OPPO Enco Free 3 review: The first bamboo fiber diaphragm, 49dB deep noise cancellation

The advantages of the bamboo fiber drive unit are outstanding – OPPO Enco Free 3 reflects a high cost performance in terms of noise cancellation and sound quality. With three features of 49db noise cancellation, multi-point connection and LDAC codec, it is very competitive among TWS earbuds under $100. Its shortcoming is that the earbuds controls are not comprehensive enough.

OPPO Enco Free3 specs and features:
  • Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC/AAC/LDAC codec
  • 12.4mm bamboo fiber dynamic driver
  • 5.5-7 hours playback of per charge (ANC on/off)
  • Charging case can charge earbuds fully 3 times
  • IP55 waterproof rating
  • $58 – Check latest price on AliExpress

Design and Comfort

The top of the charging case adopts a unique layered design. The transparent top layer with layered line texture is eye-catching. This double-layer transparent design, combined with the gradient spraying process, has an excellent overall texture. There is no pairing button on the charging case, and the bluetooth pairing method of Enco Free 3 is to press and hold the earbuds.

The shape of OPPO Enco Free3 earbuds is more rounded than the previous generation, and the earbud stem is also shortened by 6%. The weight of a single earbud is only 4.3g, and it support IP55 dustproof and waterproof. The L/R letters on the earbuds are hollowed out. In terms of wearing experience, OPPO Enco Free 3 provides two pairs of eartips of different sizes to meet the needs of different users.

The eabuds does not support sliding to adjust the volume. By single-tap to play/pause, double-tap to next song and answer/hang up calls, triple-tap to activate voice assistant and game mode, long press to switch noise cancellation/transparency mode. Earbud controls can be customized on the APP.

Connectivity and APP

The earbuds uses Bluetooth version 5.3 and support SBC, AAC and LDAC codec. When connecting for the first time, just select “OPPO Enco Free3” in the bluetooth device list of the mobile phone to connect quickly. Open the charging case for subsequent use to connect to a successfully paired bluetooth device. The earbuds is connected to the mobile phone stably within 10 meters. In an environment without obstacles, the connection will be intermittent if the distance from the mobile phone is more than 10 meters.

OPPO Enco Free3 support the free HeyMelody App, which has many and comprehensive functions. You can choose noise cancellation modes of different strengths and smart dynamic noise cancellation. Enco Master tuning provides three options: original, bass and natural. Turn on high-quality audio to switch between LDAC/AAC codec, and turn on Hi-Res mode to run LDAC high-definition encoding with the highest bit rate first.

The “Golden Hearing” can pass the listening test, and the algorithm optimizes the curve of the timbre that effectively improves the sense of hearing. The spatial sound effect provides a wider immersive sound field space, giving people a centralized listening in a large space. Multi-point connection can connect Android and iOS devices at the same time, and work stably under the simultaneous connection of LDAC and AAC. Personalized themes provide better notification sounds and pop-up animations (Android devices only).

Noise Cancellation and Battery Life

The maximum noise cancellation depth of 49db is the highest in the industry. OPPO Enco Free 3’s noise cancellation is slightly inferior to OPPO Enco X2’s noise cancellation width. The main difference lies in the noise cancellation effect of close-range medium and high frequency noise and human voice, which is inferior to that of OPPO Enco X2.

OPPO Enco Free 3 is the most efficient in canceling low-frequency noise (car engine sound, subway driving sound), and the noise cancellation of low-frequency noise is better than OPPO Enco X2. The noise cancellation effect of Enco Free 3 exceeds that of Sony WF-1000XM4.

Enco Free 3 has four noise cancellation modes: smart dynamic noise cancellation, deep noise cancellation, medium noise cancellation and mild noise cancellation – I will choose different noise cancellation modes according to different scenarios. When taking the subway, I will choose mild noise cancellation or medium noise cancellation to avoid missing the station. Use deep noise cancellation when exercising in the gym to avoid being disturbed by others. Transparency mode is more suitable for use when going out – you can enjoy music while hearing the sound of the outside world to avoid accidents.

