– The Airpods Pro Killers
I know 1More from their THX Certified wired earbuds a handful number of years ago. Since then, I’ve been a fan of this brand. While, to my ears, they are not audiophile-grade, they offer a generally pleasing sound with slightly boosted bass and treble while maintaining tonal pleasantness for long-haul listening without breaking the bank.
Talking about breaking the bank, Apple Airpods Pro at $330 CA, are the earphones of choice of Apple fans worldwide. I have them but gosh darn it; they are worth nowhere near that asking price. Not saying that they’re bad, but they are exceedingly overpriced for the so-so audio performance. Nearly all true wireless earbuds I’ve tried (in and around $200 CA price range) surpass the audio performance of the Airpods Pro.
This time at virtual CES 2021, 1More introduced their Airpods Killer ComfoBuds Pro at about $130 CA and ColorBuds at about $120 CA. I was sceptical that something with such low price can do that. And oh boy I’m wrong.
The 1MORE ComfoBuds Pro are a single driver true wireless headphone that carries a very large 13.4 mm dynamic ultra linear driver per earpiece.
Inside, each earpiece is equipped with 6 microphones, Active Noise Cancelling technology with 4 different ANC modes, auto play/pause infrared sensors and touch sensitive controls on the lower section of the shells.
In addition to this, the earphones themselves carry a 50 mAh battery inside that can grant up to whopping 8 hours of continuous use (that’s more than Airpods Pro) on a single charge and nearly 30 hours when combined with the 450 mAh battery of the case. To fully charge the unit, 60 minutes is needed while the case needs 2 hours to top-up. Furthermore, if you’re in a hurry, the earbuds can be quick-charged in 15 minutes for 2 hours of playtime.
Listening to them, I find that they can be classified into a tight-bass type of earbuds. Not boomy, mega-bass type, so bassheads need to look elsewhere. I prefer tight over boomy, however, as the tight variety is always less fatiguing than a boomy one.
The midrange is also quite warm especially for male vocals such as Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble. Even female vocalists such as Diana Krall and Gloria Estefan sound full bodied enough with only the very occasional peaks. Good thing that the peakiness is only noticeable if you are paying full attention to the recordings. In most cases, however, it is nearly undetectable.
High frequencies of the ComfoBuds Pro present a tad bright-ish tuning but not overly so as to become annoying. Sibilance and peaks almost never detected and to a certain degree provide sufficient detail and clarity for everyday listening. Various orchestral pieces with lots of cymbals are the only times I can detect this sonic signature with relative ease. During my daily routines such as walking my dog, it’s very difficult for me to detect this.
While I’m reviewing the Comfobuds, 1More also sent me a pair of ColorBuds TWS. Slightly smaller in size and for about the same price, the ColorBuds are offered in various colours. The specifications on paper are about the same too, with a very slightly less bass reach than the ComfoBuds Pro. The earbuds offer four microphones (six for ComfoBuds Pro) and can block out background noise a tad better than my Apple Airpods Pro when I’m on calls (person on the other end claim it to be so). You can also now auto-pause music just by taking them out of your ears. I would argue the overall sound quality to be indistinguishable from one another when I wear them the way they are meant to, which is NOT while sitting down in a quiet room while seriously listening to the details of any music. Just like the ComfoBuds Pro, the ColorBuds support aptX and AAC encoding for higher-quality Bluetooth streaming, which means you’ll get a slightly higher bit rate from all modern phones. That encoding is nice, but it’s an excellent fit that really enables the headphones to sound so great. With a near-perfect seal in my ear canals, I get some of the most balanced sounds I’ve heard from true wireless headphones without going into premium pricing. Heck, even both my Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro don’t give me comfort and fit anywhere near both the ColorBuds and the ComforBuds Pro. Really, the only reason I have earbuds and earphones from Apple is to use them as de-facto standards of fit, finish, and sound quality in today’s market.
While I still prefer the sound of the Comfobuds Pro as they provide slightly lower bass reach and slightly better ANC, I can’t decide which one I’d go for my daily walks. One thing for sure, however, both 1More Comfobuds Pro and ColorBuds are truly Apple Airpods Pro killers. Especially at merely a third of the price.