- Impressive cameras, including a 32MP telephoto shooter
- Elegant design with nearly invisible crease
- All-day, fast-charging battery
- IPX4 dust and water resistance rating
- Distracting camera bump
- Limited Cover Screen functionality
- No wireless charging
When large, not to mention expensive, foldables didn’t seem to be appealing to people, manufacturers tried a different angle and sent a different message. Taking lessons from the somewhat inexplicable popularity of clamshell flip phones from the 80s and 90s, brands found the perfect opportunity to market a foldable phone that seemed hip, classy, and a bit more relatable. Thus, the flip-style foldable phones were born, straddling the fine line between compactness and usability, and we’ve been witnessing big changes in design and features in every iteration. But like their larger foldable siblings, these stylish phones have traditionally been held back by space constraints, especially when it comes to squeezing advanced cameras inside cramped bodies. With the Find N3 Flip, OPPO is trying to change the formula once and for all, so we put it through the wringer to see whether that large bump on its back is worth its presence.
There’s no denying the fact that two things will immediately catch your attention when you behold the OPPO Find N3 Flip. First is the large rectangular external display, formally called the Cover Screen, which has been the signature design of the OPPO Find N Flip. It’s admittedly smaller than ones from Samsung and Motorola, but its shape more closely resembles a phone screen and doesn’t force the cameras to be stuck with a particular design only. As we’ll soon see, OPPO added some new features for the Cover Screen, but it really only takes a second seat to the other most obvious design feature of its new flip foldable.
There is a distinct camera bump on the Find N3 Flip, and it isn’t some discreet bump either. It’s a large raised circle that houses no less than three sensors arranged in a symmetrical triangular pattern. It takes inspiration from the OPPO Find X6’s “Cosmos Ring” design, with an added “Starlight Track” that aims to mimic the control ring on camera lenses. On a wide area on a large phone like the Find X6, this design element is striking and quite pleasant. Squeezed into a very small space, the raised structure looks more pronounced and visually distracting. Some will love the luxurious style and materials of the ring, but there will also be some who will criticize its almost obnoxious presence, especially when the rest of the smartphone can stand up as an elegant accessory that you can proudly show off at a gala.
This isn’t surprising since the Find N2 Flip before it already flaunted stunningly good looks, and OPPO wisely preferred not to change that winning formula. The glass back panel’s edges gently curve toward the metal frame to produce a pleasing aesthetic that also increases comfort when holding it in your hand. It’s a departure from the predominantly flat trend of smartphones these days, but one that still works in the Find N3 Flip’s favor. The color options are just as gorgeous, with Cream Gold and Misty Pink offering soft hues and Sleek Black carrying a classic character. The phone has a minimalist charm to it as well, broken only by that large circle whose presence can, fortunately, be justified by its performance.
Unlike with the larger book-style foldable, holding the OPPO Find N3 Flip is less of a hassle and risk because it can be easily held in one hand. In fact, you can even open it up with a single hand, if you’re not afraid of digging your finger in between the two halves. The phone folds completely flap with no gap in between, though there’s still a bit of space created by the raised edges of the foldable screen where you can slip your finger in. Some might still be a bit too wary of tempting fate, but opening and closing the foldable is quite easy and can even be quite addictive to be perfectly honest.
Holding the phone in your hand is just as pleasurable, thanks to both the texture of the materials used as well as their forms. The curved edges of the back panel contrast and complement the flat sides of the frame, providing both comfort as well as grip. It’s taller than most flat smartphones, of course, so you might still find yourself reaching elements higher on the screen with your free hand. Compared to other flip-style foldable phones, however, it has a wider main display and a wider body. This means the aspect ratio of the screen is more standard and that your hands won’t feel cramped when tapping away on it.
The improved Flexion Hinge also plays an important role in enhancing the usability of the foldable phone, especially when taking photos. Since it can stay open at almost any angle, you can take shots from difficult angles that would normally require a tripod or monopod and still have the confidence in being able to hold the phone firmly. Considering how this kind of foldable is being marketed primarily at Gen Z customers who love to take selfies or record videos, that kind of stability and ergonomics goes a long way in appealing to that consumer base.
The OPPO Find N3 Flip is quite the looker, but it thankfully isn’t just a pretty face. It boasts some of the best specs in the smartphone market today, like the latest LPDDR5x memory and fast UFS 4.0 storage technology. The one oddity in that hardware list is perhaps the choice of processor, a MediaTek Dimensity 9200. It’s definitely no Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, as synthetic benchmarks will show, and there will be some areas where the Dimensity 9200 might fall behind in terms of numbers. That said, the gap isn’t that wide, especially in practice, and you can expect premium performance from this foldable, no matter what task you throw at it.
The foldable display inside helps support those use cases, providing a vibrant and bright display when you need it but folding out of the way when you don’t. It’s the exact same screen as the OPPO Find N2 Flip, which means a 6.8-inch 120Hz foldable display with a resolution of 2520×1080, a few pixels shy of the standard ultra-wide format. Thanks to the aforementioned Flexion Hinge, the screen has no visible crease in the middle, not unless you intentionally search for or feel it. It presents a traditional user experience, the same you’d find on regular smartphones, just that you can fold it halfway to enable some extra features, especially with the camera.
