I'm generally very easy to please when it comes to choosing a pair of Bluetooth earbuds. So long as they have good battery life, decent noise isolation, and don't break the bank, I'm pretty happy with them. I can certainly appreciate the more advanced features of the best wireless earbuds, but I don't typically care enough about those features to fork over the extra money required to access such improvements.
That's why I've been happily exploring the various options among the best cheap true wireless earbuds. I'm all about saving money, and being able to get 75%-90% of the way to a high-end pair like the Jabra Elite 85t, Galaxy Buds Live, or even AirPods Pro is just fine by me. But apparently, it's not enough for earbud upstart 1More. The company that makes one of my favorite affordable earbuds of the past year — the 1More ColorBuds — has set its sights squarely on Apple with its latest product, the 1More ComfoBuds Pro. In fact, the company was so bold as to call out Apple by labeling the ComfoBuds Pro "AirPods Pro killers" in its press release and marketing materials. That's a big swing at Goliath, dear David!
One of my colleagues reviewed the regular ComfoBuds earlier this year, and while he liked the earbuds, he wasn't blown away by them. However, while the ComfoBuds Pro share part of a name and design language with their lower-priced siblings, 1More is aiming to take that next step with the Premium Pros. Did they do it? Let's find out as we dive deeper into our 1More ComfoBuds Pro review.
1More ComfoBuds Pro
Bottom line: The 1More ComfoBuds Pro are a big upgrade to the regular ComfoBuds, bringing better battery life, better sound modes and environmental controls, and better sound overall. Not everything is perfect, though, as we experienced some Bluetooth connectivity issues and issues with the 1More app in our testing. But the experience of using and wearing them was solid.
- Good noise reduction
- Passthrough mode is a lifesaver
- Very comfortable
- Distinctive looking
- No wireless charging
- 1More Music app issues
- Water-resistance downgraded from IPX5 in regular Comfobuds to IPX4
1More ComfoBuds Pro: Price and availability
The 1More ComfoBuds Pro were announced during the virtual CES event in January 2021, but they were not released for sale until later in March. 1More proclaimed these "AirPods Killers" would not only exceed the more expensive Apple earbuds in features and performance, but they'd dramatically undercut them in price as well. The ComfoBuds Pro debuted at $149 but can already be had for $50 less at 1More's website and retailers like Amazon. At $95, they are quite compelling.
1More ComfoBuds Pro: What I like here
The ComfoBuds Pro have already earned quite a few accolades, both from tech blogs as well as industry awards. 1More was a CES Innovation Award Honoree in 2021. I do think these look pretty slick, but that isn't what I like most about them.
|Category||1More ComfoBuds Pro|
|Single earbud weight||5.2g|
|Earbud dimensions||42 x 23.95 x 20.93 mm|
|Case dimensions||80 x 37.5 x 30 mm|
|Single earbud battery capacity||50mAh|
|Case battery capacity||450mAh|
|Max battery capacity||28 hours between earbuds and case|
|Bluetooth range||10 meters|
|Bluetooth version||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Colors||Mica White and Titanium Black|
In what is largely table stakes these days, at least at this price point, these buds are compatible with the voice assistant on your phone, be it Google Assistant on Android or Siri on iOS. Yet even if we've come to expect this feature, it's still good to see here, so add a check to the "pros" list.
I tested several different types of music and spoken audio on these earbuds and came away pretty pleased. Whether it was ambient electronica, singer-songwriter, country, 80's metal hair bands, or the AC podcast, the sound quality was really well-rounded to my ears. The bass came through nicely but didn't overwhelm, same for the highs. The sound's clarity impressed me most, as snare drums hit crisp, the bass was boppin', and it all came together nicely while not drowning out the background elements.
The ComfoBuds Pro live up to the first part of their name quite well, as the fit and feel is very nice. I'm fortunate that standard earbud tips generally work for me right out of the box, and that's the case here, but of course, 1More includes three other sized tips to accommodate all sorts of ear canals. Once you've got your fit set up just the way you want, the ComfoBuds Pro do a great job staying put, almost becoming unnoticeable in your ears. I had previously called the 1More Colorbuds the most comfortable earbuds that I've owned, but these are even more so. I consider that high praise, as my ears are sensitive, and I'm quite picky. I love many of the features of other buds like Amazon's Echo Buds or Apple's entry-level AirPods, but I don't feel like I can wear those for more than an hour or so at a time. As I'm writing this, I'm well into hour four for today.
