Oppo Enco Free2 review: The AirPods lookalike is a user-friendly alternative

Oppo Enco Free2: Specification

Colors: Black; white

Battery life (nominal): Until 6 hours; 30 hours (charging case)

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 (codecs: SBC, AAC)

Water resistance: Yes (IP54 rated)

Cut: Not specified (by bud); Not specified (charging case)

Lester: Not specified (earphones); 1.67 ounces (charging case)

Oppo, once a terrific high-end home theater player, is a relative newcomer to the booming smartphone market and the Enco Free2 are the second incarnation of its entry-level true wireless headphones.

The Enco Free2s are certainly spec’d to compete – after all, active noise cancellation isn’t all that common in headphones under $100. Bluetooth 5.2, voice control, dual pairing… these are all equally interesting and welcome features. The 30-hour best-case battery life is slightly less impressive, though.

And in practice, the Enco Free2s aren’t as appealing as they are in theory. Sound quality is heavily centered on the mids – while the Oppo does a great job with communicating singers, their latent highs and ill-defined bass reproduction make this a less than convincing listen. These sonic flaws aren’t helped either by the rather vague nature of how the headphones fit.

Oppo Enco Free2 packaging box

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Oppo Enco Free2 review: Price and availability

  • Active noise cancellation for less than $100
  • Not currently for sale in the United States

The Oppo Enco Free2 are now on sale for £89 / AU$199. They’re currently not available in the US, but UK customers can purchase them directly through the Oppo UK store. (opens in a new tab) as well as online retailers, including Amazon (opens in a new tab)while Australian customers can buy directly through the Oppo Australia store (opens in a new tab).

You don’t have to be a search engine genius to establish that although this is competitively priced, there are similarly priced alternative designs from rival manufacturers large and small – check out our best wireless headphones under $100 and see where it ranked in the best fake AirPods roundup. So while some of the niceties of the Enco Free2 spec help them stand out a bit, they’ll have to be special if they’re going to stand out.

Oppo Enco Free2 in the charging case

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Oppo Enco Free2 review: Design

  • Dropped stem mimics AirPods design
  • Slightly bulbous enclosure

Faced with the eternal true choice of ‘little pebble’ or ‘dangling stem’ wireless earphone design, Oppo opted for the latter.

The ‘earcup’ part of the design houses a 3/8-inch (10mm) dynamic driver, an oversized design by current standards which partly explains the rather bulbous nature of the Oppo speaker. The company claims a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, which is “full range” in anyone’s language.

Oppo Enco Free2 headphones in the hand of the reviewer

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Oppo Enco Free2 review: Comfort and fit

  • Inaccurate fit
  • Rated IP54 for sweat and water resistance

The headphones come with ‘S’, ‘M’ and ‘L’ eartips to help ensure a decent fit, but fans of the twist-on alternative ‘small pebble’ design will likely find these Oppo headphones give a little snug fit. imprecise.

But they aren’t that heavy in terms of weight, notice each earbud tips the scales at just 0.16 ounces. And with an IP54 water and dust rating, they can be worn with confidence in virtually any real-world condition.

Oppo Enco Free2 close up showing stalks and controls

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Oppo Enco Free2 review: Controls

  • Reliable touch controls
  • Custom sound

Each earbud has a capacitive touch surface built into the ‘stem’ part of the design, and it proves reliable in operation, responsive and not prone to changing the fit of the earbuds when in use.

Their specific responsibilities can be set in the third-party “Hey Melody” app (for Android and iOS devices), or Oppo smartphone users can mind their own business in their phone’s Bluetooth settings. The app also includes ‘Noise Control Mode’, which alternates between ‘Noise Cancellation On’, ‘Noise Cancellation Off’ and ‘Transparency’ – it’s also possible to do a brief hearing test which allows the headphones to customize both the type of noise cancellation they apply and an equalizer specific to your hearing characteristics.

Additionally, the app offers four (only slightly different) EQ presets, battery status indication, and the ability to pair the Enco Free2 to a few devices simultaneously. This is also where you can check for firmware updates.

