IMPRESSIONS OF 1MORE’S COLORBUDS: DO THESE EARBUDS GO BEYOND PRETTY?

The TL;DR is – yes they do.

But before we proceed, a little disclaimer.

I have been sponsored these Colorbuds by 1More, but the views here are entirely my own. I have not been paid, am not an affiliate and will not receive any referral rewards when you click through my links.

Now with the formalities done, let’s get to the review.

When the 1More representative approached me to do a review, I was extremely humbled. After all, I’m not an expert audiophile – just your average layman user. So thank you 1More.

The standout from the PR deck for these true wireless in-ear earphones has to be that the illustrious Jay Chou is their Creative Officer for the 1More Colorbuds, and that a campaign in mainland China and Taiwan featured Sodagreen’s lead singer Wu Qingfeng. But would this clout be just hype? I find out.

Audio equipment, such as earbuds, earphones and headphones have exploded in the consumer market, and choosing one right for your lifestyle is never easy. One either picks those from their mobile brand (Apple, Samsung, Oppo, Huawei etc.) or go for audio specialists like Bang & Olufson and Sennheiser. The rest fight it out by touting features like creative design, exceptional bass or even active noise cancelling or bone conduction capabilities.

1More’s Colorbuds doesn’t seem to break new ground, and the tagline Hear In Color is rather pedestrian, but rather it would seem that the emphasis is to “deliver great-looking and affordable luxury audio products“.

“Furthering, 1MORE’s aim to bring fashion and audio together in a series of headphones, the ColorBuds are the ultimate everyday earbuds for anyone needing excellent sound, convenient controls, portability and a pop of color—coming in Midnight Black, Twilight Gold, Sakura Pink or Spearmint Green”.

Okay I’ll bite. I was initially very tempted by the Spearmint Green, which looks much better in other photos, but eventually chose the Twilight Gold because a flashy neutral could be a nice change.
Fun fact: The rep told me guys tended to chose the black.

When the box arrived, I have to admit, it looked a little basic. Even though it was meant to be an affordable earbud at $159, I found the design a little unappealing and not aligned with their color branding.

I was a little worried at this point… what if I had nothing much to say?

I slid the box out from within the cover, and inside a transparent cover made busy with tons of text shielded the earbuds. After lifting the flap, I popped out the earbuds and took out the remaining items from below the earbuds. Here’s what is included within.

A multilingual comprehensive instruction booklet, a warranty card, a 1More bear sticker, a USB to Type-C charging cable, and 4 sets of eartips (XS, S and L in picture, M on the earbuds).

I like to test pairing by how idiot-proof it is, so without looking at the instructions, I made sure my Bluetooth was switched on on my iPhone Xr and took out the earbuds from their case. It paired easily and almost immediately – good start!

There is a pairing button in the middle of the interior of the case but I’ve never had to use it.

Now the rep did highlight it was important to have the earbuds sit snug inside the ear and be rotated a little to find the perfect fit, so after some experimentation, I thought the XS tip worked best for me even though I usually used the M. So if you get these, I advise you to try even the sizes you normally ignore, because trust me – the fit is important. More on that later on.

The good news is: The case and earbuds look and feel much better than I expected. At 40.3g, you would think the whole thing to feel light and cheap, but the form and build is solid and has a pleasant presence in the hand – even for the earbuds at a crazy 4.1g. I was initially worried about the glossy cover being easily scratched, but a month has passed and the case is still smooth as an eggshell. What I also liked, was the nice cover action. It clipped easily yet was not flimsy. And a nice thoughtful touch I didn’t expect – the base had a thin rubber layer so that the whole case would sit stable on any surface.

The colour itself appealed to me. The nude tone is very unusual for an earbud, and the soft silicon feel is very comfortable during my use. The only thing that I’m still unsure about is the “metallic” plastic finish that sits in the area for the sensors. Although the accent was nice, I wondered if it might be more striking to have it all in the same silicon finish and color.

So while the box packaging did the 1More Colorbuds no favours, the case and earbuds themselves were true to their price point.

Now the earbuds themselves looked a little odd when out of their case, and I have to say, without looking at the L or R symbol, I still get confused which side belongs to which. This might cause some confusion initially but otherwise the buds do snap into the case very snugly and charge well, with all the necessary indicator lights.

