Hands-On With the OnePlus Open: Better Than Samsung's Z Fold 5?

The OnePlus Open might just be the best book-style foldable phone.

OnePlus Open foldable phone hands-on impressions
Photograph by Raymond Wong

OnePlus is releasing its first foldable phone, the OnePlus Open, on October 26 for $1,699. The book-style foldable phone is a direct shot at Samsung's $1,799 Galaxy Z Fold 5.

As always, the "Never Settle" tech brand has packed the OnePlus Open with flagship hardware, a fast and smooth Android software experience, and cameras — at least from a hardware standpoint — that can compete with the best phones (folding or non-folding).

The strangest, and maybe the best part, about the OnePlus Open is a trade-in offer that the company will have: $200 off, effectively lowering the price to $1,499, when you trade in any old phone in any condition. OnePlus says there's no fine print and the offer will be ongoing throughout the availability cycle of the OnePlus Open.

I've been testing the OnePlus Open for almost a month now and have a grip on the foldable and how it compares to competitors like the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Google Pixel Fold. I'm not quite ready for a review yet, though. OnePlus pushed out a software update 72 hours ago that improved the image quality of the cameras and Android. For now, here are my first impressions.

Really great size

I prefer the dimensions of the OnePlus Open over other book-style foldables.

Photograph by Raymond Wong

Everyone has their own preference for the ideal foldable size. Is it shorter and wider like a Pixel Fold? Or taller and narrower like a Galaxy Z Fold 5? There's no right or wrong answer; I like the dimensions of the OnePlus Open the most.

Folded up, the OnePlus Open has a 6.3-inch LTPO3 OLED display (2,484 x 1,116 resolution) with a 120Hz refresh rate. There's a 32-megapixel hole punch camera at the top of the screen. Length and width, it's a little larger than an iPhone 14 Pro/15 Pro. In other words, it's not too short or too tall; not too skinny and not too wide. It's just right.

The OnePlus Open is super light and thin compared to other foldables. It weighs 239 grams (black; the green is 245 grams for some reason) compared to 253 grams for a Z Fold 5 or 283 grams for a Pixel Fold. This lightness is thanks to materials used like carbon fiber and titanium alloy. It's thin, too… for a foldable — 11.7mm folded versus 13.4mm on the Z Fold 5 and 12.1mm on the Pixel Fold.

The OnePlus Open has the least visible crease on any foldable that I’ve ever used.

Photograph by Raymond Wong

Unfolded, the OnePlus Open has a 7.82-inch LTPO display (2,440 x 2,268 resolution), also with a 120Hz refresh rate. In the upper right corner of the screen, there's a 20-megapixel camera. The foldable display is easily one of the nicest on any foldable phone. It can get really bright (2,800 nits according to OnePlus) and the crease… it's barely noticeable. You can still see the distortion when viewing the screen off-center, especially when there's a white background (like on most websites), but I am impressed. Time will tell whether the crease deepens with more folds, but a month in, it's looking good.

The camera bump is huge

The camera bump on the OnePlus Open throws the whole balance of the phone off.

Photograph by Raymond Wong

There's no missing the massive circular camera bump on the rear of the OnePlus Open. It houses a triple-lens camera system with a 48-megapixel f/1.7 main lens, 64-megapixel 3x optical zoom telephoto lens, and a 48-megapixel ultrawide lens. It comes with the Hasselblad branding, and in my initial testing, the image quality is at least on par with the OnePlus 11's camera system.

As I said earlier, OnePlus released a software update that improved the image quality of the cameras and I didn't have time do reshoots. For camera samples, stay tuned for my review.

What I don't particularly like is the size of the camera bump and how it makes the foldable unbalanced when closed. I kid you not, I almost dropped the OnePlus Open several times after unboxing it because the camera bump makes the phone so top-heavy. I have to grip the sides of the phone instead of resting my index finger underneath the bump. Or touch the bump's glass cover, which is no good because it dirties up the lenses.

If there's one major downside to the OnePlus Open, the camera bump might be it.

Some cut corners

The backside of the OnePlus Fold is faux leather.

Photograph by Raymond Wong

While it's great to see the Alert Slider switch, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, 512GB of fast UFS 4.0 storage, 16GB of RAM, Wi-Fi 7, and a massive 4,805 mAh battery, in typical OnePlus style, there are a few "missing" features.

Those include wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, and dust resistance; the OnePlus Open is only rated IPX4 for water resistance.

Personally, I don't think not having wireless charging is a dealbreaker. An IP-rated dust resistance should be standard for all foldable phones, though. That being said, not even the Z Fold 5 has IP-rated dust resistance.

Looking Good

The OnePlus Open can run more than two apps at once.

Photograph by Raymond Wong

I'll have more to share in my full review soon, but even with the giant bump throwing off the balance of the phone in my hand, the OnePlus Open is a solid foldable. The hardware and software absolutely compete with the Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold, and the price is aggressively good.

It's hard to say whether or not the OnePlus Open will move the needle for foldables as a category. But at the very least the price could force Samsung to try a little harder with the Galaxy Z Fold 6. Samsung has been sitting comfy for too long. The OnePlus Open is a wake-up call.

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