Ironically, it’s the secondary display outside that’s more interesting than the foldable panel. The Cover Screen, after all, allows you to use the phone without opening it up as well as easily take high-quality selfies using the more powerful cameras on its back. It’s the same 3.26-inch 720×382 screen, though, with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection for this year’s model instead. The traditional rectangular shape might seem almost old-fashioned given these year’s flip phone designs, but its straightforward implementation actually makes it more flexible in features, at least in theory. It also frees up more space for bigger camera sensors, which is the true star of OPPO’s 2023 flip foldable phone.
The OPPO Find N3 Flip boasts the world’s first triple camera system on a clamshell foldable, which explains the decisions that the company had to make. It wouldn’t have been efficient to just have three dots lined up on the side of the phone, especially given the sensors’ sizes, so they had to resort to a more familiar design of having a large camera bump instead. Just having three cameras wouldn’t have been enough to justify such a large enclosure and, thankfully, OPPO didn’t stop there either.
The 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor makes its return from last year, but this time it comes with Optical Image Stabilization or OIS. The ultra-wide shooter has been upgraded with a whopping 48MP camera so you won’t have to sacrifice quality for field of view. The biggest change, however, is the dedicated telephoto camera with a 32MP sensor that’s useful not only for 2x optical zoom but also for taking stunning portrait photos, with some help from Hasselblad tuning. The results are simply impressive, with images containing lush colors and high levels of detail, no matter which of the three cameras you use. And thanks to that multi-angle Flexion Hinge, you can use these powerful cameras in more ways, taking breath-taking shots or videos without having to use sticks and stands.
The Find N3 Flip runs the latest OPPO ColorOS 13.2 based on Android 13. This flavor of Android has all the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect from the brand, including the dizzying amount of options and several pre-installed apps. Unlike with the larger foldable, the focus on this flip phone is not exactly multi-tasking but on “mini-tasking,” that is, the mini apps that can run on the small Cover Screen. OPPO has expanded that experience to include a few more Google apps and social networks, but the limitations are still the same. You can’t use it for anything other than OPPO’s sanctioned set of apps and experiences, which now includes having a furry pal on your lock screen. It’s a double-edged that keeps the experience simple and streamlined but also misses out on big opportunities. It gets the job done, which focuses mostly on basic tasks you can do without flipping the phone open, but that’s all there is to it.
Powering this whole ensemble is a 4,300mAh battery that is quite generous for a flip foldable. It’s more than enough to last you a full day, though your mileage will depend on what you’re using it for, and it also charges up quickly thanks to SuperVOOC 44W technology. There’s still no wireless charging, which is a bit of a shame in this day and age, especially when you consider the premium price that OPPO is asking for.
Despite its rapid growth, OPPO has thankfully been mindful of the role it plays in keeping the planet alive for future generations of customers. It has a strong and detailed strategy for reducing its impact, at least as far as operations and production go. There’s definitely plenty of room for improvement, especially when talking about the use of recycled materials, but that will probably require a bigger investment and more partnerships than OPPO can muster at the moment.
Fortunately, the OPPO Find N3 Flip is built to last, and not just because of its improved hinge. Earlier generations of foldable phones have been notoriously vulnerable to the slightest accidents, especially when it comes to dust and liquid. The Find N3 Flip’s IPX4 rating still doesn’t hit the mark, especially when it comes to protection from small particles, but the waterproofing goes a long way in inspiring confidence in such a pricey investment.
It was quite easy to impress crowds with foldable phones, but they turned out to sell in practice. Durability and usability have always been concerns, but there’s also the question of practicality vis-a-vis their expensive price tags. Modern flip phones are an attempt to make the idea of foldable phones more approachable while also pushing down the price just a bit. Unfortunately, many of these devices failed to match expectations when compared to flagships on the same price tier, especially when it comes to the photography experience that many users consider to be critical to their smartphone use.
That’s where the OPPO Find N3 Flip comes to the scene with guns blazing. A glance at the specs sheet suggests an incremental upgrade from last year’s model, but you can immediately see there’s something different once you behold that large camera ring on its back. It is perhaps the closest that flip phones have gotten to matching the power of traditional flagships, both in the overall experience as well as in photography. It’s still a bit pricey, but that price finally makes sense considering you’re finally getting what you’re paying for.
Foldable are here to stay and the market will only get noisier in the coming years. There’s plenty of room for improvement, especially as they try to catch up with features that have become standard in buyers’ eyes. Durability and reliability are always top priorities, but matching the photography prowess of flagships without giving up thin and light designs is something that has eluded even the biggest smartphone brands.
The OPPO Find N3 and the Find N3 Flip raise a challenge to the status quo, proving that, yes, you can put great cameras on foldable phones, too. While much of the Find N3 Flip hasn’t changed, it steps up its game with a team of imaging sensors that empowers any user to become a content creator. Yes, the large camera ring looks a little awkward, but we’ve seen worse designs on regular smartphones. It’s one of the prices that OPPO and users have to pay to achieve this level of performance, and it’s definitely worth that design cost. Fortunately, the rest of the phone looks as elegant as ever, so if you’re in the market for a stylish phone that has both a “Wow!” factor and impressive cameras, the OPPO Find N3 Flip deserves a spot on your list.
Aki Ukita contributed to this review.