Users have always loved flip phones. Or at least since flip phones or clamshells first came into being, which is in 1996 when Motorola’s StarTAC appeared on the scene. Though one could argue that this was from another era.
It isn’t easy to flip-design a contemporary smartphone, with its six inch plus screen, giant battery and other components. How do you bend a glass display? Samsung showed the way with its folding phones in 2019 leaving the field open for others to try their hand at the folding form factor. In comes OPPO with the launch in India of its Find N2 Flip compact foldable smartphone.
The Find N2 Flip package includes a stylised box. Its false bottom lifts up an an angle to offer the smartphone itself, and underneath, a 67W charger, USB-A to USB-C cable, the usual literature, and a protective case and a small micro fibre cloth. The flip phone sits in the box in an un-flipped position, looking like a regular candy bar device, until you lift it out.
When the N2 Flip is open, you could easily forget that there’s anything different about this phone. The dimensions are all very familiar and everything is where you expect it to be. In this aspect, it’s actually closer to standard than Samsung’s Z Flip. When you look at the screen, it looks like an everyday Android phone. There are fairly slim bezels framing the display, and a little camera dot in the centre. The width is adequate, making the virtual keyboard easily usable. The best part is that the crease, still prominent on the Samsung foldables, is very much minimised and barely noticeable. It can also barely be felt when using the phone. When the screen is turned off, you can clearly see the crease, but when using the phone it’s easy to completely forget it.
The manner in which OPPO has implemented its ‘ Flexion hinge’ is what makes the crease in front negligible. Unlike with the Galaxy Z Flip, the N2 Flip doesn’t have a long looped gap when the device is closed. Instead it has what OPPO calls a water-drop shaped gap. This minimises the crease but the trade off is that the flexing of the top half of the phone is not tight. You can comfortably have the top part stand at right angles, but tip it backwards by some 10 degrees and the top will fall back flat. A forward angle allows for stops at more positions though. The hinge moves smoothly and is well-built, not weak or unintentional.
Flexing the phone at right angles will cause some apps to split into the two halves — but not enough of them. The calculator, camera, and YouTube are among the apps that do split, for example. An app in use doesn’t continue over to the cover screen, perhaps because it’s too small to accommodate an app, though it’s almost twice the size of the mini screen on Samsung’s Z Flip. In fact, the cover screen is an attractive highlight of this device.
The little screen on the cover is quite a delight. It’s a 3.3in AMOLED (250ppi) larger than the one on the Samsung Flip phone but does about the same things. Swipe all around to get notifications — including being able to respond to messages from right there. Swipes are there in all four directions. You can get to shortcuts, agenda, camera (both front and primary and viewfinder for when you’re taking a shot of other people who can see how they’re looking. There’s also a recorder, timer, weather and wireless earphones. You can take calls from the cover screen as well but you can’t place contacts on this and make calls.
The small screen unlocks (if you have your phone locked at all) from a touch on the power button which houses the fingerprint sensor. It turns off as soon as the device is opened up. You can just about stand the device up in tent mode with the front screen on if you find just the particular angle it’s happy with. It takes a few tries.
The main screen is a 6.8in FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED (403ppi). Great colours, brightness and clarity, and of course that minimised crease ensure that it’s like using any other phone when it’s fully opened. It does sport stereo speakers that sound loud, but not deep. For music, the phone supports Bluetooth 5.3, A2DP, LE, aptX HD.
The N2 Flip runs on MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000+ with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Undoubtedly users will have preferred a Qualcomm processor for this premium phone. Performance on the N2 Flip is pretty fast and smooth and in no way compromised in a trade off against the form factor. Navigating the interface and apps is snappy and lag-free. Gamers report the occasional stutter, but then this isn’t the device of choice for gaming in the first place.
Software is Android 13 with OPPO’s ColorOS 13 skinning. There are some fold-specific settings but one can’t help wishing the software could have gone a bit further with this special aspect of the device. However, this is the first such phone from OPPO, so let’s see what happens in the future.
The N2 Flip has a 50MP main camera with a 1/1.56-inch image IMX890 sensor and it performs quite well. Photos are natural, detailed and sharp. Colours tend to be quite punchy, in Hasselblad style, and should work well for pics that go up on social media. There’s an 8MP ultra wide camera. The front camera is 32MP, but because of this phone’s foldable form, the main camera can be used to shoot selfies. The fact that the phone folds allows for fun ways to shoot images and also to hold the phone using one side as a grip to shoot video.
This a single physical SIM phone with an eSIM possibility. It’s 5G enabled. of course, and supports WiFi 6.
This phone runs on a 4,300mAh battery with 44W wired charging though a higher rated charger is given in the box. Both these specifications are about right for this format. The N2 Flip comes in at ₹89,999.
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