Oppo Find N first impressions: Small wonder

The Find N feels immediately mature and mainstream, and one can’t wait to see if this lands on our shores

author_img Tushar Kanwar Published :  27th December 2021 02:40 PM   |   Published :   |  27th December 2021 02:40 PM
Oppo Find N

Oppo Find N

Think foldables, and unsurprisingly, it’s the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Flip series that come to mind, and Samsung rightfully has an early mindshare win in this nascent and developing space. As we wrap up the year and head into 2022, Oppo’s shown its hand in a development that’s gotten me genuinely excited for the year ahead.

This is the Find N, Oppo’s ‘better late than ever’ entry into the foldables space, and while the Find N might look like it’s taken a page out of the Z Fold 3’s playbook, there are tweaks and nuances that make a drastic difference to the user experience and improve everyday usability more than you’d think. Let’s dive right in and get you my quick first impressions.

Quick caveat, up front. The Oppo Find N is appropriately named, as FIND-N one of these may be tougher than affording it. The phone is exclusive to China at this point of time, with little to no clarity on the fate of other global markets. In China where it has started retailing, the phone carries a starting price tag of CNY 7,699 (or about 90-thousand INR) for the base 8GB/256GB variant, with the top end 12GB + 512GB model on hand here is priced at CNY 8,999 or about a 1,06,000. Either model is significantly lower than the Z Fold 3, which makes comparisons quite interesting.

Taking the phone out and setting it up, you quickly realize that the book-style folding form factor is about the only similarity it shares with the Z Fold 3. That change in aspect ratio makes this feel like an altogether different device. It’s noticeable squatter and wider than the Samsung, which means the 5.49-inch 18:9 aspect ratio front screen is better in a whole number of ways. Typing is less cramped, it’s a better viewfinder for videos or selfies, and normal hands can reach the top corners without adjusting the grip. It's almost as if you're using any standard smartphone, just one that happens to be unusually thick. That thickness, almost akin to two iPhone minis stacked on top of each other, contributes to that heavy 275g weight.

Turn it around, and the camera setup looks a lot like the Find X series, with the triple camera setup sitting atop a camera island. This purple-ish finish is quite appealing as it reflects the light, but the glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet. There are a total of five cameras, including a triple rear camera setup and two selfie cameras — one on the cover display and the other one on the inner screen. The metal edges feel sturdy, and there’s a side-mounted fingerprint sensor so you can unlock it whether it’s open or shut.

Open it up, and there’s a refinement in hinge operation not unlike what we’ve seen on the Z Fold series, no wobble, no extra give, just a very precise operation that can hold the screen at various angles. Open it completely, and the first thing you notice is the complete lack of that distinctive crease we’ve seen on foldables thus far, and that comes down to the Flexion hinge that allows the two halves of the glass to sit flush against each other. There are subtle undulations and ripples in the flexible screen if you’re specifically looking for them under the right light, but the crease itself is practically invisible and undetectable during use. There’s none of that gap when its closed, and that’s because the Find N’s hinge has a small tear-drop shaped cavity into which the screen tucks in for a less defined fold than the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s design.

Now while the outside panel is great for the get most quick jobs done, it’s the inside panel that’s the real star here. The 120Hz 7.1-inch inner display is an full-HD LTPO panel boasting up to 1000 nits peak brightness, and it features a variable refresh rate that can go from as low as 1Hz all the way up to 120Hz, adapting to the content you're viewing on it. The squatter design gives the Find N a more tuned-for-landscape aspect ratio, unlike the Z Fold display, which is taller when unfolded. This means you don’t have to rotate the Find N 90 degrees to watch landscape videos properly. There are gestures to turn apps into split screen mode, essentially giving you two regular phone screens in the same panel or launch apps in floating windows which you can resize or move around as needed. Of course, when you open or close the phone, you can continue in the same app you've had open whether you're moving to the front screen or the main internal display.

Under the hood, the Find N is a proper flagship, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset plus up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Oppo has even managed to fit in a pretty large 4,500mAh battery, and this phone supports 33W fast wired charging as well as 15W wireless charging. The only aspects that feel built with a price point in mind is the choice of a 60Hz panel on the front display, like the Z Fold 2 did – which encourages you to do most of your browsing or media consumption on the better, inner panel. The missing IP rating is something I’m sure will appear in a future version, as it did with the Samsung.

In experimenting with the hinge and the form factor, Oppo may well have struck gold with the Find N. A wider, compact and far more everyday usable design coupled with a price tag that actually invites you to take a leap of faith in the tech, the Find N feels immediately mature and mainstream, and one can’t wait to see if this (or a future version) lands on our shores.

Tushar Kanwar is a tech columnist and commentator, and tweets @2shar