1MORE Colorbuds  Review: A safe bet in the sub-premium TWS segment

A safe bet in the sub-premium TWS segment

Popularly known for their critically acclaimed Piston Fit earphones, San Diego-based audio brand 1MORE is back with their second product in the burgeoning true wireless market. Dubbed the 1MORE Colorbuds, the company’s new generation of true wireless earbuds come in four different colors (Twilight Gold, Sakura Pink, Spearmint Green and Midnight Black) and try to combine good sound quality with a touch of style. The black colored variant is the most discreet of them all and that is what we received for review. The other colored variants look vibrant while not looking too flashy with the pastel shades. The earphones have some upgrades from the company’s previous pair of TWS earphones, the 1MORE stylish true wireless earbuds. The design has been streamlined, touch controls have replaced the physical ones, and USB Type-C charging is now supported. Aside from the Colorbuds’ standout hues and some improvements over its predecessor, let’s see if the Colorbuds manage to deliver a compelling audio performance with the technology packed into these relatively small buds.

Construction and comfort

1MORE has streamlined the design of the Colorbuds with a smaller shape and size than its predecessor. The earbuds have improved ergonomics, which has resulted in the removal of the ear fins further streamlining the overall design. During our testing period, we found the Colorbuds to be lightweight, extremely ergonomic and reliable when it comes to the overall fit. Add to that the three extra pairs of silicone tips that come in the box, and you can find a fantastic fit for almost any user out there.

1MORE Colorbuds review

Weighing just 4.1g each, the earbuds have a smooth matte texture with a curved mouthpiece for a better fit. The earphones are pretty much some of the safest earbuds we’ve tested. They stay in place even during intense activities such as running or gym without breaking a sweat. Speaking of sweat, the IPX5 rating of these earphones means they can shed sweat during exercise and even tolerate light splashes.

1MORE Colorbuds review

The buttons feature the 1MORE logo on the rear housings. This area acts as a touchpad for the buttons that allow users to control music playback and calls. The touch controls are pretty limited by default. A double tap on one of the buttons pauses/plays music, while a triple tap calls up your device’s voice assistant. 1MORE has also added the auto-pause/resume function that is activated when you pull the earbuds out and put them back in respectively. This feature works extremely well, but the same can’t be said for the touch controls, which sometimes fail to read the input, accidentally register touches, or sometimes perform an action other than what was entered.

1MORE Colorbuds review

Since pause/play can be controlled by removing and reinserting the earphones, we chose to customize the double click control to skip tracks (on the right) and go to the previous track (on the left), what can be done through the 1MORE app. We also opted for volume controls with the triple tap instead of the voice assistant control. So while the standard features are limited, you can customize them to your liking via the app. Customizable controls are a handy feature and we were thrilled to be able to add track search and volume controls to the knobs. Nevertheless, we also want 1MORE to give users access to one-tap controls. This would give users another way to control pause/play instead of just the auto-pause/play feature if, like us, you disable the double-click control for something else.

1MORE Colorbuds review

Now that they’re finally moving on to the earbud charging case, they feel a little flimsy, especially at the hinge of the case. Also, the case doesn’t feel as premium as some competitors like the Lyptertek Tevi and the Jabra Elite 75t. However, the rounded design is nice to look at if you like glossy finishes, and it can stand upright too. They are also quite pocketable, but can bulge out a bit from tight women’s jeans pockets. There is a small battery indicator LED on the front of the case, while the rear houses a Type-C charging port.

1MORE Colorbuds review

Overall, it would be hard to find a pair of truly wireless earphones with a better fit than the Colorbuds. However, we hope 1MORE refines the responsiveness and touch panel accuracy of its next true wireless earphones, as the Colorbuds’ touch panel has proved quite unreliable at times.

Characteristics

The 1MORE Colorbuds, priced at Rs 7,999, offer a decent amount of features, but don’t expect features like ANC and Ambient Sound at this price, although some earphones like the Oppo Enco W51 and the Realme Buds Air Pro offer features at less than 5K. 1MORE offers a more refined sound and resources are deployed to ensure good sound reproduction and an excellent fit. Nevertheless, you get features like IPX5 sweat and water resistance, customizable touch controls, and auto-pause/play, as mentioned above, which is pretty decent.

