come with dual loudspeakers as is the norm these days, and also both up the ante from their previous generation phones with louder and cleaner sound.

While the OnePlus gets a bit louder than the Galaxy, we overall prefer the sound from the Samsung phone. When listening to Five Finger's Death Punch Wrong Side of Heaven, you notice the more emphasized lows from the OnePlus speakers, while the Galaxy doesn't have as much punch, but the vocals come through much cleaner on it. Listening to Miley Cyrus' Flowers, the OnePlus feels clearly less capable as Miley's vocals lack the intimate feel that only comes through on the Galaxy.

Haptics, however, are one area where the OnePlus 11 has made a huge leap. This phone has very pleasing vibration feedback, it kicks in gently when you type to alert you of your every keystroke. This is one of those small refinements that you may not notice at first, but that eventually makes a huge difference over time. The Galaxy feels way more rough around the edges. Kudos to OnePlus!

Battery Life and Charging

The fast charging of OnePlus makes a big difference

With the same, 5,000mAh battery size, both phones are well equipped to take on daily challenges, but despite the more efficient processor, they are not 2-day phones and you'd still need to top up every day, or day and a half with more modest use.

In real-life use, the Galaxy definitely lasts longer and you can even stretch it to a day and a half or two days with modest use, while the OnePlus is mostly a one-day affair. 

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra8h 54 min
OnePlus 118h 23 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra18h 57 min
OnePlus 1113h 22 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra7h 13 min
OnePlus 119h 31 min

However, the OnePlus 11 is just way ahead of the Galaxy S23 Ultra in charging speeds.

It supports 80W charging, so it tops up fully in just about half an hour! There is no wireless charging, but you have to question whether you really need that with such insanely fast speeds.

The Galaxy does support wireless charging at 15W, but the wired charging is way slower, taking about 1 hour and 5 minutes with the 45W charger, or about 1 hour and 20 minutes with the 25W charger.  We 'd take the faster wired charge over wireless charging any day, if you ask us.

Specs Comparison

And here is an overview of the Galaxy S23 Ultra vs OnePlus 11 specs:

What do you think about these specs, is there something you want to see that the companies have not included yet?

Summary and Final Verdict

From what we've seen so far, the OnePlus 11 has been a pleasant surprise.

After the OnePlus 10 Pro, we approached the OnePlus 11 with lowered expectations, but OnePlus has refined the design making it a lot prettier and the phone is more reasonably sized than the gargantuan Galaxy S23 Ultra. OnePlus has also improved the camera quality and that new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip just roars, plus we really appreciate the convenience of the fast charging. And all of that comes at a reasonable sub-$1,000 price.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra lacks the fast charging and is bulkier, but it is also the technologically superior phone. The S Pen is a nice convenience that still has no alternative among Android flagships, the performance is excellent, the camera system is the more versatile out there, especially for those who value video recording.

Both phones will get 4 years of major Android updates, so neither slacks behind the other in terms of longevity.

Ultimately, if you don't mind the bulky build and want the most versatile phone on the market, go for the Galaxy, but if you appreciate pure speed with a clean UI and incredibly fast charging, the OnePlus 11 is a surprisingly good option this year.

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