Oppo Enco X review: A question of desire
I have taken Oppo's latest pair of true wireless earbuds out for a spin, the Enco X. I did wonder whether my favorite album works with Oppo's offering this time around? Find out in the review!
- Rich bass
- Clear, detailed sound
- Very light and discreet
- Wireless charging supported
- Effective ANC with good ambient noise mode
- Good grip
- Fairly priced
- Limited app functionality
- Limited touch gesture controls
A Brief Summary
With the Enco X true wireless earbuds from Oppo, this pair delivers an above-average performance sans wires at a competitive price point. The audio quality is certainly worth crowing about when it comes to clear highs and mids, without having to sacrifice its bass performance. The ANC capability also performed well once you get used to the touch gestures, and it is something that you would want to use over and over again.
There are a few points to take note of that might not please everyone - the app is rather limited in terms of functionality and there are too few options for audiophiles to meddle with, especially when it comes to non-Oppo handsets. However, the overall sound quality comes across as highly recommended, making the Enco X shoot right to the top of my recommendations list.
Who is the Oppo Enco X suitable for?
While I understand that musical taste is very subjective, how about celebrating my choice of audio poison? My heroes, Depeche Mode, released "Black Celebration" almost exactly 35 years ago - and boy was this an incredible album. This particular album also stayed with me through the entire Enco X review. It is a dark, extremely melancholic album and was groundbreaking for both the band and me at the time of its release.
Good headphones are virtually a given for anyone who wants to give an album like "Black Celebration" a listen, and the entire experience is surreal enough that you do not want to listen to for the sake of completing the album, but rather, want to discover the different layers of audio and detailed facets over and over again. Anyone who has this as part of their headphones requirement is definitely a segment of the target group that Oppo has in mind with its in-ear headphones.
With a sticker price tag of approximately €155, this is an extremely affordable pair that makes it easy for audio connoisseurs to pick up without having to break the bank.
Design and build quality
Dressed in Black
The design of the Enco X inspired me right from the get-go, which began with the packaging. It comes in a lovely shade of black and is accompanied by silver lettering that makes out its brand. Upon opening the box, you will be greeted by a shiny and equally black case in addition to the pair of in-ears, which - you've guessed it - also arrive in black alongside a chrome-plated stem at each end.
The overall package simply looks classy and expensive, once again underlining the high standards Oppo has for this product. When you open the charging case, you'll notice a pleasant degree of resistance that reinforces the high-quality feeling.
The "Dynaudio" lettering on the side refers to Oppo's partner in crime when it came to the development of the Enco X. Right at the bottom, you are able to hook it up to the included USB Type-C cable (this is only the cable included, you do not get a charger), while the side lies a button that paves the way for a Bluetooth connection.
"Oh, God, it's raining
But I'm not complaining"
As mentioned earlier, the in-ear headphones themselves come in black with a chrome finish, and you can also bring this out with you on your runs on a rainy day since it boasts of IP54 certification. They are also lightweight enough at a mere 4.8 grams each, and it is all too easy to forget that you're wearing them.
Environmentalists will be pleased to know that there is no included charger with each purchase. Battery life is impressive though. Without ANC activated, Oppo claims that the battery can last up to 5.5 hours, and I achieved approximately four hours of non-stop use with ANC turned on most of the time, so Oppo's estimate clearly fits the bill. The charging case comes with an LED indicator so that you know whether the in-ear headphones are fully charged, medium, or are running on empty. A full charge of the case provides enough juice to charge the in-ear headphones five more times, so it would be extremely difficult for you to actually run out of juice when you're on the move.
You will also be pleased to know that the Enco X supports wireless charging, giving you the opportunity to simply throw them onto your Qi charging pad and return later.
