This year has seen the earbud or in-ear headphone market get a lot more crowded, which means there's more choice than ever for New Zealand customers.
The latest competitor is Chinese tech company Oppo, which has released its new flagship model the Enco X true wireless noise-cancelling earphones in Aotearoa.
So how do they stack up against competition from the likes of Apple, Sony, Huawei and Sennheiser?
I've been using the Oppo Enco X for the last week and here are my thoughts.
The most important thing with any audio device is the sound quality, and in this area the Enco X is sweet as.
Oppo partnered with Danish speaker manufacturer Dynaudio on the Enco X and the result is impressive.
Obviously, earbuds aren't quite the audiophile's dream that their over-ear cousins are, but as far as earbuds go, these sound very nice.
For any audiophiles reading, the Enco X's specs are:
- Driver：φ11mm dynamic driver + φ6mm balanced membrane driver
- Speaker sensitivity：104dB@1Khz
- Frequency response range：20Hz ~ 20kHz
- Audio codec：LHDC / AAC / SBC
The noise cancellation comes in four modes - on, off, maximum and 'transparency', which is where it basically cranks up the natural sounds around you.
Changing between those modes, answering calls, skipping music tracks and so forth is all done by touching the side of one of the earbuds, while swiping up or down adjusts the volume.
With IP54 dust and water resistance, you theoretically don't have to worry about wearing these while working out or even running in the rain. As summer is setting in, I've only worn them in a gentle shower and they were fine, but I don't know if I'd be comfortable out and about with them if it was fair teeming down.
The Enco X have a stylish if somewhat unremarkable design and come with three different sizes of silicone ear caps.
The case is a nice rounded, hard plastic object that isn't uncomfortable in your pocket and seems robust.
As for the battery life, I pretty much only use these on max noise cancelling mode and they go for about four hours like that. Popping them into the charging case a few times will get them up to a total of 20 hours of use before you need to plug it in, according to Oppo.
With an RRP in New Zealand of $349, the Enco X come priced higher than Huawei's FreeBuds Pro and about the same as Samsung's Galaxy Buds - but they're cheaper than Apple's AirPods Pro, Sony's WF-1000XM3 or Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless models.
This year I've used two different styles of earbuds - some like the Enco X, Apple and Huawei style that have a stem on the side, and others like Sony, Samsung and Sennheiser that are more of a blob.
I prefer the blob style.
This is personal preference, but the stems can be a bit awkward to use for touch control, at least for my sausage fingers.
While the sound quality of the Enco X are great, for me the noise cancelling isn't as good as it is in the Huawei or Pro version of Apple's AirPods. This may be down to the shape of my ear canal though, it's hard to say.
What's definitely not personal preference or down to my specific body, however, is that the Enco X can only connect to one device at a time. Some of their competitors can connect to two, which is really handy for if you're, say, using your laptop but then want to take a phonecall without any fiddling.
I have had a few connection issues with the Enco X as well, like putting them in and only one earbud working, for example. Popping them out and putting them back in sorts it, but it's still an imperfection.
Oppo's Enco X are a solid set of earbuds that for their price are a good deal.
They have a nice, stylish design, transmit decent audio quality coupled with noise cancellation that's good but not as great as some competitors.
These will connect quickly to any Bluetooth transmitting device you have and can be fairly easily controlled through taps and swipes on their sides.
For a mid-range set of earbuds, the Enco X is a good option. Just remember there are cheaper competitors out there, as well as higher priced, better quality options as well.
Newshub was supplied a set of Oppo Enco X earbuds for this review.