Ear bud heaven
I’m not usually a fan of ear buds – my ears don’t seem to agree with most of the brands I’ve tried in the past – but Oppo’s Enco Q1 ear buds seemed to have agree with my ear holes right off the bat.
The silicone ear tips were comfortable and, most importantly for a company that started out as an audio equipment manufacturer before branching out to smart phones, the sound was top notch – but more on that later.
What’s interesting with the Enco Q1’s design is the neckband that houses the ear bud cables, which snake out from near the end of the soft, flexible band like a serpent.
The neckband is made of a flexible memory rubber and to be honest, I hardly noticed it was there. It’s light weight so it’s not uncomfortable. The accessory pack includes a variety of different sized silicone ear tips so you’re bound to find one that fits.
Embedded into the left hand side is the on/off switch, noise cancelling button (which also activates the Q1’s three audio modes) and volume up and down.
Pairing via bluetooth 5.0 was hassle free (with the ear buds advising me they’d connected quickly with a rather soothing voice, not like the rather robotic voice with my Bose Q35s) and Oppo says the buds have a range of 10m (line of sight, of course). I only had one instance when the audio cut out and that was when I had to go hunt for the dog when he wandered down the street – and that was further than 10m.
I mentioned noise cancelling earlier. Yep, the Q1’s have active noise cancelling that you can turn on and off with the press of a button on the neckband. You know when it’s on or off as the soothing voice tells you “Noise cancelling on/off”, and while I didn’t feel the noise cancelling was as good as my Bose Q35 over ear headphones, they blocked out overly loud noise around me.
But how do they perform? How does audio actually sound when listening?
Right from the get go, the Q1’s impressed me with a quality of sound that, frankly, put many other ear buds that I’ve used in the past to shame. Bass notes really resonated and sound quality was crisp, clear and balanced.
Double tapping the function button switches between music, cinema and gaming sound modes, with each one adjusting the audio to suit what you’re doing. The cinema mode, for example, pushes up the bass and adds 3D audio where required, while the gaming mode drops the bass, instead highlighting the finer audio details that gamers are listening for. Playing Deus Ex Go, the sound was crisp and immersive, as was the cinema mode when I fired up John Wick on my iPad.
As Darth Vader would say, “Most impressive.”
Oppo claims the Q1’s will last for 15 hours before needing a recharge and they’re not far off the money, actually. I’ve used them fairly consistently over the past two weeks – mainly listening to music while walking the dog – and haven’t had to charge them yet (at the time of writing they had 20 per cent battery left). The ear buds remind you when you have 10% left and they’ll charge in a couple of hours.
Pedigree on display
Oppo’s pedigree as a former maker of high-end audio equipment is on display here, with an impressive ear bud set that will make your ears smile (if your ears could smile, that is).
I also think at $199 the Q1’s are priced really well, especially given the bells and whistles you’re getting in these ear buds.