New technology always goes through two distinct stages. In the first stage, the technology is new and expensive, and only those truly invested in the concept will shell out to get involved. The second stage sees the technology become more affordable, allowing for mass market adoption.
For foldable phones, the turning point between stages happened earlier this week, when the Oppo Find N2 Flip was released. Priced at just £849 in the UK, this is the cheapest foldable phone on the market by a good stretch. It's £150 less than the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 at retail, and £100 cheaper than the Motorola Razr, which itself was praised on release for undercutting the Samsung.
Of course, all of that means nothing if the phone doesn't cut the mustard. But that doesn't seem like the case either. Based on the specs alone, the Oppo looks like one of the more capable handset on the market. It opts for a MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ processor, paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
It features the biggest battery on any flip phone, with a 4,300mAh unit on board. The hinge is rated for 400,000 uses, which is double what is found on other handsets. And it's cameras are more than capable of keeping up, with a 50MP main sensor and an 8MP ultrawide on the rear and a 32MP front-facing unit.
All of that, for a phone that costs that same as a Google Pixel 7 Pro, or an iPhone 14. It's unprecedented value for technology that is still relatively new – and it should drive more people to try a foldable device.
That alone makes this a moment for the history books. Oppo has managed to do what no other phone manufacturer could – achieve parity with traditional slab phones – and for that alone, the Find N2 Flip deserves it's fifteen minutes of fame.
I can't say for certain it will be the best flip phone ever. It probably won't be the cheapest, either. But for what it could be about to do to the wider smartphone market, it just might be the most important.