Oppo Enco Q1 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones REVIEW

Oppo Enco Q1 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones REVIEW
9/10

Summary

Oppo Enco Q1 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones REVIEW

 

Oppo is rightly famed for its ace sound and quality components, but how will it fare with its Enco earbuds? Pat Pilcher gives his ears the Oppo treatment.

$199

 

Oppo’s Enco Q1 earphones

Anyone with even a passing interest in AV has probably heard of Oppo, whose audiophile Blu-ray players are the stuff of legend. When the company announced it was no longer making them, we at Witchdoctor donned black armbands and entered into a period of mourning.

Now in a surprise move, Oppo has launched a new audio gadget, the Enco Q1 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones. I was champing at the bit to treat my ears to some Oppo goodness.

There’s no question about their pedigree – Oppo’s Blu-ray team designs the Enco Q1’s. They offer smart and unique design, along with plenty of features and surprisingly good audio. Best of all, they won’t break the bank, as they’re priced at a pocket pleasing $199.

Oppo’s Enco Q1 earphones

From a design perspective, Oppo has gone out on a limb by crafting a neckband onto which the headphone drivers/buds are attached via cables. It might seem counter-intuitive to have wireless headphones with wires, but there are good reasons for this. As lovely as wireless earbuds are, the reality is that if they fall out of your ears, there’s a good chance that they’re going to end up lost. Not with the Enco’s though, as they will just dangle from the neckband. Another side benefit is their battery life. The tiny button cells used in most wireless earbuds see battery life rarely ever exceeding 4 hours of playback time. The Enco’s, on the other hand, managed to deliver just shy of a whopping 15 hours of audio.

Quirky design aside, there are three different listening modes, and the audio delivered by the Enco’s is not all that shabby either. Their specs say that the Enco’s deliver a full 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response. In use, their audio was surprisingly rich with crisp highs and controlled bass. The sound pumped into my noggin also felt very balanced; it wasn’t bass dominated, nor was it shrill with excess midrange and highs.

Oppo’s Enco Q1 earphones

While they sounded good, active noise cancellation was only satisfactory. It’ll do the job when walking down the street and for keeping focused in a noisy office environment. Still, with air travel and other situations where there are high levels of ambient noise, they may struggle.

If you have a newish phone that supports it you’ll also be able to play with Bluetooth 5.0. In practice, this translates to lower energy consumption, improved Bluetooth range and data transfer speeds of up to 2Mbps.

Taking Bluetooth cans out for a stroll around the Wellington CBD is a good test. There’s lots of radio interference, which usually causes most Bluetooth ear gear to drop their connection at least once, but not the Enco’s. They stayed connected the whole time I wandered about Wellington’s CBD.

Oppo’s Enco Q1 earphones

Rock-solid Bluetooth connectivity aside, comfort is also a biggie. With four silicone tips to choose from, they are likely to be a good fit for most. As luck would have it, the default tips were a perfect fit for me, offering plenty of acoustic noise isolation without giving my lug holes stretchmarks.

In use, the quirky neckband design wasn’t a big issue. Weighing in at just 42g, it was barely noticeable while I was wearing it. The earbuds are also magnetic, which meant that when not in use they snapped together, reducing the likelihood of them getting the way.

While many ear gear manufacturers boast of their buds’ IP rating, the Enco’s only offer moderate sweat or splash water protection thanks to an IPX4 rating. This isn’t a huge surprise. They’re designed for your listening pleasure rather than helping you pass the time getting sweaty in a gym.

Another nice touch is the three different listening modes. Music mode is the default and works just like its name implies. A double tap on the neckband’s function button sees the Enco’s switch to “Cinema Surround” mode. In practice, I found that it bumped audio energy levels and threw in some phasing/reverb for 3D surround effects. Then there’s Game Mode, which is all about acoustic positioning. In use, it was surprisingly convincing.

Oppo’s Enco Q1 earphones

While the three listening modes are nifty, they did highlight one issue. The function/volume/power buttons aren’t hugely intuitive. Perhaps in the next iteration, Oppo will introduce some tactile cues (like shaped buttons and surrounds) to guide your fingers. That said, after a few days with the Enco’s, I soon got used to the button layout and was helped along with voice cues.

Audio is a hugely subjective thing, so while the Enco’s supplied sound that I liked a lot, your mileage will vary depending on your own tastes. Having said that, their battery life and a rich feature set sees the Enco Q1’s delivering a hell of a lot of value for a very reasonable $200 sticker price. The combination of value, excellent audio and plenty of functionality sweeten the deal.

www.oppo.com

 

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