Operation and software
A Question Of Time
I suppose you can call me a typical male - I simply refuse to read instructions that come with the box. That is the reason why I fumbled when handling the two in-ear headphones right out of the box, upon noticing that they had a certain amount of charge and tried to pair them to my smartphone without reading up on the pairing process. "It's just a question of time before they lay their hands on you", as Dave sang. I am pretty sure that Dave Gahan did not have the Enco X in mind when he penned those lyrics! In this particular case, it was my hands that laid hands on the Enco X, and it was indeed only a matter of time before they started to get to me.
The pairing was a very simple process. I still have the Oppo Find X3 Lite lying around the house and it connected to the Enco X almost instantaneously. Seconds later, the Enco X nestled comfortably in my ears with Spotify sending soothing tunes over.
Later, I also connected the Enco X to my Huawei P30 Pro and this time around, the process took a little longer because the in-ear headphones were not immediately recognized. After a minute or two, however, my smartphone discovered the Enco X, and I was good to go - all without having to read the manual.
Touch me - now
Speaking of touching: "Touch me - now" it says at the end of "Fly on the windscreen" on the Depeche Mode album, and that is also the case with the Enco X. There is much fun is controlling audio cues via touch gestures, and at that point in time, I could no longer ignore the fact that I should take a closer look at the included instructions.
I would never have figured the gesture controls out on my own, including adjusting the volume level based on the direction in which I swiped the Enco X's stem.
If you double tap the stem, you will advance to the next track, and placing your finger on the Enco X for about one second will change the playback mode. As for everything else, I needed to refer to the manual or the app. If you take out one of the in-ear headphones during playback, the song will pause. Placing it back will resume playback.
By the way, the app is called "Hey Melody" and is mandatory if you are not rocking to a compatible Oppo handset. This app was developed by "HeyTap" and is not a homegrown Oppo app, and the app also plays nice with other manufacturers such as OnePlus. However, if you have a compatible Oppo smartphone that is powered by ColorOS 7.0, you will also find similar configuration options buried deep within your smartphone's Bluetooth settings.
If I had to pick a suitable song from Depeche Mode's album to describe the app, it would probably be "World Full of Nothing", because this app itself is very spartan. There are exactly three things you can do with this app:
- Download firmware updates
- Earbud controls
- Earbud fitting
It's nice that you can update the software from there - I did that right away without any hesitation. Checking for the right fit also comes in handy, where you can choose between different sized earbuds without having to rely on feelings when adjusting them as the app is more cognitive of the situation by showing whether they fit perfectly, well or average.
Apart from that, I already knew there was something wrong with my ears, many earbuds that I have tried on in the past have proven to be too large to fit comfortably. I guess I have a misshapen ear canal or something.
That's why I like to wear over-ear headphones, because they have the advantage of fitting snugly and protecting my ears from stares simultaneously. But back to checking the fit via the app: you will listen to a short tune before being informed how well they fit.
Under "earphone control", you can not only configure the different gestures, but also obtain an overview of what kind of available options there are. For example, you'll learn that you can launch Google Assistant by tapping three times, if you want to configure it that way.
For me, the app might have a manageable list of options, but it lacks functionality when using touch controls. Who would even think of the idea that if you tapped the right earbud twice, you will go to the next song, while doing the same on the left side will also advance playback to the next track? At least you can customize that via the app, with double-tapping on the left earbud taking me to the previous track.
Unfortunately, you can't configure the device as you please. For instance, you can't configure gestures for "back", "forward" and "pause/play" simultaneously - there can only be two of them. With triple taps, you can only choose between two options:
- Activate voice assistant
Why won't they let me set triple tap to pause playback? All in all, I find this disappointing, though I'm hopeful that this can be corrected via a future software update.
Just how comfortable is it?
"Let me see you stripped down to the bone"
Hach, Stripped - also such a wonderful number! And yes, you really do feel a bit naked with the Enco X if you were used to wearing massive Bose headphones prior. Tipping the scales at less than 5 grams each, you'll easily forget that you're wearing them after just a few minutes. It's as if the music is simply pumped straight in your head.
