OPPO Enco M31 Review: A treat for the ears
Between all the rage that TWS has been generating lately, it’s easy to forget Bluetooth neckbands are still a thing. Although the popularity of neckbands has somewhat declined since the rise of TWS, the market clearly exists for those who aren’t entirely convinced with the truly wireless form factor just yet. Neckbands are a no brainer if you’re looking for a pair of Bluetooth earphones that are affordable, don’t need to be charged every few hours, or require special care and attention. For instance, OnePlus’s latest Bullets Wireless Z (review) neckband offers up to 20 hours of battery life, IP55 dust and water resistance, and sturdy build quality at just ₹1,999 (~$27). Another equally impressive contender is the OPPO Enco M31, which deserves just as much attention as the Bullets Wireless Z. Launched back in May without much fanfare, the OPPO Enco M31 earphones have received critical acclaim for its sound quality and are regarded as some of the best Bluetooth earphones under ₹2000.
I’ve been using the Enco M31 for over a month, and I have to agree they are unbelievably good. It’s tough to believe these earphones only cost ₹1,999 (~$27) and offer such a refined sound that usually requires a much higher expenditure.
OPPO Enco M31: Specifications
|Build and Weight|
|Driver & Frequency response|
|Battery & Charging|
|In The Box|
About this review: The OPPO Enco M31 is my personal purchase. OPPO had no input in the content of this review. This review is written after over two months of use. Unless otherwise specified, the observations stated in the review are with regards to Android smartphones.
Design, Comfort & Controls
The OPPO Enco M31 are an average looking pair of earphones. There’s nothing cutting edge or flashy about them – unless you go for the funky Green variant. They feature a familiar neckband design with two plastic modules strapped to a rubber collar and wires shooting through them and connecting to the earcups. The pill-shaped ear cups are made out of plastic and feature a circular spun-metal finish, which adds a nice contrasting look. The earcups themselves are really tiny, barely half an inch in size, and have a flat outer surface, which helps them sit flush without sticking out of your ears.
In terms of comfort, the Enco M31 are pleasantly comfortable. They don’t enter too deep into the ear canal, making it possible to wear them for extended periods without feeling any pain or discomfort. I’ve had them in my ears for more than 3 hours at once, and I didn’t feel the need to take them out, neither out of irritation nor fatigue. The Enco M31 are also remarkably lightweight earphones – the entire device weighs just 22g. You can wear them on your neck all day without even noticing they’re there.
Unlike the Bullets WIreless Z, which has in-line controls attached to the wire, the Enco M31 has them on the inner side of the left module. It’s a fairly simple button layout consisting of a multi-function key located along the edge of the plastic module and two volume keys sitting just above it. Due to their odd placement, the buttons are a bit of a stretch to reach, but you do get used to it over time. Although the volume keys are nice and clicky, I’m not a fan of the multi-function key, which feels mushy and always requires exerting a bit of force to register the click. You can play/pause the audio or answer/hang-up calls with a single click on the multi-function key. Double-clicking the key lets you change the sound profile while pressing the button three times summons the Google Assistant. You can also change tracks by holding the volume up or volume down key for a second.
The Enco uses a similar magnetic mechanism that we have seen on other Bluetooth neckbands. Separating the cups activates the earphones while clipping them together puts them to sleep. A soft voice plays when the earphones connect to the host device. The voice also notifies when you switch between the Balanced and Bass mode, and also warns when the battery is running low.
The overall build quality is average at best. The thin wires don’t scream long-term durability, and buttons could have been better positioned. The OPPO Enco M31 also don’t enjoy the same level of protection as the Bullets Wireless Z — they are rated for IPX5, which safeguards them against drizzles and water splashes, but you don’t get any dust protection. They are not built for rough handling and must be handled with care if you plan to use them for the long term.
OPPO Enco M31: Audio Quality
The OPPO Enco M31 features a single 9.2mm dynamic driver and PET titanium-plated composite diaphragms fitted into each ear cup with a frequency range of up to 40KHz. It also has independent bass chambers for boosted low-frequencies when the dedicated Bass mode is activated.