Powered by Bluetooth v5.0, you get a pretty decent wireless range of 10 meters or 33 feet. In real life the connection stays strong if we wander into a room next to the source device, but otherwise the connection starts to break. Bluetooth 5.0 also ensures that there are no unexpected delays and stutters in the audio. The earbuds also support aptX and AAC for streaming to Android and iOS devices. The inclusion of the aptX codec means smooth streaming on Android devices and slightly better sound and wireless connectivity. Latency is also quite low. On streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix, there was hardly any noticeable delay between audio and video.

1MORE Colorbuds review

In addition, the earbuds also support mono mode, where one button can be used independently of the other. However, the earbuds take a little longer than usual to register in mono mode and the music stops when you put one earbud in the case. The other button then reconnects and then you have to manually resume music playback, which is somewhat tiring. Unfortunately, Bluetooth multipoint (the ability to connect to two devices at the same time) is missing on these earbuds.

Finally, when you come to the app, there is no customizable EQ available, which is a shame. You can only customize the controls, enable or disable Smart Playback (auto-pause/play) and update the firmware via the app.

Performance

From wired headphones like the 1MORE Piston Fit to true wireless like the 1MORE Stylish, the company is widely respected for its commendable audio performance made possible by powerful drivers, good codec support and professional tuning by Grammy award-winning sound engineer, Luca Bignardi. The Colorbuds build on that legacy by providing immersive sound at the lucrative price of less than 10K. The buds are not overly energetic, meaning they retain a lot of detail in the mids and highs.

The balanced, full-range fixture with the Colorbuds certainly stray on the bass side, but they aren’t muddy or distorted in any way. Boosted bass and bass response are evident in EDM, pop and Bollywood tracks, and there is a bit of aural masking in the mids due to the exaggerated bass. Nevertheless, the mids themselves are not suppressed, so the earbuds do not have hollow-sounding vocals and lead instruments.

1MORE Colorbuds review

Songs like scars through I prevail have full sounding vocals despite the somewhat heavy drum beats. However, in the same song, when the full range of instruments come in at the same time, the vocals can lose some detail. So these are definitely not audiophile grade earphones, but they have enough substance and character to enjoy in a wide variety of genres.

There’s also a solid stereo separation that can be clearly seen in songs like Hunter through Bjork. The passive isolation further enhances the bass rumble from the buttons and background noise is significantly reduced with the great fit.

In terms of call quality, the Colorbuds use four microphones in combination with cVc 8.0 ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) technology which offers quite decent microphone performance. During conversations, our voice sounded crisp and clear and background noise was significantly reduced. Please note that due to COVID-19 we are unable to test calls in more noisy environments such as train stations.

Battery life

Battery life, unfortunately, is one place where the new Colorbuds have slipped compared to its predecessor, the 1MORE Stylish. While the Stylish delivered 6.5 hours of continuous playback on the earbuds on a single charge, the Colorbuds drops that figure by half an hour. The battery life of the earbuds is estimated at 6 hours, while the total battery life with the charging case is a respectable 22 hours.

In our testing, we managed to get around 5 hours and 45 minutes of playback on a single charge with the volume set to 60 percent. The charging case managed to fill the buds completely twice and got it to about 50 percent the third time before it ran out of juice. These numbers are definitely decent in 2020, especially as we have competitors like the Lypertek Tevi that have a whopping 70 hours of total battery life! Nevertheless, 24 hours of total battery life is standard in 2020, and the Colorbuds are close to that desired figure.

The earbuds are also equipped with Fast Charging capabilities where putting them in the case for just 15 minutes will give you two hours of playtime. To fully charge the earbuds, keep the earbuds in the case for about an hour and 10 minutes. If battery life is extremely important to you, you’re better off with devices like the Lypertek Tevi or the Sony WF-SP800N. The latter is considerably more expensive, however, but you do get ANC as an added bonus.

bottom line

If you’re looking for a reliable pair of true wireless earphones under 10K, the 1MORE Colorbuds are a pretty safe bet. Especially now as the buds are discounted to Rs 5,999 which is a 2K reduction from the original price of Rs 7,999. The buttons sound great, the fit is extraordinary, they come with aptX support and an IPX5 rating. However, if you’re looking for something with more balanced sound reproduction and battery life, the Lypertek Tevi is a great choice for that. Honestly, it’s a toss up here and it comes down more to personal preference. If you like a little more ‘oomph’ in the bass and bass response, go for the 1MORE Colorbuds, and if not, you’ll probably want to look at other options.

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