Flippin' heck, Oppo just put the pressure on Samsung by revealing what could be one of 2023's best folding phones: the Find N2 Flip. Which, as its name suggests, is a clamshell flip phone with some features that I think are truly standout in this category.
I've been using the Oppo Find N2 Flip for a full week to get a taste of what it's all about for this review. There are clear benefits from the off, such as the biggest cover display of any clamshell folding phone. It also really doesn't hurt that Oppo has priced the Find N2 Flip to undercut the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
However, while these are clear benefits, the broader question I've been pondering is whether a flip phone truly brings additional benefits beyond the best phones of today. Because, for all the Oppo Find N2 Flip's accomplishments, are there still typical folding phone compromises to consider?
Oppo Find N2 Flip: Price & Availability
When I first heard about this Oppo I immediately assumed it was going to be pricier than its competitors. Quite the opposite, as it turns out: the Find N2 Flip is priced at £849 in the UK (there's no US or Australian release expected at this stage).
That's a really aggressive price point. No, it's not cheap, but it is cheap by flip phone standards: the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 was £999 when that launched (it's subsequently cheaper given the affect of time), while the Motorola Razr 2022 was £949 at launch. So Oppo has put a full £100 between itself and its nearest viable competition.
Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Design & Displays
That price doesn't reflect negatively on what you get either: the Oppo Find N2 Flip features a 3.26-inch cover display on the exterior of the clamshell, which while it doesn't sound especially giant is much larger than you'll get from the competition. And more space logically means more practicality.
I think Oppo has been really clever with the overall design of the Find N2 Flip too. It's a zero-gap design, by which I mean the two halves sit perfectly together with no space or angled surface where the interior screen meets when the device is folded closed. That sounds like a small thing, but it does just look tidier overall and helps prevent various crud from getting in there.
This is all down to the hinge design, which has been pulled off elegantly. As with any folding phone there's a slight rounded protrusion where the hinge exists when the device is unfolded. Plus, much as the main 6.8-inch screen's crease is lesser than some I've seen, Oppo cannot magically negate the presence of one. Although I really don't think you'll notice it when there's content on the main display.
What I can't help but notice much of the time, however, is fingerprinting. It's more present on this device than I'm used to on the best Android phones out there, simply because a folding phone requires an additional protective layer on top of its ultra-thin glass (UTG) layer. That's why there's a smeared look – but it's apparent on the cover screen in addition to the main screen.
When I first started using the Find N2 Flip I found that unlocking it to interact with the cover screen was problematic. The fingerprint scanner was perfectly fine in the unfolded position, but just didn't work much of the time when folded. Well, perseverance (and possibly a software update) seems to have paid off: it's now a cinch to unlock the device irrelevant of whether it's open or closed. Phew.
But there are apparent limitations to the cover display, just as you'll find in any folding phone. Namely that apps can't run in full here, so while you'll be able to obtain notifications, to further interact will require unfolding the device in full. I also find the cover display is somewhat reluctant to alert to notifications, further negating its impact.
Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Performance & Battery
Assessing the performance of a flip phone is rather different to a more traditional phone design. It's there to be treated differently. In a way I consider a flip phone as ideal for someone who doesn't wish to wear a smartwatch (me!): simply leave the phone in its folded position for quick alerts (like you'd get on a watch), ignore what you don't need to respond to immediately, then unfold for full interaction. I'm quite happy seeing little Outlook, Gmail, WhatsApp or other symbols so I know which apps have notifications.
However, I do think Oppo's software needs refining. It's called ColorOS, which sits over the top of Android 13, and while it's generally much the same as using Google's own operating system, there are some negatives. Notification delays I've found to be a sometimes problem, for example, such as getting a Ring doorbell notification two minutes later than on another user's device. That hardly inspires confidence. The way in which the cover display illuminates and for what period of time based on notifications is less engaging than I'd like too.
That said, ColorOS and, specifically the Find N2 Flip, do add some additional points of greatness. There are 'virtual pets' for the cover display, for example, so I've got a cute yet ridiculous little hamster buddy on there. It's really like an animated wallpaper, but it still amuses me based on the various animations, so I'm a fan. Oppo is also great at handling app duplication if you run dual-SIM and want to handle business and personal WhatsApp/Facebook/Instagram accounts.
Then there's the core performance aspect: the Find N2 Flip, given its scale, can't house a battery as significant in capacity as many flagships. However, the 4300mAh cell on offer here is pretty decent by folding phones standards – that's more than 16% additional capacity compared to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
As ever with a new phone, the battery life for the first couple of days didn't perform too well in my hands though, so I was topping up throughout the day to reduce my anxiety. After a full working week, however, things have settled down. ColorOS has taken to reducing certain apps' background battery operation, for one. I've taken to unfolding the device less during my tenure with this phone, too, which naturally reduces battery drain.
As it stands from my testing I'd expect this phone to get through a 15-hour day just about, running the battery from full to around 10%. This is one of those flip phone conundrums really: if you want this design form factor then you have to accept that it'll contain less battery capacity. The Oppo is good enough for a day, though, whatever tasks you're asking of it. It'll just have a little less left in the tank than some.
In terms of raw power the Find N2 Flip is the first I've seen in the UK to utilise MediaTek's Dimensity 9000+ chip (the Vivo X80 Pro delivered the non-plus variant earlier in 2022). Having attended various MediaTek launches I'm convinced of the company's pedigree, offering a viable alternative to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, no doubt. In the Find N2 Flip there are one or two skips here and there, but the overall picture is one that's smooth and capable.
Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Cameras
Folding phones tend to not go too hectic when it comes to camera arrangements, given the limitations of physical space, and that's very much the case here. The Find N2 Flip houses one main 50-megapixel camera and one 8-megapixel ultra-wide, which protrude as individual lenses to the side of the cover display.
While there is also a selfie camera as a punch-hole to the top centre of the unfolded screen, you're unlikely to need to use this. That's one of the benefits of a flip phone format: snap it closed and you can use the main lens for portraits, your face appearing in the cover display nice and clearly.
That main camera is pretty decent, too, delivering detailed images, even coping in low-light just fine, and not oversaturating or overworking images to excess. I'm not talking Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra levels of adeptiveness in low-light scenarios, of course, but Oppo and its additional MariSilicon processor does a decent job.
Sadly the same can't be said about the wide-angle camera. The quality here really does lack, with images looking almost as smeary as the fingerprints that are all over the screen. Not totally unusable, mind, but wide-angle shots just aren't anywhere near the same standard as the main camera.
Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Verdict
With a great spec and savvy price, the Oppo Find N2 Flip is an attractive flip phone option. It's that XL cover display that really makes it stand out from the crowd most of all though.
However, its software isn't quite up to scratch, especially when it comes to notifications and, for me, the experience of a foldable doesn't come entirely without compromise compared to a typical phone.
Nonetheless, as a clamshell option to take the fight to Samsung and Motorola, Oppo has some key strengths that are hard to ignore. In the battle for the best flip phone, this is one of the best options you can consider.
The key competitors are the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Motorola Razr (2022). I personally prefer the Samsung's software, despite a much smaller battery capacity and cover display compared to the Oppo. The Razr, meanwhile, has that classic appeal and, again, an upper hand when it comes to software, plus a cover display that sits in-between the Oppo and Samsung in terms of scale. All three are a similar price right now too...