It was only as far back as March of this year that Oppo brought the Find N2 flip phone into India. But already, its successor, the Find N3 Flip, is in India. You notice a big camera circle next to its unique cover screen as the most prominent change to design. The quick refresh shows Oppo is serious about the folding phones market and isn’t about to leave the field for just Samsung who started it all but will surely not be alone in populating the market with such phones. In India, there's also Motorola and Tecno, associated with affordable handsets, that have flip phone offerings. It will be interesting to see whether new form factors will inject a bit of life into the smartphones market in the country.

The Find N3 Flip is an attractive little device and about as compelling as flip phones seem to be. It looks sleek and elegant. In fact, the colour variant that was the review unit was a grey-black called Sleek Black. The other variant is Cream Gold — both look like objects of desire. The N3 Flip costs ₹94,999 but is available for ₹82,999 with cashback and incentives. It's available in Oppo stores, Flipkart, and main retail outlets.

40 apps on a little screen

The N3 Flip has a vertical cover screen, the most compelling aspect of the smartphone. Cover screens for flip phones started out being barely usable and mostly cosmetic, but no longer. On the N3's 3.26-inch cover screen, you can actually run 40 apps including Phone, Messages, Calendar, Todo, weather, GPay, recorder, timer, Gmail, Maps, X, WhatsApp, Camera, and even YouTube and Netflix, in case you're in a situation where you want to watch something unobtrusively or quickly. You merely tap the screen to wake and swipe left to select an app. If it isn't enabled, you'll be prompted to unfold and do so, after which it will be available. A keyboard of sorts does come up when needed, though it isn't going to be easy to use, in that cramped space. There doesn't seem to be voice-typing, in the short time spend with this device. It's possible software updates could add capabilities to the screen.

You can continue with an app if it's open on the cover screen and the phone is unfolded, but the other way around doesn’t seem to be possible. You can’t have an app open on the full screen and find it appearing automatically on the cover. Both screens are AMOLED and look nice and bright and deep-coloured.

Oppo has borrowed the famous 'alert slider' from OnePlus, which it will be remembered is an Oppo sub-brand or sister brand anyway. This much loved button on the side of the device lets the user instantly silence and un-silence the phone or send it into vibration mode.

6,00,000 folds

The two moving halves of the N3 Flip fold almost flat, but there's room for dust to probably sneak in. Oppo calls its hinge a 'waterdrop-shaped Flexion hinge' and says it can survive 6,00,000 folds and unfolds – the equivalent of 16+ years of use even if the device is opened and closed 100 times a day. The Find N3 Flip's main 6.8-inch, 403ppi display when unfolded now has  TÜV Rheinland Intelligent Eye Care certification, thanks to its 1440Hz PWM dimming and Bedtime Mode, designed to protect eyes, reduce viewing strain, and apparently improve sleep. But by far the best part of that screen is that it barely has a crease. When the screen is alive, you just can't see it though you can feel very slightly it if you deliberately run your finger over the display. When the display is off and dark, you can see a slight double line, but since that isn’t the way one uses the phone, it matters little.

Power specs

Oppo has upgraded the processor to a MediaTek Dimensity 9200 SoC with its  3.05GHz Arm Cortex X3 core and with triple Cortex-A715 cores clocked at 2.85GHz with quad 1.8GHz Arm Cortex-A510 cores for power efficiency. The SoC comes with the MediaTek APU 690—with New eXtreme Power Saving Technology—which Oppo says is 35% faster yet delivers 45% power savings in visual applications such as camera, GPU and video playback when compared to the 5th Generation APU. Performance feels smooth and fast for everyday tasks and there's really no heating up. But this isn’t a phone intended for heavy gaming — nor should it be. It doesn't heat up particularly with camera use either. There's 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage on board. The device is running on Android 13, but the bigger complaint one can justifiably have is that it comes complete with unsolicited apps, which is unforgivable for a premium phone. Yes, many can be uninstalled, but why should one not get a clean software experience to begin with?

Four cameras

As is obvious from one look at the phone, the N3 Flip has a new set of cameras. Four of them. The primary one is a 50MP camera but there’s also a 48MP ultrawide  and a 32MP telephoto lens. The primary camera has OIS and a 1/1.56-inch Sony IMX890 sensor for high light intake in low-light environments. It does indeed light up a photograph strongly, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s blur-free. But in general and in good light, photos are sharp, clear and natural. The 32MP portrait camera—with its 47mm equivalent focal length— uses the Sony IMX709 RGBW sensor and 2X optical and 20X software zoom. Oppo's aim with the Hasselblad camera setup is to bring its flip phone on par with flagships in terms of photography. The shooting angles can be quite creative because of the folding screen, which gives it an advantage.

This phone has a 4,300mAh battery and quite good battery life. It has  a 44W charger (in the box) and it can charge over 50 percent in just half an hour. Full charge takes about 50 minutes.

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