The 1More ColorBuds look like the product of a 1More and Skittles collab. Whereas most audio brands stick to neutral color palettes, the 1More deviates by dabbling with candy-like colors. The ColorBuds aren’t just eye candy though: they boast substantive features that aren’t collectively found in wireless earbuds under $100.
Time to see if the 1More ColorBuds are as sweet as they appear.
Who should get the 1More ColorBuds?
- Fashion-conscious listeners should pick up the 1More ColorBuds, because these buds come in a variety of colorways including gold, pink, green, and black.
- Athletes should get these earbuds, because they fit well and are IPX5-rated to withstand as much sweat you can throw at them.
- Anyone can enjoy these earphones. They come at a fair price and afford premium features like aptX and AAC support.
Editor’s note: this review was written using firmware version V0.21.0.
What’s it like to use the 1More ColorBuds?
No matter which color variant you choose, the earbud construction is the same: an all-plastic build a rubberized exterior. This rubberized finish is great for keeping the earbuds in place, and is reminiscent of the Jabra Elite 75t series.
The plastic construction is more economical and let 1More expand its budget for things like touch panels, automatic ear detection, and fast charging—all of which are supported by the ColorBuds. Granted, the touch controls, while a premium feature, don’t work especially well; during my review period, taps were often accidentally registered as I readjusted my hat.
Users can adjust the volume directly from the headset but this must be remapped in the 1More MUSIC app.
Whereas the earbuds are well thought out, the case feels like an afterthought. Its glossy finish cheapens the package and the hinge feels flimsy. The ColorBuds case doesn’t feel nearly as premium as the identically priced Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 .As with most charging cases, the ColorBuds case uses magnets to guide the earbuds in place. These magnets are unusually strong, and there were times when the earbuds were difficult to remove gingerly.
The 1More ColorBuds don’t offer an effortless experience akin to the Google Pixel Buds or Apple AirPods on their respective operating systems. Instead, you must manually pair the headset through your smartphone’s Bluetooth menu. From then on out, the earbuds will automatically reconnect to the last used device.
Should you get the 1More MUSIC app?
Wireless earbuds and Bluetooth headphones alike rely on firmware updates for security patches, general fixes, and big upgrades like noise cancelling. To access new features, you need to download the app. Otherwise, there are a few other features currently available. You can remap the controls and toggle the touch pads, but generally it isn’t very useful. The app doesn’t even support EQ presets.
What Bluetooth codecs does 1More ColorBuds support?
The 1More ColorBuds operate via Bluetooth 5.0 firmware and support aptX and AAC for streaming to Android and iOS devices. aptX support is great for Android smartphones, because Android OS doesn’t properly encode the AAC Bluetooth codec across hardware. Instead, it prioritizes power efficiency over streaming quality. While this is good for battery life, it means that AAC performance is sub-optimal and may even perform worse than SBC on certain Android devices
Connection strength is very good within the 10-meter range, and the ColorBuds support mono listening with either earbud. It can be a bit tricky to get the left earbud into mono mode: you must remove both earbuds from the case, and then return the right earbud to the case. If you only remove the left earbud, it won’t make the initial connection to your smartphone. To designate the right earbud as the desired mono receiver, you can simply remove only that earpiece.
Learn more: Understanding Bluetooth codecs
The 1More ColorBuds don’t support Bluetooth multipoint, so you can’t connect to two devices at once. Quick device switching is also absent, which means you must manually disconnect from one device before connecting to another. These are expected inconveniences for a product in this price bracket.
How long does the battery last?
The 1More ColorBuds last 5 hours, 54 minutes on a single charge, which nearly reaches 1More’s claimed six-hour battery life. We arrived at this measurement only after subjecting the earbuds to a constant 75dB(SPL) output until the battery depletion. 1More’s compact charging case provides an additional 16 hours of on-the-go playtime (approximately 2.67 full charge cycles). In total, you get nearly 22 hours of battery life from the ColorBuds and case combined.
You can fast charge the earbuds, just place them in the case for 15 minutes and you’re allegedly rewarded with two hours of listening—though in testing that claim seems very dubious. It takes 70 minutes to fully charge the earbuds, and 85 minutes to fully charge the case via USB-C. You also have the option of wireless charging, and speeds are limited by your specific Qi wireless pad.
