Oppo has been focusing on wireless audio products a lot and it is safe to say they have got it just right in their first year. The Enco W31, Enco Free, and Enco M31 have amassed high praises from critics and consumers. Hence, when Oppo came up with the Enco W51, I had high hopes only. You see, Oppo is bringing active noise cancellation (ANC) to the masses at a very low price with W51. Prior to this, I have mostly seen ANC in earphones costing more than Rs 10,000.
At Rs 4,999, the Enco W51 is currently in a class of its own. Hence, it will be setting a benchmark for ANC on a budget, until OnePlus and Realme come up with derivative iterations. But does the Enco W51 work as advertised? Is it worth spending an extra Rs 1,000 over the regular Enco W31 earbuds? To find out, I swapped my Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 with a pair of W51 for a few days and I was left impressed.
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Design and build
With the Enco W31, Oppo had set the bar high for TWS earbud design and build. The Enco W51 takes it up a notch further with an Apple AirPods-rivalling build quality. I got the white variant of Enco W51 and it apes the glossy white treatment we are used to seeing on the AirPods case. The case has a rectangular shape and it open in an unconventional way. The fit and finish is good but there’s still room for improvement (inconsistent panel gaps are still a thing). You will also see an LED indicator for charging status accompanying the USB-C port – this is a nice touch.
Once you have enough of the solidly built case, you will like what’s inside. The earbuds are sitting inside separated by an LED indicator for connection status. The buds themselves look identical to the Enco W31’s buds. Hence, you have the same bean-shaped in-ear element with a stick jutting out. For the fashion-conscious, the blue variant with the gold-colored trims may add as an accessory.
Wearing the earbuds is easy and unlike the fully in-ear designs, these do not fall out of the ear while you are laughing or talking. The earcaps help with passive noise isolation and help with a snug fit. However, the bean-shaped in-ear element may be uncomfortable after some time. The touch controls are easy to grasp and work as intended, i.e. no issues with sensitivity.
Although the Enco W51 is all about the noise cancellation, Oppo has worked on the audio quality enough to make it sound pleasing. In fact, I will say the Enco W51 sounds possibly the best in its category. There is an inclination towards the bass but it does not end up spoiling the rest of the frequencies. The mids are strong with rich vocals while the highs are free of distortion. The low-end is done quite well as despite rendering thumping bass, I was able to hear the subtle guitar tunes. For example, in the “Dil Bechara” title track, the bassy parts did not drown the minor guitar tones and piano elements. Whether Bollywood or Hollywood titles, the Enco W31 impressed with its lively performance.
I, however, miss the normal and bass mode distinction from the Enco W31. The audio profile on the W51 falls in between and I would have liked some sort of customization on it. The W51 lacks a dedicated app to tweak the settings or change touch settings. I was able to change the touch settings with an Oppo Find X2 only during my usage.
The silicone eartips ensure decent passive noise isolation and in a closed room, it did dilute the ceiling fan noise. However, with active noise cancellation enabled, the Enco W51 cancels out the faint wind noises and running taps. Outdoors, the Enco W51 dampen a lot of bird-chirping, cars humming along the road, people having conversations, and footsteps. You will, however, get to hear horns, barking dogs and shouting people at times.
Surely, the Enco W51 falls short of the AirPods Pro’s ANC with regards to isolation. However, when you factor the price of Rs 4,999, it feels stupid to nitpick. For someone’s first exposure to active noise cancellation, the Enco W51 does a splendid job. Even for audiophiles, the ANC performance on the W51 is easily one of the best in the TWS category.
The AirPods-like design translates to good voice reception from the mic. My callers were able to hear me loud and clear, even while I was taking a stroll outdoors. The wear detection works nicely and I did not face any connection issues with my smartphone. The touch response was great although I would have liked to see volume controls here.
Oppo says the Enco W31 lasts up to 20 hours on a single charge with ANC enabled. My usage included a mix of ANC On and ANC Off daily for 1.5 hours on an average. This also included frequent calls spanning 10-15 minutes on an average. On the whole, I ended up hunting for the socket after every week. Full charging took close two hours with a fast USB-C charger. Additionally, you also have wireless charging in the case, which is a nifty touch.
Should you buy the Oppo Enco W51?
The biggest reason why you might consider the W51 is the active noise cancellation (ANC) and it does not disappoint in this regard. The ANC performance is almost up there with the best in business and for someone’s first exposure to ANC, it makes for a great (and only) option. The audio quality is good too for what it costs. Bass lovers will like the balanced approach to the low-end performance. Battery life is impressive for an ANC-equipped earphone. Most importantly, despite packing so much tech and costing less, the Enco W51 feels solidly built.
At Rs 4,999, the Enco W51 competes with the OnePlus Buds and the Noise Shots X5 Pro. Compared to the latter two, the Enco W51 takes the cake with ANC alone. If you solely seek good audio quality and don’t care about noise cancellation, I would recommend the Enco W31 over the W51 for an equally good audio performance and better battery life at a lower price.