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Review: 1MORE ComfoBuds Pro TWS – Kind of Blue

The 1MORE ComfoBuds Pro TWS.
The 1MORE ComfoBuds Pro TWS.

1MORE brings great sound to the uber-competitive TWS market.

Thank you to Alexander of 1MORE for providing the ComfoBuds Pro True Wireless (TWS) earbuds for review purposes.
General Usage 75.8
Audiophile Usage 83.2

Score Breakdown

75.9
What We Like
  • Typical high-quality 1MORE packaging.
  • Good battery life.
  • Excellent app with 22 preset EQ, customized touch controls, and soothing sound presets.
  • Comfortable and secure in the ears.
  • Basic but stable Bluetooth connection.
  • Effective ANC.
What We Don't Like
  • All plastic construction isn’t sturdy feeling.
  • Case and earbuds are fairly large.
  • Average materials and design.
  • Standard ENC performance.

Where to Buy

The ComfoBuds Pro are available at:

Introduction

Founded in 2013 by three former Foxconn executives, 1MORE made a splash with their triple-driver headphones and IEMs. Tuned by Grammy award-winning audio engineer Luca Bignardi, their products tend to have an energetic and fun sound profile. They received a lot of positive attention for those early designs and for adopting a different approach from many Chinese manufacturers, they didn’t immediately (and continually) release a flood of new models.

In fact, 1MORE has sold many of the same designs for several years, so it is interesting to see that they’ve jumped into the competitive TWS market with a few new offerings. Leveraging their well-known brand name and worldwide distribution network, they are certain to appeal to many purchasers.

First up is the ComfoBuds Pro. The ComfoBuds Pro feature similar pollywog-shaped styling to the currently popular AirPods Pro, with multiple noise cancellation modes (strong/medium/mild), 3 mics per earbud, AI-powered environmental noise cancellation (ENC), and 13.4mm titanium composite dynamic drivers boasting extended bass response.

The Aurora Blue ComfoBuds Pro box.
The Aurora Blue ComfoBuds Pro box.

The ComfoBuds Pro are available in three colors (Aurora blue – reviewed, Titanium black, and Mica white), each with slightly different price points and features. The black version includes a case protector, while the blue is the only one that supports EQ presets within the app.

Let’s be honest, the derivative aesthetic design of the ComfoBuds Pro isn’t going to win many folks over. Additionally, it’s an extremely crowded market for this type of TWS device priced around USD$100. Do the ComfoBuds Pro bring enough to the table to stand out from the competition?

Let’s find out.

Case

Battery

  • Battery Life: 20 hours
  • Connector: USB Type-C
  • Wireless Charging: No

The Pro boast a combined 28 hours of playtime with ANC off or 20 hours with ANC on. These estimates jive pretty well with my usage and experience. It’s certainly long enough for me to not worry about charging daily, which I greatly appreciate.

1MORE knows how to create attractive packaging.
1MORE knows how to create attractive packaging.

The USB-C port is centered on the back of the case under the subtle “one more. hear more.” motto.

A USB-C cable is not included in the box.

UX

  • Can be open easily with one hand: No
  • Pass the shake test: Yes
  • Light Indicators: Shows estimated battery life left and shows charging indicator

The Aurora blue version of the Pro stands out due to its unusual color. They’re dark enough to avoid looking juvenile but offer a different aesthetic than the more common white and black fare. The case is a largish oblong egg made of pretty average feeling smooth plastic. There’s almost no way to open the case with one hand, and the hinge feels rather fragile. I wouldn’t describe it as especially confidence-inspiring for expected longevity.

The blue is a distinctive color.
The blue is a distinctive color.

A tiny multi-color LED indicator is centered on the front face under the lid and indicates battery level (green – high, yellow – mid, red – low). The indicator illuminates for a few seconds when the case is opened. When the case battery is almost exhausted, the LED indicator will flash red.

Plugging in the case to charge also illuminates the battery LED.

Design

  • Shape of the case: Oblong egg
  • Material: Plastic
  • Build Quality: Average

In the immortal ear-worm words of Eiffel 65, “I’m blue. Da ba dee da ba di.”

