Folding smartphones are still really new, and as the technology behind them continues to evolve, phone makers are only just beginning to explore what’s possible with different designs. The small folding phone we’re most excited about at the moment is the Oppo Find N2 Flip, a newly announced challenger to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Motorola Razr 2022.
Oppo already has one folding smartphone on the books, the Oppo Find N, and has just announced its follow-up, the Find N2, but the Find N2 Flip is capturing our attention for different reasons. Here’s what’s making us look forward to its release in early 2023.
It will be released outside of China
This is a big one. The Oppp Find N2 Flip will be the company’s first folding phone to be released outside of China. It’s scheduled to be sold in Europe and, presumably the U.K. too, in early 2023. Although no final date has been given yet, Oppo plans to get the Find N2 Flip on sale before the end of March. Sadly, Oppo doesn’t sell its phones in the U.S., but availability in Europe will make it easier to import one if you’re really keen.
Oppo won’t release the Find N2 outside China due to challenges around software and ensuring apps are compatible with the unfolded screen. This problem doesn’t exist in the same way with the Find N2 Flip, because when it’s opened up, it’s the same size and aspect ratio as many other standard, non-folding phones. The difference comes with the outer screen, which we’ll come to next.
A big, usable cover screen
The screen on the outside of the Find N2 Flip, the one you use when the phone is closed, measures 3.26 inches. The one on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is smaller at 1.9 inches, but it’s the orientation that makes the Find N2 Flip’s cover screen so enticing. It’s in portrait rather than landscape, so it should be possible to operate it with your thumb while holding the device with one hand.
It will show more notifications in more detail than small, landscape-orientated cover screens, with Oppo claiming up to six notifications will be shown at one time. The Z Flip 4’scover screen is excellent and does a great job of minimizing interruptions, but for those who want to be more involved with what’s going on, the Find N2 Flip will be the better bet. You can see it in action in this short video posted on Oppo’s official Weibo channel.
What’s more, because the screen is larger it will make it more useful when used as a viewfinder for the camera, plus potentially for apps too. It’s not clear yet whether third-party apps will support the screen without requiring specific changes, or if it will be “locked out” of using apps, like the Z Flip 4’s screen. If it is, then Oppo is likely to build its own functionality into its software to make the most of the screen’s size.
While we’re excited to see how the large cover screen changes the way we use the Find N2 Flip, there are a few concerns. The resolution is low at 720 x 382, so don’t expect to watch super sharp video; it also only has a 60Hz refresh rate. That’s fine for notifications, but not for more in-depth use.
Battery, charging, and efficiency
A 4,300mAh battery powers the Find N2 Flip, a far higher capacity than the 3,700mAh cell inside the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the 3,500mAh cell in the Motorola Razr 2022. It also has Oppo’s fast 44W charging system, which should power the phone up faster than the competition. However, while these specs are good news, it’s the choice of processor that may be the secret to getting the most from the battery’s energy.
Oppo has teamed up with MediaTek to use the Dimensity 9000+ chip in the Find N2 Flip. Built using a 4nm process, it’s an efficient chip anyway. But as we’ve recently discovered, the two companies are working closely together, and fully exploited the MediaTek Dimensity 8100 Max chip’s efficiency inside the Reno 8 Pro. It gives us high hopes for the Find N2 Flip.
The new Flexion hinge design
Having used the Oppo Find N2 and been impressed with the smoothness, silence, and excellent engineering in the second-generation Flexion hinge, it’s great news to see the same hinge is being used on the Find N2 Flip. There are sure to be a few differences in design, but it’s likely to feel very similar.
It’s not just about the feel either. The Oppo-designed Flexion hinge is lighter than the previous version inside the Find N2, so it should also keep the Find N2 Flip’s weight down. Plus, its design means any crease in the screen when it’s unfolded should be almost unnoticeable. It certainly is on the full-size Find N2.
How much will it cost?
Oppo hasn’t talked about an international price for the Find N2 Flip yet, but it has disclosed the price of the phone in China, where the cheapest 8GB/256GB version is the local equivalent of about $860. While we don’t expect it to match this when it’s released outside of China, it’s possible it’ll come very close to the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s competitive and tempting $1,000 price.
This is imperative if the Find N2 Flip is to find success. Samsung’s name is synonymous with folding smartphones, due to its massive head start over the competition, along with its highly polished hardware. Oppo will need to match, or in an ideal world, undercut the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s price if it wants to grab attention right from the start.
2023 — the year of the foldable?
There are multiple reasons to be excited about the Find N2 Flip, and it’s great to see actual competition begin to appear for Samsung. Oppo has the Find N2 and Find N2 Flip, but it’s not the only company preparing new folding smartphones for the coming year. Honor has announced its Z Fold 4 challenger, the Honor Magic Vs, and our early impression of the big-screen foldable means we’re very keen to see the final version early next year.
It also looks like Google will finally release the long-rumored Pixel Fold in 2023, bringing what’s great about the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro to a folding phone that may be very close to the Oppo Find N in terms of design. An Apple-made folding iPhone may still be some time away, but with Oppo pushing ahead with the design, it may not be long until OnePlus follows in its footsteps.
It’s all shaping up to be an exciting start to 2023 for foldable smartphones.
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