One of the major attractions of the Enco M31 is LDAC support, a Hi-Res codec developed by Sony. This is a big deal for multiple reasons. For one, LDAC offers the highest transmission throughput of any Bluetooth codec out there, up to 990Kbps, making these earphones a perfect choice for listening to lossless music. Secondly, the Enco M31 are quite literally the only Bluetooth earphones to offer LDAC support at this price point. Along with Hi-Res certification, this makes the Enco M31 the cheapest wireless earphone suitable for critical listening.
The OPPO Enco M31 have a neutral sound signature, meaning they reproduce the sound as faithfully as possible without emphasizing specific frequencies, say, lows or highs. Neutral sounding earphones, especially the Bluetooth ones, are rare to get hold of at this price point and are usually reserved for earphones located much higher on the price ladder. As such, it’s both refreshing and exciting to see Oppo taking a different route than the competition and not falling for the same cliché “more bass, more treble” approach.
Oppo has a smart trick up its sleeve to placate both audiophiles and bass heads. Out-of-the-box, the Enco M31 uses a Balanced sound mode which, as you might have guessed, provides neutral sound. Should you need that extra kick of bass, OPPO offers a dedicated Bass mode to elevate the lower frequencies. You can switch between Bass and Balanced sound profiles simply by double-pressing the multi-function button.
Although not as prominent as some of the bass-heavy earphones out there, the bass on the Enco M31 is tight and impactful — as it was evident while listening to Posthumous Forgiveness by Tame Impala. Not to mention, you can always switch to the Bass mode if you crave more punch on certain tracks. Personally, I find the bass response on the default Balanced mode to be perfect to my taste, so I rarely use the bass mode. But of course, many people prefer more pronounced lows over clean mids and treble, so it’s good to have the option at the disposal.
The midrange representation is really impressive, adding a sense of realism to voices and lead instruments without being too forward. This was apparent while listening to vocal-centric tracks such as Night and Day by Diana Krall and Bleecker Street by Simon & Garfunkel, which sounded smooth and intimate as they should.
Treble response is also quite balanced — clean, bright, and expressive without being overly sharp or fatiguing. There’s a hint of spark and shimmer that brings life to guitar riffs, horns, cymbals, and other string instruments.
Full Test Playlist
- Posthumous Forgiveness — Tame Impala
- My Cherie Amour — Stevie Wonder, Henry Cosby, Sylvia Moy
- Indian Summer — Anoushka Shankar
- Birdman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) — Antonio Sánchez
- Book of Days – 2009 Remaster — Enya
- Tere Bina — A.R Rahman, Chinmayi, Murtuza Khan, Qadir Khan
- Abhi Abhi — KK
- Night And Day — Diana Krall
- Bombay Dreams — KSHMR, Lost Stories, Kavita Seth
- Bleecker Street — Simon & Garfunkel
The Enco M31’s moment of truth came while listening to solo Jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez’s percussion laden score for the movie Birdman. The whole score consists of basically just Antonio on a drum set, but there’s a great deal of detail and depth, which often gets lost on average sounding headphones. Contrary to my doubts, the Enco M31 reproduced every drum beat, enigmatic shuffle groves, shimmers of the hi-hat, and crashing of cymbals with such breathtaking clarity and precision, it was hard to believe I was listening to a pair of cheap, entry-level Bluetooth earphones.
The best thing about the Enco M31 is how versatile they are. Thanks to their neutral sound signature, they go well with just about anything — be it Pop, Rock, Metal, Jazz, or classical. I have had these earphones for two months now, and I still can’t get over how incredibly detailed and musical they sound. They are hands down, the best sounding Bluetooth earphones in the entry-level segment.
Range, Latency, & Microphone Quality
The OPPO Enco M31 uses Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity with downward compatibility with previous Bluetooth versions. There’s no multi-device pairing support, but you can move back and forth between your already paired devices by simultaneously holding the volume keys for a few seconds. This mechanism is not as quick and effortless as the OnePlus Bullets Z’s implementation, which works by double-pressing the function key, but it does get the job done without needing to fiddle with Bluetooth settings. The Enco M31 provides a decent signal range indoors; however, I did notice audio drops and stutters if I moved to other parts of my house with my phone left in my bedroom. In comparison, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z offers a more robust reception, and I can freely roam in the house without worrying about the physical barriers interrupting my calls or music.
