This is the most jaw-dropping Android phone I’ve seen in years

OnePlus-11-Marble-Odyssey-Edition reclining against a tree.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

“I’ll buy this one just for the looks,” remarked the barista at my favorite coffee shop as he saw me photographing the OnePlus 11 Marble Odyssey Edition. I’d do that, too. Who wouldn’t buy an extremely well-rounded Android phone that’s got a marble-like back with gold accents but still comes cheaper than your bland-looking iPhone or Samsung Galaxy?

In the past few years, OnePlus has drawn flak for losing its edge, losing grip with the famed “flagship killer” mantra that won its legions of fans. Passionate fans, I’d say. The OnePlus 11, starting at $700, brought the brand back on track. In my own experience, I haven’t used a phone as fulfilling as the OnePlus 11 over the past year. Of course, a palatable price makes it immediately likable, too.

The OnePlus 11 in its matte black avatar was my daily driver for a few months before I switched my attention elsewhere. Even in its standard black trim, the OnePlus 11 is a stunner, offering an unmatched in-hand feel with that matte rear shell. But then, OnePlus had an even better version cooking up in its design labs. And boy, the late debut was absolutely worth it.

OnePlus-11-Marble-Odyssey-Edition camera bump.
As I lay prepping for the onslaught of next-gen foldable phones, I got an invite to check out the OnePlus 11 Marble Odyssey Edition. This new trim further upped the aesthetics game with a back plate that looks like a marble tile. OnePlus nailed even the signature mineral-borne glitter of a real marble slab on this one.

And yes, it does feel like a real marble. I reached out to the smartphone maker seeking an in-depth look into the process that went into designing the fresh iteration, and it was OnePlus President and COO Kinder Liu who explained it all in an email interview with Digital Trends.

“The design team was fascinated by the natural patterns, textures, and colors found in various types of marble and sought to incorporate those elements,” Liu explained. Of course, marble comes in its natural diversity of colors and patterns, so it took the OnePlus design team a lot of experimentation and brainstorming to arrive at the final shade.

The finest-looking Android phone out there

OnePlus-11-Marble-Odyssey-Edition contrasting view of the rear panel.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

“The design team was fascinated by the natural patterns, textures, and colors found in various types of marble and sought to incorporate those elements into the OnePlus 11 5G aesthetics,” explained Liu. True to the objective, OnePlus actually surpassed those goals.

The OnePlus 11, with its beautifully curved sides, is noticeably easier to hold in one’s hands compared to flat-sided iPhones and Samsung Galaxy handsets, which really dig into your palms (I’m looking at you, Galaxy S23 Ultra). For the marble makeover, OnePlus thankfully didn’t make any compromises with that in-hand feel.

The efforts have paid off. “This is very comfortable to hold. The sides are nicely curved. And if it offers essentially the same features as other brands for the same price, I would definitely pick this one for the standout design,” proclaimed Muzammil, a fellow journalist who covers international politics but happens to be a smartphone geek out of the office. “Of course, OnePlus has great brand value, too. That’s an added incentive.”

OnePlus 11 Marble Odyssey Edition rear panel
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

The OnePlus 11 Marble Odyssey edition has attracted more questions in my circle of acquaintances than even a foldable phone. It’s evident why. In an era of premium phones where the color of the rear glass panel is the only differentiator, the latest OnePlus experiment is a bold move beyond any precedent.

OnePlus chose a near-perfect polish for the surrounding metallic frame that extends all the way over the half-wraparound camera island. It’s a shade of gold. Not the eye-piercingly garish yellow, but a slightly darker tone that gives off a bronze-inspired shimmer. In a nutshell, there is nothing like the OnePlus 11 Marble Odyssey Edition on the market.

I then turned to my friend Purvi, a short-film actress who is not really a brand loyalist but loves a phone that looks premium. “It is light and shiny, but the right kind. I love phones with a pearl white finish, but I’ll take this one,” she tells me.

