Entry-level truly wireless earphones are improving at a meteoric rate. Just a couple of years ago, one couldn’t imagine a sub 2K earphone sporting features such as touch controls, low latency gaming mode, and day-long battery life. These were features usually found on much more premium TWS earbuds and the entry-level ones were usually plagued by dismal sound quality and wireless connectivity. Times are truly changing. Today we are reviewing one of the latest entrants in the sub 2K price segment of truly wireless earphones – the Oppo Enco Buds. The Enco Buds are the successors of the well-liked Oppo Enco W11 and come with some improvements over its predecessor such as longer battery life, latest Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, HeyMelody app support and 80ms low latency Game Mode. These earbuds compete with the likes of the Realme Buds Q2 Neo and the Noise Air Buds. Let’s see how they fare in our review.
Build and comfort
Sporting a pill-shaped charging case, the Oppo Enco Buds have a pretty basic look. There’s nothing that truly stands out about the design. The charging case has a glossy texture with the Oppo logo smacked on top of it. The buds come in only White colour, so there’s no variety here like you have with some buds in this price range.
The oblong charging case has a small footprint but still bulges out slightly from pockets. The front houses an LED battery indicator and the back has the Type-C charging port. It is very hard to open the case one-handed and the case’s hinge doesn’t feel very robust. Upon opening the case, there’s convenient right and left indicators to let you know which earbud goes where. The magnets that hold the buds inside aren’t very strong and the buds can topple out easily if the case falls.
The earbuds have a rounded shape as well and look pretty Plain Jane as well. There are no eye-catching flourishes, they’re just simple stemless TWS earbuds that won’t turn too many heads. The back portion of the earbuds are touch-sensitive zones to control music playback and calls. The touch controls are responsive, accurate, and work well, for the most part. There are accidental readings at times, but not too many.
As for the fit, these lightweight earbuds weigh merely 4gs each and are extremely comfortable to wear. The fit is secure as well and doesn’t budge too much when you’re walking, jogging, or doing chores around your home. You get a total of 3 pairs of silicone ear tips, so you should be able to find a good fit for yourself.
The Oppo Enco Buds are priced under Rs 2,000 and come with a fair number of features at this inexpensive price point. First off, the earbuds can leverage the HeyMelody app to check battery levels, perform firmware updates, turn on game mode, and customise earbud controls. Users can customise the single-tap, double-tap, triple-tap, and tap and hold function via the app. The default controls don’t have the voice assistant function, but it can be mapped to the triple tap command on either earbud.
The controls can be used to pause or play music, seek tracks, control volume levels, turn on game mode, answer calls, and summon voice assistants. Oppo phone users with ColorOS 11.0 or higher can customise their earbuds within the device’s Bluetooth settings itself without having to download the app. Also, when connecting the Enco Buds with a few Oppo phones, you get a quick pairing option via a pop-up window.
Other features include IP54 dust and water resistance, which means that the buds can withstand light splashes and sweat making them a good option for fitness enthusiasts; there’s also 80ms low latency Game Mode as we mentioned above.
You also have Type-C charging, touch controls, and single earbud use. They’re not nearly as feature-rich as the Realme Buds Q2 which costs Rs 2,500, however, since these buds are priced below 2K, the feature-set isn’t extremely eye-catching. Nevertheless, you still get the basic features and some additional ones such as customisable touch controls, game mode, and IP54 rating.
The Oppo Enco Buds house an 8mm dynamic driver, so it doesn’t change much in that aspect compared to the Oppo Enco W11 that also came equipped with an 8mm driver. The buds support SBC and AAC audio codecs and come with Bluetooth v5.2 wireless connectivity, which is an improvement over the Enco W11’s Bluetooth 5.0. The buds also support binaural transmission, which in layman’s terms, simply means that the transmission occurs on both earbuds simultaneously allowing you to use a single earbud independently of the other. Now, coming to sound quality, the Oppo Enco Buds come with a warm, bass-boosted sound that many will enjoy.