The latency performance on the Enco M31 is impressive for gaming and consuming videos. Although SBC and AAC codecs are considered good enough for video streaming, they can’t keep up with the exorbitant demands of gaming. To address this issue, many OEMs offer an optimized low-latency mode that cuts down the latency period for a lag-free gaming experience. However, in most cases, this low-latency mode is only supported on OEMs’ own phones — for example, the Bullets Wireless Z’s low-latency mode only works on select OnePlus phones.
Thankfully that’s not the case with the Enco M31 as the LDAC codec provides reasonably good latency on any device running Android 8.0 and above. I tested the Enco M31 with Call of Duty Mobile on three different smartphones — POCO M2 Pro, iQOO 3 5G, and Galaxy M31 — and was quite content with the latency performance. Although there is a minor lag, it’s not really perceptible unless you go out of your way and look for it. And it’s also not bad enough to put you at a disadvantage in competitive multiplayer games. If you’re looking for a pair of Bluetooth earphones specifically for gaming, you can’t go wrong with the Enco M31.
The Enco M31 comes with what OPPO calls an AI-Powered Noise Reduction feature for voice calls. As per the company’s marketing material, this feature filters out background noise so your voice can be heard more clearly on the other end. The feature works out of the box and doesn’t need to be activated. In my testing, however, it was quite ineffective as callers could still pick up surrounding noises when I was outdoors. But apart from that, taking calls on Enco M31 was a good experience. Voices sounded clear and loud, and the callers did not complain about anything unusual.
Coming to the battery life, the OPPO Enco M31 packs in an 88mAh battery and charges via a USB Type C port. The company claims up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge, which doesn’t sound bad. However, this figure only holds when using the SBC codec. When listening over LDAC, the figure drops to measly 8 hours, as per the official claim. In real life, I was getting close to 7 and a half hours of battery life with LDAC. With my average 3-4 hours of usage each day, I had to recharge the Enco M31 every third day. Having grown accustomed to OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z’s marathon battery life, this was a big step down for me. With a similar usage pattern, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z easily gets me through a week on a single charge.
The charging time also verges on the conservative side, with the device taking close to an hour to reach from an empty state to full. OPPO says you can get 3 hours of music playback on a 10-minute recharge. In my loop test, however, the device survived for 2 hours and 11 minutes. In comparison, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z can be fully charged within 25 minutes and gives 10 hours of playback time on a 10-minute quick top-up.
Conclusion – The OPPO Enco M31 is the Champion of Budget Wireless Earphones
The Oppo Enco M31 are among the best sounding Bluetooth earphones available on the market. Although there are plenty of contenders that fit that description, the main takeaway here is that the OPPO Enco M31 offers such fantastic sound at a fraction of the cost of its much pricey counterparts. It’s this deadly combination of exceptional sound quality and criminally low price that earns the OPPO Enco M31 the praise and glory it so rightfully deserves. The Enco M31 really took me by surprise with their brilliant audio tuning. The sound they produce is unheard for a device of this price.
The Enco M31 are compact and easy to carry around and make for a great workout companion with their snug in-ear fit and sweat resistance properties. They also manage to boast support for a high-end Bluetooth codec such as LDAC while its competitors could only manage to offer SBC and AAC. LDAC not only enables a high-quality music listening experience, but its relatively low latency also makes it an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy a near-lag free gaming experience on a Bluetooth headset.
The Enco M31’s balanced sound signature provides an equal opportunity for every type of music to shine through and ensures you hear music as originally intended by the artist. The Enco M31 is by no means a perfect product, far from it. There’s clear room for improvement, particularly in the areas of build quality and battery life. But honestly, I’m quite content with what’s on offer here. A successor with the same audio tuning, ANC, and a bigger battery would surely be a recipe for success. But as it is, the OPPO Enco M31 are the true champions of the budget wireless audio segment. At a price of just ₹1,999 (~$27), the OPPO Enco M31 provides far more value than any other entry-level earphones. If you care about good sound quality above anything else, you got to get hold of the OPPO Enco M31.