The case is pretty ho-hum in design. It’s a bit larger than is ideal for pocketability and the plastic doesn’t have a premium feel. The earbuds themselves are fairly large and have extended tails, so the case size is necessary to contain them. Extracting the earbuds from the case isn’t entirely intuitive and requires pushing down on the tip of the tail to see-saw the other end up to facilitate removal.

The blue ComfoBuds Pro case compared to other TWS options.
The blue ComfoBuds Pro case compared to other TWS options.

There is a small button front and center under the lid between the earbuds for pairing.

Portability

  • Weight: 50g (with earbuds inside) 34g (empty)
  • Volume: 8cm x 3.7cm x 3cm = 88.8 cm cu}} (~5.74 in cu)
  • Portability: Average

All that plastic construction makes for a light case – it’s only 34g when empty! Each earbud is only about 5g.

Earbuds

Battery

  • Battery Life: 8 hrs (ANC off) 6 hrs (ANC on)
  • Charge Time (15mins): Around 120 mins playback time

Battery life on the Pro is very good and a 15-minute fast charge enables two hours of playtime. Each earbud contains a 50mAh battery, while the case has a 450mAh internal battery. The earbuds charge fully when placed in the case for 1 hour, while the case takes 2 hours to charge when plugged in.

The nozzles on the ComfoBuds Pro are an unusual oval shape.
The nozzles on the ComfoBuds Pro are an unusual oval shape.

UX

  • Control Mechanism: Touch
  • Touch Accuracy: Average
  • Control Symmetry on both earbud: No (left can be configured as previous track while right can be configured for next)
  • Mono Use: Yes for both sides

The touch control surface is positioned along the shaft of the tails protruding downwards from the ears. The app allows for customizing the controls for ‘touch and hold’, double-tap, and triple-tap. ‘Touch and hold’ controls the level of Active Noice Canceling. Double-tap and triple-tap can be configured as play, pause, previous/next tracks, volume, or voice control.

Oddly, ‘single-tap’ isn’t a control option.
The touch controls can be modified using the app.
The touch controls can be modified using the app.

Once you’ve configured the controls to your personal preferences, it all works well enough and is relatively intuitive, although it’s not always clear where you should touch. Siri integration works flawlessly.

Design

  • Profile: Low
  • Material: Plastic
  • Comfort: Average
  • Fit: Good

The earbuds are each a little over 4 cm long and although they contain fairly large (13.4mm) titanium composite drivers, the round bodies are reasonably slim and comfortably fit into my ears. The blue plastic is a match to the case and there are red and blue LEDs in the tips of the downward tails.

The ComfoBuds Pro are fairly large but remain comfortable in the ears.
The ComfoBuds Pro are fairly large but remain comfortable in the ears.

The grey silicone ear tips are specifically made for the Pros due to the unique oval-shaped nozzle design. This means finding aftermarket replacements is likely impossible, but the included options are comfortable and well made.

Mic

  • Noise Cancellation: Average
  • Voice Pick-up: Average

ANC modes default to off and through the app are adjustable between Strong, Mild, Pass-through, and WNR (Wind Noise Reduction) modes. All seem to work fairly well and as expected for audio playback.

ANC is adjustable in the app but ENC is not, so if you are enjoying the great outdoors, microphone quality can be compromised.
ANC is adjustable in the app but ENC is not, so if you are enjoying the great outdoors, microphone quality can be compromised.

Microphone environmental noise cancellation (ENC) is not adjustable, and although touted as AI-based, using 3 microphones per earbud, is only moderately effective and merely adequate for this price point. Voice pickup remains relatively clear but is far more legible in a quiet environment.

Mic demo

Sound

  • Driver: 13.4mm titanium composite dynamic drivers
  • Sound Signature: Mild V-shaped
  • Sub-bass: Good
  • Bass: Outstanding
  • Mids: Outstanding
  • Treble: Good
  • Sound Detail: Good

Overall sound signature

Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat. 1MORE has a reputation for creating great-sounding headphones at reasonable prices. The ComfoBuds Pro more than live up to this distinguished lineage.

