I know what you're probably thinking: "How can they possibly have found another pair of true wireless earbuds to review!?" Well, we've gone and done it; we've found another one. Or, rather, 1More.
Okay, okay. That's the first, and only, groan-inducing dad joke I'm going to make in this review. I think.
In all seriousness, I continue to be amazed at the sheer volume (see, there's another one, I knew I couldn't keep that promise) of great true wireless earbuds on the market today. Of course you can find more expensive and premium versions from major device manufacturers like Samsung, Google, and even OnePlus. Not to mention more audiophile-centric brands like Jabra, Sennheiser, and Sony.
At Android Central, we've taken a particular interest in the more affordable segment of the true wireless earbuds market, and have reviewed and compared a lot of them over the past year. I've not personally had a ton of luck with buds in this space, so I approached my review of the 1More ColorBuds with a certain degree of trepidation. But it turns out that I really had nothing to worry about.
At a glance
Bottom line: The 1More Colorbuds occupy an interesting space in the true wireless headphone market that we cover. They are comfortable, stylish, and offer pretty good sound and build quality, but they're not the cheapest, nor the nicest buds that you can buy. If you think of them as sub-premium, rather than budget, you have a good idea of where I think they fit.
- Comfort is fantastic
- Stay in place
- Various color options are nice
- The overall sound is balanced
- Handle sweat and moisture well
- The case feels a bit cheap
- No wireless charging
- Acoustic sounds, snare drums, get muddy
1More ColorBuds What I like
When I audition a new pair of wireless earbuds (or even over-ear headphones), I have relatively simple needs. I need them to be comfortable for long periods of time, I need them to sound good enough, I need them to be able to block out most environmental noise, and I need them to have good battery life. That's it. If they tick those boxes, then, generally speaking, I'm happy. And I'm pleased to report that the 1More ColorBuds tick all the boxes that I care about.
In all honesty, the 1More ColorBuds just might be the most comfortable pair of wireless earbuds I've ever worn.
The first thing I noticed when I put the 1More ColorBuds in my ears was just how comfortable they felt. Even though they come with multiple ear tips, these felt great to me out of the box, and that comfort continued even while wearing them for several hours consecutively. I was also impressed with how well the ColorBuds stayed place in my ears, even while going on long hikes and light jogs.
They even stayed put as I sweat, and I'm a big sweater (it's close to 105-degrees every day this week in Austin). The ColorBuds are IPX5 water and sweat resistant, unlike many at this price point. Needless to say, I can see myself getting a ton of use out of these earbuds outdoors.
While it's true that I'm not a sound geek, I do appreciate nice-sounding earbuds as much as the next person. By and large, I think most people will be happy with the way these earbuds sound most of the time. The ColorBuds have Qualcomm aptX and AAC codec support, which means that the Bluetooth signal should be relatively lossless and of higher quality than standard SBC.
For what it's worth, I didn't experience any disruptions or drops with music, podcasts, or calls, and I thought that the sound quality was consistent and balanced. However, I did notice that for some types of music and frequencies (particularly snare drums and string instruments), it tended to lose a bit of clarity. But for the most part, I thought the sound was even, the bass was good, and I was overall pretty satisfied.
Sound is balanced and satisfying, but doesn't stand out compared to other $100 true wireless earbuds.
Another thing to consider with true wireless earbuds is how well they block out external sounds. While they lack active noise cancellation, the earbuds block external sounds through passive isolation — basically by being jammed a little bit into your ear canal.
The last thing that I wanted to talk about here is superficial, but it's how these earbuds look. The ColorBuds have similar styling to many contemporary true wireless earbuds, but they come in four vivid colors with a pleasant matte finish. I picked up a pair of the Spearmint Green buds, but they are also available in a cool Midnight Black, a classy Twilight Gold, and a sure to be fan-favorite Sakura Pink (which looks like Rose Gold and is gorgeous). Even though the shape and styling of the buds aren't that distinctive, what is a bit different is the orientation they hold in your ear canal. Many buds that I've come across in this shape are orientated horizontally, but these are orientated vertically.
The case isn't much to look at as far as these things go, and it has a glossy finish that makes it look like a weird bird's egg. However, 1More put a rubberized texture on the bottom of the case to keep it from slipping or tipping off a flat surface like a nightstand or desk, and that is a subtle, welcome addition in my book. It also helps you to orient the case when you're fidgeting with it to open it up.
