scorecardresearch
Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023
Advertisement
Premium

OnePlus Open review: Reaping the late mover advantage in foldables

The OnePlus Open has a lot of style and oozes a sense of confidence which reminds me of the first OnePlus phone which made me a fan of the brand. Here's my review.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Rs. 139,999
OnePlus OpenOnePlus Open with Hasselblad camera system (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)
Listen to this article
OnePlus Open review: Reaping the late mover advantage in foldables
x
00:00
1x 1.5x 1.8x

Smartphone companies are clearly feeling the pressure of being left behind in the foldable race. And this is why every brand worth its salt wants to launch its own fold or flip phone before more enter the race. This new form factor also offers companies the opportunity to charge more from their consumers than what their regular phones can do. The latest to enter this bandwagon is OnePlus with the Open.

OnePlus Open It even has the trademark OnePlus alert slider on the left side of the unfolded screen (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

OnePlus Open review

At first sight, the OnePlus Open is undoubtedly the sleekest foldable phone I have seen. And it is not just about being sleek. This phone has a lot of style and oozes a sense of confidence which reminds me of the first OnePlus phone which made me a fan of the brand. The phone also has a somewhat serious design, the sort you would feel when holding a BlackBerry all those years back. And this could well be the advantage OnePlus wants to play on, given that the foldable segment automatically caters to an upper crest in the smartphone segment.

Anyway, the design has a trademark OnePlus feel to it. It even has the trademark OnePlus alert slider on the left side of the unfolded screen. The metallic chassis and textured vegan leather rear of the Voyager Black model I got for review gave me the feeling of a phone a lot of people would love to flaunt. The cobalt molybdenum alloy makes the phone quite light despite everything literally being in double here. At about 239 grams, I would say this is almost as light as the Google Pixel 8 Pro I reviewed last week. And at 5.9mm thickness when closed this is among the thinnest foldables out there and has a much tighter close with hardly any gap visible between the two sides when shut.

Advertisement
OnePlus Open The 6.31-inch Super Fluid AMOLED might be the secondary display, but it is big enough to not make you open the larger screen without a real good reason (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

The OnePlus Open also stands out because the front screen is pretty much what you would get with any OnePlus phone and there are no compromises being made here because this is on a foldable phone. The 6.31-inch Super Fluid AMOLED might be the secondary display, but it is big enough to not make you open the larger screen without a real good reason. And this means the OnePlus Open does not disrupt user behaviour at all, unlike what early adopters of this form factor had to go through.

OnePlus Open The 7.8-inch screen offers what is almost a 1:1 aspect ratio (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

Once opened, the 7.8-inch screen offers what is almost a 1:1 aspect ratio. The advantage of being late to the game reflects on the unfolded screen where there is a crease, which however is hardly visible. The hinge behind it is also not something you need to see in action. The 2K screen is clear and sharp, making it good to consume content on when you are on the move. If you are in a hotel room, then you can go full blast with the volume, which is loud by any smartphone standard.

Festive offer OnePlus Open As you open a mail or the notepad to type, you realise that this approach flows into the keyboard too where you have all letters sorted into either side of the screen (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

As you unfold the Open, the wallpaper animates, as if to acknowledge the larger screen waking up to life. With OxygenOS, OnePlus has taken a different approach to the layout of this large screen. Instead of plonking all the apps across the screen, they have been laid out in two columns. Even the search bar is limited to one side of the screen, making it easier to access with one hand. As you open a mail or the notepad to type, you realise that this approach flows into the keyboard too where you have all letters sorted into either side of the screen. So from either hand, you lend a finger to type on their corresponding sides. Yes, this takes some getting used to, but is not hard to master. But then you can always fold up the Open and start typing like you are used to on the front.

There are some neat software tweaks catering to the special use cases that a large square screen like this throws up. While a split screen functionality works easily and as you would expect it to, you can add a third screen and swipe between the three and squeeze in for a full screen view of windows. For instance, you can browse X, LinkedIn and Facebook at the same time if you are feeling in the mood to be a bit too social. And when you dismiss these sets of apps, they stay together and you can cycle back to one of these clusters later. So, in short, it’s quite easy to multi-task here, and put the extra real estate to some good use.

Advertisement
OnePlus Open OnePlus Open has a massive camera bump (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

Also, OnePlus seems to have worked on some of the apps so that they have a very different and better experience on the larger screen. I felt this most with the LinkedIn app, where if you tap on the chats, the window splits to show the chat on the right side of the screen. Similarly, on Facebook, chats open on the side. It makes us wonder why other foldables never thought of these types of integrations for the larger screen — maybe the first mover disadvantage.

