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Oppo Enco Free 2 review: Another successful Dynaudio collaboration

Ben Johnston
10 May 2022
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
89
inc VAT

Despite their sub-par battery life, the Oppo Enco Free 2 are excellent earbuds offering impressive noise cancellation and fine sound quality

Pros 
Strong audio performance
Decent ANC and wear detection
Neat touch controls
Cons 
Disappointing battery life
No wireless charging
Limited EQ presets
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The Oppo Enco Free 2 are the second pair of true wireless earbuds the Chinese brand has produced in collaboration with Danish Hi-Fi company, Dynaudio. Partnering with Dynaudio has proved a prudent business decision, with the Scandinavian manufacturer’s pedigree evident in both the design and audio quality of 2021’s Enco X.

It’s a similar story with the Enco Free 2, but they offer better value for money than their predecessors by incorporating a similar suite of features at a much lower price. They make a few sacrifices to hit their more affordable price point but these don’t impact the overall experience too severely.

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Oppo Enco Free 2 review: What do you get for the money?

The Oppo Enco Free 2 operate over Bluetooth 5.2, with support for the SBC and AAC audio codecs. Support for LHDC (Low latency High Definition Codec) has been dropped from the Enco X, but only those with compatible Oppo, Huawei or Xiaomi smartphones could make use of it anyway, so this isn't too big a deal.

Unlike the open-fit Enco Air, the Enco Free 2 stick closely to the design of the Enco X, with silicone ear tips providing a stable fit that passively cancels out sound and stems that extend down and out over your earlobes. The stems are home to the Free 2’s touch controls, which allow you to skip tracks, adjust volume and cycle between the normal, active noise cancellation and transparency listening modes.

Though fairly limited, touch controls are well implemented. Volume controls are particularly intuitive - instead of taking up a command slot assigned to taps, volume is adjusted by simply sliding a finger up or down the stem of either earbud.

Another key design choice sees single taps omitted completely to avoid accidentally executing commands when adjusting the buds in your ears. The standard control scheme doesn’t include an option to play and pause audio either, with Oppo happy to have you rely on wear detection to pause playback when a bud is removed from your ear. This works effectively and resumes audio swiftly once the bud is put back in, and there’s the option to add a play/pause touch command using the HeyMelody app if you’d prefer.

The Enco Free 2 are optimised for use with phones running ColorOS 11.0+, with fast pairing as soon as you open the case and a variety of customisation options available via your phone’s Bluetooth device interface. Android and iOS users aren’t completely left out in the cold, however, as they can access most of the same features via the HeyMelody app. As well as touch control customisation, the app also features four EQ options – Classic, Dynamic Bass, Clear Vocals and Clear – and personalisation tests that fine-tune the audio and ANC to your ears.

The app also handily displays the battery life for each earbud. With ANC off, you’re looking at roughly six-and-a-half hours of in-ear battery life, with a further 23 hours available in the oval charging case (these figures drop to a disappointing four hours in-ear and 16 more in the case with ANC enabled). Unlike the Enco X, wireless charging and fast charging are not supported, so you’ll have to make do with the provided USB-C cable.

READ NEXT: These are the best noise-cancelling headphones to buy right now

Oppo Enco Free 2 review: How do they sound?

The Enco Free 2’s audio is delivered by a pair of 10mm dynamic drivers, which were co-tuned with Dynaudio. It’s clear from the standard audio profile that the partnership has again paid off, with a soundstage characterised by well-articulated mids and vocals, decent detail and impressive instrument separation. There’s a strong focus on the mid-range but trebles remain defined, crisp and clear.

If the standard tuning doesn't hit the right notes for you, audio can be tweaked in a couple of ways. Firstly, there are three EQ presets in addition to the default “Classic” profile described above. “Dynamic Bass” is pretty self-explanatory, throwing more weight behind the lower frequencies. Personally, I found the standard bass response impactful enough, but anyone who prefers more of a thump to their basslines will appreciate this setting.

“Clear Vocals” pushes frequencies between 100Hz and 400Hz further forward in the mix but I found this created a slightly echoey effect that sometimes washed out higher frequencies. I got on best with the “Clear” profile, which improved definition in the already impressive mid-range without compromising either bass or treble reproduction.

The other method for adjusting the audio profile is the “personalised sound boost” option. This is essentially a hearing test that maps how well you hear specific frequencies in each ear, and then tweaks the audio output accordingly. As someone who hears better in their right ear, this feature proved useful and produced a wider soundstage with more effective stereo separation.

With all that hard work having gone into fine-tuning the audio, it would be a shame for outside noise to get in the way – luckily, the Enco Free 2 feature active noise cancellation that’s as impressive as their sonic capabilities. A one-second tap and hold on either earbud cycles through the sound modes and once activated, the strength of the ANC was immediately apparent: the roar of a busy road simmered down to a faint rumble and even up close, my boiling kettle was seen but not heard.

Transparency mode is effective enough too, filtering in a decent level of ambient sound to keep you aware of your surroundings, though I did have to turn my music down a few notches to be able to clearly hear someone speaking to me.

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Oppo Enco Free 2 review: What could they do better?

While 30 hours of battery life is respectable, the sharp fall in stamina when you switch ANC on is disappointing. The 20-hour total isn’t terrible, but a mere four hours in-ear falls some way behind the competition. The 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini, despite being smaller than the Free 2, manage an extra hour in-ear with ANC enabled, while our favourite cheap noise-cancelling earbuds, the EarFun Free Pro, last for six hours in-ear with ANC on, and come in at nearly half the price of the Enco Free 2.

Given that it takes around 90 minutes to fully recharge both the case and buds, the lack of fast charging isn’t the end of the world. The omission of wireless charging, on the other hand, feels a little more glaring now that it’s become a fairly standard inclusion in this price bracket – both the aforementioned ComfoBuds Mini and the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 offer wireless charging for around the same price as the Enco Free 2.

Aside from those issues, the Free 2’s biggest drawback is the lack of customisation options. The touch controls can be tweaked, but you’re restricted as to which commands you can assign to which actions. I found the standard setup perfectly adequate, but anyone who prefers more granular control of touch commands will find the range of options here wanting. Equally, the EQ presets do exactly what they’re supposed to but are hindered by a lack of variety, with only four to choose from and no equaliser to create your own EQ profile.

READ NEXT: Check out our favourite Bluetooth headphones for any budget

Oppo Enco Free 2 review: Should you buy them?

Broadly speaking, there’s very little to dislike about the Oppo Enco Free 2. Audio is balanced and clear, while the personalised sound boost tech has a positive impact on sound quality. Both ANC and wear detection are effective, as are the touch controls, despite their somewhat restrictive nature.

Lacklustre battery life and the absence of wireless charging may prove dealbreakers for some, but these drawbacks don’t outweigh the excellent audio and useful features. By delivering a similar experience to the impressive Enco X for a lot less money, the Enco Free 2 position themselves as Oppo’s best true wireless earbuds yet.

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