OPPO Enco series earphones – Buds, Air, Free2, and X – too good to ignore (AV review)

OPPO makes great phones – among the best across all price points. In fact, its OPPO FindX3 Pro is CyberShack’s best phone of 2021. OPPO’s heritage is sound, and the OPPO Enco series earphones reflect some serious design work for great sound and value.

We are combining this review covering the Buds, Air, Free2 and X. It is clear that this is a good, better, best scenario, and the Enco X takes that a step further to ‘bester’.

These are all Qualcomm True Wireless (TWS means each bud works independently for single mono and stereo) with the additional feature set that provides. Setup is so easy – use Bluetooth or download the OPPO HeyMelody app for more features. All tests were on an OPPO FindX3 Pro.

CyberShack view – OPPO Enco series earphones are the hidden gems of the bud world

We spend two days each with the buds. Battery life is an extrapolation of that. We can’t measure absolute volume and frequency response – only tell you if it sounds good with our test tracks. Cybershack then uses a consistent comparative chart approach (same for all buds tested) from 2022 onwards that allows you to compare different buds on an ‘apples for apples’ basis.

Bottom line – It is a shame that retailers don’t allow tests because you have to hear these to believe them. Go to the OPPO online store now.

Sound signature: We test using a range of music. Read our guide and play the sample tracks How to tell if you have good music (sound signature is the key).

Comfort: Assume that these are all comfortable to wear unless noted.

Overall, if you buy an OPPO Phone (and it is the #2 Android phone brand in Australia), grab a set of OPPO buds, and don’t forget the $329/$400 OPPO Watch using Google Wear. I use that every day.

OPPO Enco series earphones

 OPPO Enco Buds $99

We did not review these but included them because they are entry-level $99 in-ear-canal buds and don’t use the mini-stalk design. Their specs are below in the table. Other reviews tend to rate about 8/10 and point out the inexpensive cost (especially for BT 5.2, AI hands-free, 80ms game mode latency, IP54, real TWS and excellent sound. Having reviewed the rest I concur.

OPPO Enco Air ($149)

It competes squarely with the Apple AirPods – both via its design and adding several more features. It has a good punchy sound signature, fast charging, and class-average battery life. No ANC, but you don’t get that at this price.

I hate AirPods with their dorky stalk, so it was a relief to see OPPO has about 60% of that protrusion. I like the Pod style that does not have in-ear tips, but that means no passive noise isolation. Just on that point, if you wear in-ear-canal hearing aids, you can use these buds.

Review comments

They are comfortable but, like all POD styles, are pretty easy to knock out, so strenuous exercise may be an issue even though they have an IP54 rating.

Touch controls are sensitive – perhaps overly – but overall, they work. You can assign different controls to each stalk.

Battery life claim of 4 hours (at 50% volume), and we found closer to 75% was better and achieved 3hrs and 33 minutes. The rapid charge is terrific – a few minutes in the case, and you are all go for a few more hours.

Hands-free is good with dual mics on each stalk. The lower ones beamform to cut out extraneous noise near you, and the top ones reduce environmental noise via OPPOs AI noise reduction.

Sound-wise it depends on your ear fit. I experienced terrific punchy bass (mid-bass) and crystal-clear highs. But my partner had a different experience because PODs don’t suit her tiny ears. I needed to occasionally reposition them to get that excellent sound back.

Sound stage – about equal to your ears (which all PODs do). But it aced the Dolby Atmos test with excellent 360° 3D spatial sound appearing to come from outside your head. I could listen to these all day (and did for two days).

CyberShack view – no fuss, great AirPod knock off without the Apple walled garden ecosystem. It is a $149 class leader in every way.

OPPO Enco Free2 ($199)

OPPO Enco series earphones

ANC is all about ear fit. The App has a test that enables you to select the right sized tip. That accounts for about half the noise isolation, and the other is the ANC circuitry that removes up to 42dB noise.

Hands-free uses three mics on each bud. One is beamformed to your voice, another hears ambient noise, and the internal mic reprocesses sound to remove that noise for crystal clear voice and no wind or environmental noise.

Sound-wise it depends on your ear tip fit and whether your use the personalised hearing test. Great mid-high bass (50-200Hz so you get the punch), solid mid (for clear voice) and decent low-mid treble for ‘atmosphere’. Crystal clear sound if you tune them to your ears via the App.

Sound stage – about the width of your head. But Dolby Atmos is superb, giving it a wide 360° spatial sound stage with sound appearing to be up to a metre away. (Dolby Atmos capable phone required).

CyberShack view – these punch well above their weight, competing with earphones up to the $300 mark. The personalised hearing profile (hearing test) is fabulous, making these ideal for any hearing-impaired person.

OPPO Enco X Dynaudio ($349)

Dynaudio is a Danish Hi-Fi company with a strong sound tuning pedigree and a penchant for authentic and natural sounds. The result is DBEE 3.0 (Dynamic Bass enhancement engine). I can attest that it gives clearer audio, deeper bass, and superb clarity. LHDC (Low latency and High-Definition audio codec – the phone must support this codec) means minimal lag. To my ears, every sound was clearer and every tone more distinct.

Review comments

ANC is in three levels – Max, Standard, transparent and off. Max will block aircraft noise, but as with all ANC, this means sounds are slightly compressed. I prefer standard for just that little extra music sparkle. It has the ear fit test as well – don’t worry if you only get an average score.

Hands-free is very similar to Free2 but with even more external noise reduction.

