OnePlus Open: Android’s best non-Samsung folding phone might not be Pixel Fold

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase from the links on this page.
OnePlus Open: Android’s best non-Samsung folding phone might not be Pixel Fold
As of this moment, four years after the debut of the innovative lineup, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold is still the most popular tablet-style folding phone on the global market (especially outside of Asia), which means despite the imperfections like the gap, the crease, the thickness and the weight of the Fold, Samsung’s “slow but steady” strategy seems to be paying off…

OnePlus Open use code ARENA50 for $50 off

$200 OFF when you trade in ANY phone in ANY condition. Use code ARENA50 to get an extra $50 off! OnePlus Open, 512 GB storage, Emerald Dusk or Voyager Black.
$1449 99
$1699 99

Perhaps that’s thanks to the fact that unlike past years (when the company used to focus heavily on hardware), the South Korean phone-maker’s approach to the Fold/Flip series is to make it slightly better year after year. What also helps (a lot) would be Samsung’s strong brand recognition, pioneering role in the foldable market, and last but not least, the company’s newly found attention to fast, reliable, and long software support.

That being said, even considering the undeniable strengths of the Galaxy Fold (which I just mentioned), it’s rather fascinating to see how other phone-makers keep failing to challenge Samsung’s foldable, despite their undeniably solid attempts, often led by far superior hardware.

But! All of this might be about to change very soon, and that’s thanks to what I deem to be a quite unexpected Galaxy Fold challenger made by none other than... OnePlus. Why unexpected? Well, because OnePlus is the same company that’s been scrambling to put together a clear product strategy for the past couple of years now.

However, "the new" OnePlus seems more concentrated and determined than ever to challenge the big dogs - not only in the flagship and mid-range segments (with the OnePlus 11 and OnePlus Nord 3) but also on the foldable scene! The name of the potential folding phone flagship killer? OnePlus Open (the name is for real).

Recommended Stories
Do you think the OnePlus Open can be Samsung’s overdue wake-up call? Because I really do!

Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, and Google Pixel keep failing to make a better folding phone than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold without at least one glaring compromise

Before I move on to the exciting new OnePlus Open, let me quickly explain why literally every other folding phone-maker seems to be failing to challenge the Galaxy Z Fold without making a device with one/more obvious compromises…

Take Huawei, for example… Samsung’s original foldable competitor actually did make the best folding phone on the market with the Huawei Mate X3. However, (and to my biggest disappointment) the groundbreaking Mate X3 might be “perfect” only on paper, and that’s largely due to the questionable software experience on this excellent phone - of course, caused by the US trade ban and consequent lack of native support for Google apps. What doesn’t help either is the head-spinning price of the Mate X3 (£2,000 in the UK and €2,200 in the EU), and the fact that US buyers can’t get one unless they import it.

Another excellent foldable that failed to steal Samsung’s foldable crown (speaking in terms popularity and sales) is the universally praised Oppo Find N2. Despite being significantly cheaper ($1,250) to import than the Huawei Mate X3, the cutest tablet-style foldable raises the same old question - how many people are going to jump through hoops to get their hands on a folding phone that won’t receive the same, reliable support (both software and hardware) as the Galaxy Fold that’s natively sold in your country?

Did Google’s new Pixel Fold already fail to challenge the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Fold 5?

I can keep breaking down more examples from Xiaomi, Vivo, Honor, and even Tecno, but I should probably wrap this section up with the most recent attempt to make a Galaxy Z Fold killer, the one and only... Google Pixel Fold, which we just reviewed.

Right out of the gate, Google’s journey in the folding phone market started with some hardware issues, obvious design imperfections like the massive bezels and cheap screen protector, as well as the familiar (though not exactly unexpected) performance limitations (ironically) caused by the Samsung-made Tensor G2 chip powering the Pixel Fold. According to early reports, battery life is also somewhat lacklustre on Google's first foldable.

On a positive note, one thing’s for sure - out of all other folding phones on the market, the Google Pixel Fold seems to have come the closest to challenging the Galaxy Z Fold thanks to its stellar software experience, excellent camera system, and (of course) the fact that the Pixel Fold is available globally (albeit in a relatively narrow market range).

