The foldable scene is so competitive inside China that it seems like each new release has to set a new foldable hardware benchmark so there can be a marketing angle. This summer's Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 was "the thinnest foldable phone ever". The recently launched Honor Magic Vs has "the largest battery in a foldable phone". And now comes the Oppo Find N2, whose 233g weight makes it the "lightest horizontal foldable" yet (clamshells are excluded).
It would be disrespectful to dismiss these hardware breakthroughs as mere gimmicks, because they are indeed great developments in the foldable space: who wouldn't want a phone to have a thinner body, larger battery, or lighter weight? Samsung sure could take a note or two.
But for as much as Chinese brands are going all out on hardware innovation, I wish they would work out some of the software kinks that have been bugging its foldables for a while now. Don't get me wrong, Oppo has made strides in improving and polishing the Find N2's software, but it's not quite all the way there, as some of the original Find N's software annoyances are still here.
However, part of the software issues are also simply due to the fact the Find N is running software specific to the China market. Yup, this is yet another foldable phone that's selling only in China for now. But there's good news: Oppo announced a smaller clamshell foldable alongside the Find N2, which will sell outside China. This means Oppo is open to the idea, and its reps say the company will gauge interest in the Find N2 before deciding if there will be a global release.
Oppo Find N2
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
12GB LPDDR5 RAM + 256/512 UFS 3.1 storage
ColorOS 13 based on Android 13
Design and hardware: The lightest foldable, but part of that is due to its small size
- The Find N2 weighs 233g, which is 42g lighter than the original Find N, and also the lightest "large" foldable on the market
- 5.5-inch outside display; 7.1-inch main display
Chinese brands have a habit of completely overhauling design from generation to generation, but the Find N2 clearly looks like a continuation of the original Find N. Overall size, shape, and even in-hand feel is the same, with the only notable difference being the Find N2 is 42g lighter. That Oppo managed to shed that much weight while keeping a device mostly the same size is an incredible feat of engineering. The company says most weight loss comes from the redesigned hinge, which is smaller and has fewer moving parts.
Despite this, Oppo's marketing claims the hinge is stronger, and has been tested to withstand 400,000 folds by TÜV Lab. I obviously can't opine on whether the hinge is more durable yet, but it does feel very well built, and unlike recent foldables from Xiaomi and Honor, Oppo's hinge can stay in place mid-fold, allowing the device to sit on a tabletop like a laptop.
The Find N2 is marginally thinner than the original, measuring 7.4mm unfolded, and 14.6mm folded. This is an improvement, but I've been spoiled by the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2's uncanny thinness (5.4mm unfolded; 11.2mm folded) that the Find N2 still feels a bit thick in my hand. It is thinner than Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 4, mostly because it can fold flat. At this point, a new Chinese foldable not having a sleeker build than Samsung's Fold would be more newsworthy than the other way around.
Like the original device, the Find N2 has a relatively small 5.5-inch outside screen with an almost 18:9 aspect ratio. This is a smaller screen than almost any modern slab phone save for the now discontinued iPhone Mini series. I quite liked this size last year when I reviewed the original Find N, but in late 2022 I find this screen size a bit too small. What could lead to such a change of opinion in just a year? I think it's a combination of vertical videos taking more importance over the past 12 months (I have to create, and consume them), and the fact that I've now seen foldable phones that find a more happy medium between the small Find N size and the candy bar Samsung Fold size.
The short nature of the outside screen (and overall shape of the device) means when it unfolds horizontally, the display is wider than it is tall. Oppo is an anomaly in this regard, as Samsung's foldables unfold into an upright rectangle, and other Chinese foldables mostly unfold into a square.
The displays look mostly great: the smaller outside screen is a 2120 × 1080, 120Hz panel; while the main larger display packs a 1920 × 1792 resolution, and uses LTPO technology so refresh rate can vary between 1Hz and 120Hz. The only gripe is maximum brightness of 500 nits can't compete with the best slab screens or Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Oppo advertises that the Find N2 has the "faintest" crease in the industry and I agree. The groove here is virtually invisible in most angles, and your fingers won't feel it too. Again, this is a huge upgrade over Samsung's deep gutter that runs across the folding point. In Samsung's defense, the Fold 4 has official water resistance rating, while these Chinese foldables with a lighter crease do not. I am not sure whether the harsh crease is needed for water resistance, however.
