Oppo Enco X review: Android-friendly AirPods Pro killers
“The only thing Oppo didn’t copy from the AirPods Pro is the price.”
Very good sound quality
Excellent ANC and transparency
Very good call quality
Seamless switching of devices
Oppo, the Chinese electronics company that has produced some of the biggest sleeper hits in categories like Blu-ray players and smartphones, just released its latest true wireless earbuds, the Oppo Enco X, valued at $ 150. Digital Trends got an early look at the earbuds, which won’t be available in the US until spring. Yes, they look a lot like Apple’s AirPods Pro and have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), just like Apple’s Buds. But don’t write them off as just another copycat hoping to get Apple’s coattails at the checkout for a payday. The Enco X are real business, with both words deservedly in the foreground. Let’s check them out.
What’s in the box?
With the exception of the black plastic inner shell, the Enco X’s box is a simple cardboard container that should prove to be easily recyclable when you’re not storing it. Inside you will find the earbuds, their charging case, a short USB-C charging cable, two additional sizes of silicone earbuds (small and large to accompany the standard medium) and a quick guide.
If you love Apple’s mood, you will love the look of these buds.
Oppo Enco X (right) and Apple AirPods Pro Simon Cohen / Digital Trends
The Enco X doesn’t just look a bit like the AirPods Pro – I’d call them as close as possible without incurring Apple’s legal anger. Especially in white (they are also available in black), the bulbous main body, the semi-oval silicone tips and the downward-pointing stems are direct copies of the Apple design. That said, if you love Apple’s mood, you will love the look of those buds.
But oppositional flattery from Jony Ive’s aesthetic doesn’t end there. The charging case is also a pure AirPods Pro, right down to the perfectly movable hinge and the LED charging indicator on the front. Sure, there are a few differences. Oppo wrapped its case in sleek aluminum tape that gives it a touch of sophistication, and the pairing button sits a little proud of that tape on the side instead of sitting flush on the back like Apple. This button could be accidentally pressed, which wouldn’t be ideal, but the real head scratch in Oppos’s design is the decision to orient the earbuds so the tips are facing away from each other. This means that every time you take them out of the case – which is easiest if you pinch the silicone tips between your thumb and forefinger – they are pointing the wrong way for your ears.
Why did Oppo do that? Perhaps to avoid being accused of a complete Apple copy, or perhaps the slightly longer stems of the Enco X made it necessary.
There’s one area in the Enco X’s design that actually improves Apple’s work: The Enco X’s are rated IP54, which means they’re just as waterproof as the AirPods Pro, but also have some dust resistance.
Convenience, control and connections
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends
The AirPods Pro are some of the most comfortable true wireless earbuds I’ve ever tried, and (surprisingly) the Enco Xs offer an equally comfortable fit. There’s even a Fit Test in the free HeyMelody app for Android (an iOS version coming soon) and another AirPods Pro feature to add to the list. I had to switch to the large earbuds for a perfect fit, but even the standard media was pretty good. As long as you don’t mind having buds in your ear canals, the Enco X are comfortable enough for many hours of continuous use.
The earphones use a touch user interface. I’m usually not a huge fan of touch controls. I find them inaccurate and I don’t like the lack of click feedback that physical buttons offer. But the Enco X could turn me into a convert. Tap the registered stems almost every time, and you can adjust the volume by sliding your finger up or down the length of either of the stems. This is still not possible with the AirPods Pro.
The HeyMelody app lets you customize these controls, update the firmware, and customize the ANC (more on that later).
The Enco X doesn’t support Bluetooth multipoint (which allows two devices to connect to a set of earbuds at the same time), but the pairing feature is so fast that it almost doesn’t matter. If you press the pairing button for two seconds, you can quickly connect to a new device or reconnect to a previously assigned device.
Even better, in the HeyMelody app, you can assign a long press command that automatically switches the earbuds back to the last connected device. I’ve never seen this feature on any set of wireless earbuds. It worked like a charm and let me switch seamlessly between my iPhone and Pixel XL.
Full and rich, with a bass response that is powerful but never overwhelming, they deliver a well-balanced sound signature.
The Enco X’s wireless range averages 30 feet outdoors, which is closer to 15 feet indoors. The connection is very reliable within these distances.
I’m not going to by the bush – the Enco X sounds really good. Full and rich, with a bass response that is powerful but never overwhelming, they deliver a well-balanced sound signature. The sound stage strikes a middle ground between intimate and expansive.
