I have had some great experiences with Oppo’s range of truly wireless earbuds last year. Whether it be the budget-oriented Enco W31 with its strong bass performance or the Enco W51 with its good ANC performance at a pocketable price, I was unable to find faults with them. As 2021 starts, Oppo is now inching towards the premium segments of the TWS market with the Enco X. It launched at Rs 9,990 and is aimed to appeal to audiophiles.
Yeah, Oppo is going after the audiophiles with the Enco X. Don’t believe us? Look around the case and tell us what you make of the bold Dynaudio branding! It is the same Danish loudspeaker expert who has worked with Oppo to get the audio quality just right. In addition, Oppo has thrown its ANC feature with improvements too.
For what it costs in India, the Enco X already looks way better as a proposition than alternatives from Apple, Sony, and Samsung. But how does it sound in the real world?
Those familiar with the latest in tech will immediately be reminded of the Apple AirPods Pro after a quick glance at the Oppo Enco X. After all, it is the same pebble-shaped case with an LED light on the top. Even the earbuds themselves look like a twin of the AirPods Pro. It is when you take a closer look that Oppo’s differentiating factors come into vision.
The slimmer side of the case has a broad metallic ring running around. This ring certainly breaks the monotony of the glossy plastic surface and adds a touch of class. I would have preferred Oppo to go with a matte finish on the rest of the case to impart a premium feel as well as make it easy to avoid the thousands of scuffs. Additionally, the panel gaps are inconsistent, which does invite attention to quality control. The Dynaudio branding is a nice touch on the hinge.
The earbuds themselves are built well and are comfortable in the ear The protruding stem helps with the in-ear grip while the egg-like shape of the in-ear element (that houses all the actual earphone bits) lodges well inside the ears – at least in my ears. Throughout my time with the Enco X, I never witnessed any irritation while wearing these. The silicon ear tips help its case further and create good passive noise isolation. The IP54 rating also removes worries about sweat accumulation.
However, the earbuds collect a lot of sweat as well as ear debris. If you forget to clean them often, the debris is often lodged into the stem silo inside the case, and cleaning that out requires lots of patience as well as effort. You do have to follow strict cleanliness on these buds as there are lots of microphones working actively.
The touch controls on Enco X earbuds are the best I have seen in the sub-Rs 10,000 segment. Not only are the controls responsive but they make using the Enco X pleasant. You have your double-tap and triple-tap functions to control playback, both of which can be customized. However, I liked the sliding volume adjustment gestures. I don’t remember the last time I picked up my phone to adjust the volume while using the Enco X.
Oppo has talked a great deal about its new DBEE 3.0 sound system and new coaxial dual driver arrangement using newer materials – all in pursuit of good audio quality. The hardware engineering is where Dynaudio is a part of. The buds have a 6mm driver focusing on high-end audio while a secondary 11mm triple-layer dynamic driver takes care of mids as well as low-end frequencies. Oppo says the arrangement guarantees a farther reach across all audio frequencies.
How does that all sound in the real world? Surely, the Enco X is the best sounding pair of TWS earbuds from Oppo I have ever experienced. The audio profile is balanced – it gives an equal emphasis on all the frequencies, not just the bass. Whether you are listening to spicy Bollywood numbers or funky titles from Billie Eilish, the Enco X always feels at home delivering a strong performance. There’s a uniform serving of all the frequencies, which
Coming from the bass-heavy OnePlus Buds Z, the Enco X is an aural delight. In some bass-dominated numbers like “Bom Diggy Diggy” and “Blinding Lights”, the Enco X keeps the bass controlled while amplifying the vocals as well as highs with absolute clarity. I did not encounter any major distortion in the high-pitched instruments nor did the middle frequencies become muddy. The Sony WF-XB700 TWS earbuds in comparison sound too bass-heavy.
Helping the Enco X to further its audio performance is the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system. Even in 2021, it is unusual to enjoy the luxury of ANC on sub-Rs 10,000 earbuds. Oppo says it is using an updated system on the Enco X that lets you choose between two levels of noise cancellation and two levels of transparency.
For noise cancellation, there’s a standard mode that cuts out the ambient noise but still lets in some of it to prevent the ear-pressure build-up. The other “Strong” mode goes for the best it can do, trying to cut out all the ambient sounds around you. The earbuds only let you have two modes, hence you need to use the HeyMelody app on Android phones to choose your preference. I mostly kept the Enco X in its strongest ANC mode and I was impressed with what it did. The isolation is still far from what the AirPods Pro can do but for what it costs, the Enco X does well.
The ANC system cuts out the hum and cancels some softly spoken people, car engine noises, chirping birds and wind. It still struggles with the shrill high-pitched voice of women and children. On the contrary, the transparency mode works as advertised. It lets in all the sound from around with a slight robotic touch. I instead preferred to rely on the normal mode and take out the buds when not required.
The protruding stem helps with voice reception during calls. The triple mic system made me clear and loud to my callers, even when I was outdoors. I also observed strong connectivity with my smartphone and it held on despite me sitting in the other room. The latency is quite low as well and those into mobile gaming will find the Enco X favorable with minimal lags in audio sync.
For Android users, there’s the HeyMelody companion app that you can use to download firmware updates as well as customize the touch-based controls. If you have a high-end Oppo smartphone, you can make the same changes via the Bluetooth Settings menu. Sadly, iOS users don’t have access to any companion app and are left at Oppo’s mercy to release a dedicated app.
The Enco X impressed me with the battery life performance despite the ANC features. On average, I used the Enco X for close to two hours daily and by the end of the second week, the battery indicator on the case started blinking orange. The earbuds themselves never ran out of power (Oppo says the earbuds can last up to four hours with Strong ANC). Charging an empty case takes close to 1.5 hours while the earbuds take just over an hour for a full refill. There’s Qi wireless charging supported as well, which is convenient if you have a phone supporting reverse wireless charging.
The Oppo Enco X is certainly the best true wireless earphone from the company’s audio lineup. That bold Dynaudio logo on the case means business – it will please your ears if you yearn for a well-balanced audio performance. The ANC is an added bonus and while it isn’t in the same league as the Apple AirPods Pro, it goes a long way to add to the overall listening experience. The responsive touch controls are convenient while the battery life is great, given what the rest of the package has to offer.
At Rs 9,990, the Enco X is certainly our top recommendation over similarly priced offerings from Samsung and Sony. Those spending an extra on the basic AirPods should also give this one a chance, if audio quality matters over superior integration.