Foldable smartphones aren’t as common as one may have hoped to see in 2021, but 2022 is around the corner, and we may see more launches next year. But, recently, Oppo entered the folding smartphone market with Oppo Find N that competes against Samsung’s mighty Z Fold series. In terms of appearance, the Oppo Find N and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 feature a notebook-like folding design with a total of five cameras on board. Sadly, Oppo has confirmed that the Oppo Find N will not come to India – leaving Galaxy Z Fold 3 the most valuable player in India’s foldable smartphone market. Therefore, in this quick review, we’ll analyse how the future of folding smartphones looks not just in India but globally. We are also discussing whether the Oppo Find N is able to nail the ‘folding’ basics.
Before deep dive, a summary of the prices. The Oppo Find N’s price in China starts at CNY 7,699, which is roughly Rs 92,100 for the 8GB RAM + 256GB storage variant. There’s also a 12GB + 512GB storage option that costs CNY 8,999, which is roughly Rs 1,07,600. Customers can choose between Black, Purple, and White shades. We received the Purple unit that has a glossy finish.
Design and display: There’s no doubt that the Oppo Find N grabs attention from the start. At first, the phone may appear similar to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 due to its notebook-like folding design, but soon one realises how compact the smartphone actually is. On the outside, we get a 5.4-inch OLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio that also makes it a very compact smartphone – even in today’s Android smartphone market.
It could be a thoughtful addition for users who still prefer a smaller display and do not want to purchase the compact iPhone 13 mini. However, no matter how good it may feel in your palm, the typing experience is not the smoothest in the folded form. In that case, the weight and the cluttered screen will automatically make you switch to the main 7.1-inch display for a more comfortable holding experience. That being said, Find N’s inner panel with a 120Hz refresh rate offers good colours and deeper blacks, thanks to the OLED technology. There’s no Netflix on Oppo Find N, but I watched Hawkeye on Disney Plus Hotstar, and the viewing experience was expectedly good. However, the phone could’ve added a speaker at the top for a more 360 surround sound experience.
Apart from the solid display, Oppo’s unique hinge mechanism is worth mentioning. The distinct water-drop hinge design definitely offers an almost creaseless viewing experience. It also lets users swivel the displays at various angles, a great addition for both hard and soft surfaces. Oppo calls this the Flexion Hinge to allow users to take advantage of the FlexForm mode. However, the Oppo Find N lacks an official IPS rating for water and dust resistance that the company needs to perfect if it wants to rival Samsung’s next-gen or current foldable smartphones. But, the hinge is also claimed to be responsible for virtually no gap between the panels of the folded screen (0.01mm precision). We did struggle to push a sheet of paper between the gaps; however, dust particles can be much smaller, and only time will tell whether the screen will be able to handle this challenge.
Performance and software: The Oppo Find N comes with Snapdragon 888 that also powers the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Since it is a China-specific unit, the phone does not come pre-loaded with apps from Google and Facebook (now Meta). This also means we could not test the full potential of the smartphone’s software as many apps are yet to be optimised for this form factor. Moreover, the phone runs on Android 11-based ColorOS 12, but the company has confirmed it will get Android 12-based ColorOS down the line.
We received the top-of-the-line 12GB RAM + 512GB model for this review. Like other Oppo phones, the Oppo Find N supports RAM expansion technology that utilises idle ROM to increase the RAM capacity. In this case, we can get up to 15GB of RAM. Due to some strange reasons, we were unable to download the Geekbench app to test the CPU performance. But the Snapdragon 888 under the hood still remains a powerful chipset in the market, and the phone can still manage productivity-focused and gaming apps. I also enjoyed popular games like Asphalt 9 and Fruit Ninja that took advantage of the 8.4:9 aspect ratio. Needless to say, both apps ran seamlessly without any signs of heating.
We also get some nifty features like a one-swipe split view, but that does not work with the native camera app, Instagram, and more.
Cameras: There are a total of five cameras on board that overall deliver brilliant performance in the daylight. The triple rear camera setup includes a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 primary sensor with OIS support. The primary camera is accompanied by a 16-megapixel sensor paired with an ultrawide lens and a 13-megapixel sensor paired with a telephoto lens that offers 3x optical zoom. All three cameras capture crisp photos in the daylight, and night photography is equally good. However, some details may be lost, as with any smartphone.
The cameras also captured natural colours that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you keep the AI mode enabled, high saturation and contrast are achievable, giving an automatically edited finish. There are multiple camera modes to play with as well.
But the two 32-megapixel front cameras are a tad bit underwhelming as they seemingly lack OIS support. In that case, most images are flat and lack details, as you may get on the Oppo Find X3 phone. It could be the reason why Oppo didn’t talk much about the camera sensors since the foldable smartphone is more productivity-focused.
Battery: Any productivity-focused smartphone is incomplete without a good battery. The Oppo Find N carries a 4500mAh battery (dual-cell) – bigger than the 4400mAh battery on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. We do get an all-day battery but do keep in mind that we couldn’t push the phone’s limits since this is a China-specific unit. We get 33W SuperVOOC wired charging support that is claimed to juice up 50 percent battery in half-hour. The phone takes roughly 80 minutes to attain full battery. We also get support for wireless as well as reverse wireless charging.
Verdict: All this raises the pertinent question – what is the future of folding smartphones?
Oppo very successfully tackles the most critical function of these devices – that is practicality. The 5.4-inch outside display and the 7.1-inch primary display are very easy to use and hold. Secondly, the aspect ratios are also favourable for many apps if developers start optimising the apps. Opp did not elaborate on cameras during the main presentation, but the Find N can still capture good photos.
And most importantly, the unique water drop hinge mechanism could be a trendsetter that does offer a very negligible crease in the middle – as claimed by the company.
Since the smartphone will not launch in India, we cannot recommend whether you should consider switching to foldable yet. But, before we conclude, if I have to nitpick on something for future Oppo foldable smartphones, the company can explore a non-glossy finish as this model is simply a magnet for fingerprint smudges.