Compared to similarly expensive products like thator even the AirPods Pro, the Enco X, can more than hold their own. Only when you compare it to more expensive products like the Jabra Elite 85t or the Sony WF-1000XM3 will you notice limitations. The Enco X can’t quite keep up with these earbuds when it comes to clarity and precision, especially at higher frequencies.
When I found that the HeyMelody app didn’t offer EQ adjustments, I was a little concerned – I tend to tweak most of the earbuds slightly to get a sound profile that suits me. Now that I’ve spent some time with these earbuds, I don’t miss that lack of EQ control at all, and I’m confident you won’t either.
Another observation that surprised me: the Enco X sounded better when used with my Pixel XL test phone than it did with my iPhone 11. This is a mystery. In general, I don’t hear much of a difference between iOS and Android, especially when streaming from the exact same source (in this case, Tidal HiFi). And while there is no Bluetooth codec advantage (the Enco X uses AAC when connected to both phones), I found that stereo imaging, clarity, and soundstage were improved when using the Pixel XL.
The Oppo Enco X have the rare distinction of being some of the best noise canceling earbuds you can buy.
Speaking of codecs, the Enco X may sound even better when used with Oppo phones that support LHDC, a high-resolution, low-latency Bluetooth codec that competes directly with Sony’s LDAC and aptX HD. The Enco X are some of the first true wireless earbuds on the market to come with LHDC support.
Noise cancellation and transparency
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends
The Oppo Enco X has the rare distinction of calling the AirPods Pro, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, and Jabra Elite 85t some of the best noise-canceling earbuds you can buy.
Not only do they excellently reduce unwanted noises like traffic, conversation, and the booming hum of machines while listening to music, but they also deliver an impressively quiet cone of silence when there is no music at all.
Transparency mode is equally effective, doing that magical balancing act of amplifying the outside world so far that you can hear it, but not so much that it sounds like you’re listening to a recording of the outside world.
It’s not perfect: I found that while other people’s voices were crisp and clear, my own voice still felt a little muffled. But it makes conversation easy, what matters.
In the HeyMelody app, you can choose which ANC modes are available when you touch and hold an earbud. You can switch between all four modes (Off, Transparency, Regular ANC, and Maximum ANC) or any combination thereof. I found maximum ANC and transparency most useful.
Changes in ANC mode are as quick as the AirPods Pro, but not as quick as the Elite 85t.
Oppo Enco X (right) and Apple AirPods Pro Simon Cohen / Digital Trends
If there’s one area the Enco X could improve in, it’s battery life. Oppo claims four hours per charge if the volume is 50% and you use the maximum ANC which is 20 hours with the charging case included. By switching off ANC, up to 5.5 or 25 hours are achieved.
As far as I can tell, these numbers are slightly conservative. There were almost 4.5 hours between charges with ANC. Once again, the Enco X seems content to replicate the AirPods Pro – that battery life is close to Apple’s – although the AirPods Pro offer a slightly longer lifespan in this case.
One feature that Oppo should have mimicked is the AirPods Pro’s fast charging capability. Five minutes of charging add an hour to the AirPods Pro’s playtime, but the Enco X cannot be charged quickly. From the empty state, it takes 80 minutes to charge the earbuds in their case. If you charge the Enco X for five minutes, you only have 17 minutes of play time.
The Oppo Enco X may not be as crystal clear as the Bose or Jabra earbuds, but it still offers very good call quality. Competing noises, such as car traffic driving past, were very effectively suppressed. My voice wavered and fluttered occasionally, but it was always intelligible.
Oppo made a near-perfect clone of the Apple AirPods Pro that offers better sound quality and a much cheaper price.
Is there a better alternative?
As long as Oppo can keep the Enco X’s price tag at around $ 150 or less, these earbuds have no serious competition at all.
You can get better sound quality and more features, but you’ll have to spit out another $ 50 to $ 80come to mind. You can certainly spend less and still get ANC – like the Edifier TWS NB2 – but these earbuds don’t meet the Enco X’s very high bar for ANC and design.
Even iPhone owners should seriously consider the Enco X before buying a set of AirPods Pro. The Enco X does not allow you to speak hands-free to Siri, and it does not support Apple’s spatial audio feature. However, this seems like a fair trade to save $ 100.
How long will they last?
The Enco X seems to be very well built, with high quality materials and workmanship. At the time of this review, no US warranty information was available, but I’m assuming these earbuds can also (or better) be used regularly than comparable models.
Should you buy it?
Absolutely. If you like the idea of the AirPods Pro, the Enco X are cheaper and outperform Apple’s sound quality.