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Meet OPPO Enco W31 - A week with the budget wonder!

OPPO
Working from home for the last 150+ days had me both physically disconnected from my social circles, yet increasingly connected to the same circles via various content, games, apps, and platforms.
A week with the OPPO Enco W31
OPPO Enco W31

My digital media consumption was also modified. Podcasts and audiobooks are on the backburner, Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, and Prime Video are now front and center.

So, the OPPOrtunity to review OPPO's Enco W31 True Wireless Earphones was timely, and relevant to my present circumstances.

Don't make the mistake of dismissing the W31 as just another phone accessory in a crowded market. You should know that OPPO has strong digital audio and video pedigree.

Before it decided to focus on its core business, OPPO, via an independent division OPPO Digital, Inc., produced a couple of award-winning equipment for the high-end consumer market segment. The OPPO HA-1 desktop headphone AMP/DAC/Preamp is a personal favorite because its sound matched the way it looked—solid, bold, precise and confident—particularly in the midrange and mid-bass frequencies.

So, does this lineage extend into the W31? The short answer is: absolutely!


A week with the OPPO Enco W31

Before I tell you how the W31s sound, let's do a quick run-through of the design and features.
Everything inside the box
Everything inside the box

The W31s have all the features you can expect from a modern pair True Wireless (TWS) headphones: Bluetooth 5.0, dual microphones with noise cancellation, touch controls, 2 sound modes (balanced and bass boost), wearing detection, USB-C charging, and IP54-rated dust & water resistance.

OPPO claims 3.5 hours of battery life on a single charge and 15 hours with the charging case. My test unit was the white variant (it also comes in black). The charging case is a small disc which I prefer over the boxy implementation that other manufacturers prefer. This design makes the W31 easy to slip into a pocket or your pack, and it will sit perfectly flat on your table.

Personally, I'm liking the charging case in matte white - low key, not strikingly impressive yet with its own unique style and presence.
Solid build!
Solid build!

Another highlight of the case is its strong build—it opens & closes tight and solid so your earphones are well protected and firmly secured.

I like how the earphones attach themselves to the case cutouts with a satisfying "click".  Inside the case is a single LED that you will use when you want to check power and your charging status. Underneath this is a reset button that you will need to use when you want to pair the W31 to a different device.


Easy pairing, low latency for less!

The pairing process is quick: activate Bluetooth on your device, open the W31's case, and in a couple of seconds you're good to go.  If you want to pair the W31s to a different device, all you need to do is reset then pair again. 

You will get 3 pairs of silicone tips, small, medium, and large.  The medium-sized set was pre-installed. The earphones themselves are well-built and are extremely comfortable for extended use. I'd even declare that you're getting premium looks and build at an affordable price point.

Work and Play

Work and play
Work and play

As a multi-tasker, the W31 did well in my work and play requirements. Paired with my Android phone, and connected to my home WiFi, I used the W31s for virtual meetings and VOIP calls on a number of different platforms.

Incoming calls were clear and crisp. The dual microphones with noise cancellation performed above average. Like all devices with a microphone and a noise-canceling circuit operating in a noisy environment, one's voice tends to become slightly metallic and edgy.

The W31 is no exception but never did I have to repeat myself or speak louder because I could not be understood.  So, for me, this is a huge plus.                 

With an effective range of 19 to 20 feet, the W31 were convenient for GSM voice calls since I could position my phone outdoors—where the cellular signal was strong—while I stayed comfortable indoors. No need to step out every time I needed to make or receive a GSM voice call.

By the way, don't blame my service provider for my crappy signal. All the blame goes to the homeowner's association for not allowing any of the two wireless providers to build their cell towers in our community.
Right and left markings
Right and left markings

When not taking calls and conferences, I was constantly on Spotify. Streaming on HQ and with the W31s in Balanced Mode, it worked great with well-produced electronica. Artists like Robag Wruhme, Monolake, Squarepusher, Forward Strategy Group, and of course, Kraftwerk had this cohesive, non-fatiguing sound.


With that kind of sound-quality and wearer comfort, you will enjoy using the W31 for hours!  

Toggling to Bass Mode yielded a pleasant surprise. The W31s boosted the quality of the bass and not the quantity.  This worked well for extended listening with bands like the Dum Dum Girls, Pretenders, Ramones, and Amon Amarth.

If you want even tighter bass, clearer highs & definition to your sound plus more isolation you can swap the silicone tips for foam. The 7mm dynamic driver really sings with this mod.  The only downside to this is that you need to remove the foam tips so the earphones will fit into the charging case. A minor inconvenience, really.
Clamshell-like case
Clamshell-like case

I also paired the W31 with my iPad mini to binge watch on YouTube, Netflix, and a couple of TV series' that I follow. When testing earphones for movies I usually focus on the ambient/offscreen noises [voices of traders in a third world market, doors opening or closing, empty cartridge shells hitting the ground during gunfire], and how these interact with the main/onscreen audio.

Latency is low and I could not detect any delays between the sound and the actors on screen.

You'd be pleased to know that the W31s are a reliable and fun companion for late-night content consumption.

Again, the comfort level is excellent even when you're in bed.

Our thoughts

If you're looking to get your first pair of TWS earphones, you'll be getting a ton of value for your money with OPPO's Enco W31.

Purely for the sound alone, the price is already worth it, and you get stylish looks too. For someone like me, who has a ton of experience with personal audio, I'll make a space for the W31s in my arsenal.

The W31 is now available in OPPO Philippine stores for PHP 2,990.
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