Review: Oppo Find N3 sets a new standard for foldable phones

The Oppo Find N3 in black.
The Oppo Find N3 was released in New Zealand this month. Photo credit: Newshub.

With its latest device Oppo hopes to knock Samsung off its throne as the king of foldable smartphones.

The Find N3 is packed with a premium set of components including a hugely impressive camera, a top-end chip with a generous amount of RAM, gorgeous displays and innovative functionality.

But Samsung has had five years establishing its foldable phones in New Zealand with the Galaxy Z Fold series reigning supreme in the booklet-style category the Find N3 also belongs to.

Can Oppo really come in and take the crown with its first try in Aotearoa? And is it worth the hefty $3000 asking price?

I've been using the Find N3 for a couple of weeks now and here are my thoughts.

The good

Oppo has achieved their goal of setting a new standard for foldable phones with the Find N3.

This device runs exceptionally well in both phone and tablet modes, with a barely noticeable crease on the main screen when unfolded.

Using it is not dissimilar to using a Galaxy S23 Ultra or iPhone 15 Pro in terms of speed and power. It'll run as many apps as you want and change between them with ease thanks to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and 16GB of RAM.

Oppo Find N3 'boundless view'.
Three apps being used at once on the Find N3. Photo credit: supplied

When it's closed, the size, weight and feel is also very comparable to the latest flagships from Apple and Samsung, too. But then when opened up, the Find N3 provides a great mini tablet experience with a very cool multitasking system that allows two or three apps to be open at once and switched between super easily.

To use that power, I connected an Xbox Series X controller to it at the same time as some wireless Technics headphones to use the main screen for gaming and it worked a treat.

I also connected a wireless Logitech keyboard and mouse, along with headphones, to write in Microsoft Word while listening to Spotify. It works as a mini computer great like this as well, with the universal taskbar and multi-app abilities coming in real handy.

How Oppo really wants to set itself apart though is with the camera on this thing. They're not being shy about it, either - the camera setup on the rear of the device is a bold stylistic choice making a loud statement.

Rear camera setup on the Oppo Find N3.
Some will like the unique design - others will not. Photo credit: Newshub.

Until the Find N3, consumers had to choose between a smartphone with the best possible camera available or the device's ability to fold. They couldn't have both.

That's no longer the case with this genuinely flagship camera setup, designed in partnership with Hasselblad, consisting of a 48MP Sony LYTIA-T808 sensor main sensor, 64MP 70mm telephoto and 48MP 14mm ultrawide.

There's a pro mode for people who want to really push the camera capabilities but, like most consumers, I used it on its basic modes to simply point and shoot for the sample photos taken below while on holiday in Japan.

Previous Oppo phone camera apps have had 'AI enhance' as an on or off function, whereas now it's a superior slider system you can easily go from zero to 100 on to adjust how much computational tinkering the system does to your images.

Photos taken with the Find N3, cropped and compressed for the Newshub website:

Snow on autumn leaves in Japan.
Photo credit: Newshub.
Child by bamboo in Japan.
Photo credit: Newshub.
Koi fish.
Photo credit: Newshub.
Shunjuku Gyoen.
Photo credit: Newshub.
Photo credit: Newshub.

Despite powering three normal phone screens that each have a peak brightness higher than I believe any other phone ever (2800 nits!), the 4805mAh battery comfortably got me through a full day of normal usage without needing a recharge.

As is the Oppo way, you get a fast charger in the box that gets the Find N3 from zero to 100 percent battery in little more than 40 minutes, or a good few hours use from a 10 minute charge if you're in a rush.

That's pretty damn good.

The bad

Just as you can be assured of some great things when you buy an Oppo phone - like super fast charging and awesome, New Zealand-based after sales service - you can also be assured of bloatware.

I transferred everything over from another device onto the Find N3 and in amongst all the apps I had on the previous phone, Temu and WPS Office had snuck in there. Apparently there was an 'install additional apps' step I missed in the install that could have avoided letting Temu in, but WPS Office is mandatory even if - like me - you subscribe to and prefer Microsoft Office.

Sure, I can and did just immediately uninstall them, but this aggressive form of advertising damages the company's efforts in making this a premium experience. And this phone costs $3000 - surely they make enough profit from that without having to make more via these third party apps?

Another frustration was not all Android apps are optimised for the main screen. This is annoying when you want to use all the display real estate possible but aren't able to.

The only other booklet-style foldable phone I've used is the Galaxy Z Fold series and one thing that does better than the Find N3 is in allowing independent customisation for the interior and cover displays.

Oppo forces the same layout across both, so the cover screen will mirror the left half of the interior screen and if you edit one the changes carry across both. That's a simplistic approach some people will prefer but I prefer greater customisation Samsung offers, because I use these devices in different ways depending on if they're open or closed.

The only other negative thing I can say about the Find N3 is its name.

By itself, that name is fine; but in a wider context it's not great.

The Find N series consists of Find N and Find N Flip phones, which compete with Samsung's equivalent Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip phones. The 'Find N3' should be called the 'Find N3 Fold', alongside the 'Find N3 Flip', as without that 'Fold' word it's just a bit annoying having to qualify which one you're talking about and may create confusion with customers.

As far as bad tech naming goes it's still miles better than loads of Sony devices, computer components or most TV models.

The Find N3 comes in black or gold.
The Find N3 comes in black or gold. Photo credit: supplied

The verdict

Despite the minor imperfections, the Find N3 is an amazing foldable phone and a premium device I can't see disappointing those willing to invest in it.

The foldable smartphone market has grown rapidly and is projected to expand dramatically over the next few years. For the booklet style format Kiwis now have two great options to choose between, rather than Samsung's alone.

If Google ever decides to sell phones in Aotearoa and they improve upon the Pixel Fold, we'd have three.

As of right now, unless you're tethered hard to the Samsung ecosystem, it's hard to argue for the Galaxy Z Fold5 over the Find N3 when it's better on almost every measure.

Now about that price. Normally a $3000 price tag would be something I'd criticise as too expensive but, here, I think it actually means remarkably good value.

Keep in mind, for a lot of consumers, this isn't just a phone; it's a phone and a tablet, ie two devices in one package. It's also three times the screens of a normal flagship candybar style smartphone for one-and-a-half times the price.

If you're not interested in a phone that folds out into a mini tablet then this of course is too much money to spend on a smartphone. If you are, this is as good as they get - so far - and well worth that asking price.

Newshub was supplied an Oppo Find N3 for this review.