Oppo, earlier today, launched its latest TWS – the Oppo Enco Buds in India. The new product enters the crowded, super competitive TWS segment, which is currently dominated by the likes of Boat, OnePlus, Realme, and Ptron. If you’re thinking of getting yourselves a set of affordable TWS, should you consider the Enco Buds?
While we cannot conclusively pass a verdict without actually testing the project in question, the purpose of this article is to perform a preliminary analysis of the product based on what we know about its hardware specifications and feature-set.
Five things to know before you buy the Oppo Enco Buds
It supports Binaural Bluetooth Transmission with Bluetooth 5.2
Among the most annoying problems faced by TWS products in the affordable price spectrum is the latency encountered while consuming video content. This problem meant that the audio was always out of sync with the content displayed on the screen. I had talked about this issue a few years ago in my 2018 review of the Sony WF-1000X on MySmartPrice, where I used to previously work.
While this issue was largely addressed with the advent of Bluetooth 5.0 based wireless earbuds, several products – to this day – continue to suffer from this problem. Oppo has adopted a two-pronged strategy to address this major pain point.
Apart from supporting the latest Bluetooth 5.2 standard, the Oppo Enco Buds also boasts of something known as Binaural Bluetooth Transmission. This, at first glance, seems to be Oppo’s implementation of Bluetooth 5.2’s ISOC (Isochronous Channels) feature. Without going into the boring technical details, the result of this implementation for consumers like you and me is that the Bluetooth latency problem has been largely eliminated.
Note: Oppo’s Binaural Bluetooth Transmission is not exclusive to the Enco Buds. The company’s older Enco W31 also supports it.
The Low latency Game Mode
For those of you who want even lower latency, the Oppo Enco Buds also supports a dedicated Game Mode where the latency (between the left and right channels) drops to just 80ms. While this is a far cry from the 8-10ms latency range that typically wired earbuds boast of, it does make the latency imperceptible to most users.
While I don’t see dedicated gamers lapping up the Oppo Enco Buds in hordes just for this, this is definitely a ‘good to have’ feature, and I see even casual gamers taking advantage of this. Besides; the truth is that the Enco Buds is not the only product in its price range to offer this feature.
Oppo says it’s tuned for bass lovers
While the typical audiophile will frown at this, there is no denying that the majority of mainstream listeners love their low frequencies. Ever wondered why Sony has an entire series of products sold under the ‘Extra Bass’ label? Because bass sells.
Like Sony with its Extra Bass products, Oppo seems to have prima-facie tuned the Enco Buds to favour bass-heavy tracks. Oppo hasn’t really explained how it does this, and the marketing-speak only talks about its 8mm drivers aiding this affinity for lower frequencies.
While the general perception is that the larger the driver, the lower, tighter the bass, this margin is really thin when it comes to tiny driver sizes (8mm, 10mm, etc.) typically used on earbuds. Additionally, factors like impedance, damping, frequency response, driver positioning, and enclosure size play pivotal roles in the shaping of the bass response of any TWS.
Anyway, this is one claim I would really love to test on the Oppo Enco Buds before drawing conclusions.
Intelligent noise cancellation, Open-up auto-connect feature
One of the consequences of the intense competition in the affordable TWS segment is the democratization of features like active noise cancellation (ANC) and auto-connect. Once privy to those who could afford super expensive, high-end products, it is now common to find products with ANC for less than Rs 2,000.
With the Oppo Enco Buds, Oppo is taking this to the extreme. Instead of just endowing these earbuds with plain-jane ANC support, Oppo has spiced things up and claims that the Enco Buds’ ANC feature is ‘intelligent’ and is based on a DNN mode (Deep Neural Network) based smart algorithm.
This feature ensures an improved phone call experience in crowded environments for both parties.
That’s a lot of abbreviations for a product priced under Rs 2000 – but honestly, you need to give it to the Chinese who have mastered the art of offering super value for money products at rock-bottom prices.
Rounding it off: IP54 rated, up to 24 hours battery life
The Oppo Enco Buds is IP54 rated for water and dust ingress protection. This effectively makes the product capable of surviving moderately dusty environments and occasional water splashes with aplomb. The product also boasts 6 hours of continuous music playback. With the charging case by its side, you can eke out 24 hours of music playback time from the Enco Buds on a single charge.
Oppo Enco Buds: Price, when, and where to buy?
The Enco Buds will go on sale starting September 14, 2021, and will be exclusively sold via Flipkart.com. Oppo has priced the product at Rs 1,999. The company has also announced an early-bird offer for a three-day period (September 14 – September 16) when consumers will be able to buy the Enco Buds for Rs 1,799.
Based on what you know so far, would you give in to the super affordable early bird offer and buy the Oppo Enco Buds?