As the smartphone market stagnates, all eyes are on foldable phones to bring sales numbers up again.
“Giving consumers choice and differentiation is something that a lot of people are looking for,” said Anshel Sag, Principal Analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy.
I went to New York City for the launch of the new OnePlus Open smartphone. OnePlus brought me and a large group of tech folks here to learn more about the new phone and test it out.
The OnePlus Open is lighter than you would expect, with an outside screen that better mimics what you’re used to. It’s 6.3 inches, and not as thin as Samsung’s Fold 5 and not as squat as Google’s Pixel Fold.
Open it up and you get an even bigger 7.8 inch screen on the inside.
It’s this combination that has tech reviewers praising the phone for less compromises than the competition.
“The front screen is the main point it has the same aspect ratio of any other phone you have… so there’s no compromise on the front screen,” said Marcel Campos with OnePlus. You can listen to our entire interview here on the Rich On Tech Radio Show (around 47:36 in).
The device is indeed thin and light, but with an oversized camera setup on the back. It can zoom in up to 120 times, another knock at Samsung, which maxes out at 100x.
Keep in mind you’ll rarely push the camera this far, but it’s a fun party trick to show friends, especially if you’re pointing it at the moon.
To test out the camera, I took photos from both from the Edge, which is 100 stories high above NYC, on a Hudson River Cruise and around Los Angeles and Paso Robles, CA. I found that the OnePlus has put powerful cameras into this foldable device but they can be hit or miss.
Overall, if you’re not directly comparing them to other flagship phones they look fine. Low light and movement is where this phone struggles most.
However, I will give credit for OnePlus constantly tweaking it’s software to make these things even better over time. The company has an ongoing partnership with European imaging company Hassleblad.
“They help us with fine tuning a lot of things, like portrait mode, or the color science behind, the right colors with the right feeling,” said Campos.
As is typical with OnePlus devices, the software is top notch. There are a lot of new optimizations specific to the foldable form factor. You also get top of the line specs including 16 gigs of RAM, 512 gigs of storage and support for speedy WiFi 7, although your router probably doesn’t support that just yet.
One major downside: there’s no support for wireless charging, which has become a standard in modern smartphones. Fortunately, the wired charging is super fast so you’ll be able to recharge quickly.
OnePlus says they’ve tested the open for 1 million folds, or 10 years of opening and closing. There is no dust resistance rating and the water rating is less than the competition. OnePlus Open is IPX4, while other popular foldables are IPX8.
“I think consumers are still not convinced that foldables are durable enough compared to a regular candy bar phone,” said Sag, who was also in attendence at the OnePlus event in NYC.
The OnePlus Open is available for pre-order now and available October 26. The pricetag: $1699, but OnePlus is giving users at least a $200 credit for trading in any phone in any condition, effectively bringing the price down to $1499. That’s still pricey, but if you have a recent model phone you’ll get even more for your trade in and still less than purchasing a phone and tablet together, and having two devices in one is still more conventient.
“I would say right now it’s not for everyone because you need some time for people to understand how this will fit in their lives, but once they get it, they will love it,” concluded Campos.