Choice is always good. Too much choice can be a bit confusing but eventually it’s a good thing too. That’s the state of the wireless earbuds market at this time, at pretty much most price points. Yet, not all wireless earbuds are equal, and you need to be smart while choosing the buds that will work best for you. Speaking of what works, and works very well, has to be the new Oppo Enco X wireless earbuds. Following on from the Enco W31 wireless earbuds that had really impressed me last year, here are the Enco X that are seriously upping the game in terms of the specifications sheet and the experience you get as a result. And at a price tag of Rs 9,990 there really is some serious coolness about the Oppo Enco X wireless earbuds. Mind you, that’s true if you intend to use these with an Android phone.
The party piece has to be Oppo's partnership with Danish audio company Dynaudio that gives the Oppo Enco X a push towards the serious audio space, something most of its rivals cannot claim to have. The results are there to hear, as we will illustrate in this review. Oppo says the Oppo Enco X went through as many as 120 rounds of finetuning, particularly the structural bit, before we get the earbuds that we finally get to use. The rest of the spec sheet is impressive too. The DBEE 3.0 sound system is another upgrade and that now derives its audio delivery from the new magnetic balanced membrane audio driver in each ear. The Oppo Enco X also get LHDC codec wireless transmission for even higher quality audio files—but for that, you’ll need to be using an Oppo phone. On paper then, the Oppo Enco X mean business.
Take the Oppo Enco X out of the box and what immediately greets you is what seems like a fairly weighty charging case. Mind you, while the charging case seems a bit bigger overall compared with the likes of the OnePlus Buds Z, it seems at par with the likes of the Sony WF-XB700 wireless earbuds. You can get these in black and white colour options. Yet, a slightly bigger case also means a slightly larger battery built-in, which is great news in the long run. The Oppo Enco X charging case is wireless charging ready too, which is a real value addition if you already have a wireless charging mat on your bedside table or your workstation desk.
The case is inspired by something Oppo made 15 years ago, a MP3 X3 media player. The case of the Oppo Enco X takes the finish inspiration from that, and the silver band frame is pretty much an ode to the past. Open the case and you’ll pull out buds that follow the stem design language, much like the Apple AirPods. Each bud weighs just 4.8 grams and that’s incredibly light to wear. You’ll get multiple ear tip sizes in the box to get the perfect fit, and it shouldn’t take too long to find the size that works best for you. These have the IP54 rating for water and dust resistance as well.
If you intend to use the Oppo Enco X with an Android phone, you’ll have to download the Hey Melody app on your phone to set this up, manage the functionality such as the touch functions and also update the firmware. There is no such app for Apple iPhone users at this time, which means that while you can pretty simply pair and use these with your iPhone or indeed even an iPad, there is no customization available for you. That’s a pretty significant limitation, but it isn’t Oppo’s unique problem—a lot of its rivals suffer from the same myopia.
What is inside the Oppo Enco X is where the magic really lies. The audio driver composition sees a 6mm magnetic balanced membrane handling the higher frequencies while there an 11mm triple layer dynamic driver that sits behind it and that handles the mid and the lower frequencies. This composition immediately gives the Oppo Enco X a significant advantage over most rivals, who do not have such an intricate audio setup in place and neither do they have the luxury of having it tuned by a well-known audio brand.
That neatly takes us to the experience bit. The experience, at least as far as the audio that streaming is concerned, is extremely pleasant. There is a great amount of detailing on display and so is the very subtle separation between the mid, lower and higher frequencies. At no point did I feel that any particular frequency had an extra boost. For example, the higher frequencies and vocals get the details across just perfectly without ever sounding sharp or harsh, even at higher volumes. It’s a wide soundstage and the finer elements come through quite nicely. Bass doesn’t feel artificially enriched, which is good, but there is a hint at tines that the lower frequencies feel hemmed in on certain tracks. Mind you, most of my testing was with streaming apps including Apple Music and Spotify, the way most of you would be using the Oppo Enco X. The sound signature is fairly neutral, which means these buds have the flexibility for most music genres.
Noise cancellation does what it is supposed to do, and that is block out the ambient noise that you wouldn’t want to spoil your peaceful music listening experience. There is the standard noise cancellation mode that should work well for most surroundings. However, you have the option of dialing this up to Maximum Noise Cancellation in noisy environments. That being said, while this does block out even the higher volume din, you will notice that the music you are listening to comes across as a bit restrained.
Battery life is nothing to be critical about. With noise cancellation and volume at just about 40%, this lasts a bit more than the claimed 5.5 hours. Guessing that is also because of the unnaturally low volume I’ve been listening at. Turn off noise cancellation, and you could draw another hour or so from it, before they need to be reseated in the case for charging.
The Last Word: The subtle jump from being good to being almost great, and that's priceless
There is a lot to like about the Oppo Enco X wireless earbuds, particularly because of the dash of finesse that Dynaudio has added into the mix. These earbuds should work well for Android phone users in general, and even better if you use an Oppo phone. Apple iPhone users may feel a bit left out though, with the significantly limited functionality on offer. But all things considered, for anyone who doesn’t want artificial boosting and EQs to compromise their music like a lot of earbuds do in an attempt to sound better, the Oppo Enco X are a good bet. They tick off the boxes of a wide soundstage, neutral sound and solid battery life.