Flip phones are back. Once the icon of 1990s teenage trendsetters, flip phones have made a comeback recently with Samsung pushing the folding screen formula forward with its attention-grabbing range of folding phones.
When it comes to the best foldable phones, Samsung was alone at the top for quite some time, with its now iconic Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip ruling the roost. However, we are seeing more and more interesting new takes on the flip and fold design from phone makers like Motorola with its continuation of the Razr 5G line of phones. Even companies like Microsoft are expanding their successful Surface line-up of products to include the dual-screen Microsoft Surface Duo.
OPPO, one of the largest makers to come out of the new wave of Chinese phone manufacturers, is now set to challenge Samsung's dominance in the folding flip phone category, with the worldwide launch of the OPPO Find N2 Flip.
Launched in China at the very end of 2022, the Find N2 Flip is OPPO's first device to go 'global' and makes a big play for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4's crown. Although take the word global with a pinch of salt, as for OPPO, the globe doesn't include North America.
Rear cameras: 50MP Main camera, Sony IMX890, 1/1.56-inch sensor, 23mm, f/1.8
8MP ultrawide, Sony IMX355, 16mm, f/2.2
Front camera: 32MP, Sony IMX709, 1/2.74-inch sensor, 21mm, f/2.4 lens
Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 9000+, MariSilicon X Imaging NPU
Main Screen Size: • 120Hz 6.8-inch AMOLED with LTPO, 21:9, 2520×1080, 1600nits (peak), HDR10+, Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5
Cover Screen Size: 3.26-inch AMOLED, 17:9, 720×382, 900nits (peak), Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5
Security: Fingerprint reader, Face unlock
Connectivity: 5G, Dual SIM, Bluetooth, WiFi 6
Battery: 4,300mAh, 44W SUPERVOOC charging
Size: Open: 166.2mm × 75.2mm × 7.45mm, Closed: 85.5mm x 75.2mm × 16.02mm
Colors: Astral Black, Moonlit Purple
As the name suggests, the OPPO Find N2 Flip has a flip design with a horizontal folding screen that opens up into a 21:9 AMOLED display measuring 6.8 inches. The screen is capable of a variable 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and gaming and has a very impressive max peak brightness of 1,600 nits.
OPPO is touting its latest generation of Flexion Hinge, the tear-drop-shaped hinge mechanism used to open the phone. This year's model of Flexation Hinge is thinner, smaller, and stronger than the previous Find N foldable, and is certified by TUV Rheinland for 400,000 folds, which amounts to 100 folds a day for 10 years. The hinge can also be used to hold the phone steady at any angle between 45º and 110º, allowing the phone to be used as a hands-free selfie camera, using the top half of the inside screen while the phone rests on a flat surface, or for waist level camera framing.
The star of the show is the Find N2 Flip's cover screen, which is the largest cover screen yet seen on a foldable flip phone. The N2 Flip has a 3.26-inch AMOLED full-color touch display which has a 17:9 ratio and a peak brightness of 900 nits. The taller screen is capable of showing up to six notifications at once, as well as nine quick settings toggles, making it much more practical day to day.
One of the big features OPPO is bringing to the cover screen is its own custom widgets, which cover the majority of phone functions like controlling music, setting timers, making a note, or quick responding to messages using the miniature keyboard, or voice-to-text dictation straight from the cover screen.
These widgets also will work with third-party apps, while the list of apps is not long, but there are big names there, I spent the most time with the Spotify cover screen widget, which worked very well. And for those who miss the days of Tamagotchi, there is even a widget to care for your virtual pet.
The cover screen is also being utilized by OPPO as the ultimate selfie preview screen, allowing you to shoot selfies and group shots with the much more powerful main cameras, while all the while being able to frame your shots perfectly in the cover screen that is the same aspect ratio as the camera. The cover screen and main screen can also be used simultaneously so your portrait subject can see themselves as you take their photos.
Speaking of cameras, the OPPO Find N2 Flip has two main cameras, which have been tuned by Hasselblad. OPPO has included a 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor with a 23mm field of view as the main camera, the Find N2 Flip also has an ultrawide camera using an 8MP Sony IMX355, with a 16mm FOV. For selfies on the internal screen, there is a 32MP Sony IMX709 21mm front-facing camera with a hole punch design.
The Find N2 Flip has a MariSilicon X Imaging NPU co-processor for more complex and efficient AI image processing such as reducing noise in images and calculating portrait blur. The additional processor also enables 4K Ultra Night Video and 4K Ultra HDR Video using its AI powers. The N2 Flip is also capable of outputting 10-bit RAW images in Hasselblad professional mode, for keen image editors.
The OPPO Find N2 Flip, has the largest battery of any flip phone, (at time of writing) with a 4300mAh capacity battery, for all-day gaming, productivity, and streaming, and introduces SUPERVOOC flash charging, which OPPO claims will give you a charge of 50% in 23 minutes and 100% in just one hour.
The Find N2 Flipl features a MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ processor and either 8GB, 12GB, or 16GB of RAM. OPPO says it has worked closely with MediaTek on a customized version of the processor that will improve battery life, a key concern for compact phones with two separate screens.
Build & handling
The first thing that struck me with the design of the OPPO Find N2 Flip was the 3.26-inch cover screen. It's big, bold, and colorful and immediately draws you in. It just plain looks cool. It blends seamlessly with the case with no hard edge or lip as it meets the chassis.
I feared the cover screen was going to be very gimmicky, but I was surprised at how practical OPPO has made it, with a considerable number of widgets, it really can be like a miniature phone in itself. However, I found myself only really using the screen for checking notifications and skipping a few tracks on Spotify, the screen was still a little too fiddly for anything more useful, and I just found it faster to flip open the phone to do most tasks on the main screen. I am not sure how far the extended usefulness of a more interactive cover screen is or if Samsung’s smaller screen is all we really need to get by.
