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Top view of an open PistonBuds PRO Q30 charging case.
Dave Carr / SoundGuys

1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 review

Decent sound? Check. ANC? Check. Battery life? Oh...
By

Published onFebruary 17, 2024

7.3
The bottom line
With decent sound, four different ANC modes, a variety of EQ options, an IPX5 protection rating and a budget-friendly price, the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 will check quite a few boxes for most casual listeners. While there is no shortage of valuable features, you'll want to keep the charging case topped up to accommodate the less-than-stellar battery life.

With decent sound, four different ANC modes, a variety of EQ options, an IPX5 protection rating and a budget-friendly price, the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 will check quite a few boxes for most casual listeners. While there is no shortage of valuable features, you'll want to keep the charging case topped up to accommodate the less-than-stellar battery life.
Product release date

December 25th, 2023

Price

$49.99

Dimensions

Case: 62 × 24 × 43 mm

Earbuds: 29 x 21 x 26 mm

Weight

44g

Model Number

EC-305

Waterproof

IPX5

What we like
Multiple ANC modes
Extensive EQ options
Companion app
Price
What we don't like
Battery life less than advertised
Limited number of assignable controls
7.3
SoundGuys Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
6.0
-
0.0
Active Noise Cancelling
8.0
-
0.0
Durability / Build Quality
7.5
-
0.0
Value
7.9
-
0.0
Design
5.5
-
0.0
Connectivity
8.0
-
0.0
Portability
8.0
-
0.0
Battery Life
4.8
-
0.0
Feature
7.5
-
0.0
Comfort
8.0
-
0.0
MDAQS rating
Learn more
Timbre
4.8
Distortion
3.1
Immersiveness
4
Overall
4.4

The 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 are an affordable, feature-rich pair of true wireless earbuds. Combining a variety of listening modes, including multiple types of active noise cancelation (ANC), plenty of EQ options, and an IPX5 protection rating, there is a little something for every listener, even on a budget. So, let’s dive in and find out if the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 can do it all without breaking the bank.

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 review: We tested the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 over 2 weeks. The earbuds ran firmware version V1.0.2, and the 1MORE Music app ran version V5.0.3. The company provided the unit for this review.

The 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 are for any casual listener, gym-goer or commuter looking for a set of true wireless earbuds with ANC on a budget.

What’s it like to use the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30?

Top view of the PistonBuds PRO Q30 case.
Dave Carr / SoundGuys
The PistonBuds PRO Q30 are available in white or black.

The 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 has a typical charging case design. Our review model arrives in a simple white finish and shares a similar aesthetic with the Apple Airpods, right down to the single battery status LED light on the front of the case.

The earbuds are IPX5 water-resistant, which makes the PistonBuds PRO Q30 gym friendly. Once paired with your device, you’ll want to get in the habit of handling the earbuds with your fingers on the top and bottom of the cylindrical “piston” shape to avoid accidentally hitting the side touch controls while fitting them to your ears.

While these earbuds create an excellent seal around the ear canal, which helps with noise canceling, it’s a rather intense seal. While this may not be the case for everyone, unfortunately, I found that the fit causes significant footsteps and other body-borne noise while walking with the PistonBuds PRO Q30, no matter which listening mode or silicon ear-tip size I use.

Using the PistonBuds PRO Q30 while sitting still during a commute is a much better listening experience. That same quality seal and ANC do a great job keeping unwanted noises at bay, and I am also really impressed with the wind-noise-resistance (WNR) ANC mode. Compared to regular ANC or Transparent mode, virtually all wind noise is eliminated in WNR mode while cycling with the earbuds.

How do you control the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30?

Top view of a single PistonBuds PRO Q30 earbud.
Dave Carr / SoundGuys
Each earbud allows two assignable touch control functions.

The PistonBuds PRO Q30 are controlled via touch control operation. Both earbuds feature a touch control surface, and you can customize your commands via the companion app. However, you are limited to only four custom commands: Two on each earbud. Below is an example of how I set up our demo model.

Left earbudRight earbud
Double tap
Left earbud
Play / pause
Right earbud
Next track
Triple tap
Left earbud
Volume -
Right earbud
Volume +
Long press
Left earbud
ANC on / Transparent / ANC off
Right earbud
ANC on / Transparent / ANC off

The earbud’s default listening mode is “ANC Off”. Long press the touch control area of either earbud to cycle through ANC (strong) on, Transparent, and ANC off. The other ANC modes, Mild, WNR (Wind Noise Resistance), and Adaptive, are only selectable via the 1MORE Music app.

