OnePlus has finally launched its first foldable product, and there’s good reason for the delay as the company told me during my pre-briefing in London ahead of the Mumbai launch event.
Foldables first entered the market when Huawei announced the Mate X, which I was also one of the first to get hands-on with back in 2019.
Unfortunately, Huawei’s woes somewhat ruined any chances of success in Europe and while subsequent models have been released since, few people in the UK have likely seen one or ever considered wanting one.
The eventual successor was Samsung, but many pundits have pointed out that there have often been many sacrifices made to produce a folding product, leaving users craving a flagship experience to opt for the traditional candy bar smartphone instead.
OnePlus has therefore come at things from a different perspective, starting with a regular smartphone with the highest specs, and then working out how to fit that into a folding product.
The end result is the OnePlus Open, which manages to include the current flagship chipset, a large capacity battery, cameras without compromise, and two incredibly bright displays.
Oxygen OS has also been enhanced with new features that allow users to get the most from the larger unfolded tablet-sized display.
Success hinges on good design
Before even seeing the new phone, we were shown the impressive new hinge that helped keep the phone both strong and thin.
A New Flexicon Hinge has lots of parts removed compared to the earlier Oppo Find N2 design (the OnePlus Open is a joint-development with Oppo, and will be sold as the Find N3 in other markets), using aerospace metals and titanium alloy, with a carbon fibre digital support structure. Titanium alloy micro-pillars hold the components in place, while Cobalt Molybdenum alloy supports reinforcement of the hinge to improve robustness.
Overall, the strength is boosted by 20% and is up to four times more robust than stainless steel. There are just 69 parts compared to an industry average of over 100, and the new design closes the phone perfectly without gaps when folded.
tl;dr – there’s a lot of great design in the hinge.
And how long is the hinge designed to last? Well, according to OnePlus it’s made to last for more than ten years. The company clarified that this doesn’t mean that by that time it will be sagging and flopping open and shut, but actually maintaining its rigidity for that old time.
They’ve folded it over one million times in lab testing, so it will be good for over 100 folds per day – working within a wide temperature range and up to 95% humidity. It can even withstand a fall of 1.5 metres (we didn’t try this).
The overall design makes the OnePlus open just 5.8mm thick when open, and it’s almost as light as a regular smartphone at 245g too. That’s for the green version that will be coming to the UK, while in north America and India there will be a black faux leather backed model that weighs just 239g.
Camera without compromise
The next area where things are usually compromised on foldables is on the cameras, and once again OnePlus is promising big improvements.
For one, you’ll see the appearance of Hasselblad co-branding, and there are three impressive cameras included, one of which uses an all-new design to help keep the size (and ultimately the camera protrusion) down.
OnePlus says every camera is the main camera.
In total there are three cameras on the rear, two 48-megapixel cameras (wide and ultra-wide) and a 64-megapixel telephoto (3x optical).
All have been designed to offer imaging quality deserving of the price tag, on par with other flagships.
This means support for HDR, low-light photography, movement and landscape telephoto shots. The phone also supports ProXDR photography, with HDR information recorded in photos for more brightness on suitable displays, as well as Dolby Vision video capture at 4K (30fps). There is 4K 60fps video recording support, but at SDR only.
The primary camera uses a pixel-stacked CMOS image sensor, LYT-T808, to keep the size down and offer a larger effective pixel size for clearer shots with less noise.
This is a first and will no doubt be a camera used in future devices. You can look at some sample photos I was able to take on the day to see what the camera is like, subject to the usual disclaimer that the devices were running pre-release firmware yada yada.
Like other foldables, you can use the cameras with the device positioned in different orientations.
Displays that sound great
The OnePlus Open also comes with two impressive displays that, at the time of publishing, come with the highest peak brightness levels on any smartphone. With a maximum of 2,800 nits, both screens offer fantastic readability and should really show off the best from the photos and video captured on the Open, as well as playing back other content.
Both displays support HDR 10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as 1440Hz PWM dimming, and comprise of:
- 7.82-inch inner display, 2440×2268 pixels
2100 nits average/2800 nits peak brightness
LTPO 3.0 (1-120Hz)
89.6% screen-to-body ratio
Ultra thin glass
TPU impact protection
AR screen protector
- 6.31-inch cover screen, 2484×1116 pixels
20:09 aspect ratio
2100 nits average/2800 nits peak brightness
LTPO 3.0 (1-120Hz)
91.8% screen-to-body ratio
Multi brightness colour calibration (adjust settings at different brightness levels)
Three speakers with Dolby Atmos offer spatial surround, whether used in horizontal, vertical or flex modes.
Software optimised for the big-screen
OxygenOS still exists but has now been given an upgrade for the new world of large screens. OxygenOS 13.2 is optimised for the OnePlus Open and is designed to let you do more with a bigger display, such as introducing a customisable taskbar that can be set to show at all times, or remain hidden.
The global taskbar by default will show apps, file manager, common apps and recent apps. Drag and drop is an important feature to allow the movement of text or content from one app to another.
However, a big new feature is ‘Open Canvas’ which aims to make the best possible use of the large screen with multiple windows open. Previously most apps were designed to work with a split-screen layout, which can limit the usability of some apps. Open Canvas allows apps to scale beyond the confines of the display.
This also means apps can run within their designed app ratios (useful for apps that simply don’t or can’t resize for different screen sizes), and you can easily resize them on the fly.
Once you have set up some apps you want to work with regularly, and positioned them as you prefer, you can save a preset on the home screen to immediately open all of the apps at once – and with the same layout.
Not all apps will yet work with this feature, but OnePlus will work with developers through its online community to further improve things over time.
Performance for the long-term
Inside the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 gen 2 SoC, with 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM (and up to 12GB of virtual RAM), as well as 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage. OnePlus claims that with the maximum RAM settings you should be able to run 44 apps concurrently!
The phone also comes with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, USB 3.1 connectivity and OnePlus’ traditional and well-loved alert slider.
There’s Bluetooth 5.3 as well as Wi-Fi 7, dual nano SIM slots (with eSIM support), and four years of OS updates and five years of security updates so the phone won’t become e-waste anytime soon (remember the phone is rated to last ten years of more).
An ultra-high thermal conductive Graphene material is designed to move heat from one side to another, which is actually designed to be able to pre-heat the battery ahead of charging, akin to EVs being charged in the winter. This means that in cold climates, users will still be able to charge the phone batteries quickly.
The overall capacity of the batteries is 4805mAh, made. up of a 3295 and 1510mAh battery pack. Charging maxes out at 67W, with 1-100% charge in 42 minutes (0-37% in 10 minutes). A charger is included in the box.
With the two-year warranty comes a free screen protector replacement service, with no limit on the number of changes (but you will need to send off your device to have it changed). This should keep the inner display looking as good as new for, well, at least two years – but hopefully OnePlus is offering the service only because it doesn’t expect to have to replace it too often.
Pricing & Availability
The OnePlus Open will go on sale October 26th, you can pre-order right now from the OnePlus store.
There will be one single model variant available in the UK, in green (as pictured), and with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
Retail pricing will be £1,599 in the UK (€1,799 in Europe and $1,699 in the US) and initially the OnePlus Open is available only from OnePlus direct.
Due to delays in releasing Android 14, the Open comes with Android 13 out of the box but will get an upgrade pushed to it before the end of 2023.
- The OnePlus Open is the exact same device as the Oppo Find N3 released in China, with no notable differences in design or specification (even the Oppo comes with the trademark OnePlus alert slider). As such, the Oppo Find N3 will not be released in the UK.