Best Flip Phone Hardware, But Software Needs Refinement

Oppo this week launched its new flip phone, dubbed the Find N2 Flip, globally via a launch event in London. That’s pretty big news, as this is the first real alternative to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip series to be released internationally (ie outside of China). Yes, Huawei has introduced its clamshell to international markets as well, but without Google Mobile Services, this phone will always be a very tough sell. Oppo’s Find N2 Flip has no such US-imposed restrictions and is a very strong contender to Samsung’s throne.

If we just focus on the hardware, I think Oppo’s Find N2 Flip outperforms Samsung’s Z Flip 4 in several crucial areas. Oppo’s main screen doesn’t have a deep crease and folds flat. And the outer screen is much larger and more practical in an upright orientation than that of the Flip 4. Oppo’s Flip also has a larger battery and faster charging, as well as a main camera with a larger image sensor than Samsung’s.

But the software needs a little work. One of the biggest disappointments so far is that despite the relatively large external screen, there’s not much you can do with it right now. All you have to do is scroll through six widgets and use the screen as a camera viewfinder. That’s it. You can’t even read notifications in full or reply in your own words.

The good news is that Oppo is actively working on developing more widgets for this outdoor screen so it can do more. But how about instead of widgets we just let the entire phone run on the outside screen? Sure, it’s small at 3.6 inches, but it’s doable. We’ve seen Android phones with smaller screens. Of course, I’m not going to use the small screen to compose 500-word articles, but I can at least scroll through Twitter, watch some TikToks, or send a few quick text messages. The hardware is there, Oppo just needs to tweak its software to adapt to the smaller screen.

The second software bummer I have is that the camera has a weird video bug right now: the video recording resolution keeps jumping back to 1080p even after I set it to 4k.

I can tolerate that second flaw, but having such a (relatively) large outdoor screen and not being able to do much with it is frustrating.

Getting back to the good parts: the hinge mechanism feels sturdy and can stay in place mid-fold, although it doesn’t stay as reassuring as Samsung’s. But I love the main screen, which is a 120Hz OLED panel without the deep groove of the Flip 4.

The Find N2 Flip only has two cameras for its main system, and the ultra-wide camera is a pretty decent 8-megapixel shooter, but the 50-megapixel main camera is really good for a foldable device with a (relatively) large 1 /1.56 inch image sensor . The shutter speed is faster and thanks to Oppo’s partnership with German camera manufacturer Hasselblad, the colors are very punchy and bright with the typical Hasselblad look. Overall, I think the camera performance is better than the Samsung Flip 4.

The 4,300mAh battery is also quite large for a device of this type, and the battery life is good enough to last around 12-13 hours of regular use throughout the day.

Aside from the software issues I’m having right now, the Oppo Find N2 Flip is a joy to use as a phone as its smaller form factor makes it easier to fit in pockets and its foldable form factor opens up fun ways to use the phone.

Priced at £850 ($1,080) in the UK (a China version of the phone is available in China and Hong Kong for around $800), the Find N2 Flip is price-competitive enough. It’s £50 cheaper than Samsung’s Flip 4 and looks superior to Samsung’s device in many ways. But Samsung’s Flip 4 still has more sophisticated software and wireless charging, which Oppo’s device lacks.

Personally, if Oppo can fix some of the software flaws, I’d say it’s a significantly better device than the Flip 4. But until then, the two flip phones are neck and neck in overall quality.

The good news is that consumers outside of China finally have a choice. The Oppo Find N2 Flip will soon be launching across Europe and other parts of Asia, including Singapore and Thailand.

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