Foldable smartphones have been on the market for the better part of five years now, but they’ve been dominated by just one brand – Samsung. But, finally, competition is coming, and the Oppo Find N2 Flip is just the start of a brighter future for foldables.

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The first foldable smartphones that mattered launched in 2019, with all focus on Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. Over the next few years, Samsung has launched several more foldable devices across the globe, but competitors had only launched devices in China. That includes Oppo, which has launched two foldable smartphones like the Galaxy Fold that received high praise for their hardware but never made it to a global audience.

Related: Hands-on: Oppo Find N2 is a masterclass in foldables – it’s a shame it won’t go global

Over the past two years, Samsung has really hit its stride and enjoyed this lack of competition. That includes the major success the company saw with the launch of the “Flip” lineup. The year that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 debuted, foldable shipments reached 10 million, and that one device alone made up a huge portion of that number.

As such, it makes sense that Oppo’s first foldable sold outside of China is a direct competitor the Galaxy Z Flip, and the Find N2 Flip does a brilliant job of kicking off this new expansion for Oppo.

I’ve had the pleasure of using the Oppo Find N2 Flip for the past couple of days. Nowhere near enough time to offer up a full review, but enough to get a sense of how this device works and if it’s ready to stand up to Samsung. The short answer? It’s a worthy competitor, even if Samsung still has some advantages.

Looking purely at the hardware, the Oppo Find N2 Flip is a striking device. It’s roughly the same compact size as the Galaxy Z Flip 4 when folded, but without the hinge gap up top, which makes the device even thinner in your pocket.

The hinge Oppo is using is also smooth to open and close, and the frame has some solid grip for when the device is in your hand. Plus, the black version I’ve been testing has this wonderful brushed glass finish that feels very nice in the hand, even if it is a little slick.

Then there’s the display. Samsung’s Flip devices have been limited to tiny little displays on each generation, where Oppo’s outer panel is big enough to actually make it useful – or it would be useful if it weren’t just as limited as Samsung’s. Despite the larger 3.26-inch size, you’ll still only get a few limited widgets and either voice or predetermined quick replies on that cover screen.

Inside, Oppo’s display is also nicer to use. The “Flexion” hinge allows for a display that has no major crease in the middle. I’ve never been bothered by the crease on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold devices, but it is more of an annoyance on the Flip devices. I’m really impressed at just how little of a crease the Find N2 Flip manages, and even after a couple of days of use, it’s still virtually invisible.

There are certainly a lot of wins in hardware alone for Oppo, and that’s without even mentioning the significantly better camera hardware and battery capacity. I can’t really speak much to either in just over a day of use, but first impressions are good in both areas.

I still think Samsung has a few advantages, particularly in that its phone has water resistance, but for a first attempt, Oppo has absolutely nailed this. And that’s important because this is the first foldable that’s really competing with Samsung in a meaningful way. It won’t be the last, as Honor is also launching a promising foldable globally later this month.

Things are finally heating up, and this is just the start of a future where great foldables are pushed forward by actual competition.

Stay tuned for our full Oppo Find N2 Flip review in the coming weeks, and if you have any questions, drop a comment below! I’ll try to answer or address them in the review.

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Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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