OPPO has manufactured headphones for quite a while but to be honest their TWS offerings in the past have been average at best. This year they are back with a new line of Enco headphones that promise to deliver a grander experience and after checking them all out for the last couple of weeks it is quite easy to say they have delivered.
The full range includes the affordable Enco Air, the mid-range ANC Enco Free2 and the high end Enco X.
Let’s finish off with the cheaper Enco Air. At $149 you should not expect much from these but they still deliver an acceptable experience. They sit in the ear like other cheap stem-type TWS. Although they were relatively stable they did not feel like I could wear them jumping around the place in the gym or dancing around the house without one or both of them falling out.
There is no noise cancelling included with these headphones and the loose way they sit in the ear does not give a heap of noise isolation either. The option is to turn them right up. The sound out of them is quite good though so turning them up loud is not a bad idea.
As you would expect from a pair of true wireless headphones this cheap there is a distinct lack of bass but the mid-range is quite good. If I was buying a new set of true wireless headphones these would not be my choice — while the sound is decent, the lack of in-ear security is a bit of a worry. Instead, I would be forking out the extra $50 and grabbing a pair of the OPPO Enco Free2.
Just the fact that the Enco Free2 has functionality that can be controlled via the OPPO Hey Melody app shows that they are a much better option for users out there. The Free2 sit much better in the ears thanks to the small suction cup buds that sit on the end of each bud. As you would expect there are different sizes for different sized ear holes. My ears are very average so I stuck with the medium that is installed by default on the earbuds in the box.
Pairing is super easy. Start pairing on your phone, hit the button on the right of the charging case and the headphones will appear in your list of available devices. Pair them and then open the Hey Melody app where it will scan for supported OPPO Enco headphones. The app will then connect to them, list the available functions as well as if there are any updates available for the headphones.
To start with there are a lot more functionality to these headphones. They include in-ear detection such that removing one or both from your ear will pause the media, touch controls such as a double tap to play next track, a touch and hold to cycle between Noise Cancellation and Transparency, sliding your finger up or down the stem to alter the volume of the media, answering calls and even using them to take a photo if the photo app is open. These controls can be further customised within the app which also includes an equaliser to adjust the music signature to suit either the music you are listening or just your personal preference.
So how do they sound? Much better. There is much more lower end bass with these with a cleaner sound through the mid and upper range. There is enough bass for the deepest of bass hits while still offering a range or decent sound with clarity that often suffers when TWS headphones go for more bass. Sure, they are still not the equal of higher end headphones such as Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds but at $199 they are excellent value.
The high-quality case keeps the earbuds safe while at the same time keeping them charged when not in use. When combined with the charging case you should be getting close to 30 hours of playback — it was just under for me but I listen to my music loud, especially when testing out headphones.
The Enco X are the true flagship of the OPPO Enco series and they deserve it. Although the price is a decent jump to $349 and at that price they are now competing with the high end TWS headphones out there including the Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds (at RRP $399) and Apple AirPods Pro (RRP $399). Because of this you expect them to be the equal of them.
They sit as comfortably in the ear as the Apple AirPods Pro do but not as securely as the Bose QC earbuds do with their wing tips to hold the buds in place. They do not stick out as far as the Bose though and are actually lighter.
The case offers wireless charging along with 25 hours of playback — once again my experience was slightly under that but not by much.
So how did the sound compare? The mids and higher end sounds were much louder and crisper on the Enco X but there was certainly a difference in the bass between the two with the Bose having much more. The OPPO Enco X were also able to be turned up a lot louder. As for the ANC on the Enco X it was pretty damn good. There was not much difference between the Enco X and the Bose QC earbuds with both providing some high-end noise cancellation but if I had to make a choice, setting the Enco X on “Max Noise Cancellation” provided more cancelling.
The controls for each earbud were once again able to be customised using the Hey Melody app giving you the options to set double tap, triple tap, slide control for volume, touch and hold and long touch and hold gestures. There is once again in-ear detection with the media stopping when the earbuds are removed from the ear.
In the end, the small, lightweight nature of the OPPO Enco X actually has them slightly ahead of the Bose QC earbuds. The mids and higher end sounds are better although the Bose likely have a better overall sound with their improved bass (and bigger earbuds are required it seems to get this bass), they sit in the ear lightly without poking out a long way and they have great control options for each earbud.
In the end I can see why OPPO priced these are this price although without the big audio name behind them they may struggle to sell. If I offered someone the Bose QC Earbuds or the OPPO Enco X earbuds I dare say most of the time the Bose would win out — purely based on name, without even listening to them. What the price does though is signals just how serious these earbuds are. They are a high-end audio product aimed at the discerning listener and in the end they accomplish what they set out to do.
OPPO has produced some decent headphones with their new Enco series. The Air is a tough sell due to the lack of features. The Free2 are an easy sell given they are just $50 more than the Air and offer so many more solutions. The Enco X are a bit more difficult to pigeon-hole. They offer amazing sound with some great features and options — but then they are priced extremely close to other high-end headphones such as Bose QC Earbuds and Apple AirPods Pro. I feel that OPPO would do better to price them just under $300 but at $349 they should still be considered.