You can now buy a decent pair of true wireless earphones for under Rs. 2,000, with brands such as Boat, Noise, Xiaomi, and Realme pushing the boundaries of what you can expect in terms of features and design at this price. However, I haven't yet come across a pair of true wireless earphones priced at under Rs. 2,000 that sounds truly good. Companies usually focus on features and design, which means many of the products in the budget segment fall a bit short on the listening experience. Oppo's latest true wireless earphones are, therefore, a refreshing change, sticking to the basics and turning the focus to sound quality.
Priced at Rs. 1,999 in India, the Oppo Enco Buds is a no-frills pair of true wireless earphones. On paper, it prioritises the core experience, that is, comfort, ease of use, battery life, and sound quality. Is this indeed the best-sounding pair of true wireless earphones you can buy for less than Rs. 2,000? Find out in this review.
The Oppo Enco Buds have a proper in-canal fit for good noise isolation, but no active noise cancellation
Nothing fancy about the Oppo Enco Buds
When I said that the Oppo Enco Buds had no frills, I meant it. This is a simple pair of true wireless earphones with an in-canal fit, touch controls, and a basic charging case with a USB Type-C port. The earpieces are small, fit comfortably, and look decent enough without attracting too much attention. I quite liked the glossy finish of the earpieces and charging case of my white review unit. Each earpiece weighs 4g, while the charging case weighs 37g.
The charging case is small, pocketable, and nicely built, with a magnetic lid and a small indicator light at the front. The earpieces activate and automatically pair with the most recently connected device on opening the lid. There's no pairing button, so you need to disconnect the earpieces from all source devices to put them into pairing mode. The sales package includes a total of three pairs of ear tips in different sizes, and a charging cable for the case.
Touch-sensitive zones on the earpieces let you control calls, playback, and volume. A single-tap on either side plays or pauses music; a double-tap skips to the next track; and a triple-tap activates the low-latency game mode. Touching and holding the left or right earpiece reduces or increases the volume, respectively. The touch gestures are responsive and easy to learn and use. However, the lack of app support means these controls can't be customised.
There are no sensors on the earpieces to pause playback when they are removed from your ears, so the Oppo Enco Buds will keep playing until you manually pause your source device, or until both earpieces are placed back into the charging case. You can use either earpiece independently of the other, even while one of them is charging.
For connectivity, the Oppo Enco Buds use Bluetooth 5.2, with support for the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. The earphones have 8mm dynamic drivers with a frequency range of 20-20,000Hz, and are IP54 rated for dust and water resistance. A total of three pairs of silicone ear tips are included in the box for a customisable fit.
There are touch controls, with the outer sides of the Oppo Enco Buds earpieces used to control playback, volume, and more
The Oppo Enco Buds have 40mAh batteries in the earpieces, and an additional 400mAh in the charging case. I was able to get around five hours of listening per charge on the earpieces, with the case adding around three additional charges for a total of 20 hours of listening per charge cycle. This is decent enough, given the specifications and price of the Enco Buds. There is no fast charging for the case or earpieces; it took over two hours to charge the entire set fully.
Clean, fun sound on the Oppo Enco Buds
Although the lack of features might be off-putting for many, the Oppo Enco Buds come through with performance. I was impressed with the clean, fun sound of these earphones, as well as their connection stability and other key points. I used the earphones with an iPhone 12 mini (Review) for much of the review, with the AAC Bluetooth codec in operation and Apple Music providing the music tracks.
Starting with Tick Tock by Clean Bandit, I liked the sonic signature of the Oppo Enco Buds; there was a decent amount of thump in the lows, while the sound was detailed and the soundstage fairly wide. This peppy, upbeat track was engaging, with its strong bass playing well with the sharp mid-range and highs. Despite the punchy beats, the vocals and melody in this track remained coherent and detailed.
I personally do enjoy aggressive bass, and with most tracks, the Oppo Enco Buds sounded decent when it came to low-end thump; it was definitely on the stronger side, but didn't feel overbearing, even with house and techno tracks. However, dubstep was an entirely different experience, and Flux Pavilion's I Can't Stop was a bit too overpowering in the bass, even for someone like me who is quick to forgive excesses in the lows.
The charging case of the Oppo Enco Buds adds three additional charges to the earpieces
That isn't to say that it's bad; many might even enjoy a bit of intense thump. However, I felt that the intensity of the bass didn't always flow well with the rest of the sonic signature. Essentially, the Oppo Enco Buds offer a decent, energetic listening experience with most tracks, but seem to fall a bit short when it comes to cohesiveness with the most bass-happy genres. The sound is detailed and engaging enough to set the Oppo Enco Buds apart as a musical and well-tuned pair of true wireless earphones.
The earphones were loud, and even at high volumes, I didn't hear any distortion or issues with the sound. I found that listening at around the 60 percent volume level was ideal at home, but I could go up to the 80 percent level outdoors and still have a reasonably clean listening experience.
Although there is no active noise cancellation on the Oppo Enco Buds, passive noise isolation was decent enough for me thanks to a secure and tight seal. The low-latency gaming mode seemed to make a small difference in terms of audio delay while gaming, but the effect was minimal and mobile gamers will likely still experience some drawbacks if they rely on this pair of earphones for competitive online gaming. The Bluetooth connection to my paired phone was very stable. Call quality was decent enough indoors and relatively peaceful outdoors.
Oppo's true wireless audio products in India have been impressive, with the company's mid-range and higher-end products such as the Enco W51 and Enco X among our top picks in their price segments. With the Oppo Enco Buds, the company enters the budget segment with a similar approach and philosophy, and comes out on top. This is among the better true wireless headsets you can buy for the price.
The Oppo Enco Buds are good because of their simplicity and musicality. Sound quality and battery life are the core selling points here, with none of the fancy features and distractions that you might see on competing products priced under Rs. 2,000. While I did find the bass excessive on occasion, and there is no fast charging, the Enco Buds have no other notable drawbacks and are a good option to consider for the price.
Can Nothing Ear 1 — the first product from OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei's new outfit — be an AirPods killer? We discussed this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts. Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.