Wednesday, December 6, 2023

OnePlus Open Review


OnePlus has come a long way from the Nexus killer days of old. Now, the company is a member of the full premium club taking on the likes of Samsung much more directly. OnePlus has continued to sharpen its skills of increased hardware engineering.

With the launch of its first foldable, the OnePlus Open shows just how well OnePlus has become at making quality smartphones. I’ve spent close to four weeks with the device now and the Open checks a ton of boxes making it a viable competitor even as a first-generation form factor for OnePlus.


The pure hardware of the OnePlus Open is impressive. The hinge and screen are always the first places you look on any folding smartphone and both are two of the best available. The Flexion hinge is stiff without getting in the way and makes you feel like it’s more than sturdy enough to take normal use. OnePlus also rates its testing to withstand up to 4 million instances of being opened and closed.

This Flexion hinge is built around a single-spine architecture. This allows for a sturdier structure overall while lending to the lower profile compared to the normal three-spine in other competitors. OnePlus has also reduced the amount of components needed down to just 69 versus over 100 found in other foldables.

Next is the crease of the flexible screen. Again, OnePlus has made a great effort to make this as smooth as possible. I’d argue this is the least noticeable crease of any foldable. The latest Moto RAZR+ is close, but the pull this off on the much larger Open is admirable.

The display is a three-part system of Ultra-Thin Glass layer, TPU impact shielding, and anti-reflection. Atop these layers, is another protective application of Ceramic Guard making the OnePlus Open even more durable. The company claims it’s 20% more robust than Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, but only long-term use will really find out if this is true.

The back of the OnePlus Open is covered in two colorways: Emerald Dusk and Voyager Black. Each comes with its own material featured. The Emerald Dusk has a matte-frosted glass finish that has a slight shimmer to it depending on lighting. Our review unit is the more subtle Voyager Black consisting of vegan leather.

The last thing that really stands out when you first take it out of the box is the lightness and slim design compared to other foldables. The entire setup is only 239 grams and 11.7mm closed. At only 5.8mm open its slim form factor is even more evident.

Lastly, let’s talk internals. The OnePlus Open contains 16GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of storage. The entire phone is also IPX4 rated for water resistance. This includes drainage holes in the actual internal hinge. The engine behind all this would be the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform with 4nm processor tech.


You can’t mention a foldable like the OnePlus Open without considering the software. I like what OnePlus has done with this variant of ColorOS 13.2 on the Open. At first glance, it’s not dissimilar to Samsung’s OneUI on the Galaxy Folds. However, once you dive into the OS I think OnePlus has one of the most complete options when using the Open.

First, have a dedicated taskbar at the bottom that holds your favorite apps and recently opened ones. Moving to the left side of the bar you’ll notice some newcomers. Here you have a dedicated app tray and Recents menu.

The app tray is self-explanatory and is somewhat redundant with the swipe up to get to your apps, but Recents borrows a ChromeOS element some may remember. When using Recents on the Open, you get a quick viewfinder to any files you may have recently interacted with. This includes Files, Docs, and Photos.

Unique software additions are some of the best things about the OnePlus Open. Another is window management. You have the option to implement one, two, or even three app windows at one time. These can be side-by-side for two or a mosiac that adds the third in the bottom third of the screen below the split view dual pane.

Windows can also be used in a smaller floating panel much like a traditional desktop. Even more akin to the desktop, you can also resize each as needed on the fly. Each combination can be saved as a preset with up to nine to have on-demand.

One portion of software that isn’t available is a true desktop mode. Those wanting a DeX competitor to use this with external monitors simply isn’t here. As I mentioned in my Pixel Fold review, for devices costing over $1600 and meant to be possibly the only device you carry, each OEM needs to really contemplate this omission being in the next generations.

The OnePlus Open launches with ColorOS 13.2 based on Android 13. The company is promising four full years of Android updates and five years of security support. While this isn’t the whopping seven years found in Pixels, but it’s well in the realm of all other Android OEMs.


