Worldwide smartphone shipments are down but hope floats in the form of the foldable. You know, those smartphones that you can open and shut like a book or play around like old clamshell designs. Samsung has been manufacturing both the flip and the fold for a few years now and the flip phone that was released last year is called Galaxy Z Flip4, meaning there have been plenty of versions of the phone.
So far Samsung has had a run of the foldable market globally while Chinese brands have catered to the home market. Motorola has shown the world its flip phone but Samsung’s sales figures outshine others (globally). OPPO has its first flip device for markets beyond China. The phone is called OPPO Find N2 Flip and we have had it for review for a few weeks, which also means, it has been used long enough. Does the phone have enough features to trump Samsung?
Instead of giving you a rundown of features, which I must say are pretty impressive, here are the things that you need to look at.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the foldable world — the name is Crease. There is a good reason for Apple to have avoided the foldable race so far and, if it ever does, it would probably be with the iPad. Samsung, over the years, has reduced the crease and on last year’s phone, it’s there but after a few minutes of usage, you forget about it. OPPO has made it even better and on unfolding the phone, the crease is there but once you switch on the phone, it’s there… but it’s faint. Now, that’s promising but is that enough?
The feature most will look at in a foldable involves the angles at which the phone folds. When it comes to keeping the phone unfolded at 90-degree angle, it does a great job. The hinge is smooth and I really like the fact that it can be unfolded with a flick of the finger. As you start playing around with the angle, there are points at which the phone closes shut. In Samsung’s version, the phone remains unfolded at many angles, which helps during video calls.
Third, once the phone is closed shut, there is hardly any gap between the two halves. Samsung has been perfecting it, so let’s wait for a few months for its next foldable set.
On a foldable phone there is the main display, which is like on any other smartphone. Well, almost. And when the phone is closed shut, there is the outer display on which you should be able to complete a few essential tasks.
OPPO has a fantastic 3.26- inch outer AMOLED display. That’s bigger than the one on Samsung. It, of course, displays time, notifications, allows you to take photos and videos, check the weather, and allows you access to the timer and recorder. These are important. When I am watching a YouTube video on the main display the few tasks the company allows me to do. There is the promise of new widgets.
The 6.8-inch full HD, inner display is bright and of high quality. Watching movies on the AMOLED display is wonderful. The LTPO display supports a variable refresh rate that can go up to 120Hz.
The phone’s camera has Hasselblad co-branding, so that’s promising for the camera department. The main camera is 50MP while the ultra-wide is at 8MP and the selfie shooter is 32MP.
The main camera takes wonderful pictures under all conditions. I have been enjoying and close the phone shut, the audio keeps playing and I can access the controls on the outer screen. But, I can’t reply to a message with an (outer) onscreen keyboard because it’s not there. I can’t do more than the Hasselblad colour science and there is a lovely warmth to the pictures. At night, the photographs are boosted and everything appears crystal clear. When you move to the ultra-wide lens, the colours are promising, even though there is a slight shift.
I know you are waiting for that ‘but’. Not yet. There is something called MariSilicon X Imaging NPU that helps to deliver crisper, clear images and the results are obvious. Where things get complicated is in the video department. The main camera shoots 4K videos and the output is stable and comparable with the best phones in the market. But when I move to ultra-wide mode, I can only shoot at up to 1080p. If I am shooting a video with the inside (selfie) camera, then video is at 1080p. There are too many combinations. The general user doesn’t always look for the fineries, like closing the phone and then taking a “selfie” video with the rear camera. There has to be some semblance between the different cameras. If I am shooting a 4K video with the main camera and then suddenly want to move to ultra-wide, that won’t be possible.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
As a flip phone, it’s fantastic, especially battery life. Remember, this is a flip phone, so putting in a 4,300 mAh battery is a tough task. There is enough juice to last a day. You can fast charge the phone at 44W, which is more than enough. But there is no wireless charging or IP rating. But that’s not taking anything away from OPPO. There is a great deal of flexibility and as and when widgets begin to appear, there will be more use cases for the outer display. That’s the secret sauce and OPPO should keep pushing it. It’s such a good phone that we are keeping the processor for the end. It runs on Dimensity 9000+ processor which is a flagship offering, and it’s certain to see you through for a few years. And the 8GB RAM is also sufficient for all the tasks one needs to do. It’s a great start for the company’s foldable line in the international market. OPPO Find N2 Flip can be your new bendy friend.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 (right) can stay open at a smaller angle compared to OPPO Find N2 Flip
The phone comes with a biggish outer screen
A night shot taken at 11.30pm without any external lightin
AT A GLANCE
The inner screen is bright and you can work on two tasks at the same time
Device: OPPO Find N2F lip
Price: Rs 89,999
- The outer display has potential
- There is hardly any crease on the main display
- When you close the phone, there is no space between the two halves
- Good processor choice
- Excellent still photography
- Limited number of functions are being offered for the outer display; should improve in the future
- No IP rating or wireless charging