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Review: 1MORE ComfoBuds Z TWS – Earbuds for Bedtime

The 1MORE ComfoBuds Z.
The 1MORE ComfoBuds Z.

No highs, no lows, must be for catching Z’s.

Thank you to Alexander of 1MORE for providing the ComfoBuds Z True Wireless (TWS) earbuds for review purposes.
General Usage 63.2
Audiophile Usage 50.0

Score Breakdown

83.8
What We Like
  • Comfortable and secure even when lying on your side
  • Voices are clear
  • Soothing sounds are perfect for this application
  • Good feeling case can be manipulated with one hand
What We Don't Like
  • Not for music playback
  • Short battery life
  • No microphones
  • Very specific tuning
  • No touch controls
  • Not inexpensive for a limited feature set and application

Where to Buy

The ComfoBuds Z are available at:

Introduction

1MORE is known for producing great-sounding headphones at reasonable prices. They’ve got their very own in-house Grammy award-winning audio engineer Luca Bignardi lovingly tuning each sound profile. And it shows. I’ve been consistently impressed with their products.

Recently, they’ve jumped into the TWS market and while their ComfoBuds Pro sport a fairly average design, they are a good sounding and affordable alternative to the Apple Airpod Pro. Now, boasting the same ComfoBuds namesake, the Z model appears to eschew all the common TWS design elements (such as touch controls, microphones, shape, size, etc) to create a new sub-genre within the TWS segment.

Behold… tiny TWS earbuds meant for sleeping!

Wait a second… don’t we wear headphones to listen to music? Not this time Jack! Tuned like an old-timey corded telephone, the Z are all about that midrange.

Containing a single balanced armature (BA) driver per side, the Z intend you to listen to a soothing sound (30 built-in options in the app) or to stream an audiobook or podcast as you “mellow out” and go to sleep. The flat voicing is surprisingly effective in reproducing the human vocal range, and as long as you aren’t after sparkling highs or subsonic lows, the Z work great to listen to voices talk you to sleep.

Simple is the name of the game. You don’t want to answer calls in bed, do you? Of course not. No mic for you! What’s the best way to ensure no unwanted presses, resulting in volume or track changes? No touch controls at all! There are 5 auto-off timers, ranging from 30-150 minutes, and as far as features go, that’s about it.

So join me as we drift off to the land of Nod with a pair of mini earbuds whispering in our ears.

The ComfoBuds Z case is simpler than the 1MORE standard. No fold out da Vinci-like product drawings.
The ComfoBuds Z case is simpler than the 1MORE standard. No fold out da Vinci-like product drawings.

Case

Battery

  • Battery Life: 14 hours
  • Connector: USB Type-C
  • Wireless Charging: No

Itty-bitty white earbuds require an itty-bitty white case. It’s actually a bit bigger than I expected, but the case size allows for a 410mAh battery capable of an extended playback time of about 14 hours. The USB-C charging port is centered on the lower backside of the case.

The USB-C charging port.
The USB-C charging port.
A USB-C cable is included in the box.

UX

  • Can be open easily with one hand: Yes
  • Pass the shake test: Yes
  • Light Indicators: Displays battery level and charging status

Unlike the ComfoBuds Pro case, the Z case can be opened easily with one hand. It’s more vertical shape allows you to roll your thumb upwards and flip the case door open with little trouble. A central multi-color LED on the front displays the battery level (red = low, yellow = medium, green = full) and charging status.

When the case battery is too low to charge the buds, the LED indicator glows solid red for 10 seconds. When the earbuds are placed in the charging case and the battery is low, the LED indicator flashes red 10 times. A full charge takes around 80 minutes, and a solid green LED indicates that charging is complete.

The included accessories are quite generous.
The included accessories are quite generous.

Design

  • Shape of the case: Flat bottomed egg
  • Material: Soft touch plastic
  • Build Quality: Average

I appreciate the matte finish, soft-touch plastic used on the outside of the Z case. It has a better hand-feel than the smooth plastic Pro case. Additionally, the flat bottom is rubberized, meaning although it is small, the Z case stays put on your desk or (in this case) bedside table.

Portability

  • Weight: 38g (With earbuds inside, 2-3g each side)
  • Volume: 5.8 x 3.0 x 3.8 = 66.12 cm cu}} (~4.03 in cu)
  • Portability: Good

The case weighs about 32 grams when empty, which is pretty light for this sort of plastic case. The reasonable size means it fits easily into a front pants pocket if desired.