I absolutely enjoyed listening to music with the Enco X while during my rounds through Dortmund because they sit so inconspicuously. The tiny stems are also visually very discreet, which reinforces this impression of actually not wearing them.
By the way, it's not just when I've been traipsing around on my rounds that I noticed how well the Enco X sits in my ears. I've really experienced issues with in-ear headphones many times before, where they simply refused to remain inside no matter what I tried. Thankfully, nothing of the sort happened to me with the Enco X, and I even did a little jig in my living room specifically to test that out. Even when headbanging, playing an air guitar and my jaw-dropping boy band dance moves never seriously placed the earbuds in danger of dropping out. To wit: Not only are these things just comfortable to wear, but they remain where they're supposed to.
Sound and Active Noise Cancelling
So, did I forget anything else? Oh yeah - the sound. Maybe you're interested in my experience regarding the audio performance, since we're talking about the Enco X, eh?
First of all, let me tell you that I stole one of Ben's ideas especially for this test and made myself a special headphone review playlist. The fact that I spent most of my time listening to "Black Celebration" instead is another typical Drees story.
"Can't you see the sky?"
Anyway, I wanted to have something with a bang in my playlist and so I included the track "Rot V1.0" by [:SITD:]. I think it was clear to me after that song that Oppo's partnership with the Danish audio experts at Dynaudio bore plenty of fruit. The bass was surprisingly loud, though I'm even more excited about the clear highs and mids.
You don't feel like you're missing out on any detail, the sound never gets muddy, plus the Enco X are also pleasantly loud. Most of the time, I don't even need to turn the volume up to full blast, which I usually had to do with other in-ear headphones and still feel down when they're blasting away at maximum level. This problem really doesn't exist with Enco X!
In the case of the song in question, this was particularly noticeable to me when the song came to a complete standstill in between (at around 3:15 minutes) - we will hear nothing at first except a distorted voice and a surface sound as well as a synthesizer that comes to the surface. Everything is so clear and easy to discern until around the 3:45 mark when the beat kicks in again and you want to jump right back onto the dance floor. Songs sounded like how they were suppose to be - fantastic!
After this song, I listed a few tracks that inevitably make you ooze with enthusiasm as a music fan, stuff like "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield, "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles or Massive Attack with "Unfinished Sympathy" and "Time" by Pink Floyd.
How about skipping to Talk Talk and "The Rainbow"? There, you will not only hear what an incredible music god Mark Hollis was, but you can listen for minutes on end as to how a song builds up from very fragile sound scraps to a wonderful chorus. If you then take a look at the rest of the playlist, you'll notice that the rest of the songs don't really mesh well - it is but a mixtape from hell!
It's not about being able to listen to a list of Top 100 tracks in music, but rather, I wanted to consciously serve many different styles that I like to listen to privately. After the first 10-15 songs, where I tried to collect songs that generally give a glimpse into the headphones' performance due to the audio complexity involved, I followed that up with a bunch of songs that I simply enjoyed listening to. Trancy and other electronic stuff have a very strong influence in my life, but I also did take those who love guitars into account.
The guitars on Master of Puppets make me feel like my electronic music comes off better. Also, I managed to perceive the bass here, but the guitar wall does sound a bit thinner to me in tunes electronic sounds and guitars are equally present like in Combichrist and "Not my Enemy".
But in general, I think the guitars sounded very good too, and is also great beyond the metal genre. Perhaps listening to "Sober" by Tool or the funky Austrians by Bilderbuch on "Maschin" will provide a better picture.
Logically, I also ran played "Black Celebration" a countless number of times. Many songs feed directly into each other and eventually, rather unusual sound constructs are created. It would be a shame to listen to this with a pair of headphones that do not deliver in terms of audio, ending up sounding muddied or swallowed up.
You don't have to worry about any of that with Oppo's Enco X. Every now and then, treble might seem a tiny bit over-reaching, but that's just nitpicking. As for the bass, I'm still wondering where Oppo conjured it up with 4.8 grams of tiny technology on each earbud.
