Oppo's Enco lineup of true wireless earphones has been a relatively quiet success for the company, and has received largely positive feedback from the community, including myself. While the premium Enco X2 headset is among the best that you can guy for around Rs. 10,000 or so, the Enco Air series is a bit more of a hit-or-miss situation. While the regular ‘Air' variants haven't quite matched up to the hype, the ‘Pro' headsets have generally been good picks when it comes to features and performance for the price.
Following up on the somewhat ordinary Oppo Enco Air 3 (which was launched in early 2023) is the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro. The successor to the Enco Air 2 Pro is considerably more expensive at Rs. 4,999, but promises big improvements in the specifications sheet and performance to make up for the increase in pricing, including advanced Bluetooth codec support and bamboo-fibre diaphragms for the drivers. Is this enough to help the Enco Air 3 Pro retain Oppo's perceptional leadership of the budget true wireless segment in India? Find out in this review.
The case of the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro has a USB Type-C port for charging
Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro design and features
We don't often see massive design changes in generational updates when it comes to true wireless earphones, and that's indeed the case with the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro. Apart from minor changes, the Enco Air 3 Pro largely resembles the Enco Air 2 Pro to the point where it's hard to tell the two apart. The newer earphones are available in a new green colour option which isn't available on the Enco Air 2 Pro, though.
The earpieces of the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro have a stem design with rounded out sides all around, and distinct ‘L' and ‘R' indicators cut into the earpieces for easy visibility. Unlike the basic Enco Air earphones which have an outer-ear fit and no ANC, the Enco Air ‘Pro' lineup features a proper in-canal fit, which allows for effective active noise cancellation. The earphones are light and comfortable, and come with a charging cable and three pairs of silicone ear tips of different sizes in the box.
As before the controls are touch sensitive, with lightly indicated areas near the top of each earpiece stem. It's less than ideal, because the small size of the touch area makes it easy to make mistakes. You can set various gestures to control various functions of playback, noise cancellation, voice assistant, and volume, with different gestures capable of being mapped to different functions.
It's a reasonably detailed set with plenty of room for customisation, but given the propensity for touch miscues, you might want to keep it a bit simple and deactivate certain gestures such as single-tap entirely. While I'm not entirely against touch controls, the zone definitely needs to be bigger than what's on the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro earphones.
The Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro earphones are IP55 rated for dust and water resistance, so you'll be able to use them for workouts safely, and even in somewhat wet conditions such as light rain. The charging case of the headset has the Oppo logo at the front, an indicator light just below the logo, the USB Type-C port for charging at the bottom, and no pairing button.
You can put the headset into pairing mode with a long-touch gesture on both earpieces at the same time. Additional features on the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro include support for Google Fast Pair, app-based features such as Oppo Alive Audio (virtualised Spatial surround sound) and Golden Sound (customised frequency compensation based on the specific hearing of each user).
Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro app and specifications
The Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro expectedly features app and feature customisation support, but how it appears and is accessed depends on the device you're using. If you're on a supported OnePlus or Oppo smartphone, you'll see the ‘app' appearing in the Bluetooth settings of the phone, making for easy access that visually matches the user interface completely. If you're using other devices, the HeyMelody app offers access to the full feature set on both iOS and Android.
On some OnePlus and Oppo smartphones, app features for the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro appear within the Bluetooth settings menu
Within the app and settings, it's possible to access various features and customisation options such as equaliser presets, ANC levels and personalisation, enable multi-point connectivity for up to two devices, locate the earbuds with a loud noise, and conduct a fit test. You can also go through the process and enable or disable Oppo Alive Audio (spatial surround sound virtualisation) and Golden Sound (tailored sound profile based on your specific hearing characteristics).
Multi-point connectivity worked well on an iPhone and Android device simultaneously. Bluetooth codec selection maxed out on both devices and pleasantly allowed LDAC support on the Android smartphone, unlike on many other similar headsets which limit the codec to AAC when connecting two devices simultaneously. Connectivity was stable on the whole even with this enabled.
Notably, the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro uses a bamboo fibre diaphragm for the drivers, unlike the typically metal diaphragms used on most earphones. The headset has 12.4mm dynamic drivers, a frequency response range of 20-40,000Hz, and a sensitivity rating of 107dB. For connectivity, the earphones use Bluetooth 5.3, with support for the SBC, AAC, and LDAC Bluetooth codecs.
Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro performance and battery life
While Oppo's budget lineup has typically been device agnostic in terms of performance, the Enco Air 3 Pro takes a big step in setting itself up as made for certain devices. Support for the LDAC Bluetooth codec is fairly wide across Android devices, and this ensures a considerably different sound quality experience when using the earphones with an Android smartphone. Although the sound isn't bad with the AAC codec (on iOS), there's an audible difference here.
The Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro's bamboo fibre drivers are touted as a major factor in improving the sound quality on the earphones, but I didn't really perceive this as being the reason for the improvement in performance. Sound quality with the AAC codec and software enhancements switched off seemed largely on par with what I've heard on similarly-priced true wireless headsets.
The Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro has bamboo fibre diaphragms for the drivers, along with support for the LDAC Bluetooth codec
Instead, it all comes down to the software implementations, in my opinion; LDAC Bluetooth codec support and the Golden Sound customised profile seemed to make a more notable difference in improving the sound quality, as compared to the competition. Indeed, there aren't too many options with LDAC support at under Rs. 5,000, so the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro stands out in this regard.
Coming to the sound quality and performance itself, the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro uses its software tricks and codec support to deliver a reasonably balanced and detailed sound that is admittedly rare in the budget space for true wireless earphones. Competing products typically use a reasonable level of tuning alone to make a compelling pitch (heavy bass and the like), making Oppo's approach a bit more unique.
The detail levels come as a result of the obviously superior bandwidth handling capabilities of the advanced Bluetooth codec, combined with a rather good soundstage that provides a decent amount of spatial virtualisation. Listening to Dua Lipa's Dance the Night with the LDAC Bluetooth codec in operation, the sound felt spacious and enjoyable, never pushing too hard even at high volumes. Instead, the sound was encouraging, almost as if it was getting me to try and pick out the elements.
The Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro is IP55 rated for dust and water resistance
This cheerful disco-inspired track from Barbie sounded neither too aggressive, nor to forward, instead striking the right balance between drive and comfort. The lows didn't hit too hard, but this was only a good thing in a segment that is dominated by earphones that come with typically punchy and attacking bass.
Much of this detail is helped along by the Golden Sound enhancement, which conducts a listening test to tailor the sound for specific hearing characteristics of the wearer. Once completed, the sound changes a bit with the profile enabled; it sounded a fair bit more luxurious and open-feeling when enabled, and I usually kept it on after that.
Switching up to the slower but more hard-hitting Am I Dreaming by Metro Boomin' from the Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse soundtrack, the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro was able to adapt and deliver a bit more rumble when needed. However, it also highlighted the very audible U-shaped sonic signature, with the mid-range considerably lower in response than the lows and highs.
Speaking of the highs, the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro seems to push these frequencies a bit too much. I didn't tend to notice it much at low volumes, but the sharpness was a bit tiresome at high volume levels. This largely depends on what you're listening to — Dance the Night revealed this, while Am I Dreaming didn't quite sound as harsh because of the track's nature.
Active noise cancellation on the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro is fairly basic, and suitable primarily for indoor use to cancel out basic household sounds and make listening just a bit easier. It's helped along by reasonably effective noise isolation through the in-canal fit, and customisable ANC modes also help in optimising the performance for specific settings. I found the mild mode to be the most balanced and effective indoors; the other modes didn't particularly help in noisy outdoor scenarios.
Call quality is decent indoors and satisfactory outdoors, but I didn't find the voice and microphone quality good enough to want to use the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro for very long calls or online meetings.
Battery life is acceptable enough for a headset in this price segment; I got around 4 hours of listening on the earpieces and a little over three charges from the case, when using ANC and the LDAC Bluetooth codec, with the volume at around the 50-60 percent level. This translated to a total run time of around 17-18 hours of listening per charge cycle — not exceptional, but not too bad either.
Oppo is among the best in the budget true wireless segment right now, and the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro largely lives up to the reputation created by the brand's wide range of affordable TWS products. That said, at Rs. 4,999, it's a fair bit more expensive than earlier products in this segment, and only just about classifies as a budget product based on reasonable definitions and price segmentation. The performance and features on offer do justify the pricing, so it's worth a recommendation.
While you do get a fair bit more on the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro than what competing products offer for the price, I wouldn't go as far as to call it revolutionary or exceptional. Nonetheless, it's easily my pick for the best pair of true wireless earphones for Rs. 5,000, although I'd be more inclined to suggest options such as the Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro and OnePlus Nord Buds 2, which offer a bit more bang for your buck.
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