The Oppo Enco X review in a sentence: In a saturated market the Oppo Enco X manage to stand out - admittedly for some rather peculiar reasons, but also thanks to their very competitive sound.
Oppo Enco X: price and battery life
The Oppo Enco X are on sale now, and sell in the UK for £169 - although you don’t have to search particularly long or hard to find them at a modest discount. They’ve yet to hit retailers in the United States or Australia, but if the ¥999 price in Oppo’s home market is anything to go by then American consumers should expect to pay around $150 and Australians are looking at AU$200 or so.
Oppo is claiming a battery life of four hours (with noise-cancelling fully engaged) and closer to five and a half hours with noise-cancelling switched off. There are an additional four full charges held in the charging case - so you can expect the Enco X to operate for between 20 and 27 hours before you need to resort to recharging. Charging is available via USB-C or any Qi-certified wireless charging pad.
Oppo Enco X: build quality and design
By now we’re all familiar with the ‘dangly stem’ arrangement of some true wireless in-ear headphones. Most people tend to put them into either the ‘these look unfinished/like there’s a bit missing’ or the ‘these are an overt indication of what good taste I have/what a judicious individual I am’ category - and so you’ll make your own mind up as far as the aesthetic qualities of the Oppo go.
The stem here is brief, though, and allied to a per-bud weight of just 4.8g the Enco X are easy to position comfortably - and they remain comfortable for hours on end. Certainly if you pop them in your ear when fully charged, they’ll still be feeling unobtrusive by the time they run flat. They’re supplied with a wide selection of silicon tips in two different hardnesses, so achieving a fit that feels nigh-on perfect isn’t in any way tricky.
There is a touch-control section on each earbud. ‘Volume up/down’ is a question of swiping up or down on either stem, while toggling through noise-cancellation options (‘off/on/maximum/transparency’) is achieved by a brief tap-and-hold. The only additional touch-control is for ‘skip forwards’ or ‘answer/end call’ - a double-tap on either surface does the trick. Users with an Oppo smartphone will find it simple to customise the Enco X touch controls in their phone’s Bluetooth interface, while Android users (6.0 and above) can use the ‘Hey Melody’ app to do the same thing. iOS users are stuck with the controls as they stand.
Each earbud is fitted with three microphones - one feedback, one feed-forward and an internal mic for calls. There’s wind detection on board for optimum call quality - but none of the mics are involved with voice-assistance because, highly unusually at this price, the Oppo Enco X doesn’t feature any voice control. Few are the true wireless in-ear headphones that have control options as meagre as this.
Both the earbuds and the charging case (which is a trim 43g) are available in either a glossy white or glossy black finish. There seems to be no arguing with quality of build and finish on display here - but at the same time, you’re looking at the sort of anonymity that doesn’t automatically square with the asking price.
On the inside, Oppo has enlisted the help of Danish loudspeaker savant Dynaudio (a company that has, inexplicably, never launched a headphone of its own) to both ensure Enco X sounds as impressive as possible and to lend quite a bit of hardcore audio credibility. And certainly the arrangement Dynaudio has specified is intriguing: it’s a coaxial dual-driver design, with a 6mm balanced membrane driver dealing with higher frequencies and an 11mm triple-layer dynamic driver handling the rest of the frequency range. The result is a claimed frequency response of 20Hz - 20kHz - which is, basically, the entire range of human hearing.
The Enco X use the shiny new Bluetooth 5.2 standard for wireless connectivity. There’s support for AAC and SBC codecs, as well as the lesser-spotted LHDC - it seems entirely in keeping with the rather eccentric Oppo specification that the Enco X ignore aptX and even LDAC in favour of a codec with what might charitably be termed ‘selective appeal’. Still, at least there’s also compatibility with Bluetooth Low Latency, promising flawless synchronisation between audio and video information.
Oppo Enco X: sound quality
Of course, pointing out the shortcomings of touch control, the lack of any wider iOS compatibility or the absence of voice-control is all perfectly valid. But true wireless headphones surely stand or fall on the quality of the sound they produce - and in this respect, the Oppo Enco X require little by way of excuse.
Bluetooth 5.2 proves more than up to the task of transferring high-resolution audio - and if you’re a subscriber to the top tier of a streaming service like Amazon Music, Primephonic, Qobuz or Tidal (for instance), the Enco X will make the most of your investment.
When listening to the most information-rich digital audio files, the Oppo always seem to fall on just the right side of every dividing line. They summon plenty of attack, but they’re not aggressive. They have plenty of dynamic headroom, but they’re never shouty. They’re an upfront and forthright listen, but they’re far from unsubtle.
They integrate the entirety of the frequency range with absolute conviction, and each area revels in ample detail levels and really convincing expression. Bass sounds are deep and textured, with little overhang and consequently no negative impact on rhythmic articulacy, while at the opposite end of the frequency range treble information is equally substantial and well-controlled. In between, the Enco X have more than enough harmonic expression to let a vocalist communicate explicitly.
But even if you’re not forking out for a top-of-the-shop streaming service, the Oppo are still a pretty compelling listen. Admittedly detail levels fall away a little and the soundstage loses some of its rigorous definition when listening to more prosaic streams from Spotify’s free tier, but nevertheless the Enco X have more than enough talent to stay persuasive and enjoyable. They remain a revealing and insightful listen, equally happy to rough it with some thumping floor-fillers as they are to wring every drop of emotion from an unaccompanied singer’s voice.
Compared to some of the established market leaders, the Oppo aren’t quite as expansive or open a listen. Tonally they’re on the cool side of neutral, too. But balance these little shortcomings against all the very many areas in which the Enco X hit the sonic bull’s-eye and it’s apparent Oppo is well in credit.