If you’ve ever shopped for affordable earphones, then 1More should be a familiar name. The audio brand has a strong global presence and remains an Amazon darling that has racked up awards over the years with its popular in-ear headphones. Now, it looks to stake its claim in the cheap AirPods alternative market with the release of an all-new and super-affordable model in the 1More ComfoBuds.
- Our expert picks for the best wireless earbuds, per budget and style
- Check out our Apple AirPods Pro review
- …and our Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 review
As the name suggests, the ComfoBuds are wireless earbuds designed for extreme comfort, which they nail. They also pack clean sound and Bluetooth 5.0 into a conspicuous long-stem design. Sadly, they also bring with them several bugs, an unstable fit, and low battery life for the price.
1More ComfoBuds: Availability and price
The 1More ComfoBuds are available for $59 at Amazon, though you can purchase them directly from 1More for $49.99. These wireless earbuds are sold in two colors: Black and White. Bundled with the purchase are a charging case, user guide, and a USB-C charging cable.
1More ComfoBuds: Design
These aren’t going to win any Red Dot Awards, but the ComfoBuds are a sleeker take on the AirPods dangling wireless design. The stems are longer, but also narrower and have an LED at the bottom to indicate battery life and pairing statuses. Small details like the red speaker grille, black vent, and logo on the front add to their distinction. The buds have a glossy finish and come in either white or black, one more color option than the AirPods.
The ComfoBuds are a little more durable than the AirPods. They come with an IPX5 rating for rain and sweat resistance, which is actually higher than the AirPods Pro (IPX4). This is fine for exercising but bear in mind that these aren’t sporty wireless earbuds. The plastic casing doesn’t feel all that much different from the AirPods. In other words, you’ll want to be very careful not to drop these from a high distance or step on them.
The capsule-shaped charging case looks pretty cool. It’s one of the tiniest I’ve seen in the category, displays the buds gorgeously when docked, and fits into small pockets for seamless portability. There is also a button on the inside for manual pairing (press it three times to enable), similar to the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds charging case. It also has two design flaws: the flimsy lid and poor discharge setup. The latter is more frustrating, as the slippery texture on both the buds and case makes it difficult to remove them.
Like the AirPods, the ComfoBuds have a one-size-fits-all design that rests gently on the concha and provides stellar comfort. I had them on for about 2 hours daily and never experienced any fatigue. 1More also added tiny rubber tips around the speaker openings for optimal fit, but they provide very little grip around the ear canal, leading to slippage and poor isolation.
1More ComfoBuds : Touch controls and digital assistant
The ComfoBuds come programmed with a fair number of touch controls that can be assigned to double- and triple-tap gestures via the companion app. These include play/pause, previous/next track, voice control, and even volume. On-ear detection is available too, so you can automatically pause/play media when removing/wearing the buds. It is a bit impractical not to have any single-tap gestures, but we appreciate the company’s effort to streamline the control scheme.
I found the touch panels to be responsive to taps and offered adequate results; don’t expect perfection. There is latency when enabling any of the controls. In addition, certain functions are paired together, so you won’t be able to separate and assign them individually. For example, selecting the previous track command for the left bud will automatically assign the next track command to the right, and vice versa, which limits personalization.
Voice assistance works fine on Android smartphones. 1More’s mic array demonstrates strong speech recognition in ambient settings, letting you fire off Google Assistant voice commands with ease. Unfortunately, the feature is a buggy mess on iOS/macOS devices. When connected to my wife’s iPhone 8, the mics were muted, with Siri telling me it couldn’t hear anything I said. I couldn’t get it working on my MacBook Pro either. Troubleshooting only worsened things, completely muting the audio I had playing on all music apps.
1More ComfoBuds: Audio quality
The ComfoBuds produced clean, natural audio that made listening to my music library and streaming services pleasant. Bass heads won’t be satisfied with the tamed lows that 1More’s 13.4mm drivers pump out, but there is some presence to enjoy contemporary tracks.
Comparing sound on these buds to powerhouses like the AirPods Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro would be completely unfair. In reality, the ComfoBuds are better suited to compete against the standard AirPods and lower-priced wireless earbuds like the Anker Liberty Air 2, and they put up a good fight for the most part.
