At OPPO’s recent launch of the Reno 8-series, the key areas the company wanted to focus on were very clear. During the event, as many as four products were launched. But, as expected, the new smartphones got the most amount of airtime, the Pad Air was a close second and the OPPO Enco X2 TWS buds got the least attention.
OPPO Enco X2₹10,999
ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION8.5/10
VALUE FOR MONEY9.0/10
What Is Good?
- Good build quality
- LDAC, LDHC support
- 6 functions per bud for controls
- Can get extremely loud
- Tight bass response
- Great value for money
What Is Bad?
- Execution of controls isn’t good.
- Poor mic quality over calls
It feels a bit unfair because they feature some unique leaps in TWS technology. For example, the Oppo Enco X2s are perhaps the only buds we know that are equipped with 6mm planar magnetic drivers, something reserved for high-end over-the-ear headphones, along with LDAC and LHDC support and are also the first TWS buds to feature Dolby Audio binaural recording.
All this audiophile gibberish is offered to you at a rather throwaway price of Rs 10,999, where it competes with the OnePlus Buds Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2, but given the on-paper feature-set, it can go up against the much coveted Sony WF-1000XM4s.
So, did they deserve more airtime and more importantly, do they deserve your attention? We used the OPPO Enco X2s every day for a month, and here’s our review.
OPPO Enco X2 TWS Buds Review: Design and comfort
The Oppo Enco X2s derive much of their design cues from the original Oppo Enco X, with a few changes here and there. You now have black accents on the buds, with R and L cutouts in them that also house the microphones. This makes them resemble the AirPod Pros. The stems and the perceived weight is roughly the same as before, and they are also IP54 certified to keep dust and water at bay. As is the case with every water-resistant TWSes, we took a shower with the buds, and they worked perfectly fine afterwards. The eartips are made of silicone with a slightly coarse texture.
This is subjective, but the tips weren’t that good at maintaining a firm seal and would come out easily when eating something or yawning. We would have preferred gel tips that are much more comfortable and sit in place better at this price.
Moving on to what’s new – touch controls. The sides of the stems are touch-sensitive, requiring you to squeeze them or slide them with your index finger to activate controls. We found these incredibly unreliable sometimes, but we understand why they decided to do it this way. A squeeze of the stems lets you pause and play tracks, lightly squeezing and sliding up or down lets you adjust the volume, double squeezing allows you to change tracks and squeezing and holding down changes the ANC intensity. These are customisable controls that can be changed within the HeyMelody app.
Our gripe with the controls lies in two places – the first is that they come in the way of readjusting the buds, and the second is even after a month, we still haven’t figured out the right area to squeeze or slide to increase or decrease the volume.
To keep the buds holstered and charged when not in use, they come with a charging case that resembles a flattened egg. It fits easily in trousers, is lightweight but can only lay flat on a surface and not stand up straight.
Because they don’t immediately come off as a pair of TWS buds over trousers, security personnel, while frisking us, often asked us suspiciously what was inside our pockets.
The bottom of the charging case has a USB Type-C port with a charging indicator adjacent to it. Another LED pairing indicator glows as soon as you open the case. The right side hosts the pairing button. There’s a tiny OPPO logo printed on top of the lid. The Dynaudio logo on the hinge completes the physical characteristics of the case. The individual buds have no branding on them.
We quite like the minimalist design of the buds, although we will leave the form factor of the charging case up to you.
OPPO Enco X2 TWS Buds Review: Sound and app
Getting down to the brass tacks, the on-paper specifications are to an audiophile’s delight. So, we have a dual driver setup here – one 11mm dynamic driver and one 6mm planar magnetic driver in both earbuds. Dynamic drivers are usually found in most TWS buds, but the latter is something derived from high-end over-the-ear headphones and allows you to have a much tighter, more controlled bass response.
