Can Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 6 Dethrone the OnePlus Open (OPPO Find N3)?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 OnePlus Open AM AH

As we approach Unpacked later this week, where Samsung is set to announce the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Galaxy Z Fold 6, one has to wonder if Samsung can take the crown back from OnePlus/OPPO in the foldable market.

Last year, OnePlus announced its first foldable with an asterisk, the Open. We put an asterisk there because it is essentially the OPPO Find N3 in everything but the logo. This is not OPPO’s first foldable, but it’s a third-generation foldable. And it completely surpassed Samsung in one fell swoop. Not only did OnePlus and OPPO put out better hardware than Samsung, but it also put out better software.

I recently went back to the OnePlus Open, to use it again ahead of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 launch, and to see how it compares to the current best foldable on the market. And I fell in love with the Open all over again. The rumors for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 aren’t that great. The rumormill is pointing to a phone that is mostly the same as the previous model, but a tad wider and a new processor.

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OnePlus’ Open Canvas feature is the best foldable feature we’ve seen so far

With the OnePlus Open last year, OnePlus debuted Open Canvas which is a feature that was also brought to the OnePlus Pad, and it’s genius. To put it in the simplest terms, Open Canvas allows the user to have more screen real estate than is actually available. You’re able to push apps off of the screen, and swipe over to them whenever you want. You can run up to six apps on the screen at the same time, which is impressive. Though, admittedly, it’s not something I do that often.

It’s not all software though, another decision OnePlus and OPPO made that helped Open Canvas perform so well is, the front display. OnePlus and OPPO opted for a 18:9 front display, which is the aspect ratio for most smartphones these days. But that also means when you open the phone, you’re getting a square display (almost) but it also means that having apps side-by-side, they will be 18:9 aspect, instead of super skinny apps like they are on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold models.

One of my biggest complaints with foldables is the aspect ratios of the displays. Samsung, for example, uses a very skinny front display that feels more like a TV remote versus a smartphone. That makes the inner display almost exactly a square, and when you have two apps in multi-window, you’re looking at two very skinny apps. It’s just not a good user experience, and that had really turned me off from using foldables, because both screens kind of suck for using apps normally.

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OnePlus put its best cameras ever, in the Open

Another area where foldables typically fall short is in the camera department. This is likely because companies are looking to keep phones lighter and thinner, but need larger batteries inside foldables to power those larger displays. OnePlus said screw it, let’s put in the best cameras we’ve ever had.

With the Open, OnePlus included a 48-megapixel primary camera with a f/1.7 aperture, a 64-megapixel 3x telephoto and a 48-megapixel ultrawide. On paper, that sounds outstanding, in practice, it is. I was amazed at how well the Open took photos last year while I was reviewing it, and now picking it up again about 8 months later with countless new updates, it’s still impressive. As I noted in my review last year, OnePlus might have the best cameras on any phone with the Open, nevermind a foldable. Though that has changed now, especially with the Vivo X Fold3 Pro being available.

OnePlus did include a pretty massive camera bump on the Open to accommodate these cameras, but it’s worth it. That camera bump also makes it easier to hold onto the OnePlus Open, in my experience.

OnePlus Open AM AH 1

Samsung can’t seem to get rid of the crease

We’re writing this ahead of Unpacked, and we haven’t seen the Galaxy Z Fold 6 in person yet, other than in leaks. But it seems like Samsung is still pretty far behind the competition on getting rid of the crease. Companies like Motorola, OnePlus and OPPO have all done a really good job of getting rid of the crease. I mean, it’s almost non-exsistent on the new Razr+ that was announced last month, as well as the OnePlus Open. But with Samsung, you will most likely still see that crease, and it’s definitely an eyesore.

Can Samsung take back the throne?

While I did spend about 750 words trashing Samsung and its foldables, it has come a long way since the first Galaxy Fold back in 2019. But there’s still a long way to go. Not just for Samsung but for every company making foldables. Samsung was first to the market, and that means that its competition was able to learn from its mistakes more than Samsung itself.

So what can Samsung do with the Galaxy Z Fold 6 to take back the throne? Well, for one, upgrade the cameras. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 cameras are not great at all, to be quite honest, especially for a $1700 phone. They will get the job done, but the Galaxy S24 Ultra is far better. The software is getting there, Samsung does have plenty of great software tweaks to take advantage of that display. However, the biggest thing Samsung needs to address is the aspect ratio.

Last year, at Unpacked in Korea, I spoke with Samsung and talked about how the Pixel Fold (the OnePlus Open wasn’t out yet) was better than the Galaxy Z Fold 4 (at the time), because of the wider front display. Meaning I didn’t need to open the phone as much. Samsung thought that was pointless. This makes me think Samsung wants you to open the phone all the time versus using the front display a lot and opening it for multitasking. If Samsung adopts the wider aspect ratio of the Pixel Fold or the regular smartphone aspect ratio of the OnePlus Open, I think a lot of my complaints about Samsung’s foldables will be solved.

It sort of feels like, after last year, that Samsung is just phoning it in these days for foldables. A big reason for that is the competition or lack thereof. In the US, it’s really only competing with the Pixel Fold and OnePlus Open, and only one of those is sold at carriers. On the flip side, it is competing with Motorola, and that’s about it. What Samsung really needs is more competition in the US (its biggest market), which will push them to innovate and make bigger upgrades to its foldables.

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