For peppy reggae-inspired joints like Jay-Z’s “Caught Their Eyes,” the ComfoBuds had some bounce to them that the AirPods couldn’t match. Even with the record’s lo-fi production, the bass was tight. Jay’s verses and the Nina Simone sample sounded crisp as well. The drums were more impactful on the Liberty Air 2, but I noticed the ComfoBuds emphasized certain sonic elements better, such as the garbage pan strikes and Frank Ocean’s chopped up vocals.
One advantage of a flat sound signature is that you get detailed, well-balanced output, which the ComfoBuds best exhibited on Jazz songs. The horn play on Freddie Hubbard’s “Mirrors” was lively and soothing, while background instruments like the hi-hat and double bass were given room to shine, granted, the latter was more pronounced on the Liberty Air 2.
Netflix and YouTube users will love the clarity these buds offer when watching video content. Catching up on the latest impeachment hoopla, I pulled up several CNN and MSNBC clips and was met with loud and transparent vocals. Podcasts sounded just as good.
1More ComfoBuds: App and special features
I don’t recall many $50 wireless earbuds having a companion app, and if they did, they had few, if any, features. Well, the 1More Music app fits the description. All you’re given are battery level indicators for each earbud, control customizations, a toggle to enable smart playback, and a quick guide that familiarizes you with general functionality.
Hitting the logo on the top right opens up a few menus, though the only intriguing one is Smart Burn-In, which is a hidden advanced feature that lets you burn in the earbuds to get the best audio performance out of them. The concept of burn-in is polarizing in that many people think it works and others think it’s a myth. I’m not here to judge, but if you are a believer, then there is some value to having this feature available.
1More Music can receive firmware updates, which I suggest the company starts working on ASAP because the app has some common bugs. Connecting to it after pairing the buds to your smartphone isn’t always a smooth ride, and the app has a tendency of crashing at times. Here’s hoping the team can fix this, as well as add more serviceable features in the coming months, such as a customizable EQ, music presets, and maybe a Find My Buds setting.
1More ComfoBuds: Call quality and connectivity
Call quality isn’t anything to brag about on the ComfoBuds, but it’s decent enough to have short conversations. My wife mentioned that I sounded muffled, but also stated that she could make out most of what I said. On the plus side, she couldn’t hear any of the ambient noises around me (e.g., delivery trucks, strong winds), which shows the mics have some noise-neutralizing capabilities. The buds do perform better on video chats, as vocals are given a minor boost in volume and clarity.
Bluetooth is stronger than what 1More advertises. I managed to achieve 40 feet of wireless listening before stuttering occurred; that’s 10 feet longer than the range listed on the product page. Opening the case automatically places the buds in pairing mode and re-pairing to devices is instantaneous.
1More claims the ComfoBuds have a Multiple Pairing Mode (check the side of the box), a mode they say can “pair two earbuds with one Bluetooth device for stereo listening experience or pair each bud to two Bluetooth devices to double the fun.” This is a confusing description, plus it is kind of misleading in that many could interpret it as multipoint technology. Either way, you can’t connect to two devices simultaneously.
1More ComfoBuds: Battery life and charging case
It’s clear that the biggest compromise 1More made on the ComfoBuds was battery life. A full charge is supposed to generate up to 4 hours of continuous playback. This is below the standard 5-hour mark that the original AirPods set. That isn’t even the worst part. Realistically, playtimes are about 3.5 hours when listening at max volume. I saw battery life drop from 100 percent to 50 percent in a matter of 1.5 hours. On top of that, these buds don’t have quick charging and reportedly take about 80 minutes to recharge.
At least you have the charging case, right? Don’t get your hopes up, as it only holds about 18 hours of total playtime. Do the math and you’ll see this is several hours shorter than the AirPods (24 hours) and Liberty Air 2 (28 hours) charging cases. Wireless charging is MIA too.
1More ComfoBuds: Verdict
Are the 1More ComfoBuds worth the purchase? In some ways, yes, and in other ways, no. As for the good, you’re getting some of the finest-sounding wireless earbuds in its price class, along with reliable connectivity and a more durable design than the AirPods. The small charging case is also a sigh of relief to carry around compared to some of the other behemoths out there (we’re looking at you, Bose and Beats).
At the same time, these buds are riddled with bugs that affect both functionality and the mobile app, which is also scarce on features. More concerning is the low battery life that is shorter than advertised and doesn’t support quick-charging technology.
If $59 is the budget that you’ve set aside to upgrade your wireless earbuds, you can do much worse than the ComfoBuds, but a little extra can also get you much better.