OPPO Find N2, crossed a tipping point

There is a group of people in this world called "wait for the party".

They wait and see, waiting for the price of this generation of products to drop, waiting for the upgrade of the next generation of products, waiting for the second-hand price of Xianyu to plunge, and waiting for the new model to be released before taking over the old mobile phone of the wife.

What are they waiting for? Rather than saying it is a good time, it is better to wait for a "critical point", which may be a psychological price, it may be the smooth frame rate of running a certain game masterpiece, or it may be a simple weight.

The just-released OPPO Find N2 represents that the folding screen has crossed a critical point: the weight of a horizontally folded phone (OPPO Find N2 weighs 233 grams) is starting to be lighter than a candy bar phone (iPhone 14 Pro Max weighs 240 grams).

Not heavy, very important for folding screen

The English for mobile phones is Mobile Phone, and mobility is the fundamental characteristic that determines the difference between mobile phones and landlines.

The factors that determine the mobility of mobile phones are nothing more than size and weight. About ten years ago, in the early stage of the development of smart phones, major manufacturers made many bold attempts on the size and shape of mobile phones. Tablets that can make calls, can Digital cameras for making calls, and large-capacity charging treasures for making calls have all appeared one after another.

But time has changed, and until now, the development of the screen and body size of ordinary straight smartphones has almost stagnated. Fundamentally speaking, a mobile phone should be a one-handed portable device. Any product that violates this fundamental positioning will eventually be attributed to the niche. , and even disappear.

Corresponding to this development contradiction is that human beings have been pursuing larger screens from beginning to end, from mobile phones, to computer monitors, to TVs, as well as movie screens, and AR and VR devices with wider viewing angles. kind of demand.

Folding screen is considered to be a feasible solution to solve the shackles of mobile phone size and human visual needs. On the one hand, it can control the size of the body within a reasonable range. On the other hand, after the screen is unfolded, the mobile phone can also be close to a tablet The size greatly increases the experience of audio-visual and office scenes.

At the same time, due to the addition of an additional screen and the fact that some hinges can bring about a hovering state, folding screen phones also have more possibilities for combining hardware and software.

Of course, manufacturers can list many reasons why folding phones are better than straight phones, and "wait for the party" consumers also have more reasons not to buy folding screens, such as high price, creases, poor software ecological adaptation, and too heavy up.

The position of a qualified product manager should be within the manufacturer and represent the interests of consumers. The product manager of OPPO Find N series has a formula: the value of innovative categories = (new value – new friction) + traditional value.

In this formula, excessive weight is a considerable deduction item in the "new friction". The weight of nearly 300 grams or even heavier and the size is not small, so that many folding screens have completely become two-handed devices. , and can't fit comfortably in a trouser pocket.

On the first-generation Find N, OPPO chose a "golden size" in the product definition. It was not respected by the big one. The combination of the 7.1-inch main screen and the 5.49-inch secondary screen found a balance between big and small. Therefore, with insight into product definition, control of creases, and new hovering features that are memorable enough, this phone became the second-best-selling folding-screen phone in China in the first half of this year.

In the Find N2 generation, regular upgrades include camera specifications, the addition of Hasselblad imaging systems and MariSilicon X self-developed chips, SoC upgrades, secondary screen quality upgrades, etc.

But in my opinion, one of the biggest upgrades is the configuration upgrade, with the size almost unchanged, from 275 grams of the previous generation Find N to 233 grams of this generation Find N2, a weight loss of up to 42 grams. You know, when Find N was released last year, it was already the lightest horizontally folding phone on the market.

By the time the Find N2 was released this year, the title of the lightest horizontally folding mobile phone was once again taken away by OPPO.

Many years ago, mobile phone manufacturers also had some dazzling works to pursue the thinnest mobile phone. Facts have proved that such a pursuit is not very meaningful. After years of survival of the fittest, the thickness of most mobile phones is now between 7-9mm. Thinner has no obvious benefit to the improvement of the experience, but thinner will reduce the battery capacity and reduce the battery life of the mobile phone. The disadvantages to the experience are obvious.

