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Folding phones may have limited appeal, but Oppo's Find N is leading the way


Oppo Find N hasn’t skimped on the cameras or battery life but it is not currently available in Europe

Oppo Find N hasn’t skimped on the cameras or battery life but it is not currently available in Europe

Oppo Find N

Oppo Find N


Oppo Find N hasn’t skimped on the cameras or battery life but it is not currently available in Europe

Has the shine come off the ‘folding phone’ phenomenon yet? Are they still regarded as the next big thing? Oppo isn’t sure – it has restricted its own flagship folding phone, the Find N, from being sold here in Europe. This is a shame, as it’s arguably the best folding phone hardware on the market for overall value.

It could be more expensive, though, if Oppo decides to release it here at some point.

The main attraction is the 7.1-inch internal display you get when it’s folded out fully. This is a high-end screen (120hz) that looks and feels great. Oppo made a good choice, too, in keeping the folded-shut size a little smaller than most of its flagship folding phone rivals. So the regular external screen is 5.5 inches, which is about the size of an iPhone 13 mini.

The reason this makes sense is that it makes the Find N a lot more pocketable and useful than its main competitors, which err on the side of bulkiness.

Another big plus here is that Oppo hasn’t skimped at all on the cameras or battery life, giving it an excellent triple-lens system and really decent (4,500mAh) battery life.

Engine power is excellent, too, with the latest top-end Snapdragon 888 chip and a choice of either 8GB or 12GB of Ram. (It comes with a choice of 256GB or 512GB of storage.)

And it charges fairly quickly, with a 33-watt input giving it around half a full charge in 30 minutes.

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Specs aside, is a fold-out phone useful in any major way?

For reading or note-taking, yes – you can use the extra screen real estate fairly productively, in my experience. This is especially so for those who have deteriorated eyesight, even with a pair of glasses.

On the other hand, it’s not really any more useful for things like video. This is because virtually every video format is either horizontal (YouTube, Netflix) or vertical (TikTok, Snapchat). A square screen doesn’t allow you watch larger videos in any way.

The only major fault of the test version I had is the lack of a Google App Store. This is purely because it’s a China-only version – Oppo isn’t restricted from using Google in the same way that Huawei is. And you can sideload it onto the device, if you want, although most security experts warn that doing this increases the risk of vulnerabilities in your smartphone.

The lack of Google, for me, gave the Find N the same usability challenges on day-to-day apps that every new Huawei phone has. If Oppo did decide to launch the Find N here, this couldn’t stand.

But overall, this is one of the most practical, useful fold-out smartphones yet released. That Oppo isn’t releasing it here yet may speak to the limited appeal that such devices have for most of us. But if and when interest in these flagship devices picks up, Oppo may be well placed to take advantage.

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