To test the earbuds’ sound signature objectively, we used a measurement microphone from iSEMcon coupled with an adapter from SLS audio made to test earphones. We used the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 as the audio interface. All of this is hooked up to a PC running the SMAART-Di v2 software that generates frequency graphs for earphones.
Uncompensated frequency response graph of Oppo Enco Buds (Red) vs Flat Response (Blue)
The frequency graph generated shows that the Oppo Enco Buds has boosted lows up until 200 Hz. The peak in the bass response is quite substantial, the bass is loud and punchy. While this sounds good with some genres such as pop, hip hop and EDM, the earbuds don’t perform well in genres such as rock and classical since the lows eclipse the mids and highs due to auditory masking. Auditory masking is the phenomenon where a loud sound shrouds the details of a softer sound.
Here, the overexaggerated bass shrouds the clarity of the softer mids and highs. As a result, the buds can produce slightly boomy and dark sound, which we aren’t huge fans of. Additionally, the frequency graph also shows that the mid-range is slightly under the ideal range, which means the boosted bass coupled with the underemphasised mids throws of the balance in the sound even more. Nevertheless, we are really nitpicking here, the truth is, the sound is pretty decent for a TWS under 2K. The Realme Buds Q2 Neo sound slightly better than these earphones though and they are in the same price range, so keep that in mind.
These buds don’t come with Active Noise Cancellation, but they have pretty impressive passive isolation. The tight seal worked well to subdue some ambient sounds. As for the microphone, the Enco Buds boasts of an AI algorithm that attempts to cancel out external sounds and deliver only your voice when on phone calls. The microphone quality is pretty decent for the price. The voice sounds slightly muffled and we found that external sounds were picked up quite often as well, but it is acceptable at this price range and you won’t have too many issues when taking calls indoors.
As mentioned above, the Oppo Enco Buds support the new Bluetooth 5.2 standard which is an improvement of the Oppo Enco W11 that supported Bluetooth 5.0. There were very few issues with wireless connectivity. For the most part, the connection stayed solid during testing. There were occasional lags and stutters in the sound, but this happened rarely.
The Bluetooth connection process is also extremely simple, just open the charging case, find the Oppo Enco Buds in your Bluetooth settings and pair! That’s it. After the initial pairing, the buds will connect to your device as soon as you flick open the case. As for latency, there’s hardly any noticeable latency when viewing videos and playing games even with Game Mode turned off which is impressive. With Game Mode turned on, the company claims latency as low as 80 milliseconds.
The Oppo Enco Buds’ wireless playback time is rated at 24 hours in total, earbuds and charging case combined. The buds themselves have a playback time of 6 hours on a single charge, according to Oppo. In our tests, the earbuds lasted a cool 5 hours and 5 minutes at 60 per cent volume. Your mileage will obviously vary depending on the volume levels you choose. The charging case provides 3 extra charges, which is decent. The battery life is better than the Realme Buds Q2 Neo and the Noise Air Buds’ 20-hour playtime. So, Oppo has knocked it out of the park here.
The earbuds also provide an hour’s worth of playtime with a 15-minute charge. This isn’t the fastest we’ve seen in this segment, the Realme Buds Q2 Neo provides 2 hours of playtime in just 10 minutes of charging. However, the Oppo Enco Buds still have great battery life rivalled by very few at this price.
Priced under Rs 2,000, the Oppo Enco Buds are good options for those looking to purchase a TWS without breaking the bank. At this entry-level price point, you get some appealing features such as HeyMelody app support, customisable controls, great battery life, IP54 rating, and low latency Game Mode.
The sound quality is a little too bass-biased for our tastes but it’s acceptable for the price and bass lovers will actually really enjoy the sound signature. The design of the earbuds is nothing to write home about, but the fit is pretty impressive, so they’re great buds to use when exercising. Another good option in this price range is the Realme Buds Q2 Neo, which, sound slightly better than the Enco Buds. However, if you can extend your budget to 2.5K, you can grab the Realme Buds Q2 with a plethora of features and good sound quality.