Here’s a rather whimsical picture of the case’s charging point at the back.

Very straightforward here, the charge time for the earbuds and case was 1.1 and 1.5 hours respectively, for a total playback of 6 hours on one charge for the earbuds and another 22 hours from the case. Very decent. To date, I’ve only had to charge about once a week with standard usage.

So most importantly – how did the 1More Colorbuds sound?

The literature read: Tuned by Grammy award-winning sound engineer Luca Bignardi, 1MORE ColorBuds is powered by a unique full-range balanced armature that provide less distortion and rich details across the entire sound wave. 

Ooo ‘armature’ – I like. But I was a little stressed about being able to appraise an award-winning sound engineer’s work.

Turned out, my worries were unfounded. The earbuds delivered sweet, sweet sound. I played my suite of music ranging from the experimental Bjork to Mandopop ballads from Stephanie Sun, the thrashing Tori to classical composers. I even threw in a little Kpop and rock in there for fast beats and heavier bass. It took it all in stride, showing a great handling across the spectrum.

What struck me the most was how realistic the sound was. It’s hard to describe it, but the delivery felt exceptional clean – almost like the performer was right in the room with you. The range I would say it excelled would be the highs and the mids – extremely polished without biting and incredibly intimate clarity. The vocals really thrived in this pair.

That said, for bass-hunters wanting their kick, the 1More Colorbuds wouldn’t be your best bet. That’s not to say it handles bass badly. On the contrary, I think it was very bold for the bass to come in at a more balanced level. The result is warm and lush without veering dangerously near distortion. I do like my bass but this changed my mind about all the fuss for a bass-heavy delivery to feel satisfying. Luca Bignardi’s contribution was definitely felt and is no marketing spin.

But remember what I said earlier about the importance of wearing it right? It definitely appears here. Choosing the right eartip ensures you get a good seal and the aural experience I enjoyed, and there’s a slight twist you need to include when wearing the earbuds that I got used to in about a week. When that’s down pat, you’ve got yourself a snug pair that sits comfortably in the ear.

Another surprise was how exceptionally the earbuds handled calls. I’ve yet to get a really effortless call experience with all of my previous earphones, but the clarity from this surprised even my sister when she said, “It’s even clearer than when you were speaking directly on your phone”.

So colour me impressed! Since then, I’ve conducted seamless calls and Zoom meetings and I’m surprised the “dual ENC microphones combined with cVc 8.0 Environmental Noise Cancellation technology” isn’t talked about as much.

So are there any areas in which the 1More Colorbuds are a little lacking in? Again, the short answer is yes.

The first would be the lack of options for remote control through the earbuds themselves. Right now, there’s only 2 sets of tapping. The double-tap starts and stops the music, and picks up and hangs up your calls. A triple-tap calls up your voice assistant. The earbuds also automatically stop and start when you remove them and put them back on as well. That’s it. (Update 28 Sept: The rep has informed me a new firmware update on the 1More Music app gives you now the ability to customise the controls for each earbud, so you can skip tracks and even control volume. Great move! Available on App Store and Google Play.

For those who love to fiddle with their music and jump through tracks, they have only the voice assistant or actual mobile controls to work with, which may not be ideal. It might have been nice to have made the double tap during music to skip a track instead, or to have differing controls on the left and right earbud.

And my experience with the tapping and auto functions was a little glitchy at times, though no more than the rest I’ve tried in my history.

So in short, I really enjoyed having the 1More Colorbuds. I’ve grown to love the colour in my daily palette and after I took some of these photos, really enjoyed how it looked when worn. The ease-of-use, audio clarity and smooth call experiences are a win, with only the remote control options being my only drawback, so I would say it’s worth the price.

So who should go for the 1More earbuds?

It’s definitely not for the bass-hungry folks and those who like to fiddle with their music.

Otherwise, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a well-made, mid-range earbuds with a little flair in its design. If you love your soul-stirring vocals and make a lot of calls, this is a great performer.

Thanks for reading, and again, thanks 1More!

The 1More Colorbuds are available for purchase in Singapore on Lazada for SGD$159. (Again I don’t receive any monies from this.)

For my IGTV unboxing and review, head over to my Instagram account.

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