Highlights

  • Oppo Find N: is this the best foldable smartphone?
  • 5.49-inch cover display, 7.1-inch internal display
  • Snapdragon 888 chipset

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Oppo Find N first impressions: the best foldable smartphone?

The Oppo Find N, Oppo’s first entry in the foldables market already offers a mature & premium design, a top of the line spec sheet, and some really novel solutions to the problems many people have had with foldables.

The Oppo Find N, Oppo’s first entry in the foldables market already offers a mature & premium design, a top of the line spec sheet, and some really novel solutions to the problems many people have had with foldables. Is the Oppo Find N the best foldable smartphone ever made?

Display & Design

The Oppo Find N takes a very interesting approach for a horizontally folding phone. While most other horizontal foldables like the choose to have a really tall front screen, the cover screen here is a 5.49-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. It transforms on demand into a very capable tablet, which is the main draw of a phone like this, and this display has done something seemingly impossible, which we’ll get to in a bit.

But, crucially, it’s the cover screen here that makes this phone stand out.

Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 where the front screen is too tall, or not wide enough, and only really good to use in a pinch, the Oppo Find N’s cover screen, though, would make for a great display even if it was the only one here. The screen does have a max 60Hz refresh rate, yes, but it’s about the size of an iPhone mini, and great to type on, browse through Instagram, or do any other normal smartphone tasks. And believe me, although the Find N when folded is about 2 smartphones thick, it fits really well in the hand for a great one-handed usage experience.

When you do want the extra screen real estate, the Find N unfolds to a glorious 7.1-inch internal display, with a buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Oppo’s seemingly impossible trick here is that there’s no visible crease in the middle. The ultra-thin glass display here is from Samsung, but the Flexion hinge is all Oppo. The hinge has 136 individual parts, and bends so precisely that from the front, you really can’t see any sort of crease. Even if you slide your finger across the display, it’s mostly imperceptible.

It really almost feels like one uninterrupted display, which is a major win for Oppo. Unfortunately, it lacks an official IP rating of any sort but Oppo tells us it should be able to withstand some moisture and light drizzles without issue.

The aspect ratio here is also a bit more landscape than portrait, but it’s especially good for things like watching videos, or reading a book, or browsing maps, or looking through photos. Any application which does well with extra space on the screen really shines here.

Videos are mostly letterboxed with this aspect ratio, but the extra size is still really nice. Reading long articles or books is really where this display is most useful. I preferred turning it to the side to get a portrait aspect ratio when doing this, and the experience is so much better than any slab phone could ever hope to provide. This also applies to general web browsing, where you get a full tabbed view in Google Chrome, and most websites can work properly in desktop view.

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Multi-Tasking

Of course, a large display like this is also really useful for multi-tasking.

Oppo has put in some special features for this in ColorOS. You can use most apps side-by-side in the split view mode, and both will remain active. You can also save any frequently used split screen pair of apps right to the homescreen. Unfortunately, there’s no way to do a vertical split screen here, which would have been nice for things like YouTube. Most apps can also be used in floating window mode, where you can adjust the size, dock them when not needed, and convert to a split screen whenever you want. You can have a split screen, and one floating window, open at the same time.

The base variant of the Oppo Find N gets 8GB RAM, and the higher end one gets 12GB RAM, meaning there’s enough memory here for all your multitasking needs. Both also benefit from the RAM Expansion feature. The base mode alsol has 256GB storage, and the top-end one has 512GB storage, which I love. There’s no such thing as too much storage.

Not everything is roses here - some apps don’t yet play well with foldables, and don’t have a layout specially designed for this form.

You can choose to launch these in 16:9 or 4:3 modes with letterboxing, in case they play better with that. Or you can also choose to launch them in full screen mode, and hope the layout works anyway. A little bit of trial and error here is still required, but over time, as more developers update their apps to work with foldables, this should become less of an issue.

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Gaming

Gaming is difficult on a foldable, and that’s not really anyone’s fault. The more square-ish viewport of the display doesn’t lend itself well to the wide field of view most games require. A good compromise I found was to launch games in 16:9 mode, and use the little buttons Oppo gives you to move them to the bottom of the display. You get a blank top half of the screen, which seems like a waste, but I didn’t find this to hamper my Call of Duty Mobile skills. And the general display area is still about as large, if not larger, than a big flagship smartphone. Performance is not an issue of course, because this has a Snapdragon 888 inside, and performs just as well as any 2021 flagship. For 2D casual games, which don’t suffer from the same display issues, the internal screen works really well for a tablet-like experience.

Camera

The Oppo Find N gets a 50MP main camera, a 16MP ultra-wide, and a 13MP telephoto lens. The camera bump rises from the back in a design much like the Find X3, although it’s not as seamless as that phone. The cameras themselves are not the best you’ll find on any smartphone, but they still perform really well. You can get really good shots with both the main and wide cameras with decent lighting, and while the telephoto does get a little washed out, it can also get some good results. Both the cover screen and the inner display get a 32MP selfie camera, which also do decently well.

Oppo does some neat tricks with the foldable form factor here.

Unfolded, you can use the camera app on the full screen, or push it to one side to make way for a live preview pane which shows the last picture you took. You can also push a button to give a preview of the shot on the cover display, in case you have picky subjects. Or, indeed, you can choose to push the entire camera app onto the cover when unfolded, making it really easy to vlog, or take portraits with the rear cameras. The foldable form factor also means that you can prop up the device really easily for a timelapse, or a group photo, or video calls.

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Audio

The audio experience on the Oppo Find N is a little mixed. The phone has two bottom firing stereo speakers on either side when unfolded. Now, these are great speakers, with excellent loudness and good clarity and bass, but both of them being bottom firing means that you do hear a stereo mix, but all the audio is still coming from one direction, and you don’t really get a surround sound experience. When folded, the speakers line up exactly perfectly next to each other, cancelling out that stereo effect, and basically making one big bottom firing speaker.

Battery

The Oppo Find N gets a 4,500mAh battery. Now, battery life on a foldable is weird to pin down, because it depends entirely on how much time you use either screen, and can vary quite wildly. I wasn’t able to conduct extensive testing, but in my usage the battery life is quite good overall. The bundled charger also gives you 33W fast charging.

Miscellaneous

There are some other tiny things I really appreciate about the Find N.

When you close the inner display, you get this little prompt on the cover screen, which you can swipe up to continue using whatever app was open on the inside. If you do nothing, the screen will shut off in about three seconds. Very neat. The little thud you hear when closing the display is also extremely satisfying. Oppo has included a lot of live wallpapers on this phone, that move as you fold and unfold the device, which makes the experience all that more delightful. And this phone has really, really good haptics. Vibrations are very fine, and feel great, for that extra premium touch.

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Verdict

To sum it up, having an Oppo Find N is like carrying a great compact smartphone, and a very nice mini tablet, in one device that fits in your pocket. Which you might say is the point of a horizontally folding phone, but I think this is the first one to get that mix exactly right. There are a few areas that can be improved, sure, but given that this Oppo’s first attempt at a foldable, it’s incredible how well they’ve done.

For now, the Oppo Find N is China-only. We don’t yet know when or if the Oppo Find N will launch in India. But I really hope it does, because it's about time we get a genuine competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series.

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