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OnePlus 11R and Vivo V27 Pro will show settling for ‘good enough’ is not a bad thing

The outlier here is the Google Pixel 7 with its 128GB memory. But for most people, it's a toss-up between those two models.

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Usually, PrinTech focuses on cutting-edge gadgetry. This column is slightly different. It focuses on something that will have more mass appeal — two smartphones likely to catch the fancy of many people not only because they are ‘relatively’ affordable but also packed with premium features. I am talking about the new OnePlus 11R, which was launched alongside the OnePlus 11 in February, and Vivo V27 Pro, which was launched on 1 March. Both models start around the Rs 40,000 mark and promise excellent cameras, premium design, performance, and general all-around capability. These two smartphones, particularly the OnePlus 11R, will be the phones of 2023. This will happen despite the minimal pomp and grandeur around these gadgets.

The case for the OnePlus 11R

The OnePlus 11R looks nearly identical to the OnePlus 11, which I felt was excellent and could pose headaches to Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi. The design is not game-changing, but it is certainly attractive. The only corner that has been cut is that instead of glass and metal, this phone is a full plastic affair. Not as premium, it will nonetheless add to the durability of the phone. The OnePlus 11R even packs the same fundamental camera hardware as the OnePlus 11, which had the Hasselblad tuning. The former, for obvious reasons, doesn’t have the Hasselblad feature, but the cameras aren’t bad. Quite excellent for the price point, they are among the best, especially for still photography.

The OnePlus 11R uses last year’s flagship chip, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which means that the smartphone is a screamer in day-to-day use. For most people, the combination of this chip and the ample RAM that OnePlus crams into the phone will be more than enough — they wouldn’t even realise the performance differential between the OnePlus 11R and OnePlus 11. Only hardcore gamers, perhaps, would. Battery life again is excellent, which lasts a full day on a single charge with medium to heavy usage. And then OnePlus’s iconic fast charging technology can juice this device up in less than 30 minutes.

The main AMOLED display is also excellent — the high refresh rate ensures that the Oxygen OS-based user interface feels lightning-fast and is a delight to use. For the average user, it has everything at a price point that is almost half as much as the iPhone 14 and less than half as that of the latest Samsung Galaxy S23 series.

For once, settling for good enough is not a bad thing.

Also read: With new Qualcomm chipset, OnePlus 11 and Galaxy S23 challenging iPhone on pure performance

Where the Vivo V27 Pro wins

The V series doesn’t have the best of Vivo’s technology, but it is geared toward an audience that cares a lot about photography and design. The Vivo V27 Pro uses the Sony IMX766V 50-megapixel camera, which has been tuned in a specific way for Indian users. This means more vibrancy and colour pop, especially if you’re taking photos at a big fat Indian wedding. The smartphone is not gunning for realism but focuses on making whatever you shoot look pretty. And it does a tremendous job at it.

Vivo’s recent advances in portrait photography also mean that the V27 Pro can give even Google Pixel phones a run for their money. There is also a ring light for a flash for wedding-style portraits — a unique and very handy feature, something I used a lot at a friend’s wedding recently.

Of course, this phone also comes with a unique design with a colour-changing back glass, which looks absurd or magnificent depending on who you are. I like it but my mum felt it was gaudy. Before going for the Vivo V27 Pro, I recommend checking it out. It is sleek, which is a good change as most phones are getting bulbous, and its curved screen is an acquired taste. Some would like it, while others wouldn’t due to usability reasons. Let’s say, it has a polarising design, which is a big USP. For those, the OnePlus 11R would do just fine.

With MediaTek Dimensity 8200 chipset at its heart, the Vivo V27 Pro has the required grunt for able day-to-day performance. It is also a very efficient chip as it uses Taiwan Semiconductor’s 4nm fabrication, which means the battery life is also excellent. Yes, despite its battery being smaller than the OnePlus (4,600mAh), it manages to last slightly longer and also gets 66-watt fast charging, which will juice up the device within an hour.

The outlier 

The outlier here is, of course, the Google Pixel 7 whose 128GB model costs slightly more. If you have the budget and don’t care about memory, I would recommend going for it. But 128GB these days is pushing it — so for most people, it is a toss-up between the OnePlus 11R and Vivo V27 Pro. The former is the straightforward choice, and the Vivo the most left-field choice — but if you want a killer camera, then you really can’t go wrong with the Vivo here.

Sahil Mohan Gupta is Editor, Technology at Acko Drive. Views are personal.

(Edited by Humra Laeeq)

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