OnePlus has recently launched what is arguably the most interesting phone since its very first OnePlus One came in 2014. The ‘OnePlus Open’ is the company’s first foldable and it has reviewers and tech enthusiasts excited.
It is, of course, Samsung that has been the category-starter and virtually the only presence in foldables for the past few years, but other companies have been doing their homework and have taken note of the problems and issues to be addressed, working past them quite deftly. OnePlus, under the parentage of Oppo, has come up with a foldable that has important changes to the format that need to be taken seriously for future foldables.
For the media, the OnePlus Open arrives in an enormous box resembling a briefcase from yesteryear. Customers get a regular, but still quite substantial phone box with the basic accessories they need, including - an 80W charger, USB A to C cable, and a two-part case. The exciting part however is picking up the device itself and finding that it is so different to hold than the Samsung Z Flip in all its iterations. The OnePlus Open seems immediately slimmer, sleeker, and smaller, though it’s wider. Its front screen, a 6.3-inch LTPO3 Super Fluid OLED with 1116 x 2484 pixels resolution and 431ppi pixel density, is much closer to those we’re accustomed to seeing on regular phones and so, much easier to work with, compared to Samsung’s. This display has an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 2800 nits.
A good hold
In some ways, it’s easier to grip than Samsung’s Flip, but there’s also one big factor that some could find cumbersome: there’s an enormous camera housing on the back that one cannot fail to bump into with the fingers while holding the device in closed mode. Some users manage to use this to their advantage and achieve a better grip, while others find it too much in the way. The black (Voyager Black, as opposed to Emerald Dusk) variant of this device in any case helps get a good grip because it has a faux leather finish that both looks and feels good.
Unfolding the Open, you’ll be relieved to find that the camera housing doesn’t upset the balance of the device as it sits on the right side. In this mode, the phone is very easy to hold and works well for both productive tasks as well as entertainment as you watch your fill of movies, play games with total ease, or read a book. The crease between the two folding parts has been impressively minimised to the point that you have to look for it when the screen is dark and can forget it when the display is lit up. Now that Oppo and OnePlus have shown the way with a barely noticeable crease, any foldables that turn up in future with more noticeable creases will surely attract a volley of criticism.
The inner screen is 7.82 inch one with 2268 x 2440 pixels and a ~426 ppi density. It too is a LTPO3 Flexi-fluid AMOLED with Dolby Vision, adaptable 120Hz, and a peak brightness of 2800 nits. Also Ultra Thin Glass protection. Both inner and outer displays have a 240Hz touch sampling rate and are responsive and speedy. It has a minimal water resistance rating: IPX4. The bezels are minimal and the screen overall has a good amount of real estate. There’s good sound on-board Dolby capable speakers to complement the screens. There have been some users who experienced issues with a green line on the screen, but this is by no means the norm and our review device showed no sign of this after several weeks of use.
The fingerprint sensor is mounted on the power button, a good place for it to be. One may have to get a little used to the button placement as the volume rocker is a little high up on the right side. On the left is the famous alert slider button, which, when you fold the phone, moves to the right as well. This isn’t a problem except that one’s muscle memory will have to develop to accommodate that change.
Unfolding and folding the Open feels just fine, if not quite satisfying when a distinct snap accompanies shutting the two halves. It feels perfectly strong and sturdy along with the hinge which also feels like it’s up to the job.
The OnePlus Open has huge hardware specs, in line with its other flagship devices. It runs on the Qualcomm SM8550-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage. Needless to say, performance is extremely fast and snappy.
The Open is still running on Android 13 with OxygenOS 13 out of the box. OnePlus used to be first off the cuff with operating system upgrades, but it hasn’t moved on to Android 14 on this device yet. The software is nevertheless clean and has a lot of tablet format customisations. One of these is ‘Open Canvas’ which is the unique way this foldable deals with three active apps placed on the screen. Two apps take up most of the place on the screen while the third slips off to the side, leaving a small portion visible. Pulling it out using the visible little handle brings it centre stage to take up the larger spot. This is a different style from Samsung’s, with those foldable one opens three apps to let one take up a half and another two to take up a quarter each. On the Open, pinch and expand gestures can also be used for different views such as glancing at all apps at the same time and even being able to perform actions within them. These gestures work very smoothly and intuitively and begin to come naturally the more one uses them. All apps, however, are not optimised for split views.
There are other customisations like continuity between the outer and inner screens. Some small selection of apps such as the camera and YouTube also split to place the viewing part on the top part of the screen when it is flexed, and the controls on the bottom. There’s also a dock or taskbar from where one can drag and drop apps onto the screen.
All in all, this is a busy person’s phone on which the focus has been to make it easy, quick, and intuitive to perform tasks quickly and in multitudes. It is even supposed to be able to work with a stylus, though there isn’t one included in the package. This capability was not tested.
The Open has a 4805mAh battery and fast charging at 67W, but no wireless charging. Battery life is particularly good, though there are mixed reports on this aspect. The device charges fully in about 40 minutes. Wireless charging is about the only premium feature missing.
Foldables are not yet known for including the best cameras. Apple, Samsung and Pixel flagship phones still beat everything else for now. With the Open, OnePlus has tried to bring up the level of the cameras onboard significantly. The Hasselblad branding is immediately obvious on the large circular housing on the back. That, and the sheer size of the housing sets the expectation for users as far as photography from this device is concerned.
The primary camera on this phone is 48MP and uses a new Sony sensor that is meant to let in twice the light and use a new stacked structure. Images are vibrant, with good contrast and detail but a little more susceptible to softness from shaking.
There’s also a telephoto lens of 64 MP, with an f/2.6 aperture, OIS, and 3x optical zoom. It goes up to 6x zoom beyond this and does a great job, provided one remains still - or the subject does. On board is also an ultrawide/macro 48MP with f/2.2 aperture. There are two selfie cameras of 32MP (in-cover) and 20MP. All the rear cameras support 4K 60FPS video and 4K 30FPS Dolby Vision. The front cameras also support 4K video recording but at 30FPS.
Overall, the OnePlus Open is an interesting alternative to Samsung’s Z Fold 5 because of how it offers a different aspect ratio and ergonomics, another take on software, top-end specs and very interesting cameras. Priced at ₹1,39,999, it isn’t much cheaper than Samsung Fold (₹ 1,64,999) unless you find a good deal, but you may vote to consider the Open to be the best foldable phone around.