April 20, 2024

The OnePlus Open has the best multitasking system I’ve used on any phone or tablet

Key takeaways

  • The OnePlus Open has been praised by critics as the best foldable phone of 2023 thanks to its superior displays, camera hardware, and foldable software.
  • The Open’s innovative multitasking system, called Open Canvas, allows for dynamic split-screen grids and the ability to run three applications simultaneously.
  • Adding a recent files folder and the device’s ample RAM and optimized software further enhance the multitasking capabilities of the OnePlus Open.


I’m not sure if the OnePlus Open has sold enough units to make a dent in Samsung’s foldable market share, as not having carrier subsidies in North America is a hurdle, but it sure has stolen the lion’s share. part of the prominence to Samsung on the critical front. I don’t have an exact statistic, but the OnePlus Open seems to have been hailed as the best foldable phone of 2023 by every tech publication or tech reviewer I’ve come across. And it’s well deserved: Not only does the Open have objectively superior displays and camera hardware than rival foldables from Samsung and Google, it also has arguably the best foldable software.

The OnePlus Open is simply the best at multitasking, thanks to an innovative system I’ve never seen on a phone before. Having used it, I want it on all my other phones, tablets, and heck, even computers. It’s that good.


What makes OnePlus Open so good at multitasking?

Dynamic Split Screen Grid

The OnePlus Open displays three apps at once, but this grid is not static;  changes size and scale depending on your action.

The OnePlus Open displays three apps at once, but this grid is not static; changes size and scale depending on your action.

Virtually all Android phones give you the option to run two apps at the same time in split screen mode; was a core Android feature introduced with Android 7 in 2016. Eight years later, Android’s split-screen mode hasn’t changed much. The digital border that divides the two apps only has two or three positions (splitting apps in 50/50, 30/70, or 70/30 formats), and once you set the position, the two apps lock and can’t really move a lot. If you raise the keyboard in one of the split apps, the keyboard will usually not scale correctly and will sometimes take up the entire grid.

Open Canvas makes the split-screen grid dynamic, so it’s no longer limited to the physical edges of the screen.

The software engineers at OnePlus, or rather the parent company Oppo, because the Oppo Find N3 also has this feature, solved this problem by implementing a feature called Open Canvas (Oppo calls its version Boundless Display) that makes the grid of Split screen is dynamic. so it is no longer limited to the physical limits of the screen. When you interact with an app, the UI zooms to that app and when you jump to the other app, the UI moves to that app. And because the Open has a large 7.8-inch screen when unfolded, you can have a grid with three apps, and the UI dynamically zooms in and out of each one depending on use. If you open a keyboard in one of the apps, you’ll get a full-size keyboard.

You can arrange the three apps in vertical rows side by side or two vertical and one below. Normally, the app you’re interacting with takes up most of the screen, but pinching with four fingers will shrink the grid so you can see all three apps at the same time.

It’s hard to describe in words, so watch the videos below to see it in action. In the first video, you can see that I have Chrome, Spotify, and the photo gallery open and the UI smoothly zooms in and out of each as I interact with the app.

Below, another reviewer is running three games at once:

A very useful recent files folder.

Why didn’t anyone else think of this?

OnePlus Open shows recent files folder

Another little touch OnePlus/Oppo made to make multitasking easier is adding a “recent files” folder to the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. This folder stores the last files you’ve interacted with, so if you download a document from Gmail, that document will be in your recent files folder for easy sharing. And yes, the UI also supports drag and drop across multiple apps.

Lots of RAM and optimized software

OnePlus has always excelled in these areas

IMG_20240105_124841

Opening Canvas and recent files are smart ideas, but you need enough RAM and optimized software to pull them off. Fortunately, OnePlus has always been very generous with RAM. The OnePlus 5 was the first phone to offer 8GB of RAM in 2017, and the Open’s 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM is among the most you can get in any mobile device right now. Those who use Chinese phones may be spoiled and expect 16GB of RAM to be the norm on a $1,700 device, but it’s not. Apple and Samsung are conservative with memory: Samsung’s flagship S series starts with 8GB of RAM, and Apple sells laptops with the same memory configuration.

Another thing that makes the Open seem like a great multitasking device is the fluidity of the software. Open Canvas constantly zooms in and out of applications. If the animations are not fluid or if there is even a half-second lag between application changes, the experience is gone.

Open Canvas changes the rules of the game

An image showing a OnePlus Open smartphone placed on a desktop with split-screen windows.

I work a lot on my phone and having used the OnePlus Open software, I have difficulty when switching to another one. Suddenly, tasks I do that require checking multiple apps (like fact-checking articles and booking flights while checking the calendar) take several more steps and extra seconds.

I want the Open Canvas style of multitasking not only on other foldable devices, or even other phones, but also on my tablets and computers. Currently, jumping between multiple windows on the MacBook still requires me to swipe up with three fingers on the trackpad to activate Mission Control, which shows me my apps in floating windows. But I can’t quickly jump between windows and applications. I still have to go to Mission Control and then tap on that app.

Whatever the case, OnePlus’ (or I guess, Oppo’s) multitasking system has ruined other multitasking methods for me.

OnePlus Open in black half open floating

OnePlus open

$1500 $1700 Save $200

If you frequently work on your phone, OnePlus Open not only offers one of the largest phone screens, but also the best multitasking system.

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