OPPO started its company in 2004 producing audio-visual and personal products. In 2013, it focused on designing smartphones and has built a formidable market share. After achieving great success in the mobile segment, it is looking back to its roots and launched a series of “Enco” true-wireless earbuds. The Enco X is positioned as their premium earbuds with all the features that you would expect from a flagship true wireless model, including ANC, Transparency mode, wireless charging. It retails for S$259 in Singapore.
Design and Operations
The OPPO Enco X is co-created with Dynaudio, a leading Danish HiFi brand. It’s a result of evaluating 30 different materials, 152 components, 120 rounds of structural modifications and constant refinement. It also takes design inspiration from its first headphone product 15 years ago. Indeed, the metallic ring frame that goes around the case is quite an interesting design element that distinguishes the Enco X from the other earbuds.
To pair the earbuds, flip the case to power up, then press the button at the side of the case until the LED light flashes. The Enco X should then show up on the Bluetooth device list on your smartphone. Next time, when the case flips open, the earbuds would be promptly connected to the smartphone even before removing the earbuds from the dock.
The earbuds fit comfortably in my ears without much pressure from the ear tips against my ear canals. There is a delicate balance in this in-ear pressure: having a tight fit ensures secured seal but might be fatiguing for long wear, while a delicate fit is less fatiguing but prone to dropouts. The Enco X does not drop out during my runs, but it tends to loosen the seal against the canals, which results in a loss of bass impact.
The touch controls lie along the stem of the earbuds. There is no single-tap action which is designed to prevent accidental triggers. Double-tap changes track, and tap-hold for 1 second toggles ANC. To adjust volume, slide up and down along the stem. Some of these gestures can be personalised from the smartphone app which OPPO calls “HeyMelody”. One of the gesture features allow the user to manually switch to a previously-paired device by press-and hold for 3 seconds. For that, the Enco X can only connect to one active device at any time.
During my review, I encountered several instances of the touch panel not correctly responding to my gestures. I also find it difficult to handle the earbuds without triggering gestures like volume adjustments, or in some cases, track changes, as somehow the sensor picks up my handling of the earbuds as double-tap gestures.
One of the key technological highlights for the Enco X is that it features a coaxial dual-driver design. In the front, a 6mm magnetic balanced membrane driver handles high frequencies. At the back, a 11mm triple-layer composite dynamic driver handles middle and low frequencies. While the marketing literature did not state directly, the OPPO product team described the high-frequency driver as “planar magnetic”. In addition, it was mentioned that the magnetic balanced membrane driver was taken from the PM-1 headphones which uses planar magnetic drivers.
Regardless of the driver design, what matters is the audio quality. The Enco X indeed delivers good treble clarity that is above average for a smartphone brand. Sibilance is well controlled despite sounding bright, though it can get a little fatiguing especially if the tracks have pushy treble. The bass offers compact booms that falls short of influencing the midrange, but it achieves relatively clean performance. Among the recent true-wireless earbuds reviewed like the Jabra Elite 85t and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, the Enco X delivers the strongest treble output, which should delight listeners looking for clarity and details. The only high-res audio codec it supports is LHDC, which not many smartphones offer, but listening with the AAC codec reaps good dynamics without detecting any audible compression artefacts.
On the ANC, the Enco X offers respectable ambient noise attenuation, enough to dull out the lower and midrange steady-state noises like engines and fans. Upper frequencies are not eliminated as effectively as other premium ANC earbuds like Technics AZ70 or Sony WF-1000XM3. The Enco X offers the intuitiveness to auto-switch to Transparency mode when you remove one of the earbuds, so that your hearing is balanced. The Transparency mode lets in some traffic noise but not overpowering the music I am listening to, sounds more like an open-fit earbuds than an overdrive microphone feedback. It would be good if the ANC and Transparency modes can be manually adjusted like Jabra Elite 85t to cater to different user needs.
The earbuds work rather well for calls. The sensor detects which earbud is on the ear and switches the microphone to the active earbud for the voice call. When one of the earbud is docked into the case, the other earbud takes over seamlessly without any disconnect. The mic captures the voice clearly as well as the surrounding activity. In windy conditions, the voice is able to be picked up while the wind noise is controlled. One thing I like is that I can toggle ANC and Transparency mode during calls, something that is not often available on other ANC earbuds.
There are occasional connectivity glitches, where the audio would go silent for a few seconds as the earbuds re-establish signal with the smartphone. While annoying, it managed to recover and resume the listening without necessitating any drastic measures.
Audio latency is reasonably low for gaming, but it still could not match wired performance. Battery life is up to 5.5 hours for each earbud when ANC is enabled, and 25 hours total with charging case without ANC.
OPPO smartphones have been doing very well in features, design, and performance. The Enco X is elevating the brand’s audio capability, by far their best-sounding best-featured true-wireless earbuds from OPPO. Retailing at S$259, it makes a great audio companion for any smartphone users, but OPPO owners should get one to enjoy the full benefits. The ANC confidently suppresses urban noises to let you enjoy music in details, and it offers good mic quality for voice calls. Overall, I enjoy using it regularly as they are comfortable to wear and offer good detailed sound.