Now, with all this multitasking and cycling between the apps, the phone, working on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, remained quite composed. It did not heat up with any of the scenarios, which included watching the India-Bangladesh World Cup match on Hotstar as I swiped through our amazing live blog of the same match on the side. The 16GB RAM on the phone can be expanded by up to 16GB if you have enough space left in the 512GB storage. This is a great feature to have, though I think 16GB itself is more than enough for most users.

OnePlus Open This phone comes with a three-camera Hasselblad set up in the rear with a 48MP main camera (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

Now, I am not one to expect a lot from the cameras of a foldable phone. But that is not how OnePlus has approached the phone, and the large camera ring at the back highlights this seriousness. This phone comes with a three-camera Hasselblad set up in the rear with a 48MP main camera featuring the new Sony LYT sensor, a 64MP telephoto lens which offers 3x optical zoom, an extra 6X zoom that basically uses the extra pixels and up to 120x digital zoom. Then there is the 48MP ultra-wide camera. There are two selfie cameras here, a 32MP front camera in above the unfolded screen and a 20MP camera above the cover screen.

Advertisement
OnePlus Open The shot of the Buddha is with just a low-light source just next to it, but has come out quite well with a lot of detail (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

I was happy with all the cameras, especially from main one which gave some subtle results in low light. The shot of the Buddha is with just a low-light source just next to it, but has come out quite well with a lot of detail. Even the photos of the Sushis were shot in a challenging indoor situation, but have the colours and the details that make you want to dig in.

OnePlus Open Photos of the Sushis were shot in a challenging indoor situation (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express) OnePlus Open camera sample Photos of the Sushis were shot in a challenging indoor situation 2 (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

The colour in the shots of the plants in my living room are natural and not amped up, but the camera has a tendency to touch up extra noise soon after the photos have been saved like some of the Oppo phones I have used over the years. The 3x optical zoom is great for when you want to take some portraits where the subject is not really aware of your presence. And the bokeh in these images shows what Hasselblad branding on a camera means.

OnePlus Open camera sample OnePlus Open Camera sample 3 (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express) OnePlus Open camera sample OnePlus Open Camera sample 4 (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express) OnePlus Open camera sample OnePlus Open Camera sample 5 (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express) OnePlus Open camera sample OnePlus Open Camera sample 6 (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express) OnePlus Open camera sample Apple shot in 6x magnification (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

The front cameras too come with the right mix of sharpness and clarity that works well even in low light. You can record 4K video in 60fps with Dolby Vision, but here the aspect ratio is a normal 16:9 even when you are shooting with the screen unfolded — but then I am going to ask you why would you want to shoot like some of those people with iPads at weddings.

Since the phone is quite thin, there has been some compromise made on the battery size that such a phone could have ideally managed. So the OnePlus Open’s 4805 mAh battery lasts a whole day, from 6 am to about 11 pm with a lot of World Cup watching and multiple tab browsing. On any regular phone, a battery this big would have stretched into the second day. But then you can use the fast charger to juice back up in about 30 minutes to almost 80%.

OnePlus Open Jacket that comes in the box does feel a bit flimsy, especially the part that goes on the front (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

On the negative side, while the phone gives a very sturdy feel, the jacket that comes in the box does feel a bit flimsy, especially the part that goes on the front. Also, the lip this cover adds to the screen collects dust quite quickly and might not be the best for Indian conditions. When you fold the screen while doing something the same app does not immediately open on the front screen and prompts you to unlock first. This is a bit odd and impacts user experience in my opinion. Then there is the camera bump, which looks good but does feel a bit when you think this is already a large phone thanks to the fold.

Advertisement

With its very business-like feel and relevant software tweaks that make the larger screen more usable, the OnePlus Open to crying to be taken note of as a competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Fold series. While Samsung has the advantage of the S-Pen, OnePlus has its own unique edge in the form of a better cover screen and power-packed camera. At Rs 139,999 OnePlus is punching above its weight after a long time with the Open and it clearly seems to have something going in its favour with what we have seen of the phone so far.

Nandagopal Rajan writes on technology, gadgets and everything related. He has worked with the India Today Group and Hindustan Times. He is an alumnus of Calicut University and Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal. ... Read More

First published on: 19-10-2023 at 20:28 IST
Latest Comment
Post Comment
Read Comments
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
close