In 2022 OPPO released their first foldable smartphone, the Find N, but unfortunately did not release it outside of China. This year they have release both a second gen foldable, the Find N2, as well as their first-generation flip-style device, the Find N2 Flip.
This year, once again, OPPO unfortunately did not release their foldable (magazine style) outside of China (which is extremely disappointing given how impressive it looks) but instead we got the Find N2 Flip.
The OPPO Find N2 Flip is obviously a direct competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Flip and the Motorola Razr and at the time of its release, at least on paper, looked to be the superior flip phone of the three.
I checked out the Find N2 Flip for a longer-term review than the review Trevor gave it earlier this year. I had grand plans to check out all the awesome foldable features in Android and in ColorOS (OPPO’s Android skin) and, well, I did but it did not take long.
Read on to hear my thoughts on the state of flip phones, foldable software and whether you should buy one.
Android and OPPO software for Flip phones
There aren’t really any Android-specific features on a flip phone. Google may be building the APIs for it but no one has really made much use of them and turned them into anything truly useful — yet.
A lot of manufacturers, including OPPO, say there are a heap of added functions and uses when using a flip phone. In reality, there are a few gimmicky additions but not all that much that is useful – in the end, after unfolding, you just have a normal sized phone.
OPPO has included a section in the Settings app called “Foldable Features.” In it are the following “features”:
Cover screen style
Although this is in Foldable Features it is the same as lockscreen and always-on display as seen on non-foldable OPPO smartphones. This time of course the always-on display and lockscreen clock style show on the outer secondary display so technically it is a flippable-specific feature but not really.
The number of widgets that can be displayed on the external display is limited to those installed by the system software. At this stage there are eight only, each with varying degrees of usefulness.
The WhatsApp widgets is ok in that it will notify you of a message and you can read it – but you do have to tap “use” before actually opening the widget and being able to see said message. Replying or typing a message is not possible so you then have to open the phone to do that which is disappointing.
The camera widget is a quick shortcut to either Photo, Portrait or Video, all using the cameras on the outside. This one I found very handy but be careful folks, OPPO love to apply facial softening filters by default!
The recorder widget is handy for a quick recording of a conversation if required – it’s not anywhere near as good as the Google recorder app which also transcribes the conversation on the fly but it’s a handy widget for recording a conversation or taking a quick note.
Spotify widget was recently added to the list but not really. All it is is a window that you can flick up from the bottom of the cover screen that shows the music that is currently playing along with a few controls for it.
Weather widget was the other widget I used but it’s the weather – basic and not overly useful. Look out a window.
Other widgets include:
- Pocket player for media but this is for the stock media player – who actually uses that? Useless in my opinion.
- Event reminders – semi useful and it will show you two day’s worth of reminders from your calendars. It is scrollable too which is nice.
- Timer – want a quick timer? You can use this but personally I just trigger Google to start a timer if I want that.
- Wireless earphones – not sure what this one does as it works only for some OPPO and OnePlus earbuds, none of which I had nor used.
Flip open to answer and flip close to end. Simple and self-explanatory and something you’d expect to have in a flip phone.
Some quick reply options to quick reply to messages that pop up on the cover screen. Same as usual in a standard candybar phone but just placed in the foldable section.
This option allows you to fold your phone and swipe up from the bottom within 3 seconds to continue using it. Sounds great but not once did I use this as it just wouldn’t work for me. In any case, most apps just don’t render in a usable state on the smaller outer display.
Other flipping features
OPPO, and other manufacturers also say you can hold the phone like an old-fashioned camcorder but I tried that and didn’t see the point. Most people have adapted their phone holding now to a point that it is secure in their hand while using the camera. The old camcorder hold just isn’t as secure in my opinion.
Use the best cameras on the phone for your selfies
We take a lot of selfies when on holidays and although selfie cameras have come a long way since their inception, it is still normally just a single lens of intermediate quality. The best cameras and lenses are always prioritised for the outside of the phones.
This is where a flip phone excels! Using the outer display as a viewfinder you can take your selfie with the outer cameras, resulting in a much higher quality image.
The OPPO Find N2 Flip does have good cameras on the outside although not as good as the market leading cameras on the OPPO Find X6 Pro. The cameras though are considered to be the ebay available on any flip phone in Australia so you can be sure you will be getting a quality image using the outer cameras for your selfies.
We have seen a few dedicated flip phone apps but the one to get the most publicity has been one called Cover Screen.
