The Samsung Galaxy Fold series has gone unchallenged in India for the past few years, and we recently saw Samsung upgrading its game with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (review). However, before the end of 2021 Oppo has revealed a big surprise, which gives enough reason to reconsider whether the Galaxy Z folding really reflects the best way to make the big screen foldable. Oppo Find N was released a week ago as the company’s first commercially available foldable smartphone, and although it only goes on sale in China, Oppo India sent us a unit to play with for a while.
After reviewing the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, there are a lot of differences about the Oppo Find N, which immediately stand out to me, and in my opinion it would be a great tablet-style foldable. I did not spend much time with it and the full review of this phone will not be very useful at this stage as it will not be launched in India soon, but I would like to point out a few things. I like it so much.
The design of the Oppo Find N may be its biggest talking point because most of Oppo’s R&D efforts are used here. Find N is made from premium materials like glass and aluminum, which you can tell from the moment you pick it up. It’s very chunky and heavy, but surprisingly, no more than the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
The first thing you will come to appreciate is the familiar shape factor. The external OLED display frame goes almost edge-to-edge and its 18: 9 aspect ratio makes it relatively easy to handle and use with one hand. It’s just like you use any standard smartphone that is unusually thick. The external display only has a 60Hz upgrade rate, but once this mobile is rolled out, a much larger 7.1-inch OLED display with 120Hz upgrade rate is available. Both displays are bright and clear, support HDR playback and provide crisp displays. Because Find N is smaller and wider than the Galaxy Z Fold 3, videos will automatically fill more screens without the need to change the orientation of the device in your hand.
Speaking of the folding screen, Find N uses very thin glass on top of the OLED panel, but the magic is in the ‘Flexion’ hinge. Oppo has developed a special mechanism that allows both parts of the Find N to sit opposite each other, thereby removing gaps where dust and dirt can not easily pass. The hinge also allows for greater tolerance where the display actually folds, so there will be no folding when it is open. You can still see a slight ripple when looking at the screen from the axis, but you can not feel any obstruction in the center when you move your finger over it. This is a remarkable achievement, and Samsung did not exactly pass on the third iteration of the Galaxy Z fold.
Oppo Find N is a perfect primer. It has Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC and up to 12GB RAM and 512GB storage. Oppo was able to fit in a larger 4,500mAh battery, and this phone supports 33W faster wired charging and 15W wireless charging. The power button has a fingerprint sensor, but can also be used to identify the face to unlock this mobile.
A big feature that is not on the spec sheet is the IP rating for dust and water resistance. This is an area where Samsung is still superficial.
The cameras on the Oppo Find N seem very promising. Both selfie cameras have 32-megapixel sensors, while the rear has a 50-megapixel primary, a 16-megapixel ultra-white and a 13-megapixel telephoto camera. I have not tested the cameras in detail, but they give very satisfactory results.
Let’s look at the software quickly. Oppo has added custom gestures in the ColorOS 12 to take advantage of the large folding display. You can quickly turn fullscreen apps into floating windows or use them in split-screen mode depending on the gesture you use. It only worked on a few apps from Oppo, at least on the unit I had. There is also a Flexform mode similar to the Flex mode in Samsung’s foldables, which resets the layout of the app when you fold the phone in half in landscape orientation. Again, this will only work for certain applications, such as the camera, although that may change in the future.
The Oppo Find N gave me the confidence to fold once again, and I hope to see more manufacturers adopt this design philosophy – a smaller, fixed aspect ratio display and a larger screen on the inside. This, along with the folds that are rarely seen in the folding scene, makes the Find N the most polished foldable to launch this year. It is a real shame that it has not been launched anywhere else in the world now, but I hope it will come to India soon. If Oppo can polish its software, I think it will mean stiff competition for Samsung’s offers.