1More Colorbuds review: Vibrant colors, detailed sound

1More Colorbuds

1More Colorbuds

“The Colorbuds combine great design with solid features and exceptional sound”
  • Lightweight design
  • IPX5 weatherproof rating
  • Valuable sound quality
  • Solid codec support
  • Mediocre Bluetooth range
  • Functional, but limited controls
MSRP $99.99

When 1More came out with the Colorbuds in July, the audio company said the vibrant, new true wireless earbuds were aiming to “bring fashion and audio together.” With color options like Midnight Black, Twilight Gold, Sakura Pink, or Spearmint Green, it nailed one end of that combination right out of the gate.

The other end, of course, takes a little more investigating. As much as the striking shades of the $100 1More Colorbuds may speak to you, it’s just as important to know exactly what you’re getting into audio-wise with these tiny, affordable earbuds.

Out of the box

The Colorbuds and their charging case are waiting to greet you as soon as you open the packaging, adorned in whatever bright color you opt for. I went for Spearmint Green and, quite honestly, these buds are far more “spearmint” than “green.” For what it’s worth, my significant other said it looked like I was wearing mini Easter eggs in my ears. I don’t know if that’s the look 1More is going for, but I didn’t mind it.

1More Colorbuds
Nick Woodard/Digital Trends

In the box are three extra pairs of eartips, a USB-C charging cable, a quick-start guide, a warranty card and, to my pleasant surprise, a sticker. It’s mostly standard stuff to include with a pair of true wireless earbuds, but the sticker was a nice additional touch.

Here’s the deal with the setup of the Colorbuds: It’s not hard, but you do need to follow the instructions. There are little plastic strips that need to be removed from each bud, which then need to be placed back into the case to activate them. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting one strip, then using the standard Bluetooth pairing procedure and immediately taking a walk, only to find out that you’re stuck with mono sound because one bud hasn