The earbuds also feature smart playback, meaning removing an earbud will pause your music, a setting you can toggle on or off in the companion app.

Should you use the 1MORE Music app for the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30?

Screen shot of the 1MORe Music app
Custom and preset EQ options are found in the 1MORE Music app.

You’ll want to download the 1MORE Music app to take complete control of the PistonBuds PRO Q30. While you can cycle through ANC on and off through a long press touch control on either earbud, you must use the app to choose a different ANC mode. It also gives you access to 12 preset and custom EQ options, the ability to assign your touch controls, battery life info, spatial audio, low latency modes, and firmware updates.

How do the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 connect?

Dave Carr / SoundGuys
The PistonBuds PRO Q30 comes with three different-sized silicon ear-tips.

The 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 connects to your device with Bluetooth 5.3 and supports the AAC and SBC codecs.

Pairing the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 over Bluetooth is straightforward and outlined as follows:

    1. Open the charging case; this will turn on the earbuds.
    2. Open the Bluetooth menu on your device and scan for new devices.
    3. Select the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30.
    4. Download the 1MORE Music app for further sound control and the ability to customize your touch controls.

How long does the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 battery last?

While 1MORE advertises 5 hours of playback, in our standard test, designed to emulate real-world use, the PistonBuds PRO Q30 lasted only 3 hours and 53 minutes. It’s not great; this is less than average for most wireless earbuds. If you’re a frequent flyer or have a lengthy commute, you’ll want to keep the charging case topped up. 1MORE states you can achieve 30 hours of playback time with charging case top-ups.

1MORE advertises that 10 minutes in the charging case will provide 2 hours of additional playback.

How well do the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 cancel noise?

While they’re not the best ANC earbuds out there, for less than $50, the PistonBuds PRO Q30 do a great job of blocking environmental noise. The secure but intense fit helps reduce high-frequency noise through passive isolation, and the strongest ANC setting is enough to take out the low-end rumble of the bus during a commute. The mild ANC strength is suitable for office without completely ignoring your co-workers, and as mentioned, the WNR wind-noise- resistance eliminates any wind noise when riding a bicycle.

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The chart above shows how the headphones’ noise-blocking abilities measured in our lab. The passive isolation is shown in pink, and the combined passive isolation and ANC in blue — higher values equal better performance. As expected, passive isolation is most effective at blocking external noise in the higher frequencies above 1kHz. Active noise canceling works best at canceling out low-frequency noise below 1kHz

How do the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 sound?

Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Scores (MDAQS)

The chart below shows how the sound of the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD acoustics.

The 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 scores highly for MDAQS, an impressive feat considering their budget-friendly price.

With an overall score of 4.4, the PistonBuds PRO Q30 punches well above its price. This score is close to more premium true wireless earbuds, like the Creative Aurvana Ace 2, which are three times the price. Not bad for less than $50.

Timbre (MOS-T) represents how faithfully the earbuds reproduce the frequency spectrum and temporal resolution (timing information).

Distortion (MOS-D) represents non-linearities and added noise: higher scores mean cleaner reproduction.

Immersiveness (MOS-I) represents perceived source width and positioning: how well virtual sound sources are defined in three-dimensional space.

See here for an explanation of MDAQS, how it works, and how it was developed.

Reviewer’s notes

With 12 EQ presets and a customizable 10-band graphic EQ, you can easily dial in the PistonBuds PRO Q30 earbuds to your liking.

Esoteric Surgery by Gojira is a rhythmic progressive metal tune filled to the brim with steady double kick drum patterns and tremolo guitar riffs. The stock Studio preset is a safe preset and a well-balanced sonic starting point, but engaging the Bass booster preset brings up the driving, “on the edge of breakup” bass guitar tones and enhances the kick drum for a much more satisfying low-end from the rhythm section, without compromising any treble frequencies.

You’ll most likely never use some presets like Vocal Booster or Lounge, but if you like the low end provided by the Bass booster but want a bit more treble, the “Hip-Hop” preset is also worth a go. Using this preset while listening to Pink Floyd’s Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pts. 1-5) bumps the low frequencies nicely but also adds just enough treble to David Gilmour’s wailing guitar solo, allowing you to hear more of the details in his reverberated guitar tones.

