Thursday, January 21, 2021

Oppo Enco X India

One-minute review

The true wireless earbuds market in India is filled with a plethora of options ranging from budget ones to premium. Oppo entered the segment last year with the Enco Free, and later on launched a few more in the lineup which included the Enco W31, Enco W51, and Enco W11. Fast forward to 2021, the brand has now announced the Oppo Enco X which are its premium and costliest audio product till date in India. 

We can say the Oppo Enco X as the successor to the Enco Free in a way. It takes all the goodness from the Oppo Enco Free including the intuitive gesture control and sound quality. The major addition comes in terms of active noise cancellation here. ANC is the unique selling point and the pricing is also very aggressive. In fact, the Oppo Enco X is priced less than what they cost in the UK and China. 

To offer better audio experience, Oppo has teamed up with Dynaudio, a brand which is one of the best in the business. The earphones are suitable for everyone including those who are hardcore audiophiles. The sound quality is excellent and you will enjoy listening to music for an extended period of time on these.  

The active noise cancellation is pretty effective and Oppo has added two noise cancellation levels which is pretty smart. There are plenty of controls available but there are some limitations when it comes to customization. While Oppo and Android users get some customization options, iPhone users won’t get any options as such. 

The battery life is pretty average, especially when listening to music with ANC and volume set to 100%. There is no support for fast charging either but, you get wireless charging. Overall for the price and quality of the audio on the Oppo Enco X, it is hard not to recommend these. 

Oppo Enco X price in India and availability

Check out the Oppo Enco X

Rs 9,990 on Flipkart

Available starting January 22

The Oppo Enco X true wireless earbuds are priced at Rs 9,990 in India. The Enco X was launched alongside the Oppo Reno 5 Pro smartphone in India on January 18. Starting January 22, the Oppo Enco X will go on sale in India via Flipkart. The earphones are available in two colour options - Black and White. 

Design

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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)
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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)
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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)
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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

True wireless earbuds come in two shapes and the Oppo Enco X opts for ‘dangling stem’ design rather than the ‘sticky-out lozenge’ alternative. For the purpose of this review, we are using the Balck variant but the earbuds are also available in White colour option. Personally, after testing a bunch of white earbuds in 2020, it was refreshing to use the Black variant for a change. 

As for the case, the first thing you’ll notice as you hold in the hand is the premium feel you get. The Oppo Enco X’s case comes in an egg-shaped case which is quite handy and pocketable. It has a glossy finish and as you’d expect it can be a fingerprint magnet often. Although our unit picked up some slight scratches during the four weeks of testing it was barely noticeable - but that is what you get with all glossy finish. 

To the right of the case, there is a pairing button which can be used to reset the Oppo Enco X or can be used to enter pairing mode. To the front, you get a solo LED light which changes to green when the battery is full; orange while charging and Red when the battery is low. There is a Type-C port on the bottom. The case also has a metallic ring running around and there is also Dynaudio branding to the back of the case. The Oppo Enco X also supports wireless charging. 

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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)
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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

By ‘dangling stem’ standards the Oppo are reasonably discreet, mind you, and at 4.8g per earbud they’re hardly a burden to wear. Oppo provides many sizes of ear tip in a selection of hardnesses, so getting the Enco X comfortable in your ear shouldn’t be difficult or time-consuming – and once they’re in place, they remain comfortable for hours on end and you wouldn't even feel it. 

On the inside, Oppo has wisely let Dynaudio have free rein. Dynaudio has a pretty impeccable reputation in Hi-Fi circles. The Dynaudio specification calls for a relatively complex coaxial dual-driver design which we will talk about in a bit. To facilitate noise-cancelling and calls, each earbud packs in a feedback mic, feed-forward mic, and an internal mic. 

As for the fit, the Oppo Enco X sits very comfortably inside the ear. The company also bundles additional ear tips inside the box so you can get the best fit. The only issue I faced during my usage was that when I was laughing hard with the earphones slightly loosened up. But, didn’t fall off the ear. 

