This week is Mobile World Congress, which means entering the wild world of concept phones. Usually these are flexible display devices that will never see the light of day, but this year OnePlus has the “OnePlus 11 Concept” phone. It has a liquid cooling system called “Active CryoFlux”. We’ll try to figure this out, but our first red flag is that OnePlus doesn’t go into much detail.
It’s worth noting that OnePlus has made several concept phones, which have never really affected the company’s consumer products. a phone on electrochromic glass in front of the camera lenses, making them invisible when not in use. another phone would be change colors. No feature made it into a consumer phone.
OnePlus’ press release says that the system features “a piezoelectric ceramic micropump at its core, connected to tubing sandwiched between an upper and lower diaphragm. The micropump occupies an area of less than 0.2 cm², allowing the coolant to circulate around the pipes without significantly increasing the weight and thickness of the OnePlus 11 Concept”.
Those fancy blue lights in the back appear to be the cooling system and aren’t just there to be seen. The press release says: “The transparent back offers a mesmerizing view of the Active CryoFlux pipes at work”, which are also illuminated. OnePlus also says: “The Active CryoFlux liquid flows around the chamber like a halo”, so That everything is blue is coolant, according to OnePlus.
Regarding the actual results of this system, OnePlus says: “In laboratory tests, Active CryoFlux has been shown to reduce the temperature of a phone during gameplay by up to 2.1 °C, which improves frame rates. of a set at 3 or 4 degrees, or at 1.6°C while charging, shaved 30-45 [seconds] from charge time.” Those numbers aren’t particularly impressive. Phones rev up pretty quickly due to heat, and they mostly deal with “cooling” by going slower. The OnePlus press release quote uniquely measures the frame rate in ‘degrees’ I’m sure they mean ‘frames’, and 3 or 4 frames is usually the margin of error in a benchmark.
The liquid does not seem go anywhere, which would explain why OnePlus’ cooling results are so lacking. Water cooling in PCs works by placing a block of water on a hot item, like the CPU or GPU, heating that liquid up, and then moving it onto something to cool it down, usually a radiator with some fans behind it. Is that actual cooling circuit replicated here? The phone doesn’t have a noticeable way to cool down the liquid once it gets hot, other than passive cooling. There is no fan, as we have seen in some phones, no radiator or any other cooling device.
There appears to be a small amount of liquid at the same temperature sloshing around in there, and OnePlus expects it to dissipate heat as it moves around the back of the phone. It probably doesn’t help that the cooling system is sandwiched inside the phone with a glass panel, which is an insulator. OnePlus also doesn’t explicitly say that the liquid cooling is meaningfully connected to the SoC via a water block. It is not clear which components it is cooling.
Finally, one seller decided to describe the phone’s design as “Glass Unibody”, which sounds like an absolute nightmare concept for phone durability. There seems to be nothing to this claim other than marketing: there’s still a metal frame around the phone, and OnePlus’ image of the “unibody” appears to be a normal rear glass panel. In actual “unibody” it would imply that the back and frame of the phone were made of one piece, with the individual electronics mounted on that piece inside the phone. Thankfully, OnePlus didn’t employ a very skilled glassblower or anything, and there doesn’t seem to be much more glass here than on a regular OnePlus 11.