The OnePlus Open wields some serious camera hardware and finally, I think the post performance is much improved on a OnePlus phone. With a combination of new features like Hasselblad portrait tuning, ProXDR, and LYTIA Pixel Stacking the company has actually caught up with the performance of other Android flagships in my eyes.

The actual hardware is the combination of the 48MP Sony LYTIA with OIS and Pixel Stacking. The Open also has a 64MP telephoto lens with OIS and 3x optical zoom/6x in-sensor zoom. Lastly, there’s another 48MP ultra-wide camera.

This combination has allowed me with some impressive shots. Even night mode on a moving boat allowed me some great shots of Lady Liberty in NYC. The new hardware and post-processing show that OnePlus might finally have solved some of its camera woes.

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Battery life

The endurance of the OnePlus Open has been surprisingly good with a 4,805mAh pack. OnePlus always does well in this regard but I expected the larger screen to cut into this more in my usage. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. I’m still consistently getting around four and a half hours of screen time for mixed media consumption and communication.

This mixed time was split mostly using the outside screen with the occasional video and emails being handled on the inside larger one. I only point this out as full-time reading or more streaming could definitely decrease your screen time away from the charger.

When you need to plug in, the OnePlus way of incredibly fast charging is here as you’d expect. The included 80W SUPERVOOC charging brick can fully recharge the OnePlus Open from 1% to 100 in around 42 minutes.

While that’s all good and the battery life is great, I can’t help but point out the lack of wireless charging. Much like the lack of DeX, this is the most hero item in OnePlus’ portfolio and should just have it. When the iPhone SE and even the Pixel a-series now include under $500, this just needs to be there. I challenge OnePlus to not settle with making another “premium” model without it.


OnePlus has a few key offerings and deals whether you pre-order starting today or if you decide to wait until the launch day of October 26 at an MSRP of $1699. The two points that jump out are $200 off with the trade-in of any phone in any condition and the exclusive white edition OnePlus Buds Pro 2 for free.

  • Subscribe to get $50 coupon between 10/12 – 10/19
  • Launch Offers with Pre-Order: 10/19 11:00 am EST – 10/25 11:59 pm EST/ Full retail starts with the same incentives on 10/26 12:00 am EST
    ○ $200 trade-in credit with ANY PHONE IN ANY CONDITION
    ■ This will continue throughout the product’s lifecycle
  • Up to $1000 off with an eligible trade-in○ Free, Limited Edition, Buds Pro 2 (image attached below). White colorway with only 5000 manufactured
    ■ Unit numbers from 0001 – 5000 laser engraved on the charging case
  • 24 months 0% APR financing
  • 3 months of YouTube Premium
  • 6 months of Google One 100GB membership

Amazon US:

  • Launch Offers with Pre-Order: 10/19 11:00 am EST – 10/25 11:59 pm EST/ Full retail sales begin with same incentives 10/26 12:00 am EST
  • $200 Amazon gift card (eligible from 10/26-11/05 after retail sales start)
  • 12 months 0% APR financing
  • 3 months of YouTube Premium
  • 6 months of Google One 100GB membership

Best Buy US:

  • Open Sales starting on 10/26 at 12:00 am EST
  • Enhanced Trade-In (Can get values up to $800 depending on the device)
    ○ $200 bonus based on original eligible trade-in$

    • 300 or $400 off with an activation offer
  • 3 months of YouTube Premium
  • 6 months of Google One 100GB membership


OnePlus has always been a company that bucks the status quo in the Android market. Over the past few years, I think they’ve matured to a more steady iteration model of existing models without pushing that envelope as much. The Open is a return to the company’s DNA of taking items already in the market and challenging to make them better.

The much-improved camera array processing paired with the better than average battery life and we have a compelling device. Add in the powerhouse internals you’d expect from OnePlus, and you might have the most complete foldable on the market.

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