Oddly, on my review pair, the left inner LED is dimmer than the right one.
Oddly, on my review pair, the left inner LED is dimmer than the right one.

Earbuds

Battery

  • Battery Life: 10 hrs
  • Charge Time (15mins): No quick charge supported
The Z really are very, very small.
The Z really are very, very small.

Battery life, as they say, ain’t nothing to write home about. The minuscule size of each earbud means that they only run for about 2.5 hours on their internal 30mAh batteries. Popping them back in the case occasionally should net you about 14 hours of total playtime, but it’ll take approximately 80 minutes to charge from dead. Not great for using the Z like regular TWS headphones, but fine if you just use them at bedtime.

UX

  • Control Mechanism: n/a
  • Touch Accuracy: n/a
  • Control Symmetry on both earbud: n/a
  • Mono Use: Yes for both sides

Touch controls? We don’t need no stinking touch controls!

This is the first time I’ve run into this issue. The Headphonesty scoring system isn’t really designed for anomalies like the ComfoBuds Z and ‘n/a’ results.

Design

  • Profile: Low
  • Material: Plastic
  • Comfort: Outstanding
  • Fit: Outstanding

The most obvious benefit of the stripped-down design may be seen in the diminutive size of the ComfoBuds Z earbuds themselves. At about 2.5 g and 2cm in length, they almost fit inside your ear canal. Think of bright white versions of what James Bond slips into his ear, and you are getting in the ballpark.

Smooth, small, and comfortable.
Smooth, small, and comfortable.

With a smooth, flush profile, the ComfoBuds Z allow you to lie on your side, head on the pillow, with no discomfort. Perfect for a product designed to fall asleep with it in your ears.

Mic

  • Noise Cancellation: N/A
  • Voice Pick-up: N/A

There is no mic.

Sound

  • Driver: Balanced armature
  • Sound Signature: Midrange
  • Sub-bass: Very poor
  • Bass: Very poor
  • Mids: Good
  • Treble: Substandard
  • Sound Detail: Good

Overall sound signature

You know that old joke that audiophiles make about Bose products? “No highs, no lows, must be…” In this case, the answer is “Z” and not “Bose.”

Usually, in this section, I wax poetic about how the earbuds sound playing music. But with the ComfoBuds Z, what’s the point? There is virtually no low-frequency reproduction, and the high-end frequencies are extremely curtailed as well. What remains is the range suitable for vocal reproduction.

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

Clarity is quite good when listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Voices sound natural and legible. TV or media watching is fine, just don’t expect great dynamics from soaring soundtracks or booming explosions. My advice is to pick something to watch that has a lot of talking.

The pluses of this tuning is how laid-back and non-invasive it is. You might say, The Z are tuned to put you to sleep.

These are TWS designed for a singular purpose, and I can appreciate that. In fact, the ComfoBuds Z have earned a permanent spot on my bedside table.

Connectivity

  • Audio Codec: AAC and SBC
  • Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5
  • Bluetooth Chip: ?
  • Auto-connect when: Taken out of the case
  • Average drop-outs in an hour: More than 5 times
  • Multi-point connection: No

The ComfoBuds Z feature Bluetooth 5 and AAC and SBC codecs. Nothing more is required. Connection range and stability are both acceptable.

For single usage mode, the earbuds can each be connected to different devices by double-clicking the pairing button inside the case.

Different built-in soothing sounds are accessible via the app.
Different built-in soothing sounds are accessible via the app.

Waterproof

  • IP Rating: Not rated

For a number of reasons, including lack of waterproofness, try to avoid falling asleep while in the tub or pool with the ComfoBuds Z in your ears.

Software

The 1MORE MUSIC app is the only way to change the (minimal) settings on the ComfoBuds Z.
The 1MORE MUSIC app is the only way to change the (minimal) settings on the ComfoBuds Z.

The same fully-featured 1MORE MUSIC app is used to configure all 1MORE TWS models and offers different functionality depending on the model. Each earbud battery level is displayed in the app, but oddly the case level is not (unlike with the ComfoBuds Pro).

There are only two listening modes available, Music and Soothing. Music allows for Bluetooth playback, while Soothing allows you to select between background sound effects (breeze, drizzle, fire, spring water, summer rain, etc.)

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

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