When it comes to earphones, quality inevitably tends to vary directly with the price – you pay more for better sound, you pay less, and be ready for compromises. Sometimes, however, you come across a pair of earphones that sound surprisingly good in spite of a relatively low price. We got them “are you sure these cost only so much” feels when we reviewed the Xiaomi TWS a few weeks ago, and now we are getting them with the Oppo Enco M31 wireless earphones.
Punching well above their audio weight…and with a bass mode too!
And that is because, for Rs 1,999, the Oppo Enco M31 deliver the kind of sound you expect from earphones that cost about two to three times as much. Manufacturers have been trying to deliver more budget-friendly Bluetooth earphones for a while – the likes of Sony, JBL, Xiaomi, Realme and most recently OnePlus, all have devices in the region of around Rs 2000. But most of them cut a few corners to accommodate that lower price and those corners are more often than not cut in the audio department.
Oppo has not done this. The Enco M31 sound amazingly good. And that is the best reason for purchasing them. They have got a very balanced and very clear sound, and there is no distortion at high volumes either. And if you want to get a bit more of bass in your music, just double click on the power button and they switch to the bass mode which adds a bit more of punch to beats and lower frequencies.
We would advocate sticking to the balanced mode, though, because it just sounds so much better – mind you, we tend to favor rock a bit and those guitar solos sound very twangy without being too sharp. The overall sound is still a little skewed towards the bass, but not overwhelmingly so. The earphones come with support for LDAC (rare at this price) and hi-res wireless audio and have 9.2 mm dynamic drivers (not the largest, to be honest), but what really counts is that they sound very good indeed. Easily the best we have heard not just in the Rs 2,000 price segment, but better than many priced well above it!
Lightweight and well designed as well
They tick the other boxes too. The Oppo Enco M31 are well-designed and look a bit more premium than most of their counterparts at this price point – we got the black variant but the green one will turn more heads, we reckon. The design is conventional – it is a flexible neckband at the “collar” with cylindrical units with slight metallic accents (a nice touch) at the end out of which wires flow out, reaching the buds, which themselves have a very distinct metallic shine on the back. The buds fit snugly enough in our ears, and if you have problems, Oppo has two more eartip sizes in the box.
The Oppo Enco M31 earphones are super light at just 22 grams and can be bunched up into your pocket, something you might end up doing often as there is no carrying case. The cylindrical unit on the left has the basic volume up and down, and a multi-function button (which are sort of etched into the metallic accents), as well as a USB Type-C port. The earphones come with an IPX5 rating, which makes splash and dust resistant, decent enough for workout sessions.
Sound clear as a bell, but do not come with too many bells and whistles!
Connectivity is not an issue at all – a long press of the single button beneath the volume buttons gets the earphones into the connecting mode and they appear on the Bluetooth settings of the phone you are pairing them with. A single press will pause and play tracks. Triple pressing the multi-function button gets you your virtual assistant, while double pressing it lets you switch between bass and balanced mode. The buttons are a little tiny but because they are etched on the surface, you get a better feel of them. Switching off the earbuds is as easy as sticking them to each using the magnets on them (something that is getting very fashionable these days). The earphones come with Bluetooth 5.0 and a range of about 10 meters, and this will work as long as you do not get too many walls between yourself and the music source.
The battery life of Oppo Enco M31 is reasonable at around ten to eleven hours on a single charge. Not quite in the league of the twenty hours of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z, but enough to get you through a few days of music listening and video watching. They take about an hour to get charged but ten minutes of charging can give you three hours of high-quality audio. Not bad at all. Calls work fine too. We were a little apprehensive that the absence of a separate microphone unit (which we see in some earphones), but call quality was good.
It is not all smooth sailing, though. The earphones are good for music but you will notice some lag between images and voice (latency) while playing games. You do get the option to switch between devices, but doing this involves holding down both the volume buttons for a few seconds, which is not really intuitive. Pulling out a single earbud does not pause music either. And well, we are not sure we really like the system of sticking the earbuds together to switch them off – if they come apart (and they can), you will find the sound on the last connected device disappearing as it gets transferred to the now active earphones. Whatever’s wrong with a good old-fashioned power button.
A sound investment (pun intended)
Still, all said and done, if you are looking for a pair of wireless earphones on a tight budget and value sound quality above everything else, then the Oppo Enco M31 at Rs 1,999, is easily your best option right now. It might not have the battery life and extra touches of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z, but it more than compensates with the quality of sound it delivers.
Looking for wireless earphones that sound great? Have a budget of around Rs 2,000? We would recommend the Oppo Enco M31 without any reservations. They are a sound investment. Literally!
Note: The Enco M31 was released and was widely available at Rs 1,999. Its price has since been revised slightly upwards. Everything we say in the review still applies, though.
- Very good sound
- Bass boost option
- Lightweight and sleek design
- Dust and water resistance
- Some latency while gaming
- No carrying case
- Some might want more bells and whistles
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| SUMMARY |
Getting good sound is a rarity in budget wireless earphones. Oppo is looking to change that with the Enco M31. The earphones are priced under Rs 2,000 but deliver a sound that rivals those of their competitors that cost two to three times as much!