Oppo’s new foldable phone may have solved the curl problem

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Oppo

There’s a new foldable phone in town: Oppo Find N. After teased his 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 only be sold in China from December 23, is slightly smaller than competing foldable devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold line. Find N has a similar design as the Z Fold, but has a 5.49-inch outer screen and a 7.1-inch inner screen. Samsung’s phone, on the other hand, has a 6.2-inch screen on the front and a 7.6-inch screen when opened.

Oppo Find N front display

The front screen of Oppo Find N.

Eli Blumenthal / CNET

Like classic clamshell phones, Find N has a wider 18: 9 aspect ratio, making it more natural to use as a regular phone when closed. Samsung, meanwhile, has a narrower front display on its Z Fold line.

Like the Z Fold, there are five cameras on the Find N. Both the inside and front screen have 32-megapixel hole cameras for selfies and video chat, while the back adds three additional sensors: a 50-megapixel main camera, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens and a 13-megapixel telephoto.

Oppo Find N cameras

The rear cameras on Oppo Find N.

Eli Blumenthal / CNET

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and 12 GB of RAM drives the device, which runs Oppos ColorOS 12, based on Android 11. As you might expect, Oppos’ fast wireless and wired charging is here, where Find N supports the company’s 33 watt SuperVOOC Flash Charge for the cable charging and 15-watt AirVOOC for wireless charging (as well as standard Qi wireless chargers). There is also 10-watt reverse wireless charging so it can charge other devices wirelessly.

The company says that using 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 Find N is not IP68 rated for water and dust resistance, Oppo says it “undergoes rigorous water resistance and durability tests to ensure that the device can easily handle things like sweat, moisture and light drizzle that are encountered regularly in everyday scenarios. “

A foldable phone with minimal fold

Oppo Find N open

It’s hard to find a folder on Find N.

Eli Blumenthal / CNET

Oppo’s first foldable is not as remarkable for its design as it is for its relatively premium feel. The Find N hinge utilizes what Oppo calls a “water drop” design, allowing the phone to fold more evenly. This means that not only is there a wedge or gap when the screen is folded, but there is also a much less noticeable fold when using the inner screen.

Oppo, citing the TUV test lab, says Find N has a folder that is “up to 80% less noticeable” than other foldable devices. I have briefly used Find N, and the statement seemed to hold true. Compared with Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 2, the folder on Find N is not only harder to see, regardless of angle, it is also harder to distinguish by touch.

When I drag my fingers across the 7.1-inch screen, it feels like a regular tablet. Like Samsung’s recent folders, the screen incorporates a layer of ultra-thin glass for increased durability.

However, Oppos ColorOS software means that the overall experience – at least outside of China – is far from perfect.

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The closed Find N is thicker than a set of playing cards.

Eli Blumenthal / CNET

As this is a China-only product, Find N is missing Google services including 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 trouble showing or utilizing Oppo’s enhancements for multitasking properly. Some, like ESPN, would not open in Find N’s split-screen mode.

In an interview with journalists, Pete Lau, the OnePlus founder who is now Oppos product manager, says that the lack of third-party app support for foldable devices is part of the reason why Oppo is focusing exclusively on China for the release of this device.

“If the apps that users use the most in their daily lives are not well-suited to a foldable, then a foldable will not deliver the value it should deliver,” Lau says. In China, he adds, Oppo is contacting individual developers to optimize their apps for the new design. “And it really is a big, heavy workload.”

OnePlus and Oppo are two sub-brands (among many) owned by the Chinese conglomerate BBK Electronics.

The issue of proper app support is not unique to Oppo or Find N. This is something that both Samsung and Google have been working on resolving.

Google in particular has been working on optimizing Android better for foldable devices and has 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 enhancements that make it easier to multitask and use apps on larger screens.

Lau says that while Oppo is in contact with Google to create general guidelines for how Android works on “different image formats”, his company is not working with the search giant to optimize Android specifically for Find N.


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