OPPO Enco Q1 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Earphones Review — Accurate Marketing
Earphones are great. They let you listen to what you want to without disturbing others. And, more importantly, they let other people listen to what they want to, without disturbing you. Today we’re going to take a look at the OPPO Enco Q1 wireless noise-cancelling earphones.
While many companies are hopping on the true-wireless bandwagon, OPPO went for something completely different. These earphones have a stiff neckband, similar to the LG Tone series, but it is flexible and contoured. Having a neckband comes with its own sets of advantages and disadvantages, which I’ll talk about later. OPPO is advertising up to 22 hours of battery life, active noise cancellation, great sound, and incredible comfort with the Enco Q1. How accurate are these statements? Does the title give it away? Maybe, maybe not. Read on to find out.
First Impressions and Such
“Oh God, he’s starting out by talking about the box again, isn’t he?”
Yes, yes I am. The box that the OPPO Enco Q1 comes in is actually pretty big. It’s only about an inch tall, but it’s nearly a foot in both other dimensions. There’s a reason for the size, though, and it has to do with how these earphones are constructed. Besides the earphones themselves, OPPO includes some manuals, a charging cable, and a bunch of replacement tips. Interestingly, there are actually four sizes here; the ones that come installed are in between the medium and large replacement tips in size. There’s no charging case, but that’s because these aren’t true wireless earphones.
The design of the Enco Q1 is pretty similar to the older LG Tone models. There’s a neckband, which is where the battery and controls are, and the earphones are attached by wires. In the age of truly wireless earphones, you might wonder why you’d ever want to get a pair that are both tethered and have the extra weight of a neckband. Well, maybe you don’t ever want to, and that’s perfectly fine. But there are a few good reasons for the band, which I’ll get into later as well.
Finishing off the first impressions, the OPPO Enco Q1 has your usual handy prompts for power and connection state and such. Oh, they also have this little thing called Active Noise Cancellation. Maybe you’ve heard of it before? Active noise cancellation can be great if you want to listen to something in a noisy environment, and I was super excited to see that OPPO included it. How well does it actually work, though? Well, let’s get started with the actual review to find out.
Since the OPPO Enco Q1 has a neckband, you won’t find capacitive touch controls on oi. Instead, there are four physical buttons on the left side of the band. One button is for changing the EQ mode and toggling noise cancellation. The volume rocker is for changing the volume or the current music track. The last is for powering the Enco on or off, enabling pairing mode, playing or pausing music, and answering or ending calls. You can also do a quick double press to trigger the voice assistant on your phone.
There’s nothing super fancy here, but that means it’s also super easy to remember (and get used to) which button does what, and the fact that you get proper tactile feedback when you’re doing something is always nice to have. Unlike earphones with capacitive controls, it’s much harder to accidentally pause your music or skip a track.
OPPO has opted for a simpler, less-feature-creepy approach to controls here, and, in my opinion, it works well.
Ergonomics & Usage
I mentioned it earlier, but this thing has a neckband. For a lot of people, that might be a little off-putting. After all, neckbands can be heavy and get in the way. On its website, OPPO says that “you’ll barely notice it’s there,” and, honestly, it’s true. Usually, you need to take whatever a brand claims on its website with some skepticism, but this is at least one thing on the product page that’s completely true. Unless I’m doing sit-ups or something that involves a lot of movement, I don’t even notice I’m wearing the Enco Q1, thanks to its 42g weight.
Now that I’m done gushing about the neckband, let’s actually talk about how the earphones fit. The OPPO Enco Q1 actually comes with four tip sizes. That means there’s plenty of choices if they don’t fit you right away. Once you find the right tip size, the Enco Q1 is plenty comfortable. I’ve worn them until they run out of battery without my ears getting sore or uncomfortable.
There are just two things to keep in mind when you’re putting the earphones in. The first is that you need to sort of twist them into your ears. If you’re used to noise-isolating in-ear earphones, this won’t be anything new. The second involves the noise cancellation feature. Because the OPPO Enco Q1 uses microphones facing into your ears for noise cancellation, if you twist them in while the feature is active, it’s possible they’ll make a high-pitched squealing noise. I usually just put up with that possibility, but it’s a good idea to just turn off the noise cancellation while you’re putting the earphones in.
When they’re not in your ears, the neckband of the OPPO Enco Q1 makes for a pretty convenient way to hold and anchor the earphones. Just take them out of your ears, stick them together (each bud has a magnet in the back for this reason), and forget about them. Well, forget about them until you lean forward. The wires attaching the earphones to the neckband are pretty long. While that’s good for reachability and in-ear comfort, it means they can get in the way when you don’t have them in your ears. For example, when leaning over a sink, there’s a real risk of getting them wet. They are IPX4-rated, but that doesn’t mean they won’t break at all as IPX4 is good only for light splashes of water.
