If you’ve ever yanked an earbud out of your ear on the treadmill or stationary bike, or had your dog get tangled up in your headphone cord when that yappy little terrier went trotting by, you know the pain (literally) of trying to exercise with wired earbuds. For those of you looking to untangle your workout, read on to see if the 1byOne sport earbuds are the right solution for you.
Since I’m an Android user, I wasn’t able to test the iOS specific features like access to Siri and the battery life indicator, but pairing the headphones that 1byOne provided to me for review with my Nexus 5x and a Surface Pro 4 was simple enough. Charging is fast and the battery does appear to last at least close to the advertised seven hours (mine lasted all day at work, but it wasn’t continuous use). The headphones are advertised as waterproof, and while the access door to the charging port behind the right earbud is a nice tight fit, I would say water resistant is probably a better definition. While I’d have no concerns with sweat or the unexpected downpour, I don’t see enough rubber seals on the unit to suggest that it would be safe swimming or showering in them.
I would rate the sound quality of these earbuds somewhere between standard corded earbuds and high-end corded buds like the kind from Trinity. They have a nice balance of moderate bass boost and good mid range quality. I did feel like the highs were a bit lacking, but overall the sound is better than what I would expect from sport earbuds. I used them as my primary headphones at work for a few days and while the sound was not on par with my everyday Bose cans, they were a nice respite from the occasional annoyance of corded headphones. They also are very good at blocking out external sounds, to the point that while they make an excellent pair of headphones for the gym or the office, for safety reasons I would not recommend them for biking or jogging anywhere near traffic. They were great for wearing around my office at home, though, as I moved from project to project where corded headphones would be a major annoyance.
1byOne includes three different sizes of buds and hooks. Once you find the ones that fit your ears, these earbuds are super solid. There was no slipping while exercising, and they were comfortable enough for me to wear at work, although like with all earbuds, I did feel the need to give my ears a break after an hour or two.
My only issue was with the cord that connects the two pieces, specifically the control panel location. Pulling the cord tight to minimize bouncing around pulls the panel to the back of your head. This isn’t a big deal until you try to answer the phone while you’re exercising. The microphone for the earbuds is located on the control panel, so the mic is pulled away from your mouth. You can still be heard by the other party, but only faintly. Loosening the cord so that it hangs down more resolves this issue. Making telephone calls, particularly while exercising, is such a rarity, I would have actually preferred they remove the microphone feature altogether and drop the price a few bucks to make up for it, moving these earbuds to the more competitive sub-$50 range (although they are on sale right now on Amazon for $42.99).
- Good sound quality
- Water resistant
- Good battery life
- Excellent fit for exercise
- Good noise cancellation
- Microphone is unusable when cord is behind the head
- Good noise cancellation (safety)
Overall, the excellent fit and above average sound quality make these sweatproof earbuds a solid recommendation for the gym, working in the yard or garage, or any other activity where corded headphones are an inconvenience and the noise suppression is not going to be dangerous. Just be aware that if you want to use them for phone calls, it’s a good idea to flip the cord around to the front.