1More has completely flooded the true wi-fi earbud market, and it’s assured sufficient in its new ComfoBuds Professional noise-canceling earbuds to proclaim them as superior to the AirPods Professional — for a fraction of the worth. They slot in between the corporate’s flagship True Wi-fi ANC earbuds ($200) and cheaper choices just like the $50 PistonsBuds and the usual ComfoBuds, the latter of which has an open-style design. 1More says with the Professional mannequin, it’s “certain to convey the combat to Apple and provides their loyal fanbase a critical dilemma in selecting what pair of earbuds are proper for them.”
I don’t assume forcing such a direct comparability was the appropriate transfer as a result of, regardless of 1More claiming that it provides “a lot extra” than Apple’s flagship buds, the ComfoBuds Professional can’t match up with the AirPods Professional in all areas — as is anticipated with such a worth discrepancy — however they’re nonetheless a superb product in their very own proper. The sound is unbelievable for the cash, they’ve a number of helpful noise cancellation modes to change between, and the match actually delivers on the “consolation” a part of their title.
The ComfoBuds are available both gunmetal grey or white, and so they lay flat of their elongated, capsule-shaped carrying case. This makes for a compact, pocketable design, however the trade-off is that eradicating them from the case isn’t so easy: you’ve received to press down on the stem, which pushes up the principle earbud portion, after which pluck that out of the case. When you’ve performed it a couple of instances, you’ll have it down.
LEDs hidden on the backside of the teardrop stem point out pairing and cost standing, and there’s additionally a lightweight on the case’s exterior so you understand once they’re absolutely topped off. Battery life is rated at 6 hours with ANC enabled, which outlasts the 4.5-hour AirPods Professional. The case has sufficient further juice so that you can attain 20 hours of whole listening time. It expenses over USB-C however doesn’t provide wi-fi charging.
1More additionally beats out Apple on the size, with every ComfoBud Professional weighing 5.2 grams in comparison with the 5.4-gram AirPods Professional. In your ears, they really feel equally mild and barely there. This ends in consolation that lasts over prolonged stretches, which might’t all the time be mentioned of heavier choices just like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds (8.5 grams) and Jabra Elite 85t (7 grams). 4 units of silicone suggestions come within the field, with an additional small measurement thrown in alongside the usual small, medium, and huge. I’d have appreciated an XL possibility, as even the biggest measurement took some adjustment for a comfortable seal.
As a substitute of any precise buttons, the ComfoBuds Professional have a touch-sensitive space on the outer stem. It really works properly sufficient, even when it’s not apparent precisely the place you have to be tapping. Essentially the most confounding factor about 1More’s controls is there’s no single-tap motion. You possibly can select what occurs with a double faucet, lengthy press, or triple faucet, however the single-press possibility — generally utilized by different producers to play / pause — simply doesn’t exist right here. So though 1More enables you to customise the controls which might be right here, you’re a bit restricted.
By default, two faucets is pause, three prompts a voice assistant, and an extended press toggles between the noise-canceling modes. I ended up switching the three-tap gesture to trace controls, however that meant settling for no direct quantity entry. Every earbud has an IR sensor on the surface for auto-pause when you take away them. They reliably resumed the music at any time when I put them again in my ears.
1More has a great status for delivering on sound high quality, and I believe the ComfoBuds Professional may set a brand new bar for what to anticipate when you’re on a $100 price range. They’ve received glorious readability with out the bass bloat that’s widespread on this worth bracket. The whole lot will get its ample house within the combine; the various layered vocal tracks by Taylor Swift and Justin Vernon on “Exile” are all distinct and are available by with readability. The funky groove of Lake Avenue Dive’s “Hypotheticals” is an effective demo for the punchy bass these earbuds are able to. Normally, there’s one style or perhaps a model of music manufacturing that can expose the weaknesses of a specific set of earbuds, however I struggled to search out that with the ComfoBuds Professional. They will adapt to just about something with out coming off as harsh or skinny. 1More doesn’t embody any choices for EQ customization, so what you get is what you get. Both earbud can be utilized standalone.
However do they sound higher than the AirPods Professional? You could possibly make the case they do, yeah. I believe some individuals will desire the deeper low tones and the way a lot wider 1More’s earbuds can really feel; vocals keep planted within the middle, however you’ll hear a ton of element out of the left and proper channels. Nonetheless, there’s one thing to be mentioned for the no-nonsense, simple audio replica of the AirPods Professional that so many individuals discover pleasing throughout all types of various audio. 1More’s pricier True Wi-fi ANC additionally sound a bit fuller and extra exact since they’ve a dual-driver design in comparison with the one 13.4-millimeter driver within the ComfoBuds Professional.
These earbuds provide a couple of completely different ranges of noise cancellation depth. There’s the default “robust” possibility, which fits the furthest in quieting exterior noise. However 1More additionally features a much less highly effective mode it says is appropriate for “chatty” environments like cafes and places of work, plus one other that’s meant to keep away from wind noise, which is widespread with noise-canceling earbuds since they always use the outside microphones to pattern ambient sound. When you’re exterior on a windy day, that may very well be a great trick to lean on. (These latter two modes require the 1More cell app to activate.) Lastly, there’s a full-on transparency mode for getting a transparent sense of every thing taking place round you. 1More’s lively noise cancellation labored fairly properly once I was sitting exterior at a Brooklyn espresso store, however that is one space the place the AirPods Professional pull forward. They don’t have the identical number of modes, however Apple’s premium earbuds do a greater total job of bringing down the quantity of the surface world, which is what’s most vital.
Even so, all of this stuff make the ComfoBuds Professional an incredible worth. However the AirPods Professional nonetheless rank above in a number of respects. First, the ComfoBuds Professional case doesn’t assist wi-fi charging. Second, Apple’s transparency mode nonetheless sounds extra pure and ethereal than 1More’s. And 1More can’t match the software program flexes (automated switching, spatial audio, seamless pairing, audio sharing, and so forth.) that exist between AirPods and different Apple units. That’s an enormous a part of what makes them so standard. Once more, we’re speaking about quality-of-life conveniences that you just’d rightfully count on from a $250 product. And these price nowhere close to that. But when 1More goes to make the comparability, the variations are value declaring. Regardless of placing an enormous concentrate on voice mic efficiency, 1More additionally winds up behind the AirPods Professional there — as does everybody else. It’s a draw on sweat resistance, with each units of earbuds rated IPX4.
1More has put collectively a unbelievable pair of price range earbuds with the ComfoBuds Professional. I want the corporate had targeted on the sheer worth you get in alternate to your $99 as a substitute of making an attempt to take down the AirPods Professional, which simply isn’t real looking. Regardless of matching them on consolation and edging them out in different areas like battery life, there are nonetheless legitimate the explanation why many iPhone house owners will go proper for Apple’s buds. It’s onerous to place a worth on these unique Apple ecosystem options and the superior noise cancellation. However when you’ve solely received round $100 to place towards earbuds, the ComfoBuds Professional are a standout pair that gained’t depart you lacking a lot else. Solely factor is, the AirPods are removed from the one competitors they’ll want to face out from.
Images by Chris Welch / The Verge