OnePlus Open Review: Solving Folding Phone Problems with Style
The smartphone industry has witnessed a remarkable transformation over the years, with a particular focus on the introduction of folding phones. The folding phone market is rife with innovations and is currently dominated by major players like Samsung and Google with their respective Galaxy Z Fold and Pixel Fold.
However, a new contender has entered the arena, ready to shake things up and address some of the lingering issues with folding devices. This review delves into the aspects that make the OnePlus Open a standout device in the market a device that seeks to address four main concerns that have plagued folding phones: aspect ratio, durability, price, and camera quality.
Design: A Blend of Style and Functionality
The OnePlus Open’s design is both eye-catching and practical. It comes in two colors – black with a durable faux leather finish and a refreshing green version. The boxy design of the OnePlus Open sets it apart from the rounded form of its competitors. It offers a sleek and solid feel, with features like the reintroduced alert slider adding to its usability.
The hinge mechanism is another noteworthy design feature. When you open the device to approximately 15 degrees, it locks in place. As you continue to open it, the hinge gradually increases in stiffness, and at around 135 degrees, it smoothly springs flat. This design choice ensures that the OnePlus Open stays open when needed, enhancing user convenience.
One area where the OnePlus Open stands out is its weight and thinness. Surprisingly, it is lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro, and its slim profile makes it a comfortable device to handle. The back of the device boasts a substantial camera bump, which may appear large, but the results from the camera more than justify its size. Despite its slim and light build, the OnePlus Open houses a commendable 4,800mAh battery.
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Display: A Feast for the Eyes
The OnePlus Fold boasts a 6.3-inch display with a standard aspect ratio, 120Hz refresh rate, and 2K resolution. This display offers vivid colors and a seamless experience, whether the phone is open or closed. When fully open, the OnePlus Open’s expansive display shines, offering minimal creasing – a significant improvement over other folding phones. The flat fold is a notable advantage, providing a smoother experience without the inconveniences of a persistent crease.
One notable departure from other folding phones is the choice of materials. While competitors often opt for stainless steel, the OnePlus Open employs a blend of alloys, likely including aluminum and composites. This decision contributes to the phone’s lightweight feel without sacrificing durability.
However, a couple of design drawbacks are worth mentioning. Firstly, the OnePlus Open lacks wireless charging, which is a surprising omission for a flagship device. Wireless charging has become a staple feature in the industry, and its absence is a notable disadvantage.
Secondly, the USB-C port at the bottom does not support video output, a feature that has become increasingly popular in many other devices. Finally, the OnePlus Open does not support stylus input, despite having a design that could easily accommodate it. While these are not deal-breakers, they are missed opportunities for a more versatile device.
Aspect Ratio: The Seamless Transition
When it comes to folding phones, aspect ratio has been a persistent issue. Most notably, Samsung’s approach results in a skinny, less user-friendly form factor. OnePlus takes a different approach with the OnePlus Open.
Its design encourages a natural transition between using the device in its folded state to unfolding it when multitasking is needed. This simple shift in perspective makes the OnePlus Open more intuitive and practical, addressing the aspect ratio problem that other folding phones suffer from.
Folding phones often face concerns about hinge durability. OnePlus takes a decisive step in resolving this issue by offering a hinge rated for an astonishing 1 million folds. This rating is significantly higher than the industry-standard 400,000 folds, suggesting that the OnePlus Open is built to last longer and provide users with a more dependable experience.
Software: A User-Focused Approach
The OnePlus Open’s software experience provides several key optimizations that enhance the user experience, setting it apart from its competitors. It addresses common issues that have plagued folding phone software:
Full-Screen Apps: OnePlus ensures that all apps are forced into full-screen mode, eliminating black bars that can be present on other folding devices.
Multitasking: The OnePlus Open offers a unique multitasking feature that allows users to open two apps in a split-screen mode and easily switch between them by tapping on a portion of the screen. This intuitive approach simplifies multitasking, making it more practical and efficient.
Recents Folder: The recents folder on the bottom taskbar provides quick access to recent documents, photos, and other items. This feature simplifies the process of attaching recent content to emails and messages.
OnePlus also incorporates familiar features such as Relax and Zen Mode, providing users with tools to manage their screen time and maintain focus. The Smart Sidebar, though similar to a feature found in Samsung’s software, adds convenience, while the floating windows feature offers flexibility in app usage. The OnePlus Fold also claims to offer spatial audio, enhancing the audio experience.
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Camera Quality: Flagship-Level Photography
Folding phones have often struggled to match the camera quality found in their non-folding counterparts. OnePlus has taken this challenge head-on by equipping the OnePlus Open with cameras that rival its flagship counterparts.
With a versatile camera setup, including an ultrawide lens with autofocus, a main lens with natural bokeh, and a 3X telephoto lens, the OnePlus Open delivers remarkable photo and video quality. OnePlus has ensured that its foldable device doesn’t compromise on-camera performance, addressing one of the major pain points for users.
Camera: Beyond the Specs
Camera specifications are often overemphasized in today’s smartphone landscape. What truly matters is how these specifications are implemented to produce high-quality photos and videos. The OnePlus Open’s camera system excels in this regard.
The ultrawide lens, equipped with autofocus and a 48-megapixel sensor, delivers consistent results. While there may be occasional discrepancies when transitioning between lenses during video recording, the quality of photos is admirable. The ability to shoot 4K video across all lenses is a significant advantage, ensuring a uniform experience across the device.
The main lens on the OnePlus Open offers natural bokeh and rich, detailed colors. With its 64-megapixel sensor, users can crop images without a significant loss in quality. OnePlus has achieved a notable balance between color accuracy and sharpness. However, there are occasional quirks in the software, as demonstrated by the strange artifact removal in certain photos. These are likely software bugs that can be addressed through updates.
The telephoto lens, marketed as a 6X lens but functionally a 3X lens with a 48-megapixel sensor, offers versatility in capturing distant subjects. While the 120X zoom capability may seem impressive, the practical usability decreases significantly at such high zoom levels. Nevertheless, the OnePlus Open’s camera system is a strong contender in the folding phone market and can easily match flagship devices.
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One of the most significant drawbacks of folding phones is their price. Many users are hesitant to invest in a device that is often priced at a premium. The OnePlus Open comes as a breath of fresh air, as it offers competitive pricing without compromising on features or build quality. With a starting price of $1,699 (and potential trade-in discounts), OnePlus has set a new standard for affordable innovation in the folding phone market.
The OnePlus Open emerges as a strong contender in the folding phone market, addressing key concerns that have hindered the adoption of this innovative form factor. With a thoughtfully designed hinge, impressive durability, competitive pricing, and flagship-level camera performance, OnePlus has raised the bar for folding devices.
While some design choices may raise eyebrows, such as the absence of wireless charging and stylus support, the OnePlus Open offers a comprehensive package that combines style, functionality, and affordability. As the first-generation foldable from OnePlus, it sets a promising precedent for the brand’s future endeavors in this evolving category. If you’re seeking a folding phone that delivers on its promises, the OnePlus Open deserves a spot at the top of your list.