However, at this stage, making a fuss about the weight of folding screens does not belong to the category of showing off skills, but a useful exploration in the development stage of this category. In terms of user experience, we need a folding screen mobile phone that can be held with one hand without difficulty, and we also need a folding screen mobile phone with a size and weight that fits into a trouser pocket.

When we discuss consumption choices, there is a principle that is very applicable, that is, when choosing products that accompany you for more than seven or eight hours a day, don't begrudge your energy and money. These things include bedding, underwear, office equipment and mobile phones. .

Overweight mobile phones are actually similar to prickly autumn clothes, unergonomic mice, or monitors that do not filter blue light.

As the title says, before Find N2, the critical point of folding screen mobile phone weight has not yet arrived, because all folding screens are heavier than the iconic iPhone 14 Pro Max. Only a weight of less than 240 grams is a milestone, and the horizontal folding screen mobile phone has achieved the first small goal. In the future, we can set more goals: lighter than the common 220 grams of Android flagships, reaching the weight of mainstream Android phones (within 200 grams)…

How did you lose 42 grams?

From the 275 grams of the previous generation to the 233 grams of this generation of Find N2, if an adult male is used as a template, it is roughly equivalent to reducing a fat man of 180 pounds to a normal weight of 150 pounds.

Although it is said that fat people are potential stocks, as far as the previous generation Find N is concerned, it has actually worked very hard on weight loss, and it is not a product with a lot of room for weight optimization. So Find N2 is a bit like changing from a very healthy fitness enthusiast to a bodybuilding champion-level monster muscle man.

From a methodological point of view, it is not difficult for ordinary people to lose weight. It is nothing more than keeping your mouth shut and stretching your legs; but from fitness enthusiasts to devil muscular people, you need to work hard in every detail.

The product manager of Find N2 told Ai Faner that in order to reduce the weight of this mobile phone, they disassembled all the previous generation Find N, from the large screen to the hinge, to the cover and the middle frame, to the details of the screws, to scrutinize Potential for weight loss.

Because the folding screen is a flexible screen, it is necessary to add a layer of support plate at the bottom of the screen display structure to ensure that the screen can be bent and has a good supporting force so that the screen will not be distorted. On the previous generation Find N, this support plate is made of stainless steel, which is certainly strong enough, but not light in weight.

To reduce weight, the material of this support plate has to be changed.

In the fields of consumer electronics, even aviation and racing, carbon fiber materials are the first choice for weight reduction. Apart from high cost and difficult processing, this material has almost no disadvantages: light weight, high strength, and torsion resistance. There is nothing to hesitate about this. On the screen support frame of Find N2, OPPO replaced stainless steel with the industry's largest carbon fiber material, and finally succeeded in reducing the weight by 10g.

Compared with ordinary straight mobile phones, the folding hinge is a new component of the folding screen, and it is also a major increase. After all, it is necessary to ensure both strength and durability, and now it is even more lightweight.

However, unlike the whole screen display structural support board, there are more than 100 structural parts of the folding screen hinge. They are criss-crossed and can move the whole body. Therefore, the weight reduction here requires both the overall situation and meticulous attention to detail.

Comparison of Find N hinge (upper left) and Find N2 hinge (lower right)

Let me talk about the results first. On this part, OPPO achieved a volume reduction of 37% and a weight reduction of 10.4 grams without reducing the stability of the hinge shaft.

The first weight reduction work starts with reducing parts. OPPO has improved the hinge scheme on Find N2, and realized the link between the inclined plate and the slide rail through the mortise and tenon structure. The number of parts has been reduced from 136 in the previous generation to 100.

Then the material replacement work is still in progress.

In order to increase the strength of the inclined plate and achieve the tightness and precision of the connection, engineers first tried a special engineering plastic used in aircraft engines, but found in the durability test that this material would change with the temperature during the injection molding process Cause thermal expansion and contraction, the surface is not smooth, long-term use will affect the crease of the screen.

Therefore, carbon fiber materials came to the rescue again. By repeatedly adjusting the ratio of composite materials and carbon fibers, OPPO finally obtained a slant plate with suitable weight, durability and deformation resistance.

