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OnePlus Open Review: Just Another Fold or a Leap Forward?

The OnePlus Open  stands as one of the best foldable phones currently available when considering its display, design, processing power, and battery life, giving tough times to the rival models. However, there are room for some improvements.

OnePlus Open Review: Just Another Fold or a Leap Forward?

First off, I've got to hand it to OnePlus for getting the name right. We’ve had enough of the ‘Fold’ monikers , 'Open' sounds a bit cool. When they launch a flip phone, maybe they'll call it the OnePlus Close, Short or whatever, but let's unfold the OnePlus Open’s story.

Design: The phone looks impressive with its body and frame made of cobalt molybdenum and titanium alloys, which OnePlus claims are stronger than stainless steel. It does feel sturdy in hand and, surprisingly, it's quite light weight at 239 grams. That's noteworthy for a foldable, considering the Samsung Z Fold 5 tips the scales at 253 grams and the Google Pixel Fold is a tad heftier at 283 grams. 

When I used it, it didn’t feel like I was holding a phone much heavier than a regular bar phone. The handset is a breeze to use with a thickness of just 11.7mm, making it slimmer than both the Fold 5 and Pixel Fold. And when you close it, it seals shut without any wedges, something Samsung took five iterations to achieve. The back offers vegan leather in the black variant, though there’s also a glass variant in green. Audio-wise, the OnePlus Open features three Dolby Atmos-tuned speakers – two on top, one on the bottom – and they are loud. The alert slider is there for additional convenience. What's missing is an in-display fingerprint scanner; instead, they’ve gone old school with a conventional reader integrated into the power button. 

Design-wise, the OnePlus Open is sleek, light, and oozes luxury, which it should for a phone that costs Rs. 1,39,999

That said, the camera module gobbles up more than a third of the back panel, which could be a bit of putting. When you fold it and hold it, your finger might grapple with the bump, which I at times found mildly annoying. Don't expect to take the OnePlus Open for a swim. It's not water-resistant. It comes with an IPX4 rating, meaning it's only splash-proof. So if it takes a dive into a puddle, it could be curtains for the Open.

Display: Now, the most intriguing part of the OnePlus Open are its displays. When you open the 'Open', you are openly greeted by a spacious 7.82-inch Fluid AMOLED display. As the primary screen it is larger than the main displays on both the Samsung Fold and the Pixel Fold, boasting a resolution of 2,440 x 2,268 pixels. It’s an LTPO panel that comes with a variable refresh rate ranging from 120Hz down to 1Hz. OnePlus claims the display hits a peak brightness of 2,800 nits – and that's seriously bright, even outshining other flagships. It's brighter than the Galaxy Z Fold 5. The visibility is excellent even outdoors. You can read text and work on it even under direct sunlight without squinting.

The colours on the screen pop with vibrancy and punch, exactly what you’d anticipate from a high-quality OLED panel. Enjoying high-definition formats like HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision is a treat, with a 10-bit colour depth adding to the immersive experience.

OnePlus has done a great job by significantly reducing the visibility of the crease that typically mars foldable screens. This results in a remarkably smoother and more seamless display experience. Even on a white screen, the crease is virtually unnoticeable. So, OnePlus gets a clear advantage of entering the foldable market a bit later, learning from the drawbacks of rival brands. You might catch a glimpse of the crease when the device is tilted at nearly 90 degrees, and you'll feel it if you run your finger across the display, but only slightly. The touch response is also accurate, coupled with the 120Hz refresh rate that makes app transitions and animations battery smooth. 

When you close the OnePlus Open, it presents you with a 6.31-inch cover display. This screen is also an LTPO OLED panel, with a 20:9 aspect ratio. The cover panel provides a regular phone display experience unlike the narrower or shorter alternatives on other foldables. It features the same 10-bit colour depth, HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision support, and maintains the peak brightness of 2800 nits. It  doesn't feel as awkwardly narrow as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 nor as short and wide as the Pixel Fold’s. With the Open, OnePlus has managed to hit the sweet spot of what a foldable phone’s cover screen should feel like.

Camera: When it comes to the cameras on the OnePlus Open, the hardware and specs are quite impressive. On the rear, there's a hefty camera module housing a 48MP primary camera with Sony's new LYTIA-808 sensor and OIS, a 64MP telephoto lens with 3X optical zoom and 6X in-sensor zoom, and a 48MP ultra-wide lens. The telephoto camera utilises an OmniVision OV64B sensor and performs decently with the given zoom capabilities. The ultra-wide camera seems to follow suit in terms of quality.

The primary camera sensor of the OnePlus Open takes centre stage in daylight by capturing great images across lighting conditions with consistency. The sensor is adept at handling of depth. The HDR mode comes to the rescue in low-lit scenarios by managing to brighten the shadows. However, this noise reduction capabilities do sometimes tend to smudge the finer details, a trade-off that I have seen on other OnePlus flagships as well. OnePlus Open really shines through its telephoto lens. It manages to capture good depth and detail even during the later part of the day.

For selfies, there are two cameras: a 32 MP front shooter on the cover screen and a 20MP camera on the main screen. Both produce good quality images and support up to 4K video recording. The Hasselblad-OnePlus collaboration for colour tuning continues to feature in this device as well.

Performance: The OnePlus Open comes equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a common feature in flagship phones of the year. On the OnePlus Open, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 delivers a lag-free, smooth experience. Gaming on this device is seamless without any issues. I played BGMI, Asphalt 9, COD Mobile, and Genshin Impact, and the experience was good. The phone comes in a single variant with 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 512GB of storage.

OnePlus Open runs on OxygenOS 13.2, based on Android 13, with a promise of four years of Android updates and five years of security updates. The software has been customised to enhance multitasking, allowing the use of two apps simultaneously with the option to add a third app on the screen. These can be saved as a group for later use, among other tweaks available on the device. OnePlus calls this customisation “OnePlus Canvas”

The OnePlus Open packs a 4,805mAh battery, which is quite sufficient for a day's use. It supports 67W fast charging, ensuring quick power-ups. However, it lacks wireless charging capabilities, which could be a point of consideration.

Verdict: The OnePlus Open currently stands as one of the best foldable phones currently available when considering its display, design, processing power, and battery life, surpassing rival models. However, there's room for improvement in the camera department. Additionally, the absence of an IPX8 rating means it lacks water resistance, a feature becoming standard in flagship devices.

There are some other concerns as well. First is the durability, a common issue with foldable phones due to their moving parts and hinges, which may develop problems over time. OnePlus claims to have rigorously tested the Open with over a million folds and unfolds, yet real-life longevity remains to be seen. The second concern is about perception. People might be tempted to stick with the brands that have been playing the foldable game longer. That said, OnePlus isn’t just testing the waters with the Open; it's diving in headfirst. They’ve got most of the things right in the first attempt, offering a compelling package.