Audio performance

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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Following the legacy of the Oppo’s line up which includes Enco Free, Enco W31, and the latest Enco W51, the Oppo Enco X, as you’d expect, is a winner when it comes to audio quality. The Oppo Enco X sounds like the money’s-worth. The added advantage here is the support for active noise cancellation.  

The Oppo Enco X harnesses Bluetooth 5.2 and offers support for LHDC, SBC, and AAC codecs. LHDC (Low Latency High-Definition Audio) is a Bluetooth codec that is made for Hi-Res audio streaming. LHDC has a higher bit rate transmission compared to the SBC and AAC codecs. It is also said to be better than the aptX codec. However, the devices that support LHDC codecs, for the time being, are very limited. Oppo says the Oppo X2 and X2 Pro support the LHDC codec and more Oppo phones will get the support via an OTA update in the coming days. We were surprised to see the support for LHDC on Xiaomi Mi 10i. Even if the phone supports, the next problem is finding the streaming app which supports Hi-Res audio. For now, there is an app called Tidal but most of the users will have to rely on the SBC and AAC codes. 

On the inside, the Oppo Enco X has a dual-driver design. Oppo's proprietary DBEE 3.0 sound system brings in improved sound quality, low-frequency audio, and coaxial dual-drivers. The magnetic balanced membrane driver is meant to handle high frequencies while the dynamic driver is responsible for handling mid-low frequencies. There is an 11mm dynamic driver and a secondary 6mm balanced membrane driver. The frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20KHz. There is also support for low-latency which means there is no time lag between audio and video sync. 

The dual drivers do an excellent job here. You get rich and clear audio on the Oppo Enco X. The superb audio quality backed up by ANC and Dynaudio's audio tuning takes your listening to the next level. If you are here for sound quality, then the Oppo Enco X should be an instant buy. 

The sound details are excellent; the instrument separation is again fabulous while the sound stage is spacious. We don’t have anything to complain here when it comes to pure audio listening. Thanks to the dual-driver design, the highs and lows are crisp and clear without any disturbance. Similarly, the mids were well detailed and overall the sound quality was held up very well and balanced well throughout our usage.

The bass on the Oppo Enco X is effectively punchy but don't expect thumping bass. The mids onboard is not overtaken by the bass which is a good sign and the area where most of the TWS struggle. 

The active noise cancellation is not something that’s new to the TWS. We’ve seen ANC on earbuds which cost half of the Oppo Enco X. The Oppo Enco X comes with two levels of ANC - Max ANC and ANC (regular ANC). The ANC mode is suitable for low noise environments such as your room while the max ANC is useful and effective in outdoors, office, etc. Once you use the Enco X with Max ANC mode, I am sure you won’t go back to the regular ANC mode. There is also transparency mode which makes it possible to listen to the surrounding environment without taking it out from the ear. 

The noise cancellation has proven its worth. While it might not be as good as what we’ve seen on the Apple AirPods Pro and Sony’s WF-1000XM3, these are better than the Oppo Enco W51 and Realme Buds Air Pro. But, unless you’ve heard on the top end earbuds, you won’t be able to make out any difference. When using max ANC mode there is a slight, but definite, loss of top-end sparkle and a slight sensation of ‘counter-signal’. This isn’t particularly a deal breaker but something you should keep in mind. 

The noise cancellation was very effective for me personally on the Oppo Enco X. While I was on a weekend trip with 9 hours of travel, the ANC was pretty impressive during my travel and in a function hall with around 50 people and instrument sound.

Controls and app support

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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Once paired on your Android phone, you will need Hey Melody app to take over more controls of the Oppo Enco X. The Hey Melody app displays the battery remaining on earbuds as well as the case. You can also install firmware updates if there are any and you can also test the earbud fit which is pretty handy and you will get to know which size eartips fits better on your ear. 