"Let me hear you speaking just for me"
Not to be left out here is the Active Noise Cancelling - also something I wouldn't have thought would work so well on such a tiny offering. Outside noise was reliably suppressed in the review, and you have four different levels on the Enco X:
- Noise Cancellation Off
- Noise cancellation
- Maximum Noise Cancellation
If I switched between transparency and lighter noise cancellation, the difference isn't that huge. What's annoying is the fact that I can only change the mode via touch gestures, and I don't know which one is active at any given time.
Generally, though, I don't need the transparency mode anyway. Either I want to know what's going on around me or simply shut the outside world out so that I can enjoy my music. This plays an important role when you configure the Enco X, because again, you have only two choices. In other words, you have four options theoretically but can only select two. As I mentioned earlier: The spartan configuration is a real minus point for me when it comes to the Enco X, but hopefully it will be fixed sometime down the road via a software or firmware update.
If I were to opt for "full blast" on the noise cancellation, the ANC works really, really well. Of course, you can still hear a little bit of the surrounding noise, but low frequencies in particular are nicely suppressed. I think that it is impossible to solve this in a more polished manner for in-ear headphones than Oppo has managed to do with this effort.
Oppo Enco X
Type：True Wireless In-Ear Headphones
Model (Charging Case)：ETI52
Driver：φ11mm dynamic driver + φ6mm balanced membrane driver.
Speaker sensitivity：104dB at 1 kHz
Frequency range：20 Hz-20 kHz
Audio Codecs：Audio Codecs LHDC / AAC / SBC
|Noise control modes：Maximum noise cancellation/noise suppression/transparency/noise cancellation off|
Bluetooth® low latency binaural transmission：Supported.
Bluetooth version：BT 5.2
Battery Type：Rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Capacity：44 mAh (headphones)/535 mAh (charging case)
Music playback (50% volume)*：Noise cancellation active: 4h (one-time charge)/20h (with charging case)，Noise cancellation not active: 5.5h (one-time charge)/25h (with charging case)
Charging time (cable)：80 min. (headphones)丨110 min. (charging case)
Charging Port：USB Type C
Wireless Charger：Qi wireless charging is supported.
Weight (each headphone)：4.8g (±0.2g)
Weight (charging case)：42.5 (±0.5g)
Weight (total)：52.5 (±1g)
Charging case dimensions (L*W*H)：66.3*49*21.7 mm
|Dust and water resistance||Dust and water resistance - headphones：IP54|
"Though it's not love it means something"
Yes, in a song on my favorite album (which often garners praise here), Martin Gore lets it slip that it can mean something, even if it's not love. Honestly, though, I'm not very far from falling head over heels in love with the Oppo Enco X. I swore to stick to my over-the-ear headphones, but I'm sure that I'll be using the Enco X for my nightly rounds around Dortmund in the future.
They simply fit well, without virtually zero dropped signals. In fact, they fit perfectly for me and sound great. I'm writing this sentence while Radiohead is belting out "No surprises" and once again, I'm amazed at how clearly I perceive every guitar note.
The design is pleasantly discreet, ANC works perfectly, the battery life is absolutely adequate with a fair €150 sticker price tag attached to it. The major downsides to this are the limitation of a well-implemented touch-sensitive operation and rather limited app functionality. There is still room for Oppo to improve here, and hopefully, we will see it in the next software update.
So if you're looking for a pair of in-ear headphones that perform well and are sufficiently loud, you'll be hard-pressed to pass up the Enco X.
Also do check out the reviews of Samsung's Galaxy Buds Pro and the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, which fellow music fan Ben reviewed for NextPit. They're also extremely capable and might be worth considering as an alternative, as are the second-generation AirPods if that's more your cup of tea.
PS: We're also currently having the Enco X reviewed by five NextPit readers. Check out all about the Enco X here.
This review was written with non-stop music playing in my ears!
Worst review write up ever read