Oppo’s new true wireless earbuds are like AirPods with extra features

During the Oppo APAC Strategic Launch conference, Oppo has showcased the Enco Free in Malaysia. It’s their latest pair of true wireless headphones which was expected to launch alongside the Reno 3 in China next week. Unlike the O-Free, the Oppo Enco Free looks like yet another AirPods clone but it comes with additional features.

The Enco Free boasts a battery life of 5 hours which is similar to the AirPods and you can get up to 25 hours of listening time with the charging case included. The case looks pretty solid with a matte finish and there’s even a stripe in front which looks inspired by the rear stripe that you’ll find on the Oppo Reno series.

The stems of the earphones are noticeably thicker but it offers both tap and slide interaction. The slider on the left bud is used to control the volume while the slider on the right is used to jump to the previous or next track. This gives it a plus for convenience over the AirPods.

While the AirPods offers a one-size-fits-all design, the Echo Free has included interchangeable silicone ear tips for a better fit. The default S-size offers a more flush and fit finish appearance while the larger tip option does make the head thicker, which is probably great for people with a larger concha. This is probably the solution RM of BTS is looking for.

From my short experience, they sound decent but it isn’t as rich or bassy compared to a pair of AirPods. The slide feature is a nice touch for instant volume adjustments but the double-tap control to pause/play is quite a hit and miss. Fortunately, it automatically pauses your music when you take them out and it will automatically resume when you put it back.

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According to the spec-sheet, it supports Bluetooth 5.0 with binaural simultaneous Bluetooth transmission. On paper, this should offer better reliability and lower latency as it receives the audio stream on both sides. It also offers AI-assisted uplink noise cancellation for voice calls via its dual-microphone setup but we have yet to try this out.

The charging case is charged via USB-C and it will take 90 minutes to fully charge the headphones and close to 2 hours to charge the case. Nope, it doesn’t come with wireless charging.

According to Oppo Malaysia, the Enco Free will be released in January 2020 for RM499. That’s RM200 lower than the official retail price of the 2nd gen AirPods. The true wireless earphones are available in either black or white.

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Alexander Wong