The magnets that hold the earphones together are also not very strong, and I’ve had them come apart a few times. That’s not a big deal by any means, but it’s definitely something worth keeping in mind.
One last thing for this section, I promise. The OPPO Enco Q1 are rated IPX4. That means you don’t need to worry about wearing them in the rain, or for an intense workout. You shouldn’t go swimming with them, obviously, but an unexpected rain shower won’t cause any problems.
Battery & Charging
I’ve worn the Enco Q1 until they run out of battery. With active noise cancellation enabled, OPPO claims the Enco Q1 will last for about 15 hours of playback. Without active noise cancellation, that number jumps to 22 hours. Again, the marketing here is spot-on, at least for the ANC mode. I’ve had no trouble getting 15 hours or more of playback time out of the Enco Q1. I’ve barely used them without ANC enabled, so I can’t personally say how accurate the 22-hour estimate is, but I am inclined to believe it. Those 15 hours of playtime are more than enough for almost any general use-case, and it’s so nice not having to worry about charging these every few hours.
Now let’s talk about the other end of battery life: the charging process. OPPO says it takes about two hours for the Enco Q1 to charge, which isn’t exactly quick. But you don’t really need fast charging when you can just plug them in overnight. Thankfully, the OPPO Enco Q1 charge with USB-C, so you don’t need to carry around a Micro-USB cable with you. Your phone charger will work just fine.
Sound & Noise Cancellation
Features and playback time are nice and all, but what about sound? The features don’t mean much if the sound quality is terrible. Well, no need to worry. The OPPO Enco Q1 sounds great, thanks to the 11.8mm dynamic driver. The default EQ profile is perfect for my preferences. Treble and vocals are clear, but there’s also bass when it’s needed.
Of course, if you’re someone who likes heavier bass, what I just said may not really sound that great. Maybe the Tronsmart Spunky Pro sound like more your jam. Lucky for you, the OPPO Enco Q1 comes with a few different EQ modes: music, cinema, and gaming. If none of those work for you, there’s always your phone’s built-in equalizer. ColorOS is pretty bad, but it does have an equalizer, and One UI has some pretty advanced sound control if you have a Samsung.
But what about the noise cancellation feature? I’ll admit I was a little skeptical of this actually working well, but after over a month of using it, I’m pretty happy. Obviously, it isn’t perfect. These are just in-ear earphones, not headphones. But for what they have to work with, the OPPO Enco Q1 provides a solid noise-cancelling experience.
I’ve actually taken to using the noise cancellation in lectures to help tune out noises like coughing and sniffing. On the train to and from home, the Enco manage to block out nearly all of the noise from the wheels on the track. I’ve even started to turn my headphones volume lower than usual, since there’s just so much less background noise to overcome. Needless to say, I really enjoy the noise cancellation feature here, and I wish more earphones had it.
So we’ve talked about sound quality and noise cancellation, but there’s one more thing to cover: the microphone(s). On top of all the microphones for noise cancellation, the OPPO Enco Q1 has at least one more for other regular functions like phone calls, video calls and apps like Duolingo. I’ve actually made a surprising number of calls with these and I never got complaints about the clarity of the phone call.
Honestly, I’m incredibly happy with the OPPO Enco Q1. From the comfortable design to the amazing battery life and the excellent sound quality, they get so many things right. That doesn’t mean they’re perfect, as the magnets could definitely be stronger, but OPPO did a great job designing them.
You can get yourself a pair of the OPPO Enco Q1 for around $100 online. That’s not exactly cheap, but it’s half of what Apple charges for noise-cancelling earphones. Unless you really want true-wireless noise-cancelling earphones, these are a pretty great deal. Of course, if you don’t care about noise cancellation in the first place, then that doesn’t really matter. But with the 22-hour playtime and great sound, noise cancellation isn’t the only reason to buy these. The Anker Soundcore Spirit Pro may “only” be $50, but the sound is nowhere near as good, and the playtime is less than half of what the OPPO Enco Q1 manages.
I know $100+ is a lot to ask for a pair of earphones, but I really do think these are worth the price. Unfortunately, they’re a little hard to find. They’re not sold officially in very many countries. If you’re in China, you can get them directly from OPPO’s website. Users in India can buy them from Amazon India for ₹7,990. For other regions, check Amazon or eBay. Depending on the seller, you can find them for as low as $80 or $90.