Products

GeekDad review: 1More ComfoBuds Pro True Wireless Earbuds

Right now in the world of true wireless earbuds, there are Apple AirPods and everyone else. 1More is in the latter category, and for several years now the audio brand has been tweaking Apple with earbuds that sound better and generally outperform the white earbuds while costing less. The company’s latest release is the ComfoBuds Pro. These true wireless earbuds continue that theme, but, somewhat confusingly, adopt the elongated stem design of the AirPods.

At $99.99 (or $94.99 if you take the Apple look to the next level and opt for the white version), are the ComfoBuds Pro worth considering?

ComfoBuds Pro are also available in white. (Photo by Brad Moon)

Unusual Design Choice

Every 1More product I’ve reviewed (and there have been quite a few going back over the past five years) has featured a premium design. The company’s headphones and earbuds feature high-quality materials and an impeccable finish. The ComfoBuds are no different. My review units are Black, glossy with an almost liquid-looking deep metallic finish. What’s unusual here is that they are equipped with protruding stems.

I mean it’s not unusual in the sense that it’s polarizing—the biggest seller of wireless earbuds in the world has standardized on this look and many have followed—but up until now 1More has avoided releasing buds that visually resemble AirPods.

The stem design has advantages like better positioning of microphones for voice, but if you didn’t like that look on AirPods, you’re probably not going to like it with the ComfoBuds Pro. Personally, I’m no AirPods fan, but the look of the 1More earbuds has grown on me. Maybe it’s the glowing indicator LEDs that are embedded in the tips…

Extremely Comfortable Fit

It helps that the ComfoBuds Pro live up to their name in a big way. These are extremely comfortable earbuds to wear. Each weighs just 0.18 ounces. 1More includes three sizes of silicone ear tips to ensure a good fit. Earbuds aren’t really my thing in general—comfort and fit are elusive for me—but these stayed nicely in place and I actually forgot I was wearing them.

I’m not sure I would trust them to stay in place during heavy physical activity. They don’t “lock” in place. However, if you’re comfortable in doing so, they are IPX4 water and sweat-resistant.

High-Quality Audio

Another area where I’ve learned to count on 1More is audio quality. The company uses high-quality components. All its products are custom-tuned by Luca Bignardi, a Grammy-winning sound engineer. These particular earbuds use a single driver (some 1More models employ up to four drivers), but it’s far from average. They are equipped with a big, 13.44 mm composite driver with a metal diaphragm. The result is solid audio performance, with crisp highs, punchy bass, and a well-represented mid-range. There is no EQ for adjusting the audio, but if you prefer a warmer sound with a more definitive bass, turning the ANC to Strong will deliver exactly that. That quickly became my default mode.

I tried listening to some of Apple Music’s new Lossless, Spatial Audio tracks with these earbuds. The Lossless part really makes no difference over Bluetooth. But some of the Spatial Audio tracks do offer a recognizably more “surround” listening experience (though some tracks are more effectively mastered than others). You don’t need Apple AirPods to enjoy Apple Music Spatial Audio tracks, but when Apple gets around to releasing the head-tracking feature, third-party earbuds won’t be able to take advantage of that.

Multi-Level ANC

The ComfoBuds Pro are equipped with 1More’s QuietMax, multi-level ANC. It does a pretty decent job, especially considering these are earbuds, not over-ear headphones, and they are $99 earbuds.

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I had the perfect opportunity to test the ANC. Not only was there heavy equipment doing paving on the street outside my office window, but a crew was here cutting expansion joints in my concrete driveway. And my wife was on Zoom calls all day on the main floor.

Without headphones, it was loud. And annoying. With the ComfoBuds Pro playing music at low to medium volume and the ANC at its highest level (Strong mode), the construction noise and conversation were virtually all blocked out, and even the clacking of my mechanical keyboard was silenced. However, I could still pick up traces of the dogs barking downstairs.

Besides several levels of ANC, the feature also includes a Pass-Through mode that utilizes the earbuds’ mics to make it easier to hear ambient noise over music. It’s worth noting that the ComfoBuds Pro are equipped with a total of six mics.

The 1More app includes various feature controls and a battery life indicator. (Screen capture by Brad Moon)

Excellent Battery Life

1More rates these earbuds for up to six hours of playback with ANC on, and up to eight hours with ANC off. Then there are the usual factors such as higher volume eating away at battery life more than low volume music.

I tested them in mixed-use scenarios. A typical session would have ANC on Strong for most of the time, with music volume at about one-third. I would take them out for a few hours and leave them playing at maximum volume without ANC. They’re equipped with infrared sensors that automatically pause the music when removed, but you can manually override this by pressing “play” on your audio source. In this scenario, I would land right in the middle—about seven hours of use on a charge. Better than I was expecting, given that ANC was used for most of the session and volume was cranked up for several hours at a time.

If you’re keeping track, that’s considerably better than AirPods Pro, which maxes out at five hours with ANC turned off.

The charging case is quite compact. The buds lie down horizontally to accomplish this, snapping in place with magnets. Getting them out requires pushing down on the stem to pop up the bud to the point where you can grasp it. The charging case holds about 20 hours of additional charge, supports fast-charging, and recharges using USB-C.

ComfoBuds Pro in charge case, with tips glowing red to indicate a low battery. (Photo by Brad Moon)

Touch Controls

The stems of the ComfoBuds Pro are touch-enabled. The 1More app lets you customize the action for the three gestures: touch and hold, double-tap, and triple-tap.

Recommendation

1More’s ComfoBuds Pro offer high-quality audio playback, stellar battery life, and decent ANC in an attractive package—assuming you’re okay with the protruding stems. You give up extras like wireless charging, but at just under $100, the ComfoBuds Pro are $60 less than Apple’s cheapest AirPods, and a fraction of the $249.99 Apple charges for the AirPods Pro.

I’m all-in on Apple and have been for decades, but when it comes to audio gear including earbuds, I prefer the selection in the “everyone else” category. The 1More ComfoBuds Pro are a great example of how you get a much bigger bang for your buck.

If you want audio performance that’s even better, don’t mind losing the stems, and have a larger budget, the THX Certified 1More True Wireless ANC In-Ear buds (with both a dynamic driver and a balanced armature) are a nice step up.

Disclosure: 1More provided earbuds for evaluation but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate, I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.

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This post was last modified on June 11, 2021 9:15 am

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