Similarly, the slide rails of the Find N2 series use aerospace-grade MIM (Metal injection Molding, Metal Injection Molding) super-tough alloy to strengthen the muscles and bones.

In addition to changing and reducing, there is another method that is "small as possible". For example, the core components such as slide rails, springs, and cams in this generation of hinges have been miniaturized. But miniaturization also has side effects. For example, if the spring is small, the force transmission will be attenuated. Therefore, this is not just a matter of doing small things, you have to find a way to make up for the side effects.

For example, it is said that the difficulty is like a spring, if you are weak, it will be strong, but dealing with the spring is actually very difficult. The original cylindrical coil spring is rigid enough, but it still takes up a little space. Therefore, OPPO replaced it with a higher utilization rate of the gap space. , a rectangular cross-section spring with greater stiffness, and then the rigidity was improved again through process optimization. In the end, this spring was also successfully slimmed down and became compact and lean.

The above is an optimization for the unique structure of the folding screen mobile phone. On the middle frame of the Find N2, OPPO reduced redundancy and reduced weight by 5 grams while ensuring strength; the back cover is made of glass microbead fiber, reducing weight by 4 grams… …

Among them, the most extreme and serious weight reduction measure is that they replaced all 64 screws of the whole machine with titanium alloy screws that have not been used in the mobile phone industry. Individually, such a replacement can only reduce the weight of 0.015 grams, but if all 64 are replaced, the weight of 1 gram can also be removed here.

Titanium alloy screws used in Find N2

Interestingly, in the early stages of the Find N2 project, the target weight was set at 240 grams, which was exactly the same as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but in the end, the phone gave an answer that was much lighter than the target.

"Critical point" is a symbolic meaning, so what does it symbolize?

According to IDC data, in the first half of 2022, domestic folding screen mobile phone shipments achieved a year-on-year growth of 70%, and in the third quarter just past, this growth rate reached 246%, and quarterly shipments exceeded 1 million units , which is the most eye-catching greenery in the cold winter of the industry.

Here, the progress of folding screen products and the increase in shipments have formed a positive mutual promotion relationship.

Looking back at the "from early adopters to common use" said when Find N was released last year, it probably also indicates that 2022 will be a turning year for folding screens from early adopters to common use by the public. As a continuation, the slogan shouted by Find N2 is "light and easy to use, worthy of reuse".

The earliest stage of early adopters of folding screens was simply driven by the folding form and large-screen experience, and then folding screen mobile phones went from early adopters to common use because of application adaptation, golden-size product positioning, and a deeper layer of unique hovering experience. Experience optimization.

Then, from commonly used to easy to use, there should be a driving force, so lighter than the bar machine, crossing the critical point is a symbol of this driving force. Choose a machine online, look at the running score, see the parameters, and look at the proofs, but when it comes to facing the real machine and actually using it or experiencing it, the CMF level and the weight feel are the most important reasons for purchasing.

In fact, after crossing the "critical point", OPPO only needs to reach 239 grams, then they don't need to replace the screws with titanium alloys, and the material of the back cover glass does not need to be replaced. But crossing the "critical point" and continuing to move forward is the real respect for experience.

"Critical point" is a symbolic meaning, which symbolizes that although a certain experience undergoes a qualitative change, the passing line is only reached, the excellent line is still ahead, and the end point is never reached.

During the warm-up phase, OPPO once gave a weighing comparison between the Find N2 and the bar machine. In fact, looking at it from another perspective, the weight of the mobile phone and the "worthy of reuse" are also divided into two ends of the balance. overwhelm the other.

Then, this time, the cumulative quantitative changes will eventually produce qualitative changes. Find N2, which has crossed the weight critical point, will also lead the folding screen mobile phone to continue moving forward. It may also indicate that the experience friction brought about by the innovation of folding screen form is being offset by new innovations, and the folding screen commonly used by the public will become easy to use and worthy of reuse.

In the plastic greenhouse of fate, every cabbage that has been sprayed with too many pesticides once had a dream of becoming a pollution-free organic vegetable.

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