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1MORE ColorBuds 2
September 21, 2021
Original: $79 USD
60 × 30 × 38cm (case)
4.5g (per bud)
43g (case with buds weight)
The 1MORE ColorBuds 2 seems like a dream come true—at least on paper. True wireless earbuds with aptX Bluetooth codec support, active noise cancelling (ANC), and Bluetooth 5.2!? The previous iteration looks super snazzy, to boot too. But lots of earphones sound good on paper and then don’t actually, well, sound good.
We spent a few weeks with the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 to see if it lives up to the promises it makes.
Editor’s note: this review was updated on May 23, 2022, to address the 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini and add in-line FAQs.
- Casual listeners who don’t mind a fiddly fit and less consumer-friendly audio will find the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 lightweight and portable, plus the in-ear detection feature is handy.
- Fashion-conscious listeners seeking stylish buds in sleek colors above all else won’t mind the foibles of the 1MORE ColorBuds 2.
What’s it like to use the 1MORE ColorBuds 2?
The 1MORE ColorBuds 2 is small and lightweight, each bud weighs only around 4.5g. These earbuds are made of mostly plastic, but they are IPX5 rated for splash and sweat resistance, meaning they can tag along with you during commutes. The name “ColorBuds” refers to the fact these earbuds come in a choice of three colors: black, white, and gold.
1MORE includes three sizes of ear tips to choose from with these buds. Only the largest size is adequate for establishing a seal in my ears, and the tips are rather stiff and fiddly to swap onto the buds’ small pegs. To get a good fit, the user manual for the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 recommends turning the earbuds toward your mouth, but not so far that you block the mic on each one. That’s a rather picky proposition, because the most comfortable orientation may end up masking your words during phone calls, for instance. Basically, because of the shape of these buds, I never feel like I get a great fit. If your ears are more funnel-shaped than mine, this may not be an issue.
The 1MORE ColorBuds 2 comes in a small and solid charging case that keeps them pretty secure. Magnets inside hold each bud in place, but dropping the case will eject the buds. Just like pretty much all other true wireless earbuds, you need the case to recharge the earbuds, so don’t lose track of it.
The left and right buds feature small gray “L” and “R” markings to distinguish them while inside the case, small raised black letters on a black background inside of each slot mark the proper spot for each bud. This design might be hard to see for people with impaired vision, but the charging case won’t close if the buds are in the incorrect slots, so it’s not a huge issue.
How do you control the 1MORE ColorBuds 2?
The 1MORE ColorBuds 2 touch controls might take you some practice to nail down, with double and triple taps, and certain controls requiring tapping-and-holding for a set duration. You also get automatic playback and pause, thanks to the earbuds’ ear detection sensors. You can alter what tapping the buds does in the 1MORE Music app, but here’s how the touch controls are set by default:
Triple tapping puts you in touch with your phone’s voice assistant, which could be handy when your hands are full, too.
|DOUBLE TAP||TRIPLE TAP||TAP AND HOLD|
|DOUBLE TAP||TRIPLE TAP||TAP AND HOLD|
|DOUBLE TAP||TRIPLE TAP||TAP AND HOLD|
Should you download the 1MORE Music app?
The 1MORE ColorBuds 2 uses the 1MORE Music app (iOS and Android) to install firmware updates, change settings, and more, so it’s a good idea to download it. It also contains SoundID, the closest thing to an equalizer you’ll get without downloading a third-party app. You can try out different sound profiles using the SoundID feature. It has you listen to different samples in a certain genre and then go through a process where you pick what sounds best. Think of it like an eyeglasses exam but for your ears: “Which do you prefer, A or B?” In theory, this customizes the earbuds’ output to suit your preferences. The genres have colorful names, but they don’t always match established conventions, and instead, they sometimes have titles like “Cymatics” or “Stagnant Project.”
Adventurous listeners can experiment with 1MORE's SoundID audio presets.
Even after trying a few genres and retaking the test a few times, I still prefer the unaltered output over whatever the app determined based on that process. Even a basic EQ would give you finer-toothed control of these earbuds’ output. The app also lets you customize the controls, enable or disable auto-pause upon taking the buds out of your ears, and toggle the ANC. Additionally, there’s “Soothing sounds,” which is just a basic music player that plays calming tracks like rainfall or crackling campfires. It might be useful if you want to fall asleep with your buds in, but otherwise, it doesn’t add much value.
Finally, the app leaves a persistent message in your phone’s notification area that remains there even when the buds aren’t connected, which could become annoying, depending on how you feel about that kind of thing.
What Bluetooth codecs does the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 support?
The 1MORE ColorBuds 2 uses Bluetooth 5.2 and supports the aptX, AAC, and SBC Bluetooth codecs. That means both Android and iOS users get high-quality options to use on their devices. Whether that’ll affect your listening experience will be covered shortly.
The earbuds enter pairing mode automatically once you take them out of the charging case. There is no multipoint support, but you can listen to either bud one at a time. If you want to connect to a new device, you must ensure Bluetooth is off on the old device (so the buds don’t automatically try to reconnect) and then press the small pairing button in the middle of the case.
How long does the battery last on the 1MORE ColorBuds 2?
The 1MORE ColorBuds 2 lasted for 5 hours, 54 minutes per our standardized testing, which comes very closed to its official 6-hour playtime with ANC on (8 hours with ANC off). The charging case provides another 18 and 24 hours, respectively. Small white LEDs light up when the buds are in the charging case, while the case has another LED on the front that indicates its battery status by changing colors from red to green. You get a charging cable in the box, but no power adapter.
The earbuds give you a low battery warning when approximately 25-30 minutes of listening time remain. Plus, the buds’ LEDs will flash twice. You can also see the battery status of the earbuds and the case on the home screen of the 1MORE Music app.
