1More Aero review

Does this spatial audio alternative have what it takes to compete with the AirPods Pro 2?

1More Aero review
(Image: © Alex Bracetti/Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The $109 1More Aero gets you 3D sound and ANC for much less than the AirPods Pro 2, though expect many compromises.

Pros

  • +

    Wide, well-balanced sound

  • +

    Decent ANC

  • +

    Spatial audio at an attainable price

  • +

    Very comfortable

  • +

    Strong connectivity

Cons

  • -

    Headtracking technology needs work

  • -

    Ugly design

  • -

    Weak battery life

  • -

    Poor touch controls

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Since spatial audio was introduced on the original AirPods Pro, more wireless audio brands have started developing their own versions to compete with Apple’s 360-degree sound format. Industry heavyweights like Sony and Yamaha have joined the party. Even lesser-known names like 1More are getting in on the action with their all-new Aero wireless earbuds. 

1More Aero: Specifications

Price: $109

Colors: Black; White

Battery life (rated): 5 hours (ANC on); 7 hours (ANC off); 20 hours (charging case with ANC on); 28 hours (charging case with ANC off)

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2

Water resistance: Yes (IPX5 rated)

Size: 1.55 x 0.8 x 0.9 inches (per bud); 2.4 x 2.2 x 1 inches (charging case)

Weight: 0.17 ounces (per bud); 1.5 ounces (charging case)

Spatial audio might be the Aero’s most enticing feature, but let’s not overlook its powerful spec sheet, which consists of active noise cancellation (ANC), Bluetooth multipoint, and wireless charging. However, these buds have functional flaws that could sway consumers to splurge on more expensive, acclaimed rivals.

Read our full 1More Aero review for the full rundown.        

1More Aero review: Availability and price

You can purchase the Aero for $109 directly from 1More (opens in new tab) or Amazon (opens in new tab). Black and white are the two colors sold. Inside the box are a charging case, USB-C charging cable, four sets of different-sized ear tips, and a user guide.

These are some of the more affordable spatial audio earbuds out there, priced much lower than category leaders such as the $249 AirPods Pro 2  and $279 Sony WF-1000XM4, but higher than the $69 Creative Outlier Pro ANC.

Be sure to bookmark our headphone deals page for the latest sales.

1More Aero review: Design and comfort

The Aero looks like a longer-stemmed version of the AirPods, which isn’t very attractive. It also feels cheaply made, like most of Apple’s true wireless creations; the plastic frame can easily crack if dropped from a high distance or stepped on at the wrong angle. At least you get stronger sweat and water resistance (IPX5) than the AirPods Pro (IPX4).

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

1More’s charging case is a mixed bag. As much as I love its compactness and pebble-inspired design, I absolutely hate the lid. The indentation at the bottom makes opening the lid more difficult. It’s also flimsy. The rest of the case is solid, and the magnets are strong to keep the buds locked into their charging slots when on the go.

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

I wore these buds for several hours throughout the day, usually in 3-hour stretches, never once experiencing any discomfort. The cavity is perfectly sized and rests pleasantly on the concha. Despite the heavy-duty circuitry stuffed into these danglers, they felt light on my ears and in hand.

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

The silicone tips don’t form the best seal around the ear canal, nor do they absorb sweat as well as the AirPods Pro 2’s tips. Bear in mind that the Aero isn’t designed for active lifestyle or fitness, so if you’re looking for something with more on-ear stability, seek out another option.

1More Aero review: Controls and digital assistant

A full suite of media controls is at your disposal, including playback, call management, volume, digital assistance, and listening mode activation. Unfortunately, 1More limited input to double/triple taps and the long-hold gesture. It’s perplexing that these buds do not have single-tap functionality when it is standard on most wireless earbuds. This wouldn’t have been a problem had touch accuracy been on point, but that isn’t the case here. Triple taps are often mistaken for double taps, and all input methods work half the time on the right bud.

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

The digital assistant performed even worse. Speech recognition was off with Google Assistant and Siri misinterpreting lots of words. I asked Google’s AI bot to pull up Bleacher Report and it heard “Pizza Hut.” Using Siri on macOS wasn’t any better. Either the feature froze or couldn’t understand basic inquiries like “what is my next event” or “open Gmail.”

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Wear detection is the only feature that works well, automatically pausing content when removing the buds and resuming playback when placing them back on your ears.

1More Aero review: Audio quality

The flagship Evo surprised many critics with its clean, expressive sound. I’d place the Aero a few notches below its premium sibling, not based on performance because these are some great-sounding buds, but more so their lack of high-end specs. 

Let’s focus first on the Aero’s warm and neutral sound profile. You can expect strong bass with detailed mids and crisp highs. Everything hits its mark on Tame Impala’s “Borderline,” from the serene ascending vocals to the vibrant synth effects. On a track dominated by prominent low end, it was shocking to hear other elements like the pan flutes and echoes that ripple after every line.

Switching over to hip hop, Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” knocked hard, thanks to a gnarly guitar riff that produced superb reverberation. Orchestral recordings were even more rewarding to hear, as highlighted on Horace Silver’s “The Preacher.” The horn sections were compelling, while the cymbals and double bass held up well, culminating in some nice frequency range.

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Listening in ANC mode slightly increases bass response.

Unlike the Evo, the Aero does not have a balanced armature, nor does it support LDAC hi-res wireless streaming or SoundID testing for optimized audio. Instead, you get three notable features that enhance sound.

