Oppo’s range of true wireless earphones is quite possibly among the most impressive in the budget and mid-range price segments. The brand has a few products that are widely considered best-in-class, thanks to strong focus on design and the value-for-money proposition. Despite the attention typically going towards products from brands such as OnePlus, Realme, and JBL, I would consider Oppo as the brand with perhaps the strongest and most capable product range — at least when it comes to the affordable segment for this form factor.
The latest in Oppo’s lineup of true wireless earphones is the Enco Air 3, which is priced at Rs. 2,999 in India. The successor to the Enco Air 2, the new headset follows the same general approach, including a see-through charging case, outer-ear fit, and light weight, with the earpieces weighing less than 4g each. Is this the best true wireless headset under Rs. 3,000 that you can buy right now? Find out in this review.
Oppo Enco Air 3 design and features
As the name suggests, the Oppo Enco Air 3 is pitched as a lightweight true wireless headset. Similar to the Oppo Enco Air 2, the Air 3 earphones have an outer-ear fit (no in-canal tips) that is very comfortable even for long listening sessions. Available in just a single ‘glaze white’ colour option, the Oppo Enco Air 3 earpieces have an interesting translucent finish for the stems, which blends with the see-through lid of the charging case.
The upper parts of the stems are touch-sensitive for controls, which can be customised through the companion app. The Oppo Enco Air 3 earpieces are IP54 rated for dust and water resistance, and there are no markings or branding on the earpieces themselves.
The charging case of the Oppo Enco Air 3 is quite interesting and unlike much of what you tend to see on affordable true wireless earphones. The transparent lid lets you see the entirety of the earpieces, which don’t really ‘slot’ into place; instead, they magnetically hold in place in a ‘display’ of sorts. An indicator light just under the lid can be seen even with the lid closed because of the design, and the Oppo logo is visible at the front.
At the bottom of the case is the USB Type-C port for charging, while the back is quite unpleasant to look at because of regulatory text. There are no extra features such as wireless charging or active noise cancellation on the Oppo Enco Air 3, but the headset does have some app-based features which add some customisability, including multi-point connectivity for up to two devices simultaneously.
Oppo Enco Air 3 app and specifications
Just like other Oppo headsets, the Enco Air 3 has its settings baked into the Bluetooth menu of select Oppo and OnePlus smartphones. For all other devices, the HeyMelody app is available on both Android and iOS, and the Enco Air 3 is also supported by the app on both platforms.
The Oppo Enco Air 3 is an affordable true wireless headset without many features, and the app is expectedly geared for just the basic features of the headset. You get battery levels for the earpieces and charging case, three equaliser presets, Oppo Alive Audio for spatial sound (only works with supported audio apps and formats), game mode for low-latency audio, dual connection toggle, and detailed customisation of the touch controls.
Touch controls are fairly detailed, letting you control everything including playback, volume, invoking the default voice assistant, and turning on game mode, all directly from the headset. I preferred keeping the single-tap gesture deactivated to avoid accidental taps, which obviously also reduced the number of controls I could access on the earpieces, but you can find a combination that works for you.
The Oppo Enco Air 3 is powered by 13.4mm dynamic drivers, with a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz, and a driver sensitivity rating of 125db. For connectivity, the headset uses Bluetooth 5.3, with support for the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. The sales package includes absolutely nothing apart from the earphones and charging case; the lack of charging cable might be bothersome for some.
Oppo Enco Air 3 performance and battery life
It can be a bit difficult to understand the positioning of Oppo’s budget true wireless headsets, and the Oppo Enco Air 3’s benefits over its more affordable Enco Buds 2 are particularly cloudy, making the higher price a bit questionable. The Air 3 does redeem itself to some extent by its performance, particularly considering the increasing rarity of outer-ear fitting true wireless earphones.
For my review, I primarily used an Android smartphone as the source device for the Oppo Enco Air 3, but used the multi-point connectivity to simultaneously pair with an iPhone for calls. This worked as expected, and didn’t involve a drop in audio quality, with the headset using the AAC Bluetooth codec for music playback on both devices.
As with most earphones with this fit, the sound changes a bit depending on how you wear the earphones — even the slightest change in angle can make a difference to the way it sounds. However, the variation wasn’t as extreme as I’ve noticed on most of the other headsets with this design, with only the intensity of the bass changing a bit if I angled the earpieces inwards.
With a loose fit, I found the sound on the Oppo Enco Air 3 to be decent on the whole. The sub-bass frequencies felt impressive for a pair of earphones with this kind of fit, and there was a reasonable amount of detail in the rhythmic and progressive beat of Paper Cranes by Andrew Bayer.
Although the mid-bass frequencies sounded a bit flat and lacking in aggression, the sound was reasonably exciting and well put together on the whole. The sound is reasonably balanced, offering a fair mix of aggression and shine — largely on par with what you’d expect from a headset in this price segment.
The Oppo Enco Air 3 has a rather high rated sensitivity of 125dB, and this is audible in just how loud the earphones get. Although an outer-ear fit typically allows for a fair amount of ambient sound to get in (and many choose this design for that specific reason), even moderate levels on the Enco Air 3 are enough to drown out anything happening in your immediate vicinity.
Of course, dropping to below the 50 percent mark will offer a good balance between what you hear on the headset and what’s around you, at least indoors. That said, the sound remained clean, reasonably detailed, and pleasant across most volume levels, with distortion only audible at extremely high (and unsafe) volumes.
This is where the Oppo Enco Air 3 truly stands out — it offers the comfort of the outer-ear fit and the option to have natural ambient awareness, along with sound quality and sonic levels that you’d typically only find on in-canal earphones. The big drivers are reasonably well tuned, and the overall listening experience is a comfortable and hassle-free one across volume levels.
Call quality was largely decent indoors and outdoors, with the environmental noise cancellation working well enough to prioritise voice in different environments. Game mode offered a slight improvement in latency with mobile games at the expense of some loss of quality in the sound.
Battery life on the Oppo Enco Air 3 is decent enough, given the features, size, and weight of the earphones and charging case. The earpieces ran for around five hours on a single charge, with the charging case adding three full charges, for a total run time of around 20 hours per charge cycle.
Oppo’s latest true wireless headset is an interesting one for a unique reason — it combines the benefits of good design and comfortable fit with sound that is loud, clean, and just about as good as you can expect from a pair of true wireless earphones priced at under Rs. 3,000. Keeping the volume low lets you hear what’s going on around you, but the earphones have enough power to get loud enough to drown all of that out as well, despite the unsealed fit.
Naturally, there’s no active noise cancellation here, but useful features such as multi-point connectivity and fully customisable controls through the polished and properly functional app do make up for it to some extent. The Oppo Enco Air 3 is a good all-rounder at this price given the combination of design and performance, but if you aren’t too concerned with looks and are okay with the in-canal fit, options such as the OnePlus Nord Buds and Oppo Enco Buds 2 are just about as good, for less money.