Apart from that, there is Earbuds control which takes you to the customization page where you can set gestures for a double tap, triple tap, slide control, touch & hold, and long touch & hold. With double and triple tap options you can perform operations like play/pause, skip tracks on both left and right buds. But the triple tap can only be used for launching voice assistant. The slide controls can be used to control volume or switch track. But, we’d recommend sticking to volume control as it is easy to remember and also works well. 

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Oppo Enco X app

(Image credit: Future)
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Oppo Enco X app

(Image credit: Future)

The touch and hold function can be assigned to perform two operations among the four options - ANC off, Transparency, ANC, and Max ANC. We have set this to switch between Max ANC and Transparency. And lastly, the long touch and hold feature can be used to switch between two devices which is handy when you are using a laptop and a phone. 

The touch controls work really well on the Oppo Enco X, be it the double tap, triple tap, sliding, or the long-press feature. These functions worked 10/10 times for me and this is one of the best gestures implementations I've seen on any TWS.  

While there are plenty of gesture controls, the customization options are kind of limited as you can’t assign different tasks especially for long touch and hold and triple tap functions. If you own an Oppo phone you wouldn’t require the app also. But, the major disadvantage that comes along with the Oppo Enco X is that there is no app support for iOS devices

Battery life

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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)
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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

In terms of battery life, the Oppo Enco X packs in a 44mAh battery unit on each bud and the case is bundled with a 535mAh battery. Oppo claims the earbuds can last up to 4 hours on a single charge with max ANC turned on and volume set at 50%. With ANC turned off, the buds are rated to last about 5.5 hours. With the charging case, the total tally goes up to 20 hours and 25 hours. 

In our testing, with maximum ANC turned on and volume set at 100% all the time, I got around 3 hours of music playback and with the ANC turned off I got an additional hour of playback. With the volume turned down to 60 to 80%, you can get more battery out of it. The battery life, especially with the ANC turned on, is quite average. In the latest few usage cycles, I also noticed that the right earbud is draining rapidly - by the time the left earbud reaches 80%, the right one was already dead on a couple of occasions. I will test it for a few more cycles and update this section in the coming days. 

To top up the earbuds along with the case, it will take about 2 hours and to completely charge the earbuds only, it takes about 80 to 90 minutes. Oppo has not included a fast charging feature here but you can juice up via Type-C port or charge it wirelessly with any Qi-compatible phone or charging pad. If you use the Enco X daily for 3 hours, you should be able to get a week of battery life with the included case. 

Connectivity and mic

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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)
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Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Oppo )
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 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

As for the connectivity, the Oppo Enco X is one of the few audio products in the market to feature the Bluetooth 5.2 protocol. Apart from the Vivo TWS Neo, I can’t recall any other TWS in India with Bluetooth 5.2. The connectivity was very stable throughout the usage period and not once I faced an issue. 

The Oppo Enco X sports dual microphone on each bud. The call quality is one of the many things that Oppo Enco aced. I was able to take calls and attend meetings online via the Enco X and the microphones did a great job. Even in the outdoor conditions and windy conditions, the earbuds did a great job cancelling most of the noise and my sound was fairly audible on the other end. We’d easily recommend these to anyone who wants to take a lot of calls. 

Should you buy the Oppo Enco X?

 Oppo Enco X

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Buy them if...

If you want ANC

The Oppo Enco X not only brings the ANC feature it is very effective and you will enjoy the max ANC mode present here. 

You enjoy an upfront sound

If audio listening is your priority, the Enco X won’t disappoint you. The sound quality is top-notch and if you own a phone with LHDC support, it’s even a better deal. 

If you want stable connectivity

Thanks to the Bluetooth 5.2 that’s inside the Oppo Enco X, the connectivity onboard is very stable and you won’t lose connection.

Don't buy them if...

You’re an iPhone user

While the Oppo Enco X connects to iOS devices. There is no app on iOS that gives control over the Enco X.

You want support for aptX and other Hi-Res audio profiles

While the LHDC is a welcome addition, there are hardly any apps or phones that support this codec. 

Check out the Oppo Enco X

Rs 9,990 on Flipkart

Available starting January 22

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