The popularity of fully wireless headphones continues to grow every year. In many ways, the success of a product depends on how well the manufacturer has verified the ergonomics of the case, the fit of the earphone in the ear, and how it has simplified the user experience. Sometimes simple ease of pairing, reliability in everyday life and ease of operation are more selling parameters than incredible sound quality. In this review, I propose to look at the headset from the OPPO brand called Enco Air3 and find out what it is ready to offer to a potential buyer.
- Format: fully wireless headphones (TWS), earbuds.
- Driver: 13.4 mm composite speaker.
- Supported codecs: AAC or SBC (music), CVSD or MSBC (talk).
- Frequency range: 20 – 20,000 Hz.
- Speaker sensitivity: 125±3 dB at 1 kHz.
- Bluetooth version: 5.3; range – 10 m.
- Microphone sensitivity: -38 dBV/Pa.
- Battery per earbud: 27 mAh; 6 hours at 50% volume; 25 hours of work with case.
- Charging case battery: 300 mAh; charging time from Type-C – 1.2 hours.
- Dimensions and weight of one earpiece: 33.1 × 18.45 × 17.1 mm; 3.7 g ± 0.1 g.
- Dimensions and weight of the charging case: 56.55×51.6×26 mm; 37.4 ± 0.2 g.
- Protection: IP54, drip proof.
Appearance and ergonomics
The charging case has a rather interesting shape in the form of a round capsule resembling a soap bubble. It is the transparent cover that makes the main contribution to this association. It is quite light, thanks to which it does not close under its own weight when tilted, the hinge holding it does not require much effort, so opening it with one hand is not difficult.
The set is truly spartan. In addition to a case with a headset and paper documentation, there is nothing else in the box. I would like to see at least the charging wire.
The cover in its conciseness can compete with the kit – at the bottom there is a Type-C connector, and on the reverse side there is a text reference with the place of manufacture of the product and the designation of the battery capacity. Inside, between the headphones, you can find an LED indicating the charge level and readiness for pairing.
After opening the cover of the case, the user will see vertically arranged headphones on a powerful magnetic mount. For pairing, you do not need to press any buttons, and they are not on the case. Everything happens automatically as soon as the lid reaches a full opening of 110°, which is quite convenient.
The charging case is quite light and pleasant to the touch thanks to its glossy finish. Probably, like other models made of similar plastic, the case will inevitably be covered with scratches. In the trouser pocket, it sticks out slightly, but, in general, it is not critical.
The headset itself is an open-ear format. It is practically not felt in the ear due to the small weight of 3.7 g (my scales showed a value of 5 g, but I will write off the error). Even when put on, the ambient sounds remain perfectly audible, which is both their advantage and disadvantage, but I will talk about this in the section below.
The novelty has an additional output at the top of the earpiece to create volume. It is directed from the outside, which leads to inevitable consequences when others hear music along with you. However, the effect is not as strong and becomes more pronounced above 70% volume. The leg has a decorative transparent insert referring to a water drop. Looks attractive.
Proprietary application and control
Before proceeding to the direct operation of the headset, it is worth setting it up for yourself. For owners of devices on the ColorOS shell version 11.0 and higher, right in the Bluetooth section, by tapping on the exclamation mark next to the headset, the settings subsection will open. It contains everything you need, from choosing a codec (SBC and AAC are available), ending with switching between three pre-made sound presets (original sound, enhanced bass and clear vocals). However, it will not work to fine-tune the bass or the top, there are only three options that slightly change the tone of the sound.
Music or calls can be controlled directly through the headset by tapping. The classic single tap is responsible for play/pause. But double and triple tapping has more options: switching to the previous track, next track, calling the system’s voice assistant, or activating the game mode. If you press and hold the top of the earbud leg, the volume will increase or decrease in steps, depending on whether you are connected to the left or right earbud.
The most successful solution would be to continuously decrease or increase the volume when pressed and held. Each time to perform these manipulations in order to lower the volume by one step, it takes quite a long time.
To configure the headset when using it in conjunction with devices that are not related to the ColorOS shell, you will need to install the HeyMelody application. It completely duplicates the settings menu of OPPO ecosystem devices, with the exception of the codec selection.
There is an item with connection to two devices, but when this mode is activated, the headset is not detected by the second device on another OS. In my case it was Android and iOS. I tried to match alternately – in both cases the attempt was unsuccessful.
To be honest, I expected a little more depth of the stage, more powerful bass and a little more purity of sound from the withered 13.4 mm speakers. However, OPPO Enco Air3 is more likely to be focused more on everyday use without pretensions for the title of an audiophile device. They sound good electronic music, classical pieces and pop songs. For the most part, the emphasis is on highs and mids, while I would call the bass rather soft. The in-ear form factor also contributes. Extraneous sounds from the outside have almost free access to hearing and, as a rule, I listened to music on the street at no less than 50% volume. But if there are especially loud sources in the form of a highway, a train in the subway, and so on, only increasing the volume to 70-80% corrects the situation. However, the reverse side of the coin is a slight loss in clarity.
The work of spatial sound in OPPO Enco Air3 seemed very strange to me. Or rather, realized in half of its capabilities. As intended, it really gives the feeling that the sound source is located not in the ear, but next to it, creating the effect of presence. However, the headset does not have a built-in gyroscope for head tracking, and YouTube videos lose some sound clarity in this mode.
The manufacturer does not talk about the number of microphones in their product, but from my experience of interaction I can only express a positive impression. In a quiet room, the microphone is slightly noisy, but the volume is at a high level. Near sources of noise, namely the highway, the noise canceler works out not so aggressively that the endings of words are swallowed. So you can easily understand the speech of the interlocutor. You can see an example of how they will hear speech at the other end when talking through OPPO Enco Air3 in the video below.
The manufacturer claims 6 hours on a single charge, but adjusts for volume by 50%. In fact, this indicator of autonomy is not only close to the truth, but even greatly underestimated. Within an hour of watching a YouTube video, the headset’s battery ran down by 10%, and during a phone call for 30 minutes, by 7%. Based on this, with a similar use case, you can count on an iron 7-8 hours on a single charge. The total working time together with the case can be 25 hours.
For 10 minutes in the case, the headset will receive a charge for an additional 2 hours of music playback
Review after a week of use
Despite the fact that OPPO Enco Air3 seemed very controversial to me, one cannot fail to note their individuality in the face of a very unusual design of the charging case. Yes, the novelty does not bring technical novelty to the field of TWS headphones, but on the other hand is its reliability and uninterrupted operation for all the time that I had a chance to spend with it. Behind a very good sound, which does not at all claim to be an audiophile, lies simplicity in everyday use. Also, claims could be made to the lack of a skin sensor or an optical sensor, which is why there is no autopause function, and to a strangely implemented dual connection mode. However, making a discount on the price tag, I just want to praise the fact that the manufacturer promptly releases updates, correcting shortcomings and errors. So there is hope that in the near future there will be support for cross-platform, which can largely eliminate all minor roughness.
- Pleasant tactile and small in weight charging case.
- Convenient location of the headphones inside the case and ease of first connection.
- Lightweight headset and secure fit in the ear.
- High headroom.
- Good microphone performance in noisy environments.
- Excellent autonomy.
- Decreased sound clarity at high volume.
- No skin sensor or optical sensor (auto pause mode).
- Lack of cross-platform connectivity.
- In some places, incorrect localization in the proprietary application.