Before there was Nothing, the darling of the smartphone world, at least on the Android side, was OnePlus. It arrived on the scene with guns blazing, challenging the status quo of feature-rich smartphones that only the rich could comfortably afford. It’s arguable whether the company has been able to maintain that mission, especially with its rising prices and the way its peers have started carrying the same message. That said, every new phone under its brand is still a matter of interest to many Android fans, and its next flagship might not be an exception. The OnePlus 11 is set to launch in China next week, and it will be bearing a camera design that is both unique yet also mildly excessive, blending different styles together.
OnePlus’ design philosophy focused more on bringing components and materials that are usually found in more expensive brands to a more affordable handset. There was even a point in time when it offered different materials and styles for replaceable back panels, including a variety of wood as well as Kevlar-based carbon. As far as the overall design goes, however, OnePlus didn’t stray far from current trends, but it has been trying to create its own visual identity of late. And based on the company’s own pre-launch teasers, its next flagship will definitely be distinctive in terms of its camera design.
As camera hardware gets more sophisticated and bigger, so, too, do the modules that hold them. There has been a variety of designs used by different brands ranging from the discreet to the obscene. Some designs seem to build off on others, like how the OnePlus 10 earlier this year seemed to have taken some of the elements from the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s “Contour Camera” design, making it look like half a visor or one of those sci-fi cybernetic eye implants.
The OnePlus 11, based on the company’s own teaser photos, takes this a step further by planting a circle right on top of that camera module while also rounding one of the edges. This design subtly hides the fact that the camera module is actually taller than it normally is due to bigger hardware. To be fair, OnePlus has made the design look fluid and smooth to mitigate the visual disruption such a large shape would have on the back of the phone. It’s definitely eye-catching, though not necessarily in a good way.
OnePlus hasn’t disclosed much of the hardware aside from the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and fast LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 storage technologies. It will most likely have cameras that will make that rather overstated design worth the space it occupies. It also seems that OnePlus is teasing the return of its popular sandstone material for at least one model, though its availability is, of course, uncertain at this point. The OnePlus 11 will be announced in China on January 4th, but global availability won’t happen until a month later.