OPPO Enco M32 Review: Two steps forward, one step back
When we reviewed the OPPO Enco M31 in 2020, we called it the champion of budget Bluetooth earphones. The audio quality that the Enco M31 offered was miles ahead of competitors and together with features like LDAC support, they punched well above their weight. So naturally, when OPPO refreshed its neckband lineup with the Enco M32 last month, we were intrigued. The Enco M32 boasts some notable improvements over the Enco M31 including improved build quality, much better battery life, fast charging support, and bigger audio drivers. But how do they stack up against the Enco M31’s legacy? I have been using OPPO’s new earphones for over two weeks and here’s what I think about them.
OPPO Enco M32: Specifications
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|Driver & Frequency response||
|Battery & Charging||
|In The Box||
About this review: OPPO India sent me a pair of Enco M32 on December 31. OPPO had no input in the content of this review. Unless otherwise specified, the observations stated in the review are with regard to Android smartphones.
Design & Comfort
As far as the design is concerned, the OPPO Enco M32 is a pretty basic-looking neckband. The design is all too familiar: there’s a flexible rubber collar that has plastic modules attached to it on either side from which wires emerge and connect to the earcups. Earcups have magnets on the back which acts as an on and off switch. The right plastic module houses volume buttons, a multi-function key, a microphone, and a USB C port. The left module has the understated OPPO logo inscribed on the outer side. Since buttons reside on the inner side of the plastic module, they’re not easy to reach. I would rather OPPO placed them on the outside. But in any case, they’re better than the mushy buttons of the Enco M31.
The build quality is a marked improvement over the last year’s model. The Enco M32 feels more robust and solid compared to the rather minuscule Enco M31. It also helps that they have IP57 dust and water protection, making them a good choice for outdoor activities, gym-goers, and commuters. But still, I feel the OnePlus Bullets Z Wireless has an edge over the Enco M32 as it has thicker wires.
Like their predecessor, the Enco M32 are quite comfy and can be worn for long periods, making them great for commutes and workout sessions. They come with silicone tips and this time OPPO has also added tiny wings for better grip and fitting.
The OPPO Enco M32 packs a 10mm, composite titanium-plated dynamic driver into each earcup. Similar to the Enco M31, the earphones also have independent bass chambers for better bass response. In terms of codec support, the Enco M32 is a step down from its predecessor as it misses out on Sony’s proprietary Hi-Res LDAC codec. LDAC was one of the major highlights of the Enco M31 as made it possible to listen to high resolution, lossless files over Bluetooth. Here though, you’re limited to lossy SBC and AAC codecs. The lack of LDAC support also means the Enco M32 exhibits high latency and audio delay issues in games.
In terms of the audio quality, the OPPO Enco M32 feels like a mixed bag. While the Enco M31 delivered a balanced sound that went well with just about any type of music, the Enco M32 tries to appeal to the mainstream audience with a bass-driven sound.
If you’re the kind of person who listens to a lot of EDM, hip hop, and rap music, you’ll like the extra thump offered by the Enco M32. But if you consider yourself an audiophile, care for little details, or prefer balanced audio, you might not be pleased with the OPPO Enco M32’s sound signature. The Enco M31 had a smart trick up its sleeve to placate both bass lovers and audiophiles; it let you switch between the Balanced mode and Bass mode by double-pressing the multi-function button. That feature is gone on the Enco M32 and together with the fact that OPPO doesn’t offer a companion app or equalizer to let you customize the sound, you’re kind of stuck with what’s come out of the box, for better or worse.
Mids are clean but overemphasized lower frequencies mean vocals and instruments occupying the mid-range sometimes get overshadowed by lingering bass notes. I observed this while listening to John Lenon’s version of Stand by Me in which John’s voice didn’t sound as forward as it should, with the bass guitar and kick drums overpowering other instruments and making the overall sound a bit muddy. The Treble is clear and bright which is good as it helps to balance out the lower-end rumble and eliminate muddiness in midrange to some extent. However, there are some sharp peaks in the upper range which causes excessive sibilance on overly bright tracks.
The Enco M32 are good-sounding earphones for casual listeners but lack the refinement and smoothness of their predecessors. These aren’t bad-sounding earphones by any means; it’s just that the Enco M31 had set the bar so high, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. Still, to me, they sound better than the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z and Mi Neckband Pro.
The Enco M32 comes equipped with a single omnidirectional microphone which is embedded in the right plastic module. The call quality is decent and I was able to hear recipients quite clearly on both voice and video calls. The microphone doesn’t do a great job of cutting down background noise and wind noise when you’re outdoors. This is to be expected from earphones with a single microphone and something we have also seen on other neckbands such as the OnePlus Bullets Z Wireless and Mi Neckband Pro ANC.
This is the area where the Enco M32 totally blows the Enco M31 out of the water. OPPO promises up to 28 hours of battery life on a single charge, a huge improvement over the Enco M31’s measly 8-9 hours of runtime. In this price range, the Enco M32’s battery life is bested only by the Boat Rockerz 330 Pro (60 hours) and Boat Rockerz 330 (30 hours).
And the claim does hold true. In my loop test, the earphones lasted a tad over 26 hours. With average daily usage of 3-4 hours, the Enco M32 should easily get you through the week. And if you do need to charge them in the middle of the week, the fast charging support is there. The company says a 10-minute charge offers up to 20 hours of music playback. A full charge takes 35 minutes according to the company claim but in my test, it took about 45-50 minutes to go from 0 to 100%.
The OPPO Enco M31 was special in that it tried to do something different than the crowd. It was by no means a perfect product, but the amazing sound quality and LDAC support were more than enough to live with its inferior build quality and mediocre battery life. The Enco M32 addresses most of the shortcomings of the Enco M31, but in the process, it also takes away the best traits that helped the Enco M31 stand out from the crowd: the amazing sound quality and LDAC codec support. Even with all its improvements and upgrades, the OPPO Enco M32 still comes across as a good but ordinary product. It doesn’t have an X factor like its predecessor.
The OPPO Enco M32 are a great pair of Bluetooth earphones that offer insane battery life and bass-driven sound.
If you don’t care for balanced audio, however, the Enco M32 are solid, all-around neckband earphones that have plenty to offer. The minimal, understated design allows the Enco M32 to easily blend in with any outfit. Meanwhile, their ergonomic design coupled with soft ear wings ensure earphones remain comfortable to wear for a long time and don’t fall out during workouts or running. On the audio quality front, your mileage may vary. For me, they’re a regression over the Enco M31 as I prefer a balanced sound signature. However, I’m sure the average user will definitely enjoy the extra kick of bass and warmth offered by the Enco M32.
At ₹1,800, the OPPO Enco M32 cost less than their predecessor, but due to the average sound quality and lack of high-quality codec support, stop short of becoming the best pair of budget Bluetooth earphones.