The first is Smart Loudness, which has you set volume to a desired level and adjust a slider until bass, mids, and highs are to your liking. It works surprisingly well. Your second option for sound personalization is the Equalizer that has 12 presets designed for different genres and sonic purposes. These are hit or miss. Hip-Hop gives bass more punch without coming on too strong and Podcast emphasizes vocals on spoken word content. Bass Booster amps up the low end, which I don’t recommend since it muddies up sound. Vocal Booster does little to enhance the midrange as well.

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Lastly, there is spatial audio. It’s acceptable for the price. Where Apple’s version only works with Dolby Atmos-compatible tracks from Apple Music, 1More applies their technology to all audio, though the results vary based on content. Bass hits harder on contemporary tracks, and live performances feel a little more intimate when enabling the feature. 

Formats like Dolby Atmos are smarter at placing effects in the right spots. 1More’s spatial audio isn’t as adept. The action sequences in the John Wick series didn’t have the same impact and precision as when listening on the AirPods Pro 2. Also, 1More’s headtracking detection doesn’t operate as fluidly as Apple and Sony’s technologies. There were times when the buds lost track of movement and wouldn’t shift audio to the opposite channel when turning my head.

1More Aero review: Active noise cancellation

Bargain gems in 1More’s catalog like the PistonBuds Pro produce great noise neutralization for the price ($59), whereas the flagship Evo struggles to compete with  several of the best cheap noise-cancelling earbuds. The Aero falls somewhere in between these two options.

Four ANC modes are selectable: Strong, Mild, WNR (Wind Noise Resistant), and Adaptive. Save yourself the time by skipping Mild because it serves no purpose and blocks out very few external sounds (low-spoken voices at best). Strong is disappointing and fails to cancel out some low- and mid-frequency noises; cars, dog barking, and the buzzing sounds from a fan are highly perceptible.

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Most models with adaptive ANC analyze the noise levels around you and choose the best available noise-cancelling setting for you. I’m unsure if 1More engineered their buds the same, but I could tell the difference in performance between all four settings and Adaptive was the most effective. Turning it on blocked out most incidental sounds, from pedestrian chatter to engine droning to some of the noises from my son’s electronic boombox. That was mostly it. High-pitched sounds like sirens and baby cries bombarded the soundscape. 

WRN also helps diminish whisking effects produced by gusty winds, though you must keep the volume at 70% or higher to hear music somewhat clearly.

Transparent mode comes in handy for keeping tabs on your surroundings. I was able to communicate clearly with the missus and pay attention to the latest midterm election updates on CNN. In addition, I could hear some of the partygoers in the pool area from my balcony, along with oncoming traffic and planes flying above.

1More Aero review: App and special features

You’ll need to download the 1More Music app to access most special features. These include the aforementioned ANC/Transparency mode, control customization, Equalizer, Smart Loudness, spatial audio, and wear detection. A few others await you on the Settings page (select the 1More logo on the top right) – some serviceable and others, well, not so much.

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Soothing Sounds returns, which is 1More’s poorly engineered version of soundscape mode. About a quarter of the 30 ambient-noise profiles effectively mask the disruptions around you. What’s worse is that each profile doesn’t run on a continuous loop. It will play sound for 10 seconds and restart, never allowing the listener to maintain their concentration.

Smart Burn-in is another signature 1More feature you’ll find on the backend. It plays audio (usually static noise) for several hours in hopes of breaking the buds in and improving audio. This is a technique many experts remain split on, but it’s there if you should want to try it.

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Experimental Features unlocks two noteworthy settings: Dual-device connection (more on that later) and Pairing Pop-Up Window to display battery life in an overlay on your smartphone screen. Rounding out the app are battery life indicators for each bud and the charging case, firmware updates, and a visual guide for the controls.

1More Aero review: Battery life and charging case

1More rates battery life at 5 hours with ANC on and 7 hours with ANC off. Our testing showed these playtimes were short by about an hour. The AirPods Pro 2 gets you 6 to 7 hours, depending on how you use the buds, and provides better battery management. What the Aero affords you is sufficient for about 2 days of use before recharging, which isn’t that long.

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Using spatial audio decreases battery life even more quickly; my buds needed juice after 3.5 hours. 

The wireless charging case holds between 20 to 28 hours, falling short of the AirPods Pro 2’s case (30 to 34 hours). A 15-minute charge generates 3 hours of listening time.

1More Aero review: Call quality and connectivity

Call quality is OK if you’re just planning to use these buds indoors and in quiet settings. Voices come through loud and clear. However, the buds produce a lot a muffle, especially outside. Most people complained about background noise when out on strolls. The ENC mics did little to reduce wind presence as well.

1More Aero review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

The Aero operates on Bluetooth 5.2 and maintains a steady connection on compatible devices. Range extends up to 50 feet in open spaces. Pairing is instantaneous with iOS and Android devices. As previously mentioned, you can enable multipoint technology in the app and pair the buds to two devices simultaneously.

1More Aero review: Verdict

For $109, the 1More Aero is a respectable spatial audio alternative that can be had for much less than the AirPods Pro 2 or Sony WF-1000XM4. However, we find the less expensive Outlier Pro ANC to be the better-sounding investment, for casual listening and spatial audio.

That doesn’t mean these aren’t quality buds. Music sounds terrific and select features like EQ and multipoint are appreciated. Sadly, the poor battery life, design, and touch controls are what keep them from being considered some of the best cheap wireless earbuds around.