Does the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 have good noise cancelling?
The 1MORE decked out its ColorBuds 2 earbuds with active noise cancelling (ANC) and ear tips, so theoretically these earbuds should passively block out background noise to further improve ANC performance. However, as mentioned it’s tricky to get the buds to fit right and on top of that, the ANC does not really do much to affect low-frequency sounds, which is typically where ANC shines. As a result, rumbling engines and other commuting noises still make it through. You won’t notice much of a difference when you toggle ANC on/off, though there is some attenuation from 150-800Hz where it’s completely the noise cancelling doing the heavy lifting.
You can disable the ANC to let in ambient noise, which does help you hear people’s voices slightly better. Though, that’s likely because the ANC does a better job blocking mids than anything else, yet the isolation continues to block upper-midrange sounds at the same time.
How does the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 sound?
The 1MORE ColorBuds 2 deviates away from the SoundGuys house curve, as shown above. Unusually for earbuds, it deviates away both in the lows and highs, resulting in a frequency response that doesn’t seem well tuned, making it hard to recommend out of the box, since it will require some additional equalization.
Lows, mids, and highs
The 1MORE ColorBuds 2 doesn’t reproduce bass notes in the way many listeners would expect, and sometimes not the highs either. Landscape by Florence and the Machine has amply audible vocals, but the drums and bells seem quiet through these earbuds. Some of this is due to how hard it is to get the buds to fit right, but even holding them into my ear canals only makes things slightly better. As a result, a head-banger like Nach Punjaban by Abrar-Ul-Haq doesn’t have the pounding drums reproduced in the way you’d expect from a bhangra song. This is also a marked change from the previous iteration of these buds, which boosts bass more.
Thanks to its good midrange reproduction, the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 does well with spoken-word content, at least. Listening to audiobooks or podcasts is a pleasant enough experience, until a music break happens.
Can you use the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 for phone calls?
You can use the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 for phone calls. Each bud has two microphones, for a total of four (no doubt pulling double-duty for the noise cancelling feature).
When your phone is ringing, tapping a bud twice answers the call, and tapping twice again hangs up. In ideal conditions, the microphones deliver clear audio that sounds like it’s been recorded a bit too loud. However, in office settings, the clacks of keyboards and shuffling of people and papers will make it through to your conversation. That makes these earphones less than ideal for use at work.
1MORE ColorBuds 2 microphone sample (Ideal):
1MORE ColorBuds 2 microphone sample (Office):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the 1MORE ColorBuds 2?
If you want a lightweight pair of earbuds to casually listen to tunes or audiobooks, then the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 makes for a decent choice. On paper, these earbuds have a lot going for them such as aptX Bluetooth codec support and ANC. In practice, these don’t seem to mean much. Unfortunately, the earbuds aren’t that comfortable and they deliver less than consumer-friendly audio.
The 1MORE ComfoBuds Mini costs $20 USD more than the ColorBuds 2 and is a great pair of earbuds for less than $100 USD. With the ComfoBuds Mini, you get the same IPX5 rating as the second-gen ColorBuds along with access to the 1MORE MUSIC app. iPhone owners will have better audio quality with the ComfoBuds Mini because it has SBC and AAC for Bluetooth streaming, whereas the ColorBuds 2 is better for Android phones with its aptX support.
The active noise cancelling is bonkers good on the ComfoBuds Mini, especially for its price. You’ll notice a significant difference as you toggle ANC on/off with the ComfoBuds Mini and it will reduce low frequencies by 80-90% (assuming you get the right fit).
Sound quality is very good too, though the frequency response changes depending on whether or not ANC is enabled. With ANC on, the sound is a bit bassier than our house curve recommends, but with ANC off, the bass and midrange response very closely follows our consumer curve. The sound quality and ANC are quite notable for a pair of sub-$100 USD earphones.
Microphone quality is really not good, especially when there’s background noise. Still, if you’re willing to sacrifice mic quality, you’ll get a great pair of buds from 1MORE.
1MORE ComfoBuds Mini microphone demo (Ideal):
1MORE ComfoBuds Mini microphone demo (Street):
How does the microphone sound to you?
What should you get instead of the 1MORE ColorBuds 2?
The Sony WF-C500 is in a similar price bracket to the 1MORE ColorBuds 2 and while it does not include ANC, its isolation is pretty good and it gives you an EQ in its app. It offers a more comfortable fit, an IPX4 rating, and 360 Reality Audio support, too. These earbuds have a more consumer-friendly frequency response profile, but unfortunately, they only support the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs.
If you desire the same features as the 1MORE ColorBuds 2, the JBL Tune 230NC TWS is more expensive but it translates the list of features from paper to practice better while including an EQ in its app. These earbuds aren’t quite as comfortable as you may like, however, and still only support the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. Plus, JBL has a host of earbuds and headphones to choose from.
On the flip side, there is the Jabra Elite Active 75t. These in-ears have ANC, multipoint, passthrough, and more plus a robust IP57 rating. They cost quite a bit more than the 1MORE ColorBuds 2, however. Again, there’s only support for AAC and SBC, but that’s pretty common for many models of earphones. Alternatively, you can go cheaper with the Jabra Elite 3 instead, the company’s more basic option that costs around $50 USD.
Frequently asked questions about the 1MORE ColorBuds 2
Poor isolation and noise cancelling can make outside noise a problem—auditory masking can make your music sound wrong, and it might make you inclined to crank the volume to compensate. Doing that could potentially damage your hearing (it’s not as hard as you may think). If you’re at all worried about your hearing, it’s a good idea to get noise cancelling headphones.