Smartphone maker Oppo is trying to gain a foothold in the rapidly growing true wireless (TWS) earbuds market. As part of the effort, it launched its latest TWS products, the Enco Free and the Enco W31 in March. However, the nationwide lockdown to combat the ongoing global pandemic, coronavirus stopped the wide-spread sales in its tracks. Taking a look back, Oppo priced the TWS earbuds as Rs 4,499 but later slashed the price by Rs 500. Now, interested buyers can head to Amazon India to get the TWS earbuds for just Rs 3,999. For some context, the Enco Free landed in the market with the price tag of Rs 7,999. Also Read - Oppo Find X2 Series to be priced under Rs 65,000 in India: Report
Taking a look at the current pricing, you can get W31 for Rs 3,985 (White variant) and Enco Free for Rs 7,990. It is worth noting that these are not the only audio accessories from the company in the market. Oppo takes on multiple players in the market with its latest W31. These include Xiaomi, Redmi, Realme, Noise, boAt, 1More, Skullcandy, Detel, and more. How does the Enco W31 change the picture beyond the impressive Enco Free? Let’s find all the answers to your questions in our review. Here is my Oppo Enco W31 review. Also Read - Oppo Enco M31 and Enco W31 now available on Amazon India; Price, Features
Watch: Oppo Enco Free Review
Features and specifications on Oppo Enco W31
The Enco W31 features a 7mm dynamic driver with support for Bluetooth v5.0 and a range of 10 meters. W31 also comes with an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance. Beyond this, the company has added a 25mAh battery in each of the earbuds and 350mAh battery in the charging case. In addition, Oppo has also added a USB Type-C at the back of the charging case. The case charges the earbuds with the help of a dual contact-pin system. Both the earbuds feature two contact pads each on the steam. We also get an IR sensor on the dome of the earbuds for wearing detection. Also Read - Oppo Enco W31 wireless earphones to go on sale today: Offers, price in India, features
Oppo has also added two microphones on each of the earbuds for “dual-microphone noise cancellation” during calls. The first microphone is located at the bottom of the earbud stem and the second is located near the IR sensor. The W31 also comes with support for “Binaural Low-Latency Bluetooth Transmission” and a dedicated “Bass Mode”. The first word means that your smartphone will be connected to both the earbuds separately. It won’t have to depend on connecting the “primary” earbud which then connects to the second earbud.
We also get support for high-quality AAC file format along with Dual TPU composite grapheme diaphragm. The company also revealed that the device comes with support for “Quick Pairing” technology. However, this is only limited to select Oppo smartphones with ColorOS 7 or higher. It also features touch controls to switch between audio modes, skipping to the next song, and activating digital voice assistant.
Design and comfort
One of the highlights of this TWS is likely the presence of proper Silicone earbud tips. The buyer does not have to deal with the “one fit may fit all” approach of most TWS products in the market. There are a few that feature a semi-Silicone earbud style. Here part of the eardome uses soft Silicone and the rest of it uses hard plastic. Instead, Oppo gives buyers the choice to replace the earbuds offering two sizes in the box. By default, the earbuds feature the medium-size tips on the earbuds.
The presence of a Silicone earbud tip means that this product is far more comfortable to wear. One can wear the Enco W31 for hours at-end without any discomfort. The soft material is also likely to provide a much more secure seal in ears with better passive noise isolation. Focusing on the design, the W31 features a familiar earbuds design that is unique in its own right. We have already talked about the presence of the charging pads and microphone locations on the earbuds.
As for the charging case, it has a hockey puck-like design with a champ-shell opening and closing mechanism. Opening the case, we can see the cutouts in the plastic to store the earbuds in a secure manner with the help of magnets. One can also notice the charging pins inside the charging case along with one LED indicator and a button. Users can use the button to switch to the pairing mode or check the battery levels. The LED also indicates the actual status of charging inside the case. For instance, green means a full charge, and orange means charging in progress.
