After having achieved the feat of doing as well as the AirPods Pro, from Apple, with its Enco X, the manufacturer Oppo launches a new challenge: to offer Bluetooth headphones true wireless equipped with an active noise reduction system (ANC) for a price just under the 100 euros mark. We are therefore curious to see if the Enco W51 keep their promises.
By opening the powder-type charging case, we discover headphones with a sober design that give pride of place to plastic. We then have more the impression of being in front of a children’s toy than a real hi-fi device. Nevertheless, the whole turns out to be robust, although we have some doubts about the case hinge.
For good comfort and good passive insulation, you must choose the right end caps from the four pairs supplied by the manufacturer. After a few tries, we found the right candidates. In addition, the tips do not go deep into the ear canal, which will be appreciated by users who find it difficult to support conventional in-ear models. Resistant to perspiration (IP54), the Enco W51 are not designed a priori for athletes, but stay in place in the event of sudden movement of the head.
Let’s move on to the audio part and the most appealing promise for a headset of this price point, active noise reduction. In a noisy environment such as the street or public transport, active reduction ultimately does a decent job.
Certainly, it eliminates less noise than that of the excellent Enco X, but the more distressing sounds, mainly in the low frequencies, disappear or are very strongly reduced. On the other hand, we are less convinced when used indoors, for example in an open space, where voices remain predominant. But if you’ve decided to vacuum, its noise won’t break your ears. Note that it will not help you to look for a transparency mode, to easily hear your environment, on this entry-level model, there is none.
Dead end on bass
Do Oppo headphones deliver great sound? Not quite. The technical measurements reveal that the Enco W51 give pride of place to the mediums, offer some treble (around 9800 Hz) but do not like the bass (less than 400 Hz).
These results are confirmed when listening with a correct sound, but which leaves an impression of “hollow” and especially lack of heat. We also tested the headphones with videos and there is no lag between sound and picture, thanks to the low latency of Bluetooth 5.0 technology.
Not enough endurance
The other important criterion of headphones true wireless is autonomy. And on this point, the Enco W51s find themselves at the bottom of the ranking with only 3 hours 47 minutes according to our measurements, against 7 h 56 minutes for the Enco X.
It will therefore be necessary to recharge them regularly and not to rely on them for long trips. If we cut the noise reduction, we gain a quarter of an hour of operation in addition, which is really not interesting.
According to Oppo, the case achieves a total of 20 hours (24 hours without ANC). Good point, it fits easily in the pocket and works with the Qi standard for wireless charging. So if you have a wireless charger for your mobile device, or even a smartphone with reverse charge, do not hesitate to use it for the Enco W51 case. If you want to save your headphones for long trips, you can use either the left or the right one while the other is charging.
An app for Android, but not for iOS
To go further with the Enco W51, we have installed the free HeyMelody app on our Android smartphone. Alas, iPhone users will not be able to enjoy it because it is not available for iOS.
The app makes pairing headphones as easy as what Apple offers with its AirPods. No need to get lost in the Bluetooth settings. It also allows you to customize the controls of the touchscreen area of the headphones and to update the firmware to correct any bugs.
On the other hand, it does not offer a function that we very much appreciated on the Enco X: testing whether the end caps you are using provide satisfactory passive isolation.
To control the Enco W51, it is necessary to touch twice or three times in a row a tactile zone which is located on their stem. This makes it possible, for example, to activate or deactivate noise reduction. Simple on paper, this function turns out to be catastrophic in reality as the touch zone lacks responsiveness. We really don’t know where to put your finger for this to work. And why not have provided a long press to control the volume? It would have been so convenient.
The only consolation is that the music automatically pauses as soon as you remove one of the headphones from your ears. Be careful, however, not to put your fingers too close to the presence sensor, as has happened to us, because it may then consider that the earpiece has returned to your ear.