Another solid true wireless set of earphones from the collaboration between Oppo and Dynaudio, offering decent noise cancellation and engaging sound at a tempting price.
- Entertaining sound
- Comfortable fit
- Decent ANC/hear-through mode
- Slightly loose fit
- Average battery life
- Bass is a bit samey
- Personalised noise cancellingMeasures shape of ear canal and earbud fit for clearer sound
- Personalised sound boostEnhances sound based on hearing ability
Having launched several great products in the audio-visual realm, Oppo has made smarts its focus in recent years. While the company still produces headphones, the heady days of the £1100 PM-1 are long gone.
Instead, Oppo’s headphones are designed to complement its smartphones, models such as the Find X5 Pro (they’re marked as accessories on the Oppo website). The Enco Free2 are very affordable at £89 and feature active noise cancellation, which isn’t a feature seen too often at this price. And for good reason – noise cancellation can be tricky to implement well. So, has Oppo figured it out?
- Slightly loose fit
- Lightweight design
- Fairly easy to use
The Enco Free2 resemble the Enco X I reviewed in 2021. They aren’t as glossy or as sculpted in appearance as their more expensive siblings, but they match the IP54 resistance that protects the earphones from water and sweat, and minimise the effects of dust.
And like the Enco X, the Enco Free2 don’t quite burrow into the ear, which means they’re not the most secure. Despite that, they haven’t fallen out, not even on a light jog running to catch a train. But I’ve had to reseat the earphones several times to ensure they stay bedded in the ears. The Free2 prove lightweight to wear, with the slightly loose fit aiding comfort. In the box you’ll find small and large ear-tips alongside the default medium to adapt the fit.
The controls mirror the Enco X, a combination of slides (volume), presses (playback) and holds (noise-cancelling modes). Like the Enco X it becomes intuitive after a while, with customisation possible in the HeyMelody app.
Available in black and white options, the latter is a magnet for dirt (give your ear a clean or just get use to wiping them often). The charging case is another Babybell-shaped effort that slots perfectly into pockets. It features a tiny LED indicator on its front, a button for Bluetooth pairing on its side, and a USB-C connection on its bottom. All the standard stuff, then.
- Personalised settings for ANC/sound
- Decent ANC/Transparency mode
- Not the lengthiest battery life
It would be a lot to expect a thorough noise-cancellation performance from a set of earphones costing under £100, and the Oppo’s performance is a rather qualified success. The loose fit means that ANC isn’t always consistently applied, neutering rather than outright suppressing sounds; but I’d say that’s a respectable effort considering the price.
Vehicles are downgraded to a crisper tone, train journeys are quieter, and ambient noises are blotted out decently – although, like many ANC headphones, sharper tones evade their presence (like birds tweeting). The overall performance is reliant on the trifecta of its design, ANC and volume to make its mark, and for casual users that will suffice.
The effectiveness of the Transparency mode is decent, broadening the soundscape with a good sense of clarity. It’s better than the Lypertek SoundFree S20 I reviewed in 2021; the Oppo avoids raising the noise floor in a distracting fashion.
In the HeyMelody app is an ear fit test that measures the earphone’s effectiveness at keeping sounds out. My left ear always seemed to be a problem, but experimenting with the ear-tips I found a combination that worked (most of the time).
Through the normal rhythms of use the earphones would come loose (it was always my left ear), and I found I had to readjust and re-check in the app. It isn’t particularly convenient, especially if you just want to get on with things, but the test provides confidence… for a little while, at least.
There’s also a feature called Personalised noise cancellation that measures your inner-ear and earphone fit, tailoring the ANC. Does it work? I couldn’t hear much of a difference. The Personalised sound boost is a listening test that tunes music to your hearing ability. Did I notice a difference with that? No, but I imagine some will hear a bigger, more noticeable boost than I did.
There are a few more features to play with in the app (now available on both Android and iOS), from fiddling with EQ presets (there’s no means of creating your own) to toggling on Game mode and multipoint connection, where you can connect to two devices at once. If you’re a multi-tasker and don’t like the to and fro of disconnecting and re-pairing, then this is plenty convenient.
Perhaps it’s me, but I find the customisation of the controls slightly odd, but I can see (I think) what Oppo is going for. Some controls can be used with a single- or double-tap (play/pause for instance), others via different methods (to switch tracks you can double-tap or swipe up/down). Some, such as voice assistant and Game mode, are mapped to specific functions (triple-tap). That leaves room to do what’s comfortable for you, although it does feel slightly convoluted when sizing up the options for the first time.
Battery looks good with 6.5 hours and 30 hours in total, but that’s with noise cancelling disabled. Flip it on and its 4 and 20 hours at 50% volume, which is better than the similarly priced and specced Huawei FreeBuds 4, but relatively low. There’s no wireless or fast charging, so boosting the battery from dead takes 1hr 30mins via the USB-C connection.
A run through what else the Enco Free2 have to offer sees wear detection (useful), a Bluetooth 5.2 connection (that didn’t waver) and SBC and AAC streaming quality.
- Bass can sound a little on the tepid side
- Wide and spacious, with good rhythmic ability
- Good vocal presentation
These Oppos are another collaboration with Danish speaker brand Dynaudio, and like the Enco X, the Free2 strike an enjoyable tone – although there are two sides to its performance: one at default listening levels and the other at higher volumes.
At normal volumes the Oppo’s presentation is smooth and softly defined. I wouldn’t describe the tone as one of warmth, but there’s a lack of punch or attack to songs. At these volumes the buds sound decent, but there’s a lack of dynamism, the sound subdued rather than fully expressive.
A push up on the volume and there’s more headroom to make the buds’ dynamism evident. They become more expressive, with greater detail to uncover a sprightlier performance.
But there isn’t much extension or punch to the low-end, unless the volume is raised – and, even then, there isn’t much variation in its description whether it’s Lupe Fiasco’s WAV Files, Talking Head’s Once in a Lifetime or Stealers Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle with You. There’s a samey-ness about how the bass is represented.
But there’s a good focus on vocals, which are treated well and presented with a smoothness that avoids sibilant traces (at least once you get the fit right), along with an impressive amount of width and decent, if not the sharpest, definition of instruments.
Rhythmically, they show solid timing with Ringo Starr’s constant drum beat in the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows, and with The Flirtations’ Nothing but a Heartache they carry the tune in confident fashion, meshing the vocals, backing singers and band performance into one cohesive whole. If there’s another nit to pick it’s that the Oppo don’t dredge all the detail from the background of tracks and present it for your listening pleasure; but I think that’s a fair trade-off given the focus and clarity on vocals.
Should you buy it?
For Dynaudio’s expertise Once the right fit and volume is found, the Oppo can carry a tune with confidence.
If you want a more secure fit While the Oppo don’t dangle precariously out of the ear, their loose fit is a little niggly. Some will like the comfort they offer; others may prefer a tighter fit and seal.
I’ve been up and down on these Oppos over the course of testing, but in the end, I fall on the side of them being a fine true wireless pair of buds. The design could be better, but they’re comfortable to wear. While the noise cancellation won’t blow your socks off, it’s decent for the asking price, and the sound quality engages once you’ve found the right fit and volume. For the asking price, the Oppo Enco Free2 offer a very fair amount of value.
How we test
We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested over several weeks
Tested with real world use
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The clearest difference between the two true wireless is that the Enco X supports higher quality Bluetooth streaming with the aptX codec. The Free2 only supports up to AAC.
Yes, it appears so! The app was previously only available on Android devices but there is now a compatible app for iOS devices.