The ComfoBuds Pro definitely sound better than the ColorBuds, but their noise-cancellation and passthrough also outclass the Echo Buds.
1More says the ComfoBuds Pro offer five different noise profile modes, though to be fair, one of those is off. The other four are Strong, Mild, Passthrough, and Wind Resistance Mode (WNR). Think of Strong and Mild as different levels of active noise cancellation (powered by 1More's QuietMax technology), whereas Passthrough is exactly what it... sounds... like. I think that Passthrough mode does a really fine job of letting conversations through (or Alex Dobie's voice on AC YouTube videos) while not allowing every ambient noise to interfere with the media you're trying to listen to. The WNR mode is a similar idea to more traditional active noise cancellation, but it's really more focused on keeping those annoying and sporadic gusts from disturbing or disrupting your hearing. In my experience, the Strong and even the Mild modes blocked out more noise, where the WNR mode dulled the wind's effects. It's a nice balance when you want to be able to hear the most important louder noises in your environment and still be able to listen to your music or podcasts.
While it's great that 1More gives you the option to use active noise cancellation or passthrough mode in addition to more standard listening modes (they claim five different modes), what's even better is that you have the power to customize what the touch controls can do from within the 1More app. The default behavior is that a single press and hold switches between modes, while a double-tap controls play/pause settings, and a triple-tap invokes your phone's voice assistant. But as you can see from the screenshots below, those tap behaviors are up to you. If you want to reorder or reassign them, then great! If you feel like you're getting a bunch of incidental touches, you can disable them.
One of my minor complaints with the 1More ColorBuds was just how slick, shiny, and slippery the charging case was, but I'm happy to report that is not the case here. The matte finish on the ComfoBuds Pro case looks nice, doesn't show any oily fingerprints or smudges, and feels good in the hand.
That case also is quite the little powerhouse, especially compared to the regular ComfoBuds case. Whereas the regular ComfoBuds case could extend your battery life to 18 hours, this version on the ComfoBuds Pro will get you to nearly 30 hours. That's quite an improvement in a short refresh cycle. That still won't win any longevity awards, but it puts it squarely in the ballpark with other true wireless earbuds and well ahead of Apple's claim of 24 hours with the AirPods Pro. Eight hours of uptime with ANC off, and 6 hours with it enabled, is pretty decent. I certainly wouldn't be wearing the earbuds for longer than that at a time. And since you can fully recharge them in an hour and get a full two hours in just 15 minutes, you should be good to go for your daily needs.
1More ComfoBuds Pro: What could be better
While it's not a huge deal because the ComfoBuds Pro still have the chops to hold up to light workouts and the occasional splash, it is a little disappointing that 1More downgraded the IP rating from IPX5 on the regular ComfoBuds to IPX4 on the more premium version. As a quick refresher on what IP ratings mean, a rating of IPX5 means that a device can stand up to a sustained low-pressure spray (so picture rainfall). In contrast, a rating of IPX4 means that a device can handle dripping sweat or light water splashes. It's a matter of degree, and the ComfoBuds Pro should still stand up to all but the most drenching workout, but it's still a downgrade.
...while at first glance they may appear as another 'AirPods Clone' to hit the True Wireless market, 1MORE's inspiration – actually – comes from their desire to represent the flowing nature of dripping liquid metal from the smooth, curvaceous, bulbous drop to a streamlined decadent narrowed tip as the liquid metal flows down giving its tail-like nature. — 1More press release.
I mentioned this briefly in the introduction, but 1More is taking some big swings at Apple, and while that might be good for generating some headlines, I'm not sure it's the best way into their customers' hearts and minds. I'm sure that I'm not alone in thinking that the company's marketing language in the above statement creates some weird feels and blushed faces. In the same press release for the ComfoBuds Pro, 1More uses the word AirPods 12 times and calls out Apple by name five times. That's a lot of mentions for a much bigger competitor in your own product launch materials. Android users aren't likely to consider AirPods Pro anyway; iPhone users might, but primarily based on price; claims of equality or superiority are going to fall on deaf ears there.
