OPPO Enco Free TWS Earbuds Full Review & Unboxing Experience
The OPPO Enco Free is the first-ever True Wireless Stereo Earbuds or TWS from leading smartphone brand OPPO in the Philippines.
I have spent almost two weeks with the device and tested its sound quality, comfort, controls, connectivity, and battery life. Here are my unboxing experience and full review!
Unboxing and Initial Set-up
The OPPO Enco Free box contains the TWS earbuds, its charging case, a short USB Type-C cable, some documentation, and two additional silicone earbud tips – medium and large.
I chose to pair the earbuds with my OPPO F11 Pro Avengers Edition smartphone for the initial set-up and testing. All I had to do is long-press the single button on the charging case and select it on the phone’s Bluetooth settings.
Once connected, the phone shows the battery percentage of the earbuds and nothing more. There’s deeper integration with ColorOS 7 including quick pairing but I don’t have an OPPO smartphone running on the latest version of the software yet.
Design and Comfort
Upon unboxing the OPPO Enco Free, I immediately liked the design of the earbuds.
It has a half-tone color and texture scheme. The portion of the stalk that faces outside is glossy and has a small reflective strip. Meanwhile, the earbud head and inner portion of the stalk are matte and less glossy.
The tips of the earbuds have a soft silicone tip which is replaceable. This is what I love the most about the design. I’ve tried earbuds that are all plastic and some hurt after wearing for an hour.
The OPPO Enco Free earbuds are comfortable to wear for several hours. They are light, don’t have sharp edges, and don’t fall off easily. Its bigger silicone tips are less comfortable than the default small tips though.
Let’s talk about the charging case too. It’s small and handy although slightly thicker than the Apple Airpods charging case. It has a single function button on the right side, the OPPO logo with an LED indicator light on the front, and a USB Type-C charging port at the bottom.
OPPO Enco Free Sound Quality
I’ve been using the OPPO Enco Quiet for a couple of months and liked its sound quality. Hence, my expectations for the OPPO Enco Free were high.
The sound quality is decent. OPPO says the earbuds use 13.4mm dynamic drivers. These produce natural-sounding bass but it’s a bit understated. It doesn’t reverberate or provide that extra oomph that bass-lovers crave.
The sweet spot is around 60% volume where the earbuds produce sound with rich texture. The bass comes out, the mids are clear, and the highs are kept under control.
However, the earbuds start to sound tinny and pitchy when the volume is set above 80%. It sounds like something is missing. Some frequencies might be cut off at high volume. This takes a hit on the sense of space, direction, and overall quality of the audio.
The issue might be on the tuning of the audio rather than on the hardware itself. I used the OPPO Enco Free with the Huawei P30 Pro which has Dolby ATMOS and it sounded a lot better when it’s turned on. The pitchiness returns when Dolby ATMOS is turned off though.
It just goes to show that earbuds aren’t just about the hardware but also need software optimizations and fine-tuning.
The isolation provided by the design of the earbuds including the small silicone tip is minimal. This can be slightly increased by using bigger silicone tips. It also helps slightly in improving the bass. It doesn’t have Active Noise Cancellation technology though.
This is OPPO’s first foray into the TWS market so there’s still room for improvement. I already liked the audio quality of the OPPO Enco Quiet, I’ll just turn on Dolby ATMOS with the OPPO Enco Free to get the best sound quality out of it.
Controls and Customizations
The OPPO Enco Free supports tap and swipe controls. A double-tap to either the left or right earbud is for play, pause, take a call or end call.
Swiping up and down on the stalk of the right earbud switches to the next previous track and next track respectively. Meanwhile, swiping on the stalk of the left earbud adjusts the volume accordingly. However, it’s easy to trigger the swipe functions accidentally.
Taking out the earbuds will also automatically pause the music or video while putting it back on the user’s ears resumes the track again. It’s a helpful and convenient feature especially when the user wants to immediately hear what’s going on in the surroundings.
Connectivity and Compatibility
The OPPO Enco Free connects to devices via Bluetooth. It supports Bluetooth 5.0 and uses a “binaural” transmission.
This means that the signal is sent to both earbuds at the same time, unlike other TWS earbuds that relay the signal from one earbud to another reducing lag. It makes the earphones suitable for gaming where less audio lag means a higher chance of winning.
I’ve tried connecting it to an OPPO smartphone, Huawei smartphone, Realme smartphone, and Nokia smartphone – all with no problem.
It has a reliable Bluetooth connection for up to 10 meters in an open area. This is reduced when there’s a concrete wall between the earbuds and the smartphone.
The OPPO Enco Free is compatible with Android smartphones, iOS devices, and even laptops.
OPPO says that the OPPO Enco Free earbuds can last up to 5 hours on a single charge and this is true when the volume is kept at around 60%.
This is independent in each earbud which means both can last 5 hours when used in mono mode. That’s when you only use one earbud and keep the other one inside the charging case.
The charging case can re-charge the earbuds up to four times. Hence, the total battery life of the system is 25 hours! It can be re-charged using a USB Type-C charger since there’s no wireless charging feature.
OPPO Enco Free Review Conclusion
The OPPO Enco Free TWS earbuds are comfortable to wear, have low audio latency, last a long time with the reserve battery from its charging case, and sound decent when used with Dolby ATMOS or other equalizers.
However, it sounds pitchy when there’s no equalizer on the connected phone and the bass can be underwhelming for many music listeners.
OPPO has done a good job in its first-ever TWS earbuds. I’m excited about the improvements they’ll come up with the next iteration.
OPPO Enco Free Review Summary
The OPPO Enco Free TWS earbuds are comfortable to wear, have low audio latency, last a long time, and sound decent when used with an equalizer.