Phones

Three the reason why I ditched my Samsung Galaxy foldable for the OnePlus Open

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

In 2019, I drove eight hours to find and purchase the first-generation Samsung Galaxy Fold. As a train commuter and regular business traveler, the idea of a foldable device that served as both a phone and small tablet was perfect for me. And with the Samsung, the engineering and innovation blew me away. 

I’ve owned the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 for more than a year now and have been tempted by the Google Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 5. After seeing all of the excitement around the OnePlus Open, including videos of people observing, testing, and building the phone in China, I decided to pull the trigger when the device was available to purchase. It certainly helped that OnePlus offered — and still offers — some enticing trade-in options, so I was able to get a total discount of $800 all things said and done.

Review:¬†OnePlus’ first-ever foldable makes Samsung and Google’s look outdated

The OnePlus Open has been in my hand for nearly a week, and even after that short amount of time, it is clear to me that OnePlus hit it out of the park on its first attempt. There is a lot to explore with this device, and I look forward every day to finding new features and functions. If you’re on the fence about upgrading to one, here are three reasons why I prefer the OnePlus Open over all other foldable devices currently available today.

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OnePlus Open

The $1,699 OnePlus Open provides a comfortable outer display experience with a durable hinge that transforms it into a full-on tablet.

1. Refined design

For the past four years, I have defended Samsung’s Fold design with its narrow front display since it provided enough room for me to perform communication functions and essential activities while also being able to reach across with one hand for most actions. After just a few days with the OnePlus Open, I’m ready to put my Z Fold 4 on the market. The wider 6.31-inch display on the Open provides more room to perform mobile tasks, including using two apps in split-screen mode.

The Google Pixel Fold (left), OnePlus Open (middle), and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 (right).  

June Wan/ZDNET

Samsung set the bar for large-screen foldables, and its innovation with the hinge has been an engineering marvel. However, there was always a visible bump in the center of the main display, and the hinge did not allow the device to fold completely flat when closed. OnePlus launched the Open with a design that not only folds flat when closed but has a main display with a center crease that is much more subtle than Samsung’s. Aesthetically, both aspects are better on the OnePlus, and the gapless design should better prevent dust and debris from seeping in than on the Galaxy Z Fold.

Also: The best foldable phones (and how they compare)

OnePlus has also retained its useful three-way rocker, lovely vegan leather back cover, and overall design that is nearly perfect. The rear camera array is a bit jarring with its large size, but the bottom of it does provide a finger rest for one-handed use. Then again, if the cameras end up performing as advertised, the camera design may be justified.

2. Multi-tasking perfection

One of the primary reasons I enjoyed using a Samsung Z Fold phone for the past four years was the ability to use at least two apps simultaneously. Samsung has refined its process for split-screen, floating windows, and multi-tasking over the years, and in some ways, it’s still the best at those features.

Optimizing software for a new form factor is not easy, and given my experiences with Samsung devices, I figured the OnePlus Open would only nail some of the more basic functions for its first iteration. I was quickly proven wrong. The ease of use and advanced functionality for launching and using multiple applications are very refined and intuitive, so much so that I can’t see multitasking the same on other phones.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

For example, while using an app on the inner screen, aswipe down from the top of the display with two fingers “parts the Red Sea”, giving you two panels to open split-screen apps on. Tapping the center of the two windows lets you swap sides or switch between vertical and horizontal stacking. You can also save the app group for quick launching in the future.

Also: Motorola’s $699 Razr phone is the mainstream foldable we’ve been waiting for

Even more exciting, you can add a third app to the split-screen by dragging it out from the bottom taskbar. You can quickly navigate around the three apps by tapping on whichever one, and as you do so, the ones that are not in use will automatically minimize against the side or bottom of the screen. A four-finger pinch lets you view all the apps at once. It’s wild how seamless and easy to use the OnePlus Open’s multitasking feature is, and I’m curious to see how the company expands from it in the future.

3. Big battery and fast charging

Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, with its 4,400mAh battery, the OnePlus Open has a larger 4,800mAh capacity. And so far, it has easily lasted me a full day of usage, with power to spare.

Review: Google Pixel Fold: Samsung’s first big competitor comes out swinging

It’s unfortunate that the OnePlus Open does not support wireless charging, especially for its price point, but it does ship with a 67W SUPERVOOC charging adapter and cable in the box. With it, you can fully charge the phone in just 45 minutes, which blows the socks off the Z Fold 5 and its 25W wired charging. The Google Pixel Fold is even slower, with a max of 21W charging.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

When you spend time using your phone as both a phone and a tablet, it is important to be able to use it for a long time and be able to charge it up quickly when needed.

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