How do the 1More ColorBuds sound?
If you like loud bass, you’ll be a huge fan of the 1More ColorBuds’ sound. Sub-bass notes sound nearly twice as loud as mids, which gives your music that beloved oomph. This is great if you like your basslines extra loud, but comes at the expense of vocal clarity. See, the fundamental notes of the human vocal range fall somewhere between the upper-bass and low-midrange which are much quieter than the exaggerated bass notes.
Related: How to read charts
You may feel that vocals are “missing,” when in reality it’s just harder for your brain to process due to a phenomenon called auditory masking. It sounds strange because harmonic resonances come through clearly—think vibrato and even certain tremolo changes—all the while those fundamental, core notes of the human voice are difficult to hear.
Isolation is quite good for a pair of non-noise cancelling earbuds, and midrange frequencies are quieted. This is clearly illustrated in the chart from 45Hz-1kHz, and is something many earbuds fail to do correctly. A proper seal will hush your surroundings but won’t mute them.
Lows, mids, and highs
The song Beverly Blues by Opia sounds fun through the 1More ColorBuds: its electro-pop beat is accented by the buds’ bass emphasis. Sure, Cole Citrenbaum’s vocals are difficult to hear above the sub-bass synth, but that’s not what this song is about. Beverly Blues relies more on the accompanying instruments to tell a story, rather than raw vocal talent.
Highs come through clearly during the break between the first verse and chorus at 0:26. Muted cymbal hits contrast the song’s swaggering beat, and it’s easy to discern even the quiet hits in concert with Citrenbaum’s even timbre. If you listen to a lot of electronic music or related genres, you’ll get plenty of mileage out of the 1More ColorBuds’ immutable sound signature.
Can I use the 1More ColorBuds for phone calls?
The ColorBuds four-microphone array is fine, but won’t impress anyone. A high-pass filter affects the microphone frequency response, which is illustrated by the de-emphasis from 20Hz-1kHz. This kind of response is great for negating the proximity effect, when a speaker gets too close to the mic and causes bass notes to distort. Its execution swings too far and can make speakers with low voices sound particularly distant.
1More uses environmental noise cancelling to reduce background noise. This works well indoors when blocking appliance hums but can’t handle wind when outside.
1More ColorBuds microphone demo:
1More Stylish True Wireless vs 1More ColorBuds
The 1More Stylish True Wireless paved the way for the 1More ColorBuds, and both headsets put style first. For a while 1More championed its signature O-hooks to create a secure fit, but dropped the hooks for a more refined look. Unreliable connection quality plagued the original Stylish earbuds, but the ColorBuds don’t have that problem. I never experienced a single connection drop and only a few hiccups during my one week of testing.
Both earbuds support aptX and AAC streaming for high-quality audio on any operating system, but the sound signatures are quite different. They echo one another by amplifying bass notes, however the 1More Colorbuds have a more accurate frequency response. The ColorBuds’ midrange response is much more accurate than the de-emphasized Stylish True Wireless. Isolation is better with the ColorBuds than the 1More Stylish. Listeners who want a cleaner sound should get the 1More ColorBuds.
Should you buy the 1More ColorBuds?
The 1More ColorBuds are a great pair of true wireless earbuds for listeners who want something that offers style and substance. If $99 is the hard limit for your budget, these are a great option with bearable compromises.
In typical 1More fashion, the ColorBuds serve as a high-value, affordable product. The company isn’t trying to compete with the likes of Apple or even Samsung with the ColorBuds, instead it targets the casual listener who wants something that’s attractive and functional. While the design may not be for everyone, the vibrant hues are a nice relief against the bland backdrop of audio products that usually come our way.
Alternatives to the 1More ColorBuds
Someone on the lookout for an AirPods lookalike won’t find it in the 1More lineup, and should instead turn their attention to the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. These stemmed earbuds seal to the ear, and include a wireless charging case for just $99. Microphone quality is better than the ColorBuds, as is battery life.
Samsung smartphone owners should spend just a few more dollars for the original Samsung Galaxy Buds. Yes, they’re older than the ColorBuds, but they offer more comprehensive onboard controls and a much better user experience. Android users are afforded direct Spotify access, and standalone battery life is leagues ahead of the competition.