There’s a new foldable phone in town: The Oppo Find N. After teasing its new foldable last week, the Chinese electronics-maker launched its latest Find N foldable phone on Wednesday, during the second day of its “Inno Day” event.
The new phone, which will be sold only in China starting on Dec. 23, is a little smaller than rival foldable devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold line. The Find N has a similar design to the Z Fold, but sports a 5.49-inch outer display and a 7.1-inch inner screen. Samsung’s phone, by contrast, has a 6.2-inch screen on the front and a 7.6-inch display when opened.
Similar to classic clamshell phones, the Find N has a wider 18:9 aspect ratio that makes it more natural to use as a regular phone when closed. Samsung, meanwhile, has a more narrow front display on its Z Fold line.
Like the Z Fold, there are five cameras on the Find N. Both the inside and front screens have 32-megapixel hole-punch cameras for selfies and video chats, while the rear adds three additional sensors: a 50-megapixel main camera, a 16-megapixel ultrawide lens and a 13-megapixel telephoto.
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and 12GB of RAM power the device, which is running Oppo’s ColorOS 12, based on Android 11. As you’d expect, Oppo’s fast wireless and wired charging are here, with the Find N supporting the company’s 33-watt SuperVOOC Flash Charge for wired charging and 15-watt AirVOOC for wireless charging (as well as regular Qi wireless chargers). There is also 10-watt reverse wireless charging, so it can charge other devices wirelessly.
The company says that using the SuperVOOC wired charging, the phone and its 4,500-mAh battery can go from dead to 55% in 30 minutes and to 100% in 70 minutes.
Although the Find N isn’t IP68-rated for water- and dust-resistance, Oppo says that it “does go through rigorous water-resistance and durability testing to ensure the device can easily cope with things like sweat, moisture and light drizzle that are regularly encountered in everyday usage scenarios.”
A foldable phone, with a minimal crease
Oppo’s first foldable isn’t as notable for its design as it is for its comparatively premium feel. The hinge on the Find N takes advantage of what Oppo calls a “water-drop” design, allowing for the phone to more evenly fold closed. This means that not only is there no wedge or gap when the screen is folded, but there’s also a much less noticeable crease when you use the inside display.
Oppo, citing testing lab TUV, says the Find N has a crease that’s “up to 80% less noticeable” than other foldable devices. I’ve briefly used the Find N and the statement did seem to hold true. Compared to the Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 2, the crease on the Find N isn’t just harder to see, regardless of angle, it’s also harder to discern by touch.
When I drag my fingers across the 7.1-inch display, it feels like a regular tablet. Like Samsung’s recent foldables, the display incorporates a layer of ultrathin glass for added durability.
Oppo’s ColorOS software, however, means the overall experience — at least outside of China — is far from perfect.
As this is a China-only product, the Find N lacks Google services, including the Play Store. I had some issues but was eventually able to get a Play Store APK to install. I could even download some apps, but a few had issues properly displaying or taking advantage of Oppo’s enhancements for multitasking. Some, like ESPN, wouldn’t open in the Find N’s split-screen mode.
In an interview with journalists, Pete Lau, the OnePlus founder who’s now Oppo’s chief product officer, says the lack of third-party app support for foldable devices is part of the reason why Oppo is focusing solely on China for the release of this device.
“If the apps that users use most in their daily life are not well adapted on a foldable, then a foldable will not be delivering the value that it should be delivering,” Lau says. In China, he adds, Oppo is contacting individual developers to optimize their apps for the new design. “And that’s really a big, heavy workload.”
OnePlus and Oppo are two sub-brands (among many) owned by Chinese conglomerate BBK Electronics.
The issue of proper app support isn’t unique to Oppo or the Find N. It’s something that both Samsung and Google have been working to address.
Google, in particular, has been working to better optimize Android for foldable devices and most recently announced plans to release Android 12L early next year. The search giant says this update is designed for foldable phones and tablets, it should include improvements that make it easier to multitask and use apps on larger screens.
Lau says that while Oppo is in touch with Google about creating general guidelines for how Android operates on “different aspect ratios,” his company is not working with the search giant on optimizing Android specifically for the Find N.