I'm not sure what the issue was, but I experienced some Bluetooth cutout issues with at least one of the phones I paired the ComfoBuds Pro with. When playing music through Amazon Music on my OnePlus 9, the signal regularly cut out when the screen was asleep but came back when I awakened it. Interestingly, this problem didn't seem to occur with other music apps, nor did I experience it on other apps on my Pixel 4a or iPhone 12 mini. The issue was probably related to the OP9 and/or Amazon Music, or it could be completely unrelated. I'll keep testing it, but your mileage may vary.
The special audio modes in the ComfoBuds Pro don't require you to have the app to use them, but you will need it if you want to customize the controls. That makes it all the more frustrating that it was so buggy for me.
The 1More Music App was very buggy for me on not one but two different Android 11 devices. It regularly froze and had to be force stopped many times. I would love for 1More to update the firmware to allow you to adjust the level of passthrough or noise cancellation on a more granular level (like on the Amazon Echo Buds), in addition to the five presents 1More gives you in the app. And lastly, as it relates to the app, I do wish there were actual EQ controls for the buds in the app like other buds at this price point have, but you do get quite a bit of control here, so it's not a huge lapse, at least not to me.
I can understand why it's not present in this model, particularly with its reduced price point, but I would have also loved it if 1More could've squeezed wireless charging into the case. If that is something that you feel you need, you will want to look elsewhere.
Finally, let's finish on a minor point. Even more than smartphones, true wireless earbuds just don't have a lot to distinguish themselves visually from the competition, so it would've been nice to see more color options than just black and white. Samsung has done a great job of incorporating bright and fun colors into its Galaxy Buds lineup. Even 1More's own ColorBuds pushed color as a key selling feature, with options like Twilight Gold, Sakura Pink, and my favorite, Spearmint Green.
1More ComfoBuds Pro: Competition
Even after recent discounts, the regular 1More ComfoBuds are still substantially cheaper than the ComoBuds Pro. However, if you don't care too much about active noise cancellation or wireless charging, these may still be a good option for you. They sport the same styling and comfort level and also feature IPX5 water resistance. Our review noted that the audio quality and battery life didn't live up to his hopes or expectations, but that may be worth the price tradeoff for you here.
Staying in the 1More family, the 1More Colorbuds were among our low-key favorite pairs of wireless earbuds last year. They are very comfortable and fit quite nicely, deliver well-rounded sound, and stand up to sweat and moisture. At around $100, it would've been nice to see wireless charging. As it is, these are now slightly more expensive than the ComfoBuds Pro.
Amazon's Echo Buds are probably the closest analog that I've tried to the ComfoBuds Pro, at least on the Android side. They feature Active Noise Reduction technology and an excellent Passthrough mode, both of which can be customized in the Alex app. They are generally priced comparably to the ComfoBuds Pro's retail price, but as of the time of this writing, they're on sale for around $110.
Finally, let's address the elephant in the room (or at least the elephant in 1More's marketing materials), the Apple Airpods Pro. These true wireless wonders set the standard for the premium earbud space, and even those outside of the Apple ecosystem have been singing their praises. Of course, with an Android phone, you lose access to the instant pairing and iOS-tuned support, but you still get an amazing audio experience. But at $250, you'll pay for it.
1More ComfoBuds Pro: Should you buy?
You should buy this if ...
- You want an affordable and competitive set of true wireless earbuds
- Other buds give you ear fatigue after long use
- You want good noise cancellation and passthrough features
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You have Bluetooth issues with your phone
- You want to customize EQ sound settings like bass, treble, etc.
- You need wireless charging
1More is still a small company right now, but it's been making big and bold strides in the affordable earbud space. It has released a half-dozen new models over the past several months, and by all indications, the ComfoBuds Pro just might be their best all-around value. If you're looking for a set of true wireless earbuds that are comfortable, have good battery life, and sound outstanding (especially for the price), then these are the buds to buy. Plus, as of this writing, the ComfoBuds Pro are over $50 off their introductory price. That makes them even more compelling!
1More ComfoBuds Pro
Bottom line: The 1More ComfoBuds Pro are a big upgrade to the regular ComfoBuds, bringing better battery life, better sound modes and environmental controls, and better sound overall. Not everything is perfect, though, as we experienced some Bluetooth connectivity issues and the 1More app in our testing. But the experience of using and wearing them was solid.
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