1More is a brand I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more about in coming months. Thanks to an emphasis on affordable quality and a partnership with Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi, the company sold over 24 million headphones in Asia over the past two years, and now it’s setting its sights on the North American market. I was sent a selection of headphones to try out and I chose the 1More MK801 Over-Ear Headphones as something GeekDad readers might be interested in. If your kids are pushing for a pair of Beats headphones, these would make for an affordable alternative without giving up any points on style or performance.
There are some very expensive headphones out there including popular brands like Beats that–let’s face it–charge a considerable premium for their looks and logo.
There are also tons of inexpensive options flooding retailers like Amazon, but many of these “cheap” headphones come with compromises. Visual design is often “meh,” audio performance is often subpar (harsh sound or overwhelming bass are frequent issues), and quality tends to be one of the primary sacrifices of keeping costs down. When you have kids, that quality, in particular, can be a problem. I can attest from personal experience that cables get yanked out, ear cups get torn off and headbands snap…
To understand where 1More is positioning itself, it helps to have a look at the company’s mission statement:
“Our mission is to deliver superior quality headphones at surprisingly affordable prices, disrupting an industry where price hiking and design shortcuts are the norm.”
1More MK801 Over-Ear Headphones
Which brings me to the MK801s. They arrived in an attractive box and on unpacking were revealed to be very attractive, wired, over-ear headphones finished in a metallic red that is really eye-catching (black is also available). The ear cups adjust up and down, pivot and rotate in four directions for a secure fit and they’re well padded; I found them very comfortable to wear. The exterior of the cups and the headband are not plastic, but titanium steel. This makes them durable, flexible, light (the headphones weigh 8.3 ounces) and 1More says they’re sweat-resistant as well.
The cable is detachable, with gold-plated plugs and a high strength Kevlar core. There is an iOS/Android compatible inline control with a MEMS microphone wired separately from audio to eliminate interference. A cloth carrying bag is also included.
The overall look is premium and stylish–they earned a “cool headphones!” from my 13-year-olds–and they seem to be built to last. That headband takes considerable flexing and twisting without any ill effect.
Audio performance is also important and the 1More MK801s lived up to their billing in this respect as well. Diaphragms use PEEK (high tenacity polymer) and “aerospace grade” metal. Frequency range is 20-20,000Hz, rated power is 50 mW and sensitivity is 104 dB. The headphones are tuned by a Grammy award-winning sound engineer.
I’ve been wearing these primarily while hiking with the dog and they do a good job at noise isolation. Frankly, listening to music with the 1More MK801s exceeded my expectations based on their price. There’s plenty of bass on tap, but maybe not emphasized quite so much as with Beats headphones and the overall sound is nicely balanced. No muffling on the high end, either and while running through my usual outdoor exercise playlists–mostly comprised of ’80s new wave tracks–I was impressed by the bass, synth, and vocal performance in particular. On less expensive headphones, the bass often gets muddy or underwhelms, vocals can be thin and synths can be harsh or fade into the background. No such issues with the 1Mores.
The only peeves I have with these headphones are the fact that they aren’t foldable (they have a bit of silver trim on the headband that looks as though it would be a folding joint, but it’s purely decorative) and the soft coated cable was a little grabby. It didn’t tangle, but it would have been nice to go with a braided cloth exterior. You can always plug in your own cable if you don’t like the included one, though…
1More claims that its headphones are “over-engineered and over-tested” and, based on my experience with them, they seem to live up to the claim. They do a good job of holding their own against Apple’s Beats Solo 2 headphones in looks, quality, and performance but at less than half the price–that would be the “disruption” 1More is going for.
The 1More MK801 Over-Ear Headphones are available for $79.99 directly from 1More or on Amazon.
Disclosure: 1More provided headphones for review purposes.