We weren’t exactly impressed with recent OnePlus devices like the OnePlus 10 Pro and the company’s software strategy that combines forces with Oppo. It feels like the brand is losing its identity, becoming just another sub-brand under the BBK Electronics umbrella. While OnePlus has never been the alternative, scrappy startup it’s always positioned itself and always had the backing of its parent company, it’s managed to build a nice combination of hardware and software that sets it apart from the competetion.
To be honest, this new phase of OnePlus no longer appeals to me at all. While I loved the original Nord and bought it as my personal primary phone, it quickly fell off the company’s radar, with the company only now starting to beta test Android 12 on it. I really don’t trust the company anymore in terms of software.
However, the synergy between OnePlus and Oppo might have something positive in store. The latest rumors indicate that OnePlus might launch its own foldable phone soon, and it’s supposed to be based on the same hardware as the Oppo Find N, which in my opinion is one of the best approaches to a foldable phone.
Left: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3. To the right: Oppo Find N.
Unlike the current king of tablet-like foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Fold3, the Find N comes with a full-size exterior display that isn’t too cramped for comfortable typing. Thanks to an improved hinge design, the Find N also has virtually no visible creases when unfolded, allowing for a much better visual and tactile experience. Another advantage: the Find N closes almost flush.
Why not just get the Find N?
Although I don’t really care about the OnePlus software anymore, the big issue with Oppo’s foldable is that it’s not currently available internationally. while you can import it from China, it doesn’t run the international version of ColorOS, which means you don’t have easy access to the usual Google apps and Play services out of the box. Personally, I don’t want to tinker with an expensive phone to make it work well, and anyway, we all know that’s something most people expect when they get an Android phone.
If OnePlus does launch a similar foldable internationally, it would almost certainly come with the Play Store and all the usual Google apps and services pre-installed. It would make it much easier to use right out of the box, and I could count on regular software updates that won’t break anything I’ve installed and changed before.
I might not fall in love with OxygenOS on this foldable phone, if it really launches, but at least I should be able to enjoy most of the tweaks Google introduced with Android 12L, provided it ships with this version of the operating system. Given that I’ve used other BBK Electronics skins like those from Realme or iQOO, I also can’t say that I really hate what the conglomerate is doing with their skins. I find Xiaomi’s MIUI to deviate much more from the look and feel of Google’s Android.
What about other foldables?
I had the chance to play with the Honor Magic V while I was at MWC 2022, which has a similar approach to the outdoor display as the Fold N. However, just like the Find N, we haven’t heard any news about an international launch, let alone one in the US. United, so my money is still on OnePlus’ flavor of the Find N.
Honor Magic V
Vivo, another sub-brand of BBK Electronics, is also supposed to launch a Find N-like phone this week, but from all we can gather at the moment, it’s another version exclusive to the China which is unlikely to make it to international markets.
So OnePlus is our only chance to get our Play Store-equipped version of the Vivo Fold N, and I, for one, am all for it.
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