Sound-wise it depends on your ear tip fit. Dynaudio tuning and the EQ come to the fore here. The Warm and Sweet setting is superb for most genre controlling that sometimes harsh upper-level treble – it is smooth. Lots of bass, solid mids and controlled treble make this a listening pleasure.

It’s a tough call between the Free2 and this. The former tailors its sound to your hearing and reinforces frequencies you can’t hear. This is almost the opposite – it focuses on audio perfection, and well – it is superb.

The sound stage is still within your head – about as wide as the gap between your ears. But left/right (2D) separation is among the best I have seen. Dolby Atmos tests are spectacular given sounds appearing to come from up to a meter away (Dolby Atmos capable phone required).

CyberShack view – Enco X Dynaudio competes strongly against Sennheiser Momentum, Bose Quiet Comfort, Sony WF-1000XM4. Without re-reviewing the competition, it is hard to say if it is better or worse in certain areas. I think OPPO designed the Enco X to knock them all off and probably succeeded.

Earphone comparison chart – OPPO Enco series earphones

Earphone comparison chartBudsAirFree2X Dynaudio
   POD (not in-ear canal)NoYesMini-stalkMini stalk
   BudsIn-ear canalNoin-ear canalIn-ear canal
   Sports (with wing)NoNoNoNo
    IP ratingIP54IP54IP54IP54
   Ear tip typeSmall, medium and large silicon tipsPOD styleSmall, medium and large silicon tipsSmall, medium and large silicon tips
   ColourWhiteMist White or Misty BlackWhiteBlack, White, Mint Green
   ClassEntry-levelMid-rangeUpper mid-rangePremium
      CodecsSBC and AACSBC and AACSBC and AACSBC, AAC, LDHC
      A2DP, AVRCP, HFPYesYesYesYes
   True Wireless (Qualcomm)YesYesYesYes
   Google Fast PairRapid PairRapid pairRapid PairRapid Pair
   Windows Swift pair????
   Weight each grams4Approx 3g4.54.8
   Dimensions W x H x D mm22x 19.6 x 22.735.8 x 18.9 x 17.7

Specs continued

   TypeTouch volume, track, voice assistantsSameTouch volume, track, voice assistants, ANCSame
   ANCNoNoOn/off/tranparent 42dBMax Noise Cancellation /Noise Cancellation/Transparency/Noise Cancellation Off
  Ambient passthroughN/AN/ATransparentNoise Cancellation mode
   Conversation modeN/AN/ATransparentTransparent
   Game mode80ms suitable for games (with suitable smartphone)80ms for games (with suitable smartphone)YesYes
   Speaker size mm8121211mm triple layer driver and a 6mm balanced membrane driver
   Frequency response20Hz-20kHz20Hz-20kHz20Hz-20kHz20Hz-20KHz
   Driver sensitivity 1kHZ/1mw (dB)100.6112103104
BATTERY (unless cabled)
   mAh in each bud40254144
   mAh in case400440480535
   Case charge type (USB or Qi)USB-CUSB-CUSB-CUSB-C and Qi
        Case size/weight67 x 40.4 c 27.2 x 27/2g60 x 53.2 x 23.5mm x 22g40g41
   Charge voltage rating5V/.5A /2.5W5V/.5A /2.5W5V/.5A/2.5W5V/.5A/2.5W
   Battery time excluding case ANC off646.55.5
   Battery time excluding case ANC onN/AN/A44
   Additional battery time in case hours182016/23.516/19.5
   Charge time case120-150  min1.5hrs and 10min for 8hrs use1.5 hrs80-110min

Specs continued

   Number on each bud2233
   OtherAI mic noise cancellationAI mic noise cancellationAI mic noise cancellationAI mic noise cancellation
   TypeGoogle, Alexa and SiriGoogle, Alexa and SiriGoogle, Alexa and Siri
APPOPPO HeyMelodysamesamesame
   FeaturesEarbud fit test (for ANC)Earbud fit test (for ANC)
   EQNoNoDefault/Dynaudio simple and clear/Dynaudio warm and soft
   Find my buds?YesYesYes
   Other?Has a Dolby Atmos link (possibly phone dependent)Personalised ANC
Personalised Sound boost
   SpatialDolby Atmos linkDolby Atmos link
 OS supportApp for Android and iOSsameCan use BT system settings or AppCan use BT system settings or App
Hearing test and personalisation

General, rating, Pro and Con

   Warranty12 monthssamesamesame
Accessories includedSmall, Medium, Large Buds and USB-A to USB-C charge cableUSB-A to USB-C charge cableSmall, Medium, Large Buds and USB-A to USB-C charge cableSame
PRO 1Not reviewedIt’s a better AirPodI love the ear test – it should be a feature of all appsSame
2Very comfortableHearing test personalisation makes it attractive to hearing impairedMIA
3Good batterySameSame
4Excellent soundSameBetter than excellent sound with the Dynaudio Tuning
CON 1None reallyNone really
entry level with AI hands-free claritySameOne of the most fully-featured Apps with custom hearing profiles based on a hearing testIt has everything other flagships offer. I wish it had the Free2 hearing test, but that defeats the Dynaudio tuning
At $99 with IP54, they are a bargainAt $149, they are a class leaderAt $179, I don’t know how OPPO do it – these are class leaders even in the <$300 bracketWorth every cent even compared to Sony, Bose, Sennheiser
PerformanceNot tested9.0099.5
Excellent soundCustom sound is perfect for hearing impairedSuperb Dynaudio warm and sweet setting
Ease of use99.0099.5
?Rapid Pair and great appSameSame
I am not an AirPod style loverSameSameStalks – OK, I could get used to them
Score /10Not reviewed but assume

OPPO Enco series earphones