You can customize your sound with the graphic EQ, no matter your preference. While the PistonBuds PRO Q30 falls short in battery performance, they certainly make up for it in sound options.

Objective Measurements

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We can see that the frequency response we measured for the PistonBuds PRO Q30 default mode (studio preset) doesn’t stray too far from our headphone preference curve. You get a reasonable low-end bump, and we see a dip in the high-end frequencies a little sooner than our curve, but it follows the mid-range frequencies closely.

Bass Booster EQ Preset

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The Bass Booster preset nicely enhances the low end without impacting the stock setting treble frequencies.

Bass Reducer EQ Preset

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The Bass Reducer preset could be more powerful, but it does a decent job taming any extra low-end. You can always dive into the graphic EQ if you need additional adjustments.

Running MDAQS with Spatial Audio engaged shows that the Immersiveness does indeed increase according to the algorithm, increasing the overall score!

This setting boosts some low-end frequencies, and we see a small bump in the low mids when engaged. While it doesn’t sound bad, turning this setting on while watching Din Djarin take down some Gamorrean Gurards in The Mandalorian Season 2, there isn’t much to report regarding added ‘spatial-ness’ or sonic separation to the experience.

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Can you use the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 for phone calls?

Top view of the PistonBuds PRO Q30 charging case.
Dave Carr / SoundGuys
The case takes 120 minutes to reach full charge from empty.

You can use the PistonBuds PRO Q30 for phone calls, and you get a fairly decent performance in ideal conditions, but they struggle in any outdoor setting. In our office simulation, the voices remain clear, but the earbuds have difficulty keeping busy background noises at bay. Take a listen to our samples below:

1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

9 votes

 

1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 microphone demo (Office conditions):

1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 microphone demo (Street conditions):

1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 microphone demo (Windy conditions):

1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 microphone demo (Reverberant space):

Should you buy the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30?

Top view of the PistonBuds PRO Q30 in their charging case
Dave Carr / SoundGuys
A green light equals a fully charged case.

With decent sound, ANC, EQ options, and a companion app, these earbuds have no shortage of features. Aside from less-than-average battery life, the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 just about does it all on a budget. However, if you’re an international traveler, have a lengthy daily commute, or simply won’t stand for less than 4 hours of playback time, you might want to up your budget and spring for something like the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC, which will get you over 10 hours of playback on a single charge.

1MORE PistonBuds Pro Q301MORE PistonBuds Pro Q30
1MORE PistonBuds Pro Q30
Multiple ANC modes • Extensive EQ options • Companion app
MSRP: $49.99

What should you get instead of the 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30?

The Edifier TWS1 Pro 2 Earbuds in their charging case with the lid open.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
Given its low price tag, the Edifier TWS1 Pro 2 performs well enough.

Finding good wireless earbuds under $50 can be challenging, but some options exist. The Edifier TWS1 Pro 2 ($49.99 at Amazon) is worth a look. They come at the same price point and offer several different ANC modes, IP54 protection rating, touch controls, a companion app, and Bluetooth 5.3. Unfortunately, there are only four EQ presets, so your options will be limited if you like to tweak your sound.

A photo of the JLab JBuds Mini in their case.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The backs of the earbuds have a touch interface that allows tap controls. Customize them through the JLab app.

If ANC isn’t a priority, you can save yourself a few dollars and check out the JLab JBuds Mini ($39.99 at Amazon). These ultra-portable wireless earbuds have an IP55 protection rating and can attach to your keychain. There is a companion app to customize controls, they have decent battery life, and although they don’t have ANC, we found they seal the inner ear quite well to help block out some external noise.

Frequently asked questions

1MORE is headquartered in San Diego, California, and Shenzhen, China. The 1MORE PistonBuds PRO Q30 are manufactured in China.

The PistonBuds PRO Q30 requires 60 minutes in the charging case for a full charge.

No. The PistonBuds PRO Q30 charge while stored in the charging case, but the case itself charges via USB-C.

Yes, you can take phone calls with the PistonBuds PRO Q30.

Yes, you can use the PistonBuds PRO Q30 with either device.

With an IPX5 protection rating, the PistonBuds PRO Q30 are a great workout earbud option.