Audio performance on Oppo Enco W31: Bass, Treble, and Clarity
After testing a wide range of songs, calls, movies, and games, the short version of performance in one word is “brilliant”. The company has managed to take 7mm audio drivers and optimize them in an impressive manner. The reason we are highlighting this aspect is that usually, people associate larger audio driver size with better quality. However, Oppo has managed to establish to dispel that belief with better diver optimization. The TWS earbuds worked as intended while playing games, and watching movies on Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ Hotstar, and Amazon Prime Video. In fact, the strength of the W31 seems to be in its dedicated “Bass Mode”.
It is worth noting that W31 comes with ample volume capabilities. Though, the actual volume level may depend on your device. For instance, the volume was more than enough while testing with my PC with audio clipping at the maximum level. So, I found tuning down the 65-70 percent for adequate loudness. Switching to my OnePlus 7T McLaren edition, things were just fine at 100 percent volume. However, you won’t be disappointed with the audio levels. The design and good fit of the Silicone tips offer a surprising amount of depth to the songs along with a somewhat illusion of a wider sound stage.
We get to see an impressive instrument separation and clarity in Piano Sonata No 17 in D Minor by Ludwig van Beethoven. This is further reinforced in Hurt by Johnny Cash along with extremely clear vocals. Enco W31 TWS earbuds demonstrate their wide dynamic range with Orinoco Flow by Eny, N.ryan, and R.Ryan and Pretty Vacant by Sex Pistols. Digging a bit deeper, we realize that the TWS can handle the lows and the highs really well. However, the mids can be improved. It also performed admirably during calls or taking notes.
Bass and the software
The highlight of the device seems to be its dedicated Bass mode. This feature highlights the beats and thumps in a song. The depth and quality of the bass make me believe that there is no immediate competition in the TWS earbuds category around this range. This excellence makes the Enco W31 ideal for users who like to listen to bass-heavy songs such as rock music, instrumentals, and more. This is not the say that the balanced mode is bad. Instead, it is just to say that the bass mode is that good.
I absolutely loved listening to Hymn To The Fallen by John Williams on W31. This song demonstrated all the strengths of the TWS earbuds including the superior bass, good separation, warm tone of the vocals, and more. There is no dedicated app to manage the TWS earbuds. However, one can access more features while using an Oppo smartphone including the ability to upgrade the firmware.
One can find an “Auto-Update” toggle in the “Earpods functions” along with a “Firmware Version Number”. However, there is no way to find if it is the latest version or any manual button to double-check or force update. Similarly, the touch gestures seem to function most of the time with occasional fails.
Oppo claims that the W31 earbuds can offer 3.5 hours on a single charge along with 15 hours more with the help of the charging case. However, I got about 3 hours and 15 minutes backup on a single charge with audio at 75 percent. It takes about 1.5 hours to charge one earbud from 0 to 100 and 2.5 hours to charge the case and the earbuds from 0 to 100 percent. However, there is no direct way to check the battery level of the earbuds or the case beyond guesstimating from the LED indicator. It is also worth noting that every time one has to open the case to check the LED indicator and the overall charging speed is somewhat slow.
One can also connect the earbuds to their smartphone to check the battery levels. (only Oppo users can monitor levels for both the earbuds at the same time in the Bluetooth Settings area). The W31 comes with a USB Type-C cable included in the box. It is worth noting that one can further extend the battery backup time by using one earbud at a given time. This will also ensure that the users do not have to wait for both the earbuds to charge at the same time.
Verdict: Should you buy the Oppo Enco W31?
After extensive testing in multiple scenarios, it is difficult not to praise the W31. Running down the features, quality, and price, Enco W31 is likely the best TWS earbuds below Rs 4,000 or even Rs 5,000 range. This product not only matches but also manages to beat its competition in several, if not all aspects. It also manages to offer impressive sound reproduction, large stage, loudness, bass, and audio clarity while setting a new benchmark.
If you are looking for a TWS earbuds with impressive quality and don’t mind the Oppo branding then go ahead with W31. Otherwise, you may have to compromise on some aspects while choosing TWS earbuds. Though the company can improve the mids, charging speeds, and the loudness levels on the Enco W31. However, this is a rather short list of improvements in comparison to the good stuff.