What makes a OnePlus telephone a OnePlus telephone? It’s a query with many solutions which have modified through the years, and one I’m pondering once more now that the OnePlus 11 is right here. It was once a tool with spectacular specs at an ultra-competitive value, however rising prices through the years have modified that. It additionally was once clear and light-weight software program, however OxygenOS 13 has taken OnePlus in a really totally different route.

One thing that has remained (principally) constant is the long-lasting alert slider — the small, bodily change on the facet of OnePlus telephones for shortly altering your notification quantity. OnePlus tried eradicating it on the OnePlus 10T final 12 months, however after receiving unrelenting backlash, the alert slider has returned on the OnePlus 11. And whereas OnePlus will pat itself on the again for resurrecting the characteristic whereas followers reward its return, I’m prepared for one thing new.

The OnePlus 11’s alert slider is unimaginable …

Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

I wish to be clear proper off the bat: the alert slider on the OnePlus 11 is glorious. Just like the OnePlus 10 Professional earlier than it, it includes a distinct texture, so it’s straightforward to establish in your pocket and seamlessly transfer with one finger. It additionally doesn’t really feel practically as stiff because it did on the ten Professional. There’s nonetheless nice tactility while you transfer it, however it’s now simpler to slip into its totally different positions.

This expertise is additional improved by the way it works with the OnePlus 11’s {hardware} and software program. A wonderful vibration motor within the telephone enhances the suggestions you get when utilizing the slider — offering totally different vibrations relying on the place you progress it.

And no matter whether or not the show is on or off, you’ll see a pop-up displaying you if the alert slider was moved to Silent, Vibrate, or Ring. OnePlus has the alert slider expertise all the way down to a T, and it actually reveals on the OnePlus 11.

… and never practically as helpful as chances are you’ll suppose

Alert slider pop-up on the OnePlus 11.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

However right here’s the factor. As beautiful because the OnePlus 11’s alert slider is, I not often use the factor.

Much like the amount change on my iPhone 14 Professional Max, the alert slider on my OnePlus 11 stays within the Vibrate place and doesn’t transfer from there. I don’t need my telephone audio system blasting notification sounds all day lengthy; a easy vibration does the trick.

If I’m going to the films or out to dinner, it’s good with the ability to slide the toggle to Silent mode and disable notification alerts that manner. However it’s additionally simply as straightforward to allow Do Not Disturb from the Fast Settings panel.

Possibly I’m within the minority of individuals right here, however I battle to think about that many people frequently cycle between notification quantity settings so ceaselessly that we’d like a devoted {hardware} button for it. It’s quirky and distinctive, however on the OnePlus 11 and former OnePlus handsets, I’ve by no means discovered the alert slider to really make the units any extra helpful in comparison with ones with out it.

What does OnePlus do subsequent?

OnePlus 2.
Alert slider on the OnePlus 2 Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Am I pleased that the alert slider is again on the OnePlus 11? Positive. The OnePlus 10T admittedly felt extra boring with out it, and it’s good to know OnePlus is listening to fan suggestions — no matter how helpful I discover the factor. Extra importantly, I feel it sparks a bigger dialog concerning the id of OnePlus smartphones.

OnePlus creates a rattling good alert slider, however I wish to see what else it will possibly do.

The alert slider stays a singular smartphone characteristic in 2023. No different Android producer has tried to duplicate it, and it provides OnePlus telephones a powerful id. However what I wish to know is the place OnePlus goes from right here — what’s the corporate’s subsequent {hardware} trick?

Although the alert slider is exclusive in comparison with different Android telephones, it’s well-treaded floor for OnePlus. It’s one thing the corporate’s been doing for practically eight years, and in any case that point, it actually hasn’t modified a lot from its unique implementation on the OnePlus 2. OnePlus creates a rattling good alert slider, however I wish to see what else it will possibly do.

What’s that subsequent large {hardware} trick? Your guess is pretty much as good as mine, and fairly frankly, I don’t care what it’s. I simply wish to see OnePlus experiment with telephone design once more. The alert slider has a ravenous fan base right now, and that’s solely as a result of OnePlus took a danger practically a decade in the past to strive one thing new. OnePlus isn’t actually innovating within the digicam area. Battery life has been effective. Efficiency is persistently quick, however that’s the case for many flagship telephones right now.

The alert slider is proof OnePlus could be inventive with telephone {hardware}, and that’s one thing I wish to return with the OnePlus 12. Even when it’s gimmicky or misses the mark, it’s time for OnePlus to step out of its consolation zone once more, quite than depend on familiarity and nostalgia.

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