OnePlus has a fairly mixed history where wireless charging is concerned, and was probably the last major phone maker to include it on its flagships. We thought wireless charging would be here to stay, after it first appeared on the OnePlus 8 Pro, but the OnePlus 11 is the latest example of how wrong we were.
The OnePlus 10T skipped wireless charging when it arrived late last year, and now the OnePlus 11 has followed its example. While both phones offer some incredible charging speeds, ranging from 80W to 150W, they can only take in power via a physical USB-C cable — unlike some of its predecessors.
The OnePlus 8 Pro was the first, offering 30W wireless charging back in 2020, and while the OnePlus 8 and 8T were left out, subsequent flagships followed the Pro’s example. The OnePlus 9 only supported 15W wireless charging, but the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 10 Pro offered super-fast 50W speeds.
In our OnePlus 11 review we speculated that it may be down to the cost of including a conductive coil. Smartphones are expensive purchases, but the OnePlus 11 starts at a very reasonable $699 — enough for us to dub it the best value Android flagship. However, keeping prices low inevitably means compromises have to be made.
The OnePlus 11 only has a 2x telephoto lens, for instance, and performance on the selfie camera isn’t particularly great based on our testing. Like wireless charging, it’s not fully clear why things are this way — but the phone’s relatively low cost could be to blame.
This doesn’t mean that the OnePlus 11 isn’t a good phone. It has one of the best battery lives you can find in a smartphone, massive improvements to the cameras overall, a gorgeous QHD display, and all the power of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — easily the best chipset available in an Android phone. It’s just that there are a few things that betray the fact this is a $699 phone rather than a $999 one.
The question is why OnePlus didn’t offer slower wireless charging speeds as a kind of compromise. That seemed to be the case with the OnePlus 9, which only supported 15W wireless charging speeds. 15W may not be particularly fast, but it still offered the option to wirelessly charge when convenient.
OnePlus is doing its customers a disservice by removing wireless charging
OnePlus customers tend to be a loyal bunch, and back in the company’s pre-wireless charging days arguably didn’t really know what they were missing. I was one of those people. OnePlus’s reasoning at the time was that wireless charging wasn’t good enough, or more specifically wasn’t fast enough compared to its wired charging options.
In 2023 neither of those statements are true. OnePlus clearly felt wireless charging technology was up to scratch to offer some form of it for the past three years, and its users will have been able to enjoy up to 50W wireless charging speeds as a result.
Wireless charging can be incredibly useful, assuming your phone case doesn’t get in the way. Slap your phone onto a pad, and then pick it up some indeterminate amount of time later. All without having to deal with cables and plugs in the process.
An argument can be made that the OnePlus 11 has such a good battery that it doesn’t need topping off often. The phone lasted in 13 hours and 10 minutes during our battery test, which is more than enough to get throughout an average day. Using the 80W wired charger the battery was able to hit 57% charge after 15 minutes of charging, and 97% after half an hour.
But while access to a wireless charger might be a small convenience, it is still a convenient feature to have. Especially if you’re already set up your home and office with wireless charging in mind, or you dropped $70 on the OnePlus AIRVOOC wireless charger at some point in the recent past.
Now upgrading users have to make a choice. Stick with the latest OnePlus device, and lose a useful feature, or switch to a phone that has it. The obvious downside being that few phones offer wireless charging speeds comparable to the 50W OnePlus was offering.
The OnePlus 11’s lack of wireless charging isn’t going to be a dealbreaker for most people. Especially seeing as how the phone does almost everything else right, and for a more affordable price than most flagship phones can muster. Particularly considering the battery performance and ultra-fast wired charging capabilities.
The lack of choice is just mildly inconvenient for anyone that’s gotten used to wireless charging over the past few years — especially OnePlus loyalists who spent so many years without it. It’s just super strange that OnePlus would drop a feature that’s ubiquitous, especially so soon after implementing it for the first time.