OPPO Enco Free3 adopts dual microphone design, equipped with AI noise cancellation algorithm and wind noise prevention algorithm. It can effectively reduce the interference of environmental noise and wind noise during a call, making the voice clearer, and maintaining normal voice communication even in bad weather.

The battery capacity of the charging case is 440mAh, the earbud is 43mAh. The single battery life of the earbuds is up to 7 hours, and the battery life is 5.5 hours after the ANC mode is turned on. The total battery life with the charging case is up to 30 hours (ANC off). Enco Free 3 supports game mode with a latency as low as 47ms. In the game test, the sound is almost consistent with the picture.

About Bamboo Fiber Unit

OPPO pioneered the bamboo fiber diaphragm dome dynamic driver, which is 40% lighter than the titanium-plated dome unit with the same size and thickness, further improves the rigidity, and solves the frequency point of split vibration deformation. After comparing the frequency point of titanium plating, it moves to 50kHz, which is even far beyond the audible range of human ears. Larger internal damping provides better sound smoothness, suppresses noise and makes the sound softer.

Personal opinion on bamboo fiber drivers – Bamboo fiber drivers have a better sound transition than metal coated drivers. It is not as prominent as the high and low frequencies of metal-coated units, but lacks transitional timbre. Especially the low-mid frequency and mid-high frequency transition details are lacking, which is where the coating of the metal coating unit is too thick. The natural sense of the sound of the bamboo fiber unit is better, and you will not feel that the sound of the instrument is drawn like steel wire, the human voice lacks natural layer details, and the low frequency lacks the texture of natural drum sound.

Sound Quality of OPPO Enco Free3

OPPO Enco Free 3 uses the 12.4mm bamboo fiber diaphragm dynamic driver, support LDAC codec and has passed the Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification. The bamboo fiber diaphragm unit used in the earphones will only become smooth and gentle after 100 hours of burn-in. The sound that is not fully burn-in will be particularly depressed and frizzy.

Sound Field: The sound field of OPPO Enco Free 3 belongs to the space performance of medium and short distances. It restores the large stage sound field space relatively well, although it cannot reach the level of precise positioning and pointing suitable for large-scale songs. However, the space for pop music and classical music has a good width and depth. The spatial sound effect will further expand the sound field and provide a sense of envelopment, presenting a three-dimensional spatial experience similar to the centering of the head.

Low Frequency: The low frequency has good timbre for flexibility. The low-frequency rebound is good, showing natural drum and pop synth low frequency tones – but not very suitable for aggressive electronic types of low frequency tones. In general, OPPO Enco Free 3 is biased towards natural, flexible and elastic low-frequency sound.

Mid Frequency: The advantage of the bamboo fiber unit lies in the transition between mid-frequency and mid-high frequency. The overall timbre is relatively flexible and has a layered mid-frequency expression, which is very natural for the mid-frequency timbre of musical instruments. The fluency of the vocal voice, overtones, and density are all good. Whether it is the charm and details of nostalgic vocals or high-definition vocal recordings, both high-density mid-frequency and smooth timbre are taken into account. OPPO Enco Free 3 has a more comprehensive improvement in the layering and resolution of the mid-frequency.

High Frequency: In terms of high frequency, the bamboo fiber unit is somewhat similar to the timbre of the wool diaphragm unit. The natural sense of ductility and high-frequency density is better than wool membrane units. The brightness of the instrument tends to extend smoothly and naturally, and the texture and density of the high-frequency piano and violin are in place. Compared with the timbre of electronic musical instruments, Enco Free 3 is more inclined to the timbre performance of traditional musical instruments. Human voices can also be fully expressed in some ultra-high-frequency recordings that tend to be airy. It can be said that the performance of mid-frequency and high-frequency is more eye-catching than low-frequency, but the ratio of three-frequency is still natural and balanced.

Golden Hearing 2.0: Sound tests will be performed on your left and right ears, with the purpose of adjusting the sound quality of earbuds to the audio that best suits you – that is the personalized and exclusive settings. After the test is completed, the enhancement scheme will be displayed, and the sound quality before and after enhancement is completely different.

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