“CoverScreen OS is more than a cover launcher, it simulates a secondary OS on your Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, Z Flip 4 and OPPO Find N2 Flip’s cover screen.”
In other words, it works in conjunction with the outer display software that the manufacturer implements – OPPO in this case. It provides apps in an app drawer style format, a music widget, quick shortcuts such as those seen in the Quick Settings panel inside the phone.
Where OPPO put their widgets (to the right of the main cover display) CoverScreen OS places other widgets – and you can use any widget at all currently on your phone. It may or may not render correctly on the smaller display but there’s one way to find out.
I used my garage door open and close widget in my first CoverScreen OS widget, and Telegram in my second.
When you scroll to the right whether you go to the CoverScreen OS widgets or the OPPO cover widgets depends on where you swipe from. Swiping from the very sides and the corners scrolls across to the OPPO system widgets but swiping from within the side of the display scrolls through the CoverScreen OS widgets.
Swiping to the left brings up the lift of notifications waiting for you so you can quickly read them. You can also drill down into each notification and reply or ignore as required.
Tapping on the display once brings up the CoverScreen OS app drawer and yes this is every app on your phone. You can hide apps and also set favourites so that only those will show up, or at least making it easier to find the ones you actually want.
The problem is that the display on the Find N2 Flip is, although bigger than that on the Samsung Galaxy Flip, is still relatively small. This means that not all apps will render on the display in a format that is usable. For example, the AFL app is useless and you can’t see a single game on the cover display.
It’s a great little app though, and likely only going to get better, that is not cheap but at $5 a month (or $33 a year) it is worth it if you want to make the most out of that little display.
So why would you buy a flip phone?
Remember when we used to all make fun of the people who bought the massive Samsung Galaxy Note back when it was first released because it was so big? Guess what? Now phones are even bigger and we don’t blink an eye.
They are now getting to a point where we are having trouble not just navigating them with some impressive thumb gymnastics but also fitting them in our clothes and bags. So how’s this for a solution? A phone that has a large display like we all love (Steve Jobs was wrong when he said no one wants a phone with a big display) but is still able to fit into the small hand bag, skinny jeans pockets etc.
How is that possible? By folding it in half of course. That was an obvious conclusion right? With the OPPO Find N2 flip you get a big 6.8-inch display which is bigger than the Pixel 7 Pro display but the footprint is amazingly small. I loved being able to so easily fit a phone with a massive display into my pockets.
My wife has also fallen in love with the OPPO Find N2 Flip with many of her designer bags so small that she struggles to fit her Pixel 7 in them. The N2 Flip though fits in all of them. This is the perfect phone for females who love their small bags or just want something small to fit into tiny pockets.
The inner display quality is not as good as that on a flagship candy bar phone but we are at a point where the fold crease is minimal and after using the phone for a few weeks I don’t even notice it.
The other main reason to buy a flip phone is the high-quality selfies mentioned above. Best quality images for your selfies? Yes please, although if it gets too good I may need to turn the “beauty” filter on for photos of my mug.
I honestly cannot think of any other compelling reasons, but these two reasons alone are enough to sell me on a flip phone.
What would it take for me to buy a flip phone?
So am I running out to buy a flip phone? Not yet. Although I am sold on the size advantages for someone who uses their phone a lot for work it was a pain continually having to open and close it. Give me that big outer display that is as functional as that inner display.
Don’t mention the Samsung Galaxy Fold – that’s far too big for me. The idea of the foldable for me is about making a large phone smaller in my pocket. A perfect size for me would be the OPPO Find N2 Fold or the Pixel Fold but unfortunately neither of these are going to be officially gracing our shores any time soon.
The Moto Razr Ultra looks promising with its larger outer display that is apparently fully functional but the jury it out on the camera of the Moto Razr Ultra unfortunately. Moto went from a 50MP main sensor in last year’s Razr to a main camera of just 12MP paired with a 13MP ultrawide and macro vision camera.
This is a strange decision because if they had included a flagship quality camera in this phone it would have knocked the flip ball out of the flipping park. As I said though, the jury is out so you can be sure we will put the camera on the Razr Ultra through its paces when we review it here at EFTM.
At this stage the OPPO Find N2 Flip has the best quality camera in a flip phone, along with a decent, but not quite big enough for me, outer display.
If a company, such as Moto, OPPO or Samsung were to include a fully functional display on the outside that filled the entire side of the flip phone, along with a flagship-quality camera I would run, not walk, out and buy that the day it was released!