The OPPO Enco Free is a pair of true wireless earbuds with open-fit earbuds for every day comfort use. Officially on retail price at S$189, the street price is closer to S$109 to $129, and every purchase of selected OPPO smartphones – like the OPPO Find X2 Pro 5G – will come with the Enco Free free.
Unboxing and Operations
In the box, there are the quick start guide, 3 pairs of proprietary ear tips (2+1 on the earbuds), short charging cable, and the pair of earbuds in the charging case. I like the way the operations are designed: double tap to play-pause, which is normal. To jump to next track or go to previous track, swipe the right earbud touch sensor downwards or upwards. For adjusting volume, swipe the left earbud sensor downward to reduce volume and upwards to increase volume.
Removing the earbuds would automatically pause the music, which is convenient. When you remove one earbud and later insert it back, the music will auto-resume within a certain time frame. But when both earbuds are removed and you insert it back again, music will not resume, nor can you double-tap to start playback. It seems that the earbuds will close the music app so it would not be able to restart the music app to continue the track. And depending on the smartphone model, the auto-resume might not work as willingly.
On supported smartphones like OPPO Find X2 Pro, there are additional earbud controls under the Bluetooth menu, where you can choose the double-tap actions independently for both earbuds, either for play-pause or to activate the voice assistant.
The Enco Free has a rated battery life of 5+20 hours. Throughout my 2-week review, I did not charge the case, so it appears the earbuds are able to hold the charge well without any unusual battery drain effects found in other earbuds like the 1MORE EHD9001TA TWS ANC. There is one LED on the case to indicate the remaining battery life by colour code – green when full, orange when medium, red when low.
Pairing the Earbuds
The pairing process is similar to Apple AirPods. When the case cap is flipped open, the pairing and connection initiates. On OPPO smartphones, pairing is automatic and has a pop-up window to show the remaining battery life of each earubd and the charging case. On non-OPPO smartphones, to go into pairing mode, press and hold the button on the case for 2 seconds.
Check the eartips closely, the default is a seamless eartip fit that resembles the AirPods. Switching to the larger tips will make it appear like an in-ear silicone tips. However, it still does not offer the in-ear seal as the other tips, nor does it provide additional secure fit expected from in-ear tips, as claimed by OPPO in the website. It’s a pity, because when I pushed the tips into the ear canals to make a seal, the sound quality is more dynamic with more bass. Perhaps they should offer even larger ear tips, or one with ear hooks attached.
I generally do not like open-fit earbuds for immersive audio enjoyment because it does not cut off noises around me nor does it deliver accurate sound balance. That makes it a terrible earbuds to use outdoors for music, while adequate for casual use like podcasts. But open-fit works great for quiet places because it allows you to be aware of things around you. For instance, at home, if someone knocks at the door, or a sudden downpour necessitates you to close windows.
When worn naturally with the earbuds seated outside the ear canal, the overall sound lacks warmth and balance of details. Just like most open-fit, the bass lacks intensity and energy, while the mid-treble occupies most of the audio spectrum. Turning the volume up merely increases the treble more than the bass, and sounded noisy. Pushing the eartips into the ear canals, I get better bass response and defined treble, but this is not the natural way, as removing my fingers would revert to the openness. When listening to general audio, for instance, YouTube videos, the earbuds sound fine and achieves an impression of clear audio.
The Enco Free provide normal call quality, slightly muffled when talking naturally. I find the if I cup my mouth with my hand towards the earbuds, I get better sound projection. Also, only one earbud is picking up the microphone, not both. So if the other caller complains you cannot be heard, just switch to wear the other earbud.
The OPPO Enco Free is a true wireless earbuds made as an attractive companion to OPPO range of smartphones. Thanks to its compact case, I find myself carrying it around very often when I go out to pack meals for home during this COVID-19 circuit breaker period. As they are open-fit, I have better awareness around me and can talk to the stall owners without removing the earbuds. If you take public transport and want to remove ambient sounds, you should get in-ear designs. Retailing at S$189, it is not difficult to find market prices at close to S$100.