Three color options are available for the Find N2, with green and white coming in a traditional glass finish (Gorilla Glass Victus) while the black model comes in vegan leather. I love the leather-like texture of the black unit. In general, I'm a fan of using vegan leather as a phone's back material.
The Find N2 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip, which technically, for most parts of the world, is still the latest and best available SoC for Android phones. But the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor is already in some Asia-only devices, and it'll make its way to the west in a couple of months. Still, the processor here is powerful enough. Oppo also uses its own self-developed MariSilicon X imaging chip for handling image processing. More on this later.
The 4,520 mAh battery can be fast charged at 67W speed with the included charging brick, but there is no wireless charging. Elsewhere, the usual 12GB of RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of storage can be found here too.
Cameras: Fine for a foldable
- Triple camera system covering the usual ultra-wide, wide, and telephoto focal length
- Two 32MP selfie cameras — one on each screen
- Custom imaging chip handling image processing
The Find N2 features a triple camera main system, headlined by a 50MP Sony IMX 890 sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and 1/1.56-inch sensor size. Flanking this lens are the 48MP ultra-wide and 32MP 2x telephoto zoom lenses. There are also two 32MP selfie cameras located inside a hole-punch in each screen. These optics are perfectly fine for a foldable phone, and thanks to Oppo's dedicated imaging chip (MariSilicon X), images produced are quite good, with excellent HDR and dynamic range.
But if I judge this camera system using my impossibly high standards (I get to test all the latest flagship phones), then I know this is still Oppo's second-tier camera system, that its upcoming Oppo Find X6 Pro will use a 1-inch SonyIMX989 sensor, and be powered by the second-generation MariSilicon Y.
This is the biggest shortcoming of foldables, in my opinion. Perhaps due to space constraints or manufacturing costs, foldables still do not get a true top flagship camera system. I'm nitpicking, of course. If I compared photos snapped by the Oppo Find N2 to other foldable phones. It holds up very well. I am a fan of Oppo's Hasselblad-inspired contrasty color science.
Software: Awesome animations and gestures, but app compatibility issues remain
- The Find N2 runs ColorOS 13 based on Android 13
- Lots of useful shortcut gestures and customization options
- The landscape orientation of the main screen leads to some app scaling issues
Since most Android apps are designed for portrait orientation and not landscape orientation, this resulted in lots of app scaling issues for last year's Find N. Sometimes, apps would open with an absurd amount of pillar-boxing; or apps would open sideways because it refuses to fit into a landscape screen.
Many of these issues have been fixed here, but some still remain. For example, Gboard still doesn't offer split-screen keyboard for all devices (it does for the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but not for the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2, for example), and unfortunately, the Find N2 is one of the devices. This means when the Find N2 is unfolded, Gboard spreads the entire width of the widescreen, making typing very uncomfortable. The only option for me is to install SwiftKey, which thankfully offers a split keyboard for all devices. But I've been using Gboard for years and prefer it over SwiftKey.
Elsewhere, YouTube still cannot be split-screen horizontally, which means if I want to run YouTube with another app, it has to split vertically, which limits screen real estate for videos. More annoyingly, the software here does offer horizontal split-screen as an option, but just for Oppo's own apps and I presume, some Chinese apps.
A major cause for these issues is becasue the ColorOS running here is the China version, which doesn't have built-in Google support. YouTube and Gboard are Google apps, which could explain why they don't play so nice with this software. If the Find N2 ran the global version of ColorOS, these issues may fix itself.
That's a bummer because I generally like ColorOS. I think it has some of the smoothest, most fluid animations around, and it's filled with customizable gestures like drawing a shape on a locked screen to launch an app, or triggering a split-screen by swiping down middle of the screen with two fingers. Many actions that require two to three taps on another phone, ColorOS lets you do with a finger gesture.
Early thoughts: Please launch this outside China!
I haven't used the phone long enough to give a final conclusion, but so far, I'm impressed by the Oppo Find N2's hardware craftsmanship and in-hand feel. The only realistic gripes I have is I find the outside screen a bit too small (maybe 5.7 inches would be better?), and the software issues. Yes, I wish it had Oppo's true flagship camera system, too but that's a bit of an unrealistic ask for a foldable, particularly one that will cost just about the equivalent of $1,100 in China.
The Find N2's smaller size gives it great appeal over those who find the Fold 4 too long and narrow. Even if it gets the inevitable marked up for the international market, as long as it's not more expensive than the Fold 4, I think it holds great appeal.