Well, another big Chinese tech company has thrown its hat into the foldable-phone ring. The Oppo Find N is the first flexing handset from the popular brand, launched at the company's annual Inno Day where it shows off its latest developments.
This new Oppo phone is a book-style folder, like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, with a big screen when the device is unfolded, and a tiny outer display for when the mobile is closed.
But arriving three generations after Samsung's foldable, Oppo clearly took inspiration from the legacy Fold family – in particular, it fixed what was so annoying about using Samsung's device.
We got to take the Oppo Find N for a bit of a spin here in the UAE, and we immediately enjoyed using it more than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 – mainly because it solved a key issue with that device.
Sadly, this phone will only go on sale in China, but hopefully a Find N2 will come out globally in the future.
What's the Oppo Find N like
As far as using the phone goes, we just got to get our hands on it for a short while. Full disclosure, the phone didn't have any Google apps because of the Chinese software on it.
The outer screen is, for want of a better word, cute – at only 5.49 inches across it's very compact, which might appeal to people who don't like giant phones. We found it fine for quickly checking messages or browsing social media. One great thing about the outer display was that it didn't encourage you to open the phone for almost every function like the Samsung Z Fold 3 does.
Despite the small frame, the phone isn't exactly dainty when held in this way. The body folds into itself, so it's pretty thick. You can open it up to see the bigger 7.1-inch display and then its thickness comparable to your average phone - but also sized like a mini-tablet.
We found this bigger display much more useful for typing, as the keyboard was stretched over a bigger area, and if we were using the phone for a longer period of time it was pleasant to view this larger display.
While the inner display issue an LTPO display which can do from 1-120Hz and a touch-sampling rate of 1000Hz, the outer display is just a 60Hz panel. That being said both displays have a peak brightness of 1000 nits.
Let's blitz through some other specs of the phone quickly. There's a 4,500mAh battery, 33W wired charging which isn't exactly fast though, nor is the 15W wireless or 10W reverse wireless powering, but the latter two are nice extras at least.
The chipset is the Snapdragon 888, the most powerful Android chipset of 2021, paired with 12GB RAM and 256/512GB storage. That makes it pretty snappy, and we played a few games on the big screen which felt fluid. We were particularly impressed by how, when we switched screens, the phone wouldn't lag or stutter and you could jump into the same app on the second display.
Regarding the cameras, there's a 50MP main, 50MP ultra-wide and 13MP telephoto snapper on the rear – if you know Oppo, you know its phones are great for photography, and the Find N is no exception.
For selfies, you've got the same 32MP selfie snapper in a punch-hole in the outer and inner displays, but weirdly, we found portraits taken on the camera embedded in the main display were much better looking than those taken on the smaller screen.
Galaxy Z Fold learning points
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series has always felt a bit weird to use, for one key reason. You don't notice it when you're using the smaller outer display, but the issue rears its ugly head when you're using the bigger main screen.
You see, Samsung really hasn't cracked the screen crease issue. When you're using the phone, there's a very noticeable bump across the middle of the display where it folds.
Depending on what you're doing, this can be a slight nuisance or a real issue, and it's one of the main reasons we'd recommend avoiding the early-gen Samsung foldables.
So what about the Oppo Find N? Well, this is that 'main foldable phone problem' we mentioned in the introduction.
There's no screen crease on Oppo's foldable phone – you can run your finger over the display without being able to work out where it joins together. It's a startlingly smooth experience for people who've used the Galaxy Fold, and it makes swiping between menus or playing games just a bit more pleasant.
Oppo's Flexion Hinge brings together 136 components and the 'water-drop hinge' offers an almost invisible crease. The upper most layer on the inner display, also known as Oppo's Serene display, is their Flexion Ultra-thin glass.
Admittedly 'screen crease' won't sound like a huge concern for people who've never used a foldable phone before, but it affects your everyday experience with the phone.
The first few generations of foldable phones were (understandably) riddled with problems that are unique to this new design, like hinge durability issues and a lack of bespoke software, as well as this crease issue.
However, now that these flexing mobiles have been around a while, it's about time that companies found ways to solve these issues – Oppo has clearly done this with the Find N, and now Samsung needs to follow suit.