There’s so much more than the design

OnePlus-11-Marble-Odyssey-Edition display view.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

OnePlus is offering the Marble Odyssey Edition at a premium of about $35 over the regular OnePlus 11 at the moment. In my opinion, that hike is absolutely justified. Even more so when you consider the overall price tag and what you get in return.

In Digital Trends’ review, which was a collaborative effort between two experts testing a unit each in a different country, the only two drawbacks of the phone were an underwhelming portrait camera and a lack of wireless charging. For $699, I can live with those compromises — especially when I get terrific battery life, a smooth display, a great in-hand feel, and no-frills software.

Heck, this phone charges at 80W in the U.S. and 100W in India. That’s over three times as fast as the fastest Samsung flagship and five times as quick as the latest iPhone. But if the $35 added sting really hurts, here’s some added motivation. You get the 80W (or 100W) charging brick in the box.

OnePlus 11 on charge, with OnePlus Buds Pro 2.
That’s right. Unlike Apple and Samsung, which want you to spend a similar amount, only to buy a sluggish charger after spending a fortune on their phones, OnePlus gives an insanely fast charger for free. I could write a few thousand words about the OnePlus 11 Marble Odyssey Edition, but you can read more about every single aspect of this phone in our exhaustive review.

But if I were to add something, I’d say that in the months following its launch, software updates have only refined the experience. Can you go wrong with the OnePlus 11? Nope. Not unless the Google Pixel’s trusty camera and exclusive software perks have arrested your attention. What about the OnePlus 11 Marble Odyssey Edition? Well, it’s just OnePlus flexing its design chops on a rock-solid foundation.

OnePlus gets the small things right

OnePlus-11-Marble-Odyssey-Edition under daylight.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

On its own, the OnePlus 11 is as good as it gets for the price you pay for it. And then some more. But more than just an appealing design makeover, zippy innards, and wicked quick charging, there are a few minor — but meaningful — conveniences that set the OnePlus 11 Marble Odyssey Edition apart.

Underneath the marble-inspired shell is a bionic vibration sensor motor with a volume that exceeds 600 cubic millimeters, making it one of the largest six-axis vibration motors you will come across on any phone out there. It offers over 500+ O-Haptics system-level adjustments, and you can really tell the difference when you compare it to other phones.

On its own, the OnePlus 11 is as good as it gets.

Will fancy haptic hardware dramatically uplift your phone experience? Likely not. But it is one of those minor quality-of-life refinements that really sets apart a phone from the rest and wins loyal fans, just the way OnePlus — and Apple — loyalists swear by the alert slider on the side.

If you’ve given a few months of your life to a Samsung phone, or a Chinese brand like Oppo or Vivo, you will find OxygenOS instantly likable. Barring the stock Android look that you would find on Motorola and Google phones, OxygenOS is as close to a bloatware-free Android experience as it gets.

Mineral styling on the OnePlus-11-Marble-Odyssey-Edition.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Furthermore, OnePlus’ own sprinkling of in-house software-side enhancements is enjoyable. OxygenOS’ implementation of an always-on display is the best out there. The smart sidebar is a neat functional trick that puts your most frequently-used tools just a swipe away. The screenshot editor is rewarding, and the ability to hide apps has only been reinforced with OxygenOS 13.

Once again, I’d say that owning a OnePlus 11 won’t turn your perception of an Android flagship upside-down. But if there’s one Android phone that slowly grows on you functionally — one tiny convenience after another — it’s a OnePlus. And if all that goodness looks as stunning as the OnePlus 11 Marble Odyssey Edition, it gets even harder to ignore this one.

“At OnePlus, we understand the importance of creating a device that not only looks aesthetically pleasing but also translated into a burdenless experience for our users,” concludes OnePlus President Liu. My argument with the OnePlus 11 Marble Odyssey Edition won’t stray much, either.

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