1More ColorBuds What I don't like
For as much praise as I've heaped on these buds so far, they're far from perfect.
First, let's talk about the charging situation. I think it's fantastic that 1More upgraded the previous version of these buds (the Stylish earbuds) to have USB-C charging, and the faster charging times that enables (1More claims two hours in 15 minutes); that's great. What is lacking is any form of wireless charging for the case. Perhaps that's to be expected at this price point, but it's still an omission that most would like to see in a future version.
Not having wireless charging isn't uncommon at this price point, but having it would have made these an insta-buy.
I don't tend to use touch or gesture-based controls on true wireless earbuds very often (mostly because I forget what taps and swipes perform which actions), but I have to say that even I was a bit disappointed to see that the built-in touch and gesture controls were minimal here. Out of the box you get the following: double-tapping can answer or hang up a call or play or pause audio, and triple-tapping can activate your voice assistant. That's it.
However, if you download and set up the 1More Music app, you do get the ability to customize additional tap gestures. The app allows you to customize play/pause, skip track, and volume controls, and stay on top of firmware updates to keep your ColorBuds optimized and up-to-date.
Finally, we come to the price. The ColorBuds retail for $100, which isn't crazy expensive, but it is significantly more than many other quality earbuds that we've reviewed, many of which can be had in the $50-$75 range. Even still, these are priced significantly below that next tier of earbuds like Amazon's Echo Buds, so they're not a bad value at all.
1More ColorBuds Competition
Speaking of competitors, it was a little tricky to find earbuds that were comparable in price based on the feature set of the 1More ColorBuds.
Easily the closest comparison to me was with the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2s At around $100, they share the same price point, and are beloved by many value-conscious earbud wearers, including me. After having worn both, though, I'd give the slight edge to the ColorBuds. While the Liberty Air 2s have better touch controls, they let in more sound than the ColorBuds, and they tend to work themselves out of my ears much more easily than the ColorBuds do (even though they also come with silicone ear tips).
We recently reviewed the Mpow X3s and declared them an incredible value at just $60. Not only does the price undercut the ColorBuds, but the X3s have true active noise cancelation and more touch and gesture controls. Like the Liberty Air 2s, the X3s have that AirPod style construction with the long stems, so that may be an issue for some.
Finally, I'd throw the Amazon Echo Buds on this list. At $130, they are more expensive than the ColorBuds. Still, they have better touch controls, much better active noise reduction and passthrough mode, adjustable controls within the Amazon Alexa app, and easy, hands-free access to Alexa herself. They are nearly as comfortable to me as the ColorBuds, and also do a good job staying put in my ear, despite their larger size. The downside (other than the cost) is that the case is cheap and very bulky. Plus, it charges with microUSB!
1More ColorBuds Should you buy them?
Who they're for
- Someone whos had a hard time finding comfortable earbuds
- Athletes, runners, active folk
- Someone who wants good quality without premium prices
Who they aren't for
- Someone on a strict budget
- Someone who wants wireless charging
- Someone who wants super-granular EQ controls
So now we're down to the million-dollar question (well, at least the $100 question): should you buy the 1More ColorBuds?
My answer is a confident, yes. Of course, these probably won't work as well for everyone as they did for me, but I think most people who get these with the right expectations will be perfectly happy with them. They are not super-cheap wireless earbuds, and they're not the most advanced or premium devices either. They're right in the middle, and that's not a bad place to be.
I would categorize these not so much as expensive "cheap" true wireless earbuds, but more like sub-premium true wireless earbuds, if that makes sense. The way I think about them, they kind of fill a niche in the earbud space that phones like the Samsung A51 and A71, the OnePlus Nord, or even (dare I say) the Google Pixel 4a fill in the smartphone world.
In terms of their comfort, sound quality, and stamina, the ColorBuds are much nicer than most of the sub-$100 earbuds around, and they have some features that those buds lack (like the aptX support and cVc 8.0 Environmental Noise Cancellation). However, the ColorBuds don't quite measure up to the active noise cancellation of something like the Apple AirPods Pro, nor do they have the sound signature of something like the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2s.
So if you find yourself in a place, like me, where you want a set of true wireless earbuds that are comfortable, can stand up to some sweat and moisture and stay in your ear, and last over six hours per charge, and you aren't overly concerned with having the absolute best-sounding earbuds, these are for you. You just have to know what is most important to you. For me, it's about the balance, and I'm happy here in this middle range.
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