The Oppo Enco W51 are a solid pair of true wireless earphones under Rs 5,000, owing to the sheer number of features they sport. Along with that, they also offer excellent sound quality and respectable noise cancellation, which are rare at this price. Just be wary of the battery life and a potentially unreliable fit.
Fatiguing on the ears
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Circa 2020 will be remembered for a lot of things. In the tech space, it wouldn’t be too wrong to call true wireless earphones as the product category of the year, getting democratized and becoming mainstream at incredible price points. This new frontier also encouraged manufacturers to push the envelope of what consumers can expect in terms of price and features. The Oppo Enco W51 are a great example of this shift.
While Oppo is primarily known for its smartphones, it was its audio products that surprised us the most. It started with the Enco Free early this year, which brought intuitive gesture controls that are yet to be matched. Later, it was followed by the W11 and the W31, which brought sound quality and features that could punch above their weight. The new Oppo Enco W51 combines all of that while adding exclusive features without getting too expensive.
The biggest talking point is the inclusion of active noise cancellation, a feature that was previously reserved only for premium earphones. While not too powerful, it does the job as promised and cuts out distracting hums and other low-frequency sounds.
The overall sound quality isn’t bad either, striking a fine balance between clarity and enjoyment. Anyone who appreciates these aspects in music should like the W51. Even the call quality was great, which is not something we often say about these budget TWS. If that wasn’t enough, the buds are also IP54-rated for water-resistance and support wireless charging.
As for the negatives, its battery life is just average, even with ANC turned off. It misses out on the gesture control sported by its more expensive siblings, offering only a couple of tap combinations out of the box. Then there’s the perpetual issue of in-ear earphones not being comfortable for all ears. Having said that, for anyone looking to get into the premium audio space, the Oppo Enco W51 is a great option. The Realme Buds Air Pro is another excellent alternative with a slightly different feature set.
Oppo Enco W51 price in India
Launched in India in September, the Oppo Enco W51 TWS is priced at Rs 4,999 on Flipkart and Amazon. Colour options include Floral White and Starry Blue.
Design and fit
Owing to the myriad options available, we’re no longer going to call these an AirPods clone. Objectively speaking, the buds are pretty minimal with a slightly iridescent accent on the head atop a predominantly plastic white body. The stem is relatively slim too. The drivers are bent by almost 45-degrees, sitting deep inside the ear concha when worn correctly.
The buds have a slightly oval shape instead of the usual round. Based on your ears, this could either be more or less comfortable. A total of four silicone tips are included in the package, which is an important part of the noise cancellation equation. For me, the small ones were the most comfortable.
Before I talk about my experience with them, keep in mind that all ears are different, and thus, a pair that may be comfortable for someone might not be the best for you. If possible, try and test them before finalising your purchase.
The Oppo Enco W51 opt for an in-ear design, which allows them to sit deeper in the ear rather than hanging on to the pinna. They sit comfortably without sticking out of the ears. The fit was also good enough to last something as intense as a run or a workout. In day-to-day use, they rarely fell out. Oddly, whenever I smiled, they did get a little loose and prone to slip out. This seems like an isolated case though.
Unlike most other products in this segment, the buds are also IP54 rated for dust and water resistance — safe enough for sweaty workouts or drops into the sink, probably not for heavy rains.
Coming to the case, we get a glossy slippery plasticky soap bar which is impossible to open in one hand. It opens in half, revealing the buds which sit in perfectly moulded silos. The hinge is pretty weak, suffering from a lack of metals in the construction. There’s the function key and status LED on the inside, while the USB Type-C port and charging indicator are on the back. The case also supports Qi wireless charging, which is also a rare feature at this price.
Overall, there’s not much to complain about the Oppo Enco W51. They seem to have been designed keeping the masses in mind and opts for safer design choices. If you prefer something more exciting, the black colourway with the gold accents might suit you better.
Sound quality and features
The Enco W51’s elevator pitch has to start with noise cancelling. At Rs 4,999, these are amongst the cheapest wireless earphones to offer ANC. A combination of six mics (two feedback and one feed-forward on each bud) work to analyze the ambient sound and cancel it at up to 35dB according to Oppo. Considering the price, they work really well and successfully cancel out lower repetitive sounds such as the fan, AC or even the drone of a plane cabin. The effectiveness will vary based on the fit and the loudness of the playback too. Mind you, most other sounds such as people talking or honks will not be drowned; you’ll need overhead headphones for such high-frequency sounds.
There’s not much to talk about when it comes to touch controls. The only supported gesture is tapping: a double tap on the left bud toggles ANC while a double tap on the right skips a track. A triple tap on either side will summon Google Assistant and that’s about it. There is no way to go to the previous track, change volume or even pause the playback. Thankfully, there’s in-ear detection which can pause the music when a bud is removed. Overall, the gesture support is underwhelming and not the most accurate. Quite often during calls, I would mistakenly hang up while trying to adjust the buds.
The gestures can only be customized on Oppo phones. You can try using apps such as HeyMelody, which overrides the constraint and enables device agnosticism as a stopgap solution. As for codecs, AAC and SBC are supported but Qualcomm AptX doesn’t make the cut.
Mono listening (the ability to continue listening to music while one of the buds is docked away) is also possible. I primarily used that to charge one bud while the other one was being used for a long call/meeting. Call quality was surprisingly good with most people being able to hear me loud and clear while I was at home, even when I tried speaking deliberately softly. When outdoors, you might need to speak a little louder to mask the surroundings.
Coming to the sound quality, the Oppo Enco W51 perform well once again, especially in tracks that aren’t particularly busy. In most cases, you’ll notice good instrument separation with a fair bit of detail across all frequencies. The bass can seem a little heightened at times, creeping into other frequencies or bringing some distortion, but that was rare. It can be felt in tracks whose vocals are heavy on consonants, but it didn’t bother me much. There is some evident tuning in place which to make everything sound more cohesive and enjoyable, but audiophiles may dislike this. Since there is no dedicated app, the equalizer can not be accessed. 7mm drivers run the show here.
Summing up, the sound quality is above average, along with labels such as warm and sparkly. Most people will not have much to complain about with the W51. If I were to nitpick, the connectivity and latency could’ve been better.
Going from highs to lows, the Oppo Enco W51 have subpar battery life. In most sessions, they would die on me in about 3 hours or so, be it for calls or media consumption. It’s also been very inconsistent, and usually, one bud would be drained before the other one. Here’s where it loses the most points to the competition.
Charging takes about an hour, which is decent. Wireless charging took much longer, so we seldom used that. The case itself houses 2.5-3 additional charges.
You're looking for great TWS under Rs 5,000
There are plenty of wireless earphones available in the market now. If your budget is around Rs 5,000 and want a feature-packed pair, the Oppo Enco W51 will serve you well.
You value ANC
Active noise cancellation is not a common sight in budget TWS. While not extremely powerful, it's still effective and gets the job done admirably.
Calls are a priority
While truly wireless earphones are definitely convenient, they often suck at calls. The Oppo Enco W51 do a splendid job at calls for people on both sides.
Don't buy if...
Long battery life is important
At under 4 hours on a single charge, the buds are just average when it comes to battery life. Fast charging does help, but you'll have to resort to it quite frequently.
You're used to gestures
Oppo pioneered on-bud gestures with the Enco Free but decided to drop most of them on the W51. If your usage includes not having the phone at arm's distance at all times, the lack of gestures will be a bummer.
Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.