The 1MORE Colorbuds fill an important gap between budget true wireless buds and audiophile level earphones. Courtesy of dual balanced armature drivers these delivered an excellent all-round music performance with a balanced, detailed sound and ample bass.
Across all the music genres we tested, the sound never became ragged or dull but remained engaging and exciting. Arguably, the overall music delivery rivals some pricier wireless earbuds, although a pretty average soundstage stops them from outplaying more expensive pairs of buds.
There is support for Hi-Res Audio via aptX and AAC protocols on Android and iOS, and the difference to the sound was certainly noticeable, is still subtle. The dual noise-cancelling mics in each bud make for clear voice calls too.
The fit is comfortable enough for hours of continuous wear, and the slightly unusual twist-into-place technique makes sure they stay secure in your ears, even during intense workouts.
1MORE has carbon-copied the form factor that has proved so successful for its other "Hi-Fi rated" neckbuds, and then its added two-stage active noise cancellation and wind noise reduction. Both these features had some impact on our sound isolation, but neither was especially impressive. Likewise, the dual noise-cancelling mics were good, but nothing special.
The 1MORE Dual Driver ANC Pro were supremely comfortable with the smooth rubber neckband providing no irritation even over hours of continuous use.
With a lot going for them, and very little to complain about, the Colorbuds are an excellent option for music lovers who want to splash their cash.
The Colorbuds were released in South Africa in August 2020 and currently cost ZAR1500 (£75). They fall between 1MORE's original TW offering, the Stylish E1026B from 2019 (which are still on sale for ZAR1300 (£65) and the more recent ANC version at ZAR2250 (£112).
This places the Colorbuds in an important tier between budget true wireless earbuds, priced around R1000 (£50), and audiophile gear starting at R3500 (£175).
- Secure, twist-in fit and eye-catchig metallic finish
- Decent carry case
Product: 1MORE Colorbuds ESS6001T
Weight: 4g per bud, 40g in case
Acoustic design: True wireless earbuds
Drivers: Dual balanced armature
Features: aptX / AAC, dual ENC mics
Battery: 6 + 16 hours
Bluetooth version: 5.0
IPX water-resistance: IPX5
PRICE: ZAR1500 (£75)
The Colorbuds are a slightly unusual, asymmetrical shape. Surprisingly, this makes them easier to handle than most "ear canal" buds since your fingers have better grasp of the bud for inserting and removing. That's just as well, since the correct fit requires a quarter-twist screw action to get them properly seated. This makes for a very secure fit, which will suit gym goers, but will also ensure that the pinprick mic holes remain properly exposed.
Cosmetically, these are some of the best-looking TW buds around and come in three trendy colours in addition to the obligatory black. The buds are finished with a metallic sheen which looks somewhat premium. Ironically these are also some of the smallest TW buds we've used, and they do disappear almost completely into the ears when fitted correctly.
The carry case is nicely compact and is a good curvaceous shape for sliding easily into pockets and bags. While the hinge seems a little fragile, there is a neat rubberised layer on the underside to save it from being knocked off table tops and sliding off sloped surfaces. This is noteworthy because the preserving the TW carry case is fundamental to the lifespan of the whole product.
- Excellent bassy sound, with two balanced armature drivers
- Support for HD audio with aptX and AAC
There's little to fault with the music delivery of the Colorbuds. All audio frequencies were clearly present and accounted for, with loads of detail across all music genres, and sound remained mainly balanced whatever we threw at them. Music sounded exciting and thoroughly enjoyable throughout, even after six hours of continuous wear.
There was some genuine bass thump, which never got woolly or overwhelming; even at full volume the bass response was taught and precise. If anything, the overall sound is slightly weighted for bass, but the mid-range handled both male and female vocals admirably and the high frequencies were sharp and clear without making the overall sound too taxing. We put this down to the use of dual full-range balanced armature drivers, which we find invariably produce a more precise sound which is easier to keep balanced.
Almost the only thing separating the Colorbuds from much more expensive "audiophile class" TW earbuds is a limited soundstage. While it's more than adequate for the enjoyment of all kinds of music, it falls well short of the expansive immersive audio created by the very best true wireless buds, and also falls short of buds priced well below the audiophile bracket like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and the Jabra Elite 65t.
Our only real annoyance was that the default to pause and play music is through a double tap on either bud. Through the app you can reset this to a triple tap but, strangely there is no single tap control at all. It's possible that 1MORE wanted to eliminate accidental touches this way which, admittedly, can be very jarring. Like many other buds removing a single bud pauses the music.
CONNECTIVITY We had one or two pairing hiccups, but Bluetooth connectivity were otherwise rock solid over Bluetooth 5. We would routinely venture up to 20 metres from our phone without dropouts, although losing line of sight quickly broke the connection (of course, in our experience this is true of all but the most expensive TW buds).
HI-RES AUDIO High resolution wireless audio is supported using both aptX and AAC protocols to preserve music quality, on Android and iOS respectively. The Qualcomm chipset used in the Colorbuds does a particularly good job over aptX where, in places, our HD music files sounded almost as good as using cabled headphones.
VOICE CALLS The Colorbuds use dual noise-cancelling mics on each bud to preserve voice quality, and this certainly lived up to our expectations. Our voice sounded clear across both traditional voice calls and Zoom and WhatsApp calls, even in windy conditions and high street traffic.
SOFTWARE The 1MORE phone app has a couple of useful functions allowing you to reprogram the tap controls to your liking and it's also used to update the firmware on the buds. While there is nothing like the sophisticated features offered by apps for some upmarket TW buds, we were impressed that the Colorbuds got two different software updates over the review period.
Should I buy the 1More Colorbuds?
Buy them if..
You're a music lover shopping on a budget
For the price the music delivery is excellent. The overall sound is lively but balanced and, frankly, quite sophisticated for a product priced well below the serious audiophile models. These are great value for music lovers who are prepared to pay a little extra for great sound.
You're out and about with your music
Compared with many TW buds these have a very secure fit. You partially twist them into place, but they're comfortable enough that you could forget they're there. This means you can commute with confidence and, thanks to basic sweat-proofing, bounce around at the gym too. The noise-cancelling mics make for strong, clear voice calls and the carry case is sturdy and ergonomic enough to pocket with comfort.
Don't buy them if...
You're a hardcore audiophile
With a limited soundstage and no noise-cancelling facility, these fall short of a true audiophile performance, though not by much. If you're devoted to the heritage audio brands like Bose, Bang & Olufsen, and the like, 1MORE won't match your expectations.
You are shopping on a tight budget
While these are by no means overpriced for the audio and build quality you're getting, there are a lot of excellent entry-level TW buds on the market which cost much less. If you're shopping on a shoestring budget choose something from our roundup of budget buds available in South Africa.
First reviewed: 2020/12/10.