Oppo has always been a strong name in the Chinese market, but is still a smaller player internationally. With the launch of the Oppo Find N2 Flip, the Chinese manufacturer hopes to raise this bar. Showcasing Oppo's technical prowess, the Find N2 Flip is a true competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip series and will introduce the Oppo brand to consumers across Europe and beyond.
I spent some time with Oppo's foldable phone to see if it was up to the challenge.
After speaking with Oppo Vice President Billy Zhang, one of the design goals of the Find N2 Flip was to have a normal phone experience when the phone is open. Basically, there's no point in having a foldable phone that doesn't work like a regular phone. Before all the bells and whistles and technological advancements, did the N2 Flip perform as a standard smartphone?
You will be relieved to hear that the answer is yes; Oppo has created a phone that offers an amazing experience. It's not a flagship killer in terms of specs and there are a few areas to watch out for, but overall the Find N2 Flip is a capable smartphone.
At that point look for a round whistle to stop on N2 regardless of "reverse". First the camera. The main camera has two lenses, a 50 MP main camera and an 8 MP ultra-wide camera (and a 32 MP selfie camera in the center behind the screen).
There is nothing particularly spectacular about the images it captures; it's not a flagship lens and sensor, but full-auto calibration, image post-processing and a variety of point-to-point options deliver solid images. medium light A noticeable reduction in low-light performance compared to mainstream batteries. The shape is defined but the color is not so strong.
In terms of specifications, Oppo went with the Qualcomm SnapDragon system-on-chip series instead of using the MediaTek Dimensity 9000+. The SnapDragon 8 is very similar to the Gen 1, so daily use shouldn't make much of a difference. Developers, especially graphics-intensive games and apps, are more familiar with SnapDragon's ins and outs, leaving little room for game-changing.
Of course, if you're looking for serious gaming, there are more niche phones out there. For 2D puzzles and platforms, MediaTek's choice works just as well as Qualcomm's.
Oppo's Android variant is ColorOS. It is well established in the Chinese market and follows the favorite UI trends there. This means that you have much more vibrancy and color in the UI, and you miss out on some Western shortcuts (like double-clicking the power button to open the camera).
How much localization a user interface needs is a curious debate, but there is one area of localization that still needs work, and that is localization. There are areas where the choice of phrases and sentences is simply... mechanical - as if the translation is done by algorithm rather than by hand. It doesn't affect functionality, but it caught my eye.
in terms of support; Oppo offers four years of Android updates and another year of security updates to match its high-end Galaxy and Pixel phones.
If you want to dig deeper into ColorOS, you can read my review here on Forbes.
Return to these two note fields. The first is the aspect ratio of the screen. At 21:9, you might notice that the phone is slightly taller and narrower than other similar solid smartphones. It's such a small thing, and Android's tendency to use apps with notification bars cuts down on scrolling. As for the amount of information on the screen, I found it to be a bit limited - the collection of words needs to be more aggressive or the font size needs to be removed - but this is something that needs some updating.
Oppo gets bonus points for consistent ring sizes across the screen and offers a fast 120Hz refresh rate.
The second area is of course the hinges. Instead of the U-shaped curve found on competing clamshells, Oppo uses a teardrop-shaped curve. This in turn creates narrower and more wrinkled areas, but also reduces the curvature in certain parts of the screen. Both help to reduce the visibility of the curve.
Android dark mode is a silent savior here. Change it to black as much as possible and the hinges will be almost invisible to the eye. Switch to white and the touch is more noticeable, especially when scrolling. Even if it is not visible, it remains in the background to go unnoticed.
You will feel it under your finger or thumb as you move. With today's hinge technology, this is guaranteed.
The hinge stays open to about 45 degrees, giving you a good angle for video calls. Oppo's camera software allows you to move image previews to the top or bottom of the screen, and the "camera" mode for videos is welcome.
Oppo, like many foldable smartphone makers, has chosen to add an external screen so users can quickly view and sort through notifications without opening the phone.
On the main screen of the cover, you can see notifications (swipe up) and quickly change them (swipe down). In practice I found little use for the latter. The former is more useful and gives you a quick glance at what you see on your phone's idle screen anyway. Mission accomplished in this sense.
With the main camera lens next to the cover screen, you'll be happy to know that you can use the N2 Flip as a selfie camera when it's closed, and the cover screen shows photo previews (and usually when your phone is open for use). You can also turn on the title screen so people can see their poses for the main camera). The ubiquitous weather app goes a step further here, and if I don't have a smartwatch with me, the on-screen timer comes in handy.
But the last screen doesn't seem to be part of the Find N2 Flip. It appears to be locked and there is not much interaction with the contents of the phone. It's a chicken-and-egg situation: without a user base, why would a developer promote Oppo covers, and without an existing app, why would Oppo offer a cover display? This is why the Oppo developer hopes to add support.
It remains to be seen whether the developer will only support the Find N2 Flip, Samsung's Z-Flip line or other foldable devices in the coming years. There is a risk that the rear screen becomes little more than a viewfinder and a clean place for notifications. Not that this is a bad thing; The Find N2 Flip lives up to its design goals without third-party work, but what happens on the surface in a year's time is an open question.
What happens to the hinge mechanism and the main display twelve months after folding is another question. Despite all the talk of testing, certification and experience, Oppo's foldable technology has yet to be tested to the extent necessary for a global release.
The intricate folding mechanism is a standout feature for those looking for technical sophistication, but the real magic lies in the way it fades into the background. In all respects, the Find N2 Flip is a handset that sits at the top end of the mid-range. It's not about the big specs of a flagship, but it's loud enough to be a decent everyday phone.
Half-folding for pocket-friendliness is a bonus that will help Oppo stand out in the global market. This leads to the inevitable comparisons with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 ... which means that the Oppo will also be seen in the comparisons that consumers will read.
It was the first victory in the world.
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