Flip phones and folding phones always appealed to two main audiences: the super busy and the super flashy. From the early days of Motorola’s Razr lineup to Danger’s T-Mobile Sidekick, there has always been a visceral reaction of flipping into your communication or flipping out (dramatic hangups). Countless Hip Hop videos in the early 2000’s displayed these phones as innovative product placements but also fashion and cultural statements. Then Apple dropped the iPhone, the Blackberry went extinct and folding phones and flipping phones were suddenly things of a TRL /106 past.
Flash forward to 2023 thanks to Samsung and Google, folding and flipping are back like it’s 2001.
OnePlus has entered the game with the OnePlus Open, its first foldable phone, and one of the most impressive foldable phones on the market.
The OnePlus Open has a 7.82-inch AMOLED display on the inside and a 6.77-inch AMOLED display on the outside. Both displays have a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes navigation smooth and responsive. The phone clocks peak brightness of 2,800 nits making it one of the brightest. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, the most powerful mobile processor and has 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
As an original owner of the Samsung Z flip, I didn’t use it as my daily driver because the form factor made basic communication tasks feel clumsy and the build quality noticeably felt cheap compared to my iPhone and Samsung S22 Ultra. After 6 months of use, the Samsung Z flip had a noticeable visible crease making finger swipes uncomfortable when scrolling and navigating apps.
While Samsung has come a long way in the future releases of their Z Fold and Z Flip, The OnePlus Open is the first in the category that feels like a regular phone and when closed looks like a regular smartphone. It doesn’t feel as awkward like the Samsung Fold or bulky as the Pixel Fold. Interestingly, unless tilted in the light, the crease is barely noticeable, making it the best folding phone to operate and navigate while open. It’s as if OnePlus took design cues from Apple and had advanced previews of renderings of a future iPhone Fold (don’t hold your breath).
Besides its folding feature, the main giveaway that the OnePlus Open is not a regular smartphone is the triple-lens rear camera system with a 50MP main sensor. This camera system is massive and covers almost half of the back of the device. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing but the Hasselblad powered camera sensors produce beautiful images. The camera system also has a 13MP ultrawide sensor, and an 8MP telephoto sensor. The front-facing camera on the inside display is 32MP, and the front-facing camera on the outside display is 20MP.
The phone was a lot of fun to use and made working throughout the day much easier and enjoyable. At night watching YouTube videos while taking notes helped my workflow by having so much visual real estate when open. The OnePlus Open is the first of the new generation of flips and folds that made me strongly consider replacing my iPhone as my daily device.
However, the primary drawback is the expense. At $1700 the OnePlus Open might be a little too pricey for mass adoption. It may even be too costly for me as I have to consider whether $1700 to fold a phone is more practical or useful than spending that amount of money to fold a new laptop.
But if money is no object and you want to communicate and power tasks in style, the OnePlus Open might be for you. Apple, Samsung, and Google take notice. This is how you flip and fold phones.
- Large and beautiful display
- Great design
- Powerful processor
- Great camera system
- Great for multitasking
- Long-lasting battery
- No wireless charging