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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.
Daniel Schmidt, 👁 Daniel Schmidt (translated by Stephanie Chamberlain),

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.

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.

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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> 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)
Daniel Schmidt
Editor of the original article: Daniel Schmidt - Managing Editor Mobile - @Tellheim
Already as a little dwarf I was fascinated by my Commodore 16 and ignited my enthusiasm for computers. With my first modem I surfed the Btx and later also the World Wide Web. The latest technology trends have always fascinated me and this is especially true for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. For Notebookcheck, I have been on the ball since 2013 and I am looking forward to the innovations that are still to come and that we will put to the acid test for you.