They are, quite simply, the best-sounding lower-cost TWS I’ve encountered for music listening.

I assessed the ComfoBuds Pro primarily with no EQ setting enabled and ANC disabled, but keep in mind that the app offers a wide variety of sound settings to suit your preferences. Note, the EQ feature in the app is only available with the blue-colored version.

Much like the other 1MORE products I’ve encountered, the Pro don’t accomplish this through ruler flat measurements or chasing a theoretical ideal curve on a graph. Luca tunes by (his extremely practiced) ear, and consistently creates impressively enjoyable products for music reproduction.

1MORE ComfoBuds Pro frequency response graph as measured on a IEC 603118-4 compliant occluded ear simulator (OES).
1MORE ComfoBuds Pro frequency response graph as measured on a IEC 603118-4 compliant occluded ear simulator (OES).

The low-end is punchy and tight. Basslines thump with authority and deliver a whole lot of energy to the music reproduction. They aren’t bass boosted monsters that will shake your ears off, and generally, avoid the trap of overwhelming higher frequencies and losing clarity due to bass bloat. Instruments and vocals remain clear and natural-sounding and details are easy to discern.

Enabling the Strong ANC mode adds a bit of additional presence to the low-end.

The high-end is relatively rolled off and not extremely extended, likely as a result of the lower quality Bluetooth codec support combined with the overall tuning of the Pro. This does ensure they remain easy to listen to and avoid harshness or sibilance. They just don’t provide the most analytical or airy presentation. Things sound clear if not overly crisp on the ComfoBuds Pro.

All that said, if you are looking for the ultimate fidelity, you likely shouldn’t be shopping in the TWS range of headphones. For those who want all the convenience that this format provides, and value a fun and entertaining listening experience as well, the ComfoBuds Pro are an extremely attractive option. Honestly, I find it remarkable what this near USD$100 pair of headphones can deliver in terms of technology and sound quality.

Connectivity

  • Audio Codec: SBC and AAC
  • Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Bluetooth Chip: BES 2300HP3
  • Auto-connect when: Taken out of the case
  • Average drop-outs in an hour: None
  • Multi-point connection: No
  • Bluetooth Protocols: HFP / A2DP / AVRCP

The ComfoBuds Pro support Bluetooth 5.0 technology and the basic Bluetooth SBC and AAC codecs. Unfortunately, no higher quality codec (aptX, or LDAC) support is included. Since I’m an iPhone user, I’m limited to the AAC codec which works fine for most non-critical listening.

While the Bluetooth implementation in the Pro is fairly basic, the good news is that it works fine and I didn’t experience any dropouts with use. The range is also surprisingly decent with the connection maintained as long as I stayed on the same floor in my home.

Red screens are visible in the nozzle.
Red screens are visible in the nozzle.

Reconnection to previously paired devices is quick (5-6 seconds) once the earbuds are removed from the case. Multi-point connection isn’t supported, but standard Bluetooth profiles are, including HFP (Hands-Free Profile), A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) which allows for high-quality stereo transmission, and AVRCP (Audio / Video Remote Control Profile) which is used for sending commands (e.g. Skip Forward, Pause, Play).

Waterproof

  • IP Rating: 4

The ComfoBuds Pro are IPX4 certified which protects from splashing water, no matter the direction.

The 1MORE app is quite feature rich. Note that only the blue version unlocks the EQ settings.
The 1MORE app is quite feature rich. Note that only the blue version unlocks the EQ settings.

Software

The iPhone 1MORE MUSIC app is quite fully featured and allows control of the ENC level (ANC Strong, ANC Mild, ANC Off, Pass-Through, Wind Noise Resistance), smart playback, touch configuration, soothing sound presets, and 22 preset EQ. The same app is compatible with all 1MORE TWS models and offers different functionality depending on the model. Really, the only thing missing is a ‘find my earbuds’ sort of feature.

The app will install any available firmware updates to the earbuds.

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