As more phones ditch headphone jacks, more people are starting to buy wireless earbuds, and even more brands are jumping on the accessory bandwagon. The latest one is OPPO, with the Chinese brand debuting their Enco Free TWS cans to cash in on the trend.
The new buds have more than a passing resemblance to Apple’s AirPods, though it does offer a slew of new tricks that’s not readily found on competing products. Is OPPO’s new wearable the one for you?
-Compact case with a smudge-resistant finish
-Slider controls surprisingly work well
-Getting the right fit can be tricky
-Changing the silicone tips is difficult
Unlike most TWS earbuds, the Enco Free’s case has a matte finish that is more resistant to scratches and smudges. There’s a premium feel to the case with the metal strip in the middle, where you have a lone LED indicator light and OPPO branding. The pairing button is on the right side, while the USB-C charging port is at the bottom.
The wireless earbuds come with two different finishes, with the outer part of the stem having a glossy finish. The stems have a subtle silver line to indicate the unique slider controls. The charging pins are at the bottom of the earbuds, along with microphones located at the bottom stalk and at the upper part of the stalk.
While the Enco Free bears a similar design to the AirPods, OPPO tweaked its TWS earbuds by incorporating silicone tips for a more optimized fit. While we like the idea, the same cannot be said with actual use: aside from the tips being hard to install and uninstall from the earbuds, it took us several tries to find which of the supplied silicone tips gave us the best fit for our ears.
Even if the small silicone tips gave us the best fit, we were not comfortable using them for light runs and workouts, as we had to constantly adjust the fit of the Enco Free on our ears every few minutes or so.
What makes the Enco Free unique is the implementation of controls for volume and music playback. Sliding your finger through the glossy part of the stem lets you adjust the volume on the left earbud and change tracks on the right earbud.
The clever controls work on top of the usual tap controls on each earbud, making the Enco Free the most innovative in terms of incorporating as many controls as possible on each earbud.
The Enco Free comes with 13.4mm dynamic drivers that perform well in the mids and decent in the highs. The lows are not as crisp as compared to more expensive TWS earbuds, so the Enco Free is ideal for casually listening to non-bass-heavy tracks and more acoustic songs.
As for battery life, the Enco Free lasted for around four hours of continuous listening (at 70-80% volume) before we had to put the earbuds back into the case. The charging case has a 410mAh battery that can deliver around 20 hours of continuous playback. Topping up the charging case takes around an hour via USB-C.
The Enco Free manages to distinguish itself from the AirPods with its sleeker charging case and clever slider controls that let you control your music—changing tracks and adjusting volume included—without using your phone.
We do hope OPPO redesigns the Enco Free’s silicone tips, as they do not provide a snug fit that is suitable for long, casual walks. Aside from that complaint, the Enco Free delivers good sound quality that can rival the second-generation AirPods for less cash.
The Enco Free is priced at Php 5499.