Control is also available through your source player’s native voice assistant. The Oppo has a three-mic setup to handle voice assistant interaction, call quality and noise cancellation – and it’s not hard to make yourself understood.

Oppo Enco Free2 headphones lying on an album cover

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Oppo Enco Free2 review: Sound quality

  • Excellent midrange clarity makes singers stand out
  • Good bass depth but lacks detail

Oppo has teamed up with Danish speaker savant Dynaudio to voice the Enco Free2 headphones. This isn’t the first time brands have teamed up, but it might not be the most auspicious example of collaboration. That’s not to say the Enco Free2s are without merit, but there are areas where they don’t quite measure up to their comparably priced rivals.

The reproduction of the mids, for example, is indeed very pleasant here. A recording that spotlights a vocalist (like Kate Bush’s “Somewhere In Between,” for example) is handled sympathetically by the Oppo — thanks to impressive detail retrieval and attention to nuance, vocals enjoy real character and expression. There’s a completeness to the way Enco Free2 treats singers, a willingness to explain their attitude and temperament that’s by no means a given in headphones at this kind of money.

Oppo Enco Free2 headphones casually lying on an album cover

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Elsewhere, the sound staging is secure, so that every element of a recording is secure in position and safe from encroachment. The dynamic headroom for the ‘loud/quiet’ bits is more than adequate and (at least as far as the mids are concerned) the harmonic dynamics of a recording are handled with confidence too.

Either side of the midrange is rather problematic, however. When it comes to low frequencies, the Oppo wants nothing for depth – the company’s request for a 20Hz extension seems fair enough. But despite the weight and punch, and despite a fairly well-organized attack and decay that keeps the rhythms natural, there’s a lack of expression in the bass sounds that puts them at odds quite heavily with the midrange. Everything down there is – well, “monotonous” is too strong a description, but it’s quite apt at the same time. There’s no nuance, no light and shade in the way the Free2 portrays bass – it just thumps.

At the other end of the frequency range, the problems are different but no less important. Treble sounds are absolutely as bright and harsh as they dare to be – and that’s when you’re playing nice material. Switch to something with a bit of bite and attitude at its top end (“The Seed” by The Roots is a good example) and the Enco Free2 gets overconfident. Volume, as you might expect, exacerbates this trait – so unless you’re a fan of a high-end that can make you wince, you’ll need to keep the volume down to a realistic level.

Close-up of Oppo Enco Free2 in one ear

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Oppo Enco Free2 review: Active noise cancellation

Active noise cancellation is a much less mixed success. The Oppo isn’t going to give the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones (admittedly at twice the money) sleepless nights, but they do a very decent job when it comes to external sounds. And they manage to do so without altering their broad sonic characteristics (which in this case isn’t an entirely welcome trait, to be fair).

Oppo Enco Free2 charging case

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Oppo Enco Free2 review: Battery life

  • Up to 36 hours of battery life
  • USB-C charging

Oppo claims battery life of between 24 hours (with noise cancellation on – four hours of playback from the buds themselves with five additional charges from the case) and 36 hours (ANC off, six hours from the buds and six from the case). These figures are more in the category of “good” than “excellent”.

Charging is via the USB-C input on the charging case – there’s no wireless charging capability. From flat, expect to wait around 90 minutes before the Enco Free2 is fully charged.

Oppo Enco Free2 review: Call quality and connectivity

The Oppo’s use Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity, which is ideal, and are compatible with SBC and AAC codecs, which are absolutely not. Even at this price, it’s not uncommon to see support for aptX or LDAC codecs for truly high-res listening. Still, the connectivity itself proves solid, and the claimed 10m range is certainly achievable.

And the call quality is also quite successful. The mic array resists wind noise well, and intelligibility at either end of a conversation is never an issue.

Oppo Enco Free2 review: Verdict

They are curious and error-free true wireless headphones. Where they’re good – active noise cancellation, control options, mid-range fidelity – they’re on par with any real-world rival. But the sound they produce is fundamentally biased, with too much attack in the highs and a lack of variation in the lows. Which ultimately means they’re not the suitors they so easily could have been.

Comments are closed.