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Oppo Enco Free review - Premium TWS from the Far East

More atmosphere. The Enco Free true wireless headphones from Oppo want to score points with good call quality, great sound, and protection against splashes. For less than 130 Euros (~$154), they're an exciting alternative to the FreeBuds 3 or the Galaxy Buds+. Our review reveals how the Oppo counterpart performs.
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The Oppo Enco Free enter the market at an MSRP of approximately 129 Euros (~$153); as a result, they position themselves in the segment of the Apple AirPods, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+, and Huawei's FreeBuds 3 as well. The Chinese company wants to convince particularly with a balanced sound, a Dolby Atmos certification as well as protection against splashes.

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Specifications

Headphone type In-ear
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0
Speakers 13.4 mm drivers, 16 - 20,000 Hz
Audio codecs SBC, AAC
Battery capacity (earbuds) 31 mAh
Battery capacity (charging case) 410 mAh
Charging connection USB Type-C
Wireless charging Not supported
Weight (per earbud) 4.6 g
Weight (charging case) 38 g
Sensors Not specified
Microphones 2 microphones per earbud
In the box Earbuds, charging case, silicon ear tips (S, M, L), USB cable, documentation
Price (MSRP) 129,- EUR

Case and ergonomics - Enco Free with IPX4 protection against splashing water

The Oppo Enco Free headphones are available in black and white. The in-ears are not inserted into the ear canal, but they're placed in the auricle instead. The ear tips can be used to make the fit tighter, and they will stay in place quite well even in larger ears.

Like most TWS headphones, the Enco Free headphones are made of plastic. The workmanship is good and doesn't give cause for criticism. In addition, the Oppo headphones are protected against splashing water according to the IPX4 standard, which by definition provides protection against water splashes coming from all sides. Swimming or diving is, therefore, not included here. 

The charging case is securely closed by a magnet, and the earphones are also magnetically locked to the charging contacts. 

Connectivity and handling - The Enco Free come with Dolby Atmos

If you own a corresponding smartphone from Oppo such as the Find X2 Pro, you will be offered a simple setup since as soon as you open the charging case for the first time, the smartphone recognizes the TWS headphones directly. Other smartphones, tablets or laptops have to carry out a conventional pairing process using the button on the case. Furthermore, there's no special app that can be used to control the Oppo Enco Free. Potential firmware updates should be installed automatically, but unfortunately, this can't be verified.

If you have an appropriately certified player, you can also enjoy Dolby Atmos, which is supported by the headphones. A further advantage is that both headphones are simultaneously supplied with data, so that an optimal synchrony can be guaranteed. 

You control the headphones using the sensor surfaces on them; these allow you to accept or end calls, pause or resume playback, adjust the volume, and skip through a playlist using tapping and swiping gestures.

Contents in the box of the Oppo Enco Free headphones

Voice quality and noise canceling - Armed well for most situations

The Oppo Enco Free's AI uplink noise cancellation is designed to effectively reduce ambient noise. In everyday life, however, this only works very well with quieter noises. In this way, for example, the noise of traffic outside a house or of a fan rotating at full power is filtered out completely, but noise canceling fails miserably when it comes to extremely loud noise sources such as an extractor hood. Although its noise is reduced after a few seconds, the voice of the Enco Free user is also lowered, making it almost impossible to understand them. Like many other TWS headphones, Oppo's model also picks up voices in the environment in a clear way.

In quiet conditions, however, the wearer's voice is registered very naturally, and the call quality is at a good level.

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Sound - Room for improvement

The sound of the Oppo Enco Free is nominally quite decent. However, we would have expected a little more from headphones that are supposed to cost around 130 Euros (~$154). The sound hardly offers any depth, and the bass range is weak at low volume. When turning up the volume, the bass emerges, but then a quite audible noise is added to the reproduction, which is confirmed by the low signal-to-noise ratio of 39.41 dBFS. Furthermore, vocals that use head voice tend to distort.

On the other hand, the constant and synchronous transmission quality of the headphones is great. The only issue is that the wear detection is sometimes a bit too hasty when pausing playback, and even a strong head movement can occasionally lead to an unintentional interruption.

Pink Noise measurement
Harmonic distortions and noise
Left and right channel levels

Battery life - Small battery? Good runtimes!

Despite the earphone's comparatively small battery, Oppo estimates the battery life to be around five hours. In the test, the actual runtime turned out to be even slightly longer. The FreeBuds 3, which have similarly large batteries (30 mAh), last noticeably less (3:47 hours). The Galaxy Buds+, on the other hand, are in a completely different league and, due to their large batteries (85 mAh), have a battery life that is almost two-and-a-half times as long as that of the Enco Free headphones.

Battery runtime (@ 65 dB) 05 h 22 min

Verdict - Good TWS headphones with minor weaknesses

In review: Oppo Enco Free. Review device provided by Oppo Germany.
In review: Oppo Enco Free. Review device provided by Oppo Germany.

The Oppo Enco Free are rock-solid TWS headphones that can convince in the test with good features and decent battery life. The headset also shines with good voice quality and only has to admit defeat in extremely loud environments. Furthermore, the headphones are splash-proof according to the IPX4 standard.

The Oppo Enco Free are trying to attract buyers with good features, but they show deficits in sound for demanding users.

Small sacrifices have to be made in terms of sound, but this is only true if you like to listen to music at loud volumes. In addition, the lack of a companion app and convenient features such as wireless charging is a shame.

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Daniel Schmidt
Editor of the original article: Daniel Schmidt - Managing Editor Mobile - 386 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
As a child I was fascinated by my Commodore 16, and this sparked my enthusiasm for computers. Using my first modem, I surfed the BTX videotext system and later the World Wide Web. I have always been captivated by the latest technologies, and this is especially true for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. I’ve been part of the Notebookcheck team since 2013 and have also on occasion written for Notebookinfo.de, and I’m looking forward to testing new innovations for our readers. I like to spend my spare time indulging in photography and barbecues and being with my family.
Stephanie Chamberlain
Translator: Stephanie Chamberlain - Translator - 411 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2020
I've been fascinated with technology ever since I got my very first Android smartphone, which was quite a while ago. The power packed into such a small footprint still amazes me. Learning to program made my understanding of technology deeper, and at the same time, it expanded my interest to the area of desktop computers and laptops. All this led me to enjoy reading and watching reviews of new devices, and that's how I stumbled upon Notebookcheck. I immediately found their reviews to be very comprehensive, and luckily, I've even had the chance of translating them since 2019. When it comes to the huge field of technology, I'm currently also interested in specializing in Java programming.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Oppo Enco Free review - Premium TWS from the Far East
Daniel Schmidt, 2020-08-30 (Update: 2020-08-29)