But now… What if there was another folding phone that checks all the boxes the Pixel Fold checks, while also excelling in the same areas as the Galaxy Z Fold? And what if it came very close to the Huawei Mate X3 in terms of hardware? Enter the rumored OnePlus Open…

OnePlus Open: Potentially the new best folding phone in 2023 can finally (and literally) close the gap between the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Samsung's competition

While I would’ve gone with “OnePlus Size” for the (incredible!) pun potential, I admire OnePlus’ willingness to think outside the box here. And at least they didn’t call it OnePlus Oppo. Perhaps because it looks nothing like the Oppo Find N2. Jokes aside, according to all leaks and rumors I’ve come across, the OnePlus Open is going to be anything but a joke, which is exactly what I like to see in the new Galaxy Z Fold 4/Fold 5 challenger.

Here’s a breakdown of the rumored specs of the OnePlus Open, which should be released in the end of August...

  • 6.5-inch, 120Hz cover display (wider than the one in Fold 4/Fold5)
  • 8-inch, 120Hz LTPO inner display (larger than the one in Fold 4/Fold5)
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip with up to 16GB RAM (newer/faster than the one in Fold 4; same as Fold5)
  • 50MP primary camera + 48MP UWA + 64MP Periscope camera with 3x optical zoom + 32MP selfie camera with Hasselblad tuning (expected to dominate Samsung’s Fold 4 and Fold 5 in zoom and color science - at least if we judge by the OnePlus 11’s tuning)
  • 4800 mAh battery with 80W wired and 50W wireless charging (larger battery than the one in Fold 4/Fold 5; significantly faster charging speeds)
  • 4 years of Android OS updates and 5 years of security support (identical to Samsung’s)
  • Leather back, Alert Slider, Quad speaker and more

If you can’t already tell by the rumored specs and leaked design renders, the short answer to the question why the OnePlus Open could be the biggest Galaxy Z Fold challenger ever, is that this phone could basically be a “Huawei Mate X3” (by far the most impressive foldable on the market right now) but with reliable software support, Google apps, global availability, and (likely and hopefully) a lower price!

In fact, reliable tipster Ice Universe recently said the “overall competitiveness (of the OnePlus Open) is very strong - no less than that of Huawei Mate X3, especially in terms of sound quality and camera”, which pretty much confirms that OnePlus is aiming to make the best folding phone on the market. And if you ask me, I see the OnePlus Open as a combination between the Galaxy Z Fold, which excels software and overall reliability, and the Huawei Mate X3, which has the best foldable hardware we’ve ever seen.

OpePlus Open: The right price, software experience, and hardware execution can make OnePlus' first folding phone a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 killer 

In the end, bear in mind that despite the relatively comprehensive leaks coming from usually reliable tipsters, we don't know everything about the OnePlus Open. That leads me to the part where I tell you to keep a few things in mind before getting super pumped about the OnePlus Open early on…

  • For one, it’s no rocket science - thepriceof the OnePlus Open (relative to that of the Galaxy Z Fold 5) will be a huge factor in the race between the two foldables; say OnePlus can hit the $1,500 price mark - then we might have ourselves a foldable flagship-killer, similar to the OnePlus 11 in the world of slabs; but what if the OnePlus Open starts at $1,800? Then it must be obviously better than the new Fold 5 in almost every single way in order to steal some market share from Samsung

  • Hardware reliability is another thing to consider, especially when talking about a company’s debut folding phone; we’ve learned that lesson from the recent Pixel Fold but, of course, from Samsung’s very own Galaxy Fold (2019) too, which was recalled due to several hardware issues; the great news here is that folding phone tech has come a long way since 2019, meaning OnePlus is entering the segment with some second-hand experience (of watching and learning); on top of that OnePlus’ parent company (BBK) already has plenty of first-hand experience in making foldables through Oppo and Vivo

  • Software reliability and experience is another crucial aspect OnePlus needs to nail if it wants to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, which is the king of this category right now; the OnePlus Open needs to get not only fast and reliable software updates but, also, a truly smart UI that allows users to make the most out of the phone when using it as a tablet (which is the main point of buying a foldable, right?); again, OnePlus has a good shot at making that happen, considering both OnePlus and Google (thanks to the Pixel Fold) will now be focused on making Android more suitable for foldables - but also because OnePlus promised to match Samsung in terms of software support on flagship phones

Can OnePlus make a better version of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 with its first attempt at a folding phone? I sure think it can!

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless