Two steps forward, one step back

When we reviewed the OPPO Enco M31 in 2020, we called it the champion of budget Bluetooth headphones. The audio quality offered by the Enco M31 was far superior to that of its competitors, and when combined with features such as LDAC support, it far exceeded its weight. So naturally, when OPPO refreshed its neckband range with the Enco M32 last month, we were intrigued. The Enco M32 has notable improvements over the Enco M31, including improved build quality, much better battery life, fast charging support, and larger audio drivers. But how do they compare to the legacy of the Enco M31? I’ve been using the new OPPO headphones for over two weeks and here’s what I think.

OPPO Enco M32: Specifications

specification Enco M32
Construction and weight
  • Plastic earbuds and rubber collar
  • IP55 water and dust resistance
  • 26.8g
Driver and frequency response
  • Single 10mm dynamic driver
  • Driver Sensitivity: 106.5dB at 1kHz
  • Response frequency:
Connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Codecs: AAC, SBC
  • Range: 10 meters
Battery charging
  • 220mAh
  • 28 hours of standard audio playback (SBC)
  • USB Type-C port
  • 10 minute quick charge for 20 hours of playtime
In the box
  • Pair of Enco M32
  • 2x silicone tips
  • USB charging cable
  • Manual
  • Security and warranty card

About this review: OPPO India sent me a pair of Enco M32 on December 31. OPPO has not contributed to the content of this notice. Unless otherwise stated, the observations stated in the test relate to Android smartphones.

Design & Comfort

Design-wise, the OPPO Enco M32 is a pretty basic neckband. The design is all too familiar: there’s a flexible rubber collar to which are attached plastic modules on either side from which wires emerge and connect to the ear cups. The headphones have magnets on the back which act as an on/off switch. The right plastic module houses volume buttons, a multifunction key, a microphone and a USB C port. The left module has the discreet OPPO logo inscribed on the outer side. Since the buttons are inside the plastic module, they are not easy to reach. I would prefer OPPO to put them outside. But in any case, they are better than the soft buttons of the Enco M31.

Build quality is a marked improvement over last year’s model. The Enco M32 feels sturdier and more solid compared to the rather tiny Enco M31. It also helps that they have IP57 protection against dust and water, making them a good choice for outdoor activities, gym goers, and commuters. But still, I think the OnePlus Bullets Z Wireless has an advantage over the Enco M32 because it has thicker wires.

Like their predecessor, the Enco M32s are quite comfortable and can be worn for long periods of time, making them perfect for commuting and training sessions. They come with silicone tips and this time OPPO has also added tiny wings for better grip and fit.

Audio quality

The Enco M32s are great-sounding headphones for casual listeners, but lack the refinement and smoothness of their predecessors.

The OPPO Enco M32 incorporates a 10mm titanium-plated composite dynamic driver in each earbud. Similar to the Enco M31, the headphones also have independent bass chambers for improved bass response. In terms of codec support, the Enco M32 is a step down from its predecessor as it lacks Sony’s proprietary Hi-Res LDAC codec. LDAC was one of the main strengths of the Enco M31, as it allowed high resolution and lossless listening to files via Bluetooth. Here however, you are limited to lossy SBC and AAC codecs. The lack of LDAC support also means that the Enco M32 has issues with high latency and audio lag in games.

In terms of audio quality, the OPPO Enco M32 looks like a mixed bag. While the Enco M31 offered a balanced sound that suited almost all types of music, the Enco M32 tries to appeal to the mainstream with a bass-focused sound.

If you’re the type of person who listens to a lot of EDM, hip hop and rap music, you’ll like the extra noise the Enco M32 offers. But if you consider yourself an audiophile, care about small details, or prefer balanced sound, you might not be satisfied with the sound signature of the OPPO Enco M32. The Enco M31 had a clever trick up its sleeve to appease bass enthusiasts and audiophiles alike; it allows you to switch between balanced mode and bass mode by pressing the multi-function button twice. This feature is gone on the Enco M32 and with the fact that OPPO doesn’t offer a companion app or equalizer to let you customize the sound, you’re kind of stuck with what comes out of the box, For the best or for the worst.

The mids are clean but the overemphasized low frequencies mean vocals and instruments occupying the midrange are sometimes overshadowed by lingering bass notes. I observed this while listening to John Lenon’s version of Stand by Me in which John’s voice didn’t sound as forward as it should, with the bass guitar and kick drum overpowering the other instruments and making the sound overall a bit muddy. The highs are clear and bright, which is good as they help balance out the low-end rumble and eliminate confusion in the mids to some extent. However, there are some sharp peaks in the upper range that cause excessive sibilance on tracks that are too bright.

The Enco M32s are great-sounding headphones for casual listeners, but lack the refinement and smoothness of their predecessors. These are by no means bad-sounding headphones; it’s just that the Enco M31 had set the bar so high, I can’t help but be a little disappointed. Still, to me, they sound better than the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z and Mi Neckband Pro.

Call quality

The Enco M32 is equipped with a single omnidirectional microphone which is integrated into the correct plastic module. Call quality is decent and I was able to hear recipients quite clearly on both voice and video calls. The microphone doesn’t do a great job of reducing background noise and wind noise when you’re outdoors. That’s to be expected with headphones with a single microphone and something we’ve also seen on other neckbands such as the OnePlus Bullets Z Wireless and Mi Neckband Pro ANC.

Battery life

In the battery department, the Enco M32 totally blows the Enco M31 out of the water

This is the area where the Enco M32 totally blows the Enco M31 out of the water. OPPO promises up to 28 hours of battery life on a single charge, a huge improvement over the meager 8-9 hours of battery life of the Enco M31. In this price range, the battery life of the Enco M32 is only surpassed by the Boat Rockerz 330 Pro (60 hours) and the Boat Rockerz 330 (30 hours).

And the statement is true. In my loop test, the headphones lasted just over 26 hours. With an average daily use of 3-4 hours, the Enco M32 should easily see you through the week. And if you need to top them up mid-week, fast charging support is there. The company claims that a 10-minute charge provides up to 20 hours of music playback. A full charge takes 35 minutes according to the company’s claim, but in my test it took around 45-50 minutes to go from 0-100%.

Final Thoughts

The OPPO Enco M31 was special in that it tried to do something different from the crowd. It wasn’t a perfect product by any means, but the incredible sound quality and LDAC support were more than enough to live with its subpar build quality and poor battery life. The Enco M32 fixes most of the shortcomings of the Enco M31, but in the process it also takes away the best traits that helped the Enco M31 stand out from the crowd: the incredible sound quality and support of the LDAC codec. Even with all its improvements and upgrades, the OPPO Enco M32 still comes across as a good but ordinary product. It does not have an X factor like its predecessor.

    The OPPO Enco M32 is an excellent pair of Bluetooth headphones that offers amazing battery life and bass-driven sound.

If you don’t care about balanced sound, however, the Enco M32s are solid, versatile neckband headphones that have a lot to offer. The minimal and understated design allows the Enco M32 to easily blend into any outfit. Meanwhile, their ergonomic design paired with soft ear cups ensures that the earbuds stay comfortable to wear for a long time and won’t fall off during workouts or running. On the audio quality side, your mileage may vary. For me, it’s a step backwards from the Enco M31 as I prefer a balanced sound signature. However, I’m sure the average user will definitely appreciate the extra kick of bass and warmth offered by the Enco M32.

The Enco M32 fixes most of the shortcomings of the Enco M31, but it also takes away the best traits that helped the Enco M31 stand out from the crowd.

At ₹1,800, the OPPO Enco M32 costs less than its predecessor, but due to average sound quality and lack of high-quality codec support, does not become the best pair of budget Bluetooth headphones.


Source link

Comments are closed.