The one feature of the larger cover screen I am completely sold on is being able to use the cover screen to frame group portraits and selfies with the main camera. This is a revelation for anyone who cares about image quality, with the rear camera offering a vastly superior quality over front-facing cameras. Although, unless you take an extraordinary amount of selfies or vlogs then this is not worth the purchase alone.
OPPO has waxed lyrical about their latest Flexion Hinge and how it wouldn't produce a visible crease. Whilst I would love to say this is completely true, I could still notice the crease when unfolded. This was not to a distracting degree at all, and it is significantly better than other folding devices, but I knew it was there on occasions when the natural light was particularly bright, or what was displayed on screen was a pure white. I don't know if this crease would get more prominent over time and with more folds, (OPPO/TUV Rheinland says it doesn't), but it is something to be aware of.
Crease or no crease, unfolded, the screen is beautiful, it is bright, sharp, and colorful, and the screen appears nearly borderless. I could happily look at content all day on this screen. At a 21:9 ratio, it is bordering on what I consider too tall for a phone, considering a lot of phone UI is right up at the top of the screen, and those with small hands might struggle to reach up one-handed.
The phone comes in two colors, neither of which I am sold on, there is a dusky pink color which is nice-ish, but only for those who wish to sport a pink phone (not me). The traditional black color has a slightly unusual sandblasted texture, which actually feels really nice in the hand, and I liked the separation between the material and the smooth cover screen, however, the phone also sparkles somewhat in the light, which is an interesting choice.
Queue sad trumpet sound, the N2 Flip had so much potential, unfortunately, the cameras have mostly just failed to live up to it. With all the marketing spiel OPPO went to promote its Hasselblad branded AI powered cameras, as well as the very exciting potential to shoot perfect selfies using the main camera, I had high hopes, but some very questionable processing and so-so image quality has left me very deflated.
The processing that OPPO has decided to apply to images from the Find N2 Flip is sometimes just nuts. Colors are saturated to the point where it is occasionally nauseating to look at, the camera can push the greens in grass and trees to the point where they are glowing and the sky to a totally unrealistic blue. This isn't a setting you can dial up or down, or opt out of (at least as far as I could tell in the settings). If this were my main phone, I would have to spend hours desaturating my images after taking them. Maybe people who buy OPPO phones like these intense colors, but they really aren’t for me.
The photos otherwise are sharp and clear, although nothing to shout about, and they aren’t challenging the Pixel 7 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra cameras. The 2x zoom using the 50MP main sensor offers a good quality digital zoom using pixel binning, although beyond this, things start to get dicey, with a lot of oversharpening to compensate.
Weirdly, the two individual cameras on the Find N2 Flip have noticeably different looks, as you can see in the examples below, the sky and greens change in hue between the two cameras, and the rendering is quite different. Where most phones try to all have the same style, the two cameras look like they might not even be on the same device.
As for the AI photo assistance, a little box at the top of the screen tells you what the AI thinks the scene is, and for the majority of the time, this was just completely wrong. I also couldn’t really tell any difference between photos taken with the AI on and off.
Night mode using the MariSilicon X processor is just fine, the lighting in low light shots is improved, however there is still significantly more color noise and less detail than in those by leading rivals. Portrait blur is very good, with even finer details such as hair being better processed, this is enhanced even more when taking selfies using the cover screen and main camera.
For other AI features, there is an optional automatic face retouching feature, which can leave you looking like a plastic doll, if you so wish, although this isn't as completely overblown as some manufacturers, but it has nothing on the AI face tuning masks used in social media apps like Snapchat or TikTok.
The general performance of the phone was excellent. For the cover screen, flicking through widgets and opening the camera was near instantaneous, the cover screen really is very good if you can find enough use cases for it. The phone also had no issues or slowdowns swapping between using the cover screen and the unfolded main screen, or using both at the same time (which you can do to show your photography subject a live view of the camera).
With the screen opened up, the phone was also very fast, with the MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ processor handling all the day-to-day tasks I threw at it with ease. I mainly focused on camera processing and editing tests, which it performed very well in, quickly applying edits in Lightroom, and trimming, cropping, and saving a short video clip in Google Photos in a respectable amount of time. If you are a big gamer, you might want to look closely at a gaming-focused site for how it compares to a rival Snapdragon processor.
The OPPO Find N2 Flip is one of the first flip phones to get me genuinely excited about the category, and that has to do with OPPO putting that larger vertical screen on the cover. If this is just the novelty of a new type of device though, I am not sure, whilst I did find myself interacting with the cover screen to check notifications, this was mostly just glancing at it and then bypassing it to just open the phone.
The cover screen is the best implementation I have seen yet though, and OPPO has put a lot of careful thought into the flip phone experience with cover screen widgets being a standout as well as the selfie camera experience something that I wish all phones could do. The hinge is also a big improvement on what has come before, and feels like we are edging closer to banishing the crease.
However, my main consideration of a phone is the cameras, and the ones on the Find N2 Flip are really not for me, the heavy processing is just too much for my tastes. The camera quality is also just middling compared to what is available on cheaper non-flip devices.
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The main rival for the Find N2 Flip is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, this device however does not have the same large cover screen which makes the OPPO so exciting, instead offering a smaller but maybe more practical screen that is just enough to show notifications and updates. Another option is the Motorola Razr (2022), which has a lot more in common with the OPPO, offering a large cover screen and similar camera setup, and has the big advantage of being more globally available.