The upper end of the frequency range has also been extended to 40KHz, allowing higher frequencies in the mix when listening to lossless tracks. The Enco X2s also get Hi-Res audio certification as they support 900 kbps/24 bits/96 kHz audio transmission rate. In terms of codecs, they support SBC, AAC, LDAC and LDHC 4.0. This is impressive, but it relies heavily on whether or not your smartphone supports such a high wireless output. Also, LDAC and LDHC aren’t supported on Apple devices. The DAC has also been bumped up, resulting in better overall loudness.
While these things would make an audiophile swoon for the price, these buds sell at, what about the general audience?
Well, for the most part, the music sounds warm and bassy with some nice twang at the highs but sometimes missing out on the mid frequencies. Sound is extremely subjective, but these are the results we found after testing about five different tracks on three average joe music listeners. We also let them compare the sound of Enco X2s to that of the LG Tone Free FP9s we reviewed earlier, which are priced much higher. The loudness of the Enco X2s was also perceived as higher than the FP9s.
Our test tracks for the general audience included Gula by Deadmau5, Bold As Love by John Mayer, Stay With Me by Calvin Harris, a rendition of Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy, and to make things a bit more contemporary, Kesariya from the OST of Brahmastra.
Personally, we liked the balanced sound signature but found the hard-hitting treble a bit too much in studio-recorded songs. We appreciated the sheer loudness of the Enco X2s in flights and outdoor environments but were never able to unleash it on full volume in a quiet room as it was capable of giving us a headache. The sound never crackled and was tight even at the highest volume.
Unlike most TWS buds, the genre that the Enco X2s finds itself the most comfortable in is not bass-heavy EDM or pop tracks but orchestral and live music where the hard-hitting drum kits and strings require your buds to hit your soul and spatial resolution are key. Nessun Dorma by Luciano Pavarotti and the entire concert of Dead & Company live at Citi Field felt extremely lively.
Listening to podcasts and interviews was an absolute blast with these buds. Each word could be heard in utmost clarity, especially with podcasters with a nice, deep voice.
You can tune the experience of the buds with the HeyMelody app to an astonishing detail. OPPO has introduced the Golden Sound tech with the Enco X2s, which helps tune the buds’ output to your listening abilities. Every individual has different susceptibility to sound frequencies, and by running a few tests, the Golden Sound creates a unique sound profile tailored to your ears, which is noticeable. You can also have a personalised noise cancellation profile suited best to your ear canal.
The app also lets you allocate and customise as many as five functions to each of your buds. There’s also a Game mode that provides lower latency while gaming. The app also lets you connect to multiple devices at once.
We tried the active noise cancellation in different scenarios ranging from a plane ride to the indoor hum of the AC. While the ANC itself is moderately powerful, the loudness of the buds is the factor that makes the entire package more powerful in drowning the drone of an aeroplane’s engine. On the other hand, an AC’s humming and general ambient sounds are easily tackled, and you can enjoy music at 60-80% volume with ease. The transparent mode is also somewhat effective, but we always recommend you to be a bit more careful while walking on the streets with buds on your ears.
Finally, the mic quality is alright when recording sounds, but in phone calls over your phone’s network, our voice sounded muffled to the listener. In WhatsApp calls, the output was much better. Calls on the Tone Free FP9s, our benchmarks for good mic quality in TWS buds, sounded much clearer on both network and WhatsApp calls. We weren’t able to take advantage of the binaural recording capabilities, even on third-party Android apps.
OPPO Enco X2 TWS Buds Review: Charging and battery life
OPPO hasn’t revealed the exact battery capacity of the buds or the charging case, but in our usage, the buds were able to last about five hours on a single charge, and the case could provide about two more full charges. With a mix of casual and intensive use, we were able to make the Enco X2s work for four days at a stretch. It takes about an hour to charge up the case entirely. Wireless charging is much slower and requires you to align the front side of the charging case with a charging pad, with the hinge looking up. This is a bit weird and takes some time to figure out, but it works reliably.
OPPO Enco X2 TWS Buds Review: Verdict