Smartphones that fold in half aren’t exactly “new” at this point, but the current crop leaves plenty to be desired. Oppo’s Find N2 series, introduced today, is an evolution of the company’s first foldable and, perhaps, the most refined foldable smartphone on the market.
On paper, the new Oppo Find N2 doesn’t deviate too much from the original Find N, which debuted almost precisely a year ago. The internal and external displays both have a newer 120Hz refresh rate and the newer Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, but other than those and a few other minor improvements, the experience is mostly the same.
However, upon handling the Find N2 in person, you can tell that it is a vast improvement over its predecessor.
Having using the Oppo Find N2 for a few days and comparing it to my Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the original Find N, I’ve noticed a few key differences. As soon as I removed the Find N2 from its package, its light weight was the first thing I noticed. When compared to the original Find N, whose weight was a substantial 275g, Find N2’s weight of 233g is very amazing. However, this is about the right amount of weight for a foldable device of this size. The Find N’s heftier feel was unexpected given that its footprint was so much smaller than Samsung’s foldable.
Oppo recently launched two new foldable smartphones in China. The Oppo Find N2 debuts as the #company's second horizontal folding smartphone, while the new Find N2 Flip arrives as Oppo's #first clamshell folding smartphone. The Oppo Find N2 Flip … https://t.co/CTO5rwhvnw
— Abhishek (@boringHustler) December 16, 2022
The Oppo Find N2’s compact form factor also continues to pique my interest. Considering how massive nearly every other Android phone is these days, the 5.5-inch outside display’s compactness is a welcome change of pace. This feature of Oppo’s foldable phone hasn’t changed since the original Find N and is still a selling point. While Samsung has improved the typing experience with each iteration of the Galaxy Z Fold, the larger aspect ratio may make the Galaxy Z Fold 5 the best yet.
The Find N2’s hardware is also predominantly matte. The white review unit I received from Oppo has a nice matte finish to the back glass, reminiscent of Google’s Pixel 4 line. It’s quite pleasant to touch and use. Just like the glass, the metal chassis has a matte finish. This frame makes it simple to access the phone’s interior, in contrast to Samsung’s most recent offering. The rounded corners make for easy holding. The Find N2 is almost ideal for this purpose, meeting my Fold 4’s requirement for an easy-to-open case.
Oppo’s hinge mechanism is also much more satisfying to use than Samsung’s. Unlike the Fold, where the brushes inside the hinge constantly generate disturbing noises, this one is silky smooth, and silent. Although Oppo cannot match Samsung’s claims of water resistance, the company’s experience here is unrivaled, and the compromises may be acceptable given the roughly $700 price difference.
The display crease on Oppo’s phones is also improved by the hinge the company uses. This would be an extremely subtle fold in the display. It is still feasible to make out the crease from certain angles, as shown in the images below, but in person, it is essentially impossible to do so. While I can live with the crease on my Galaxy Z Fold 4, I hope that Oppo’s efforts will serve as the impetus Samsung needs to make significant advancements in this area.
The actual displays are what brings the whole thing together. One of the most notable changes is the addition of a 120Hz panel to the exterior, an increase over the 60Hz panel installed last year. It enhances the pleasure of using the outer panel, which is wonderful because that display is fantastic. Although I have grown accustomed to the Fold’s narrow and tall design, I find that the bigger display has its advantages.
Meanwhile, the internal display remains largely intact. With its crisp resolution, smooth 120Hz refresh rate, and absence of distracting fold lines, this screen provides an excellent viewing experience. The behavior of Android apps on screens this large is my biggest concern. Many applications are not optimized for their unusual shape, which is quite wide yet relatively short. However, as with Samsung’s foldable, this could be resolved through optimization over time.
The biggest issue with the Oppo Find N2 is that it isn’t available in all markets, and the company hasn’t confirmed any plans to do so. The Find N2 Flip is the only model available for export from China.
ColorOS based on China’s requirements is very different from the one used in the United States and Europe. It’s still a frustrating experience, even with Google’s apps and tools enabled. Unfortunately, many useful apps won’t be developed to make use of its unique form factor until this phone goes global. While Oppo may have the better hardware, each year it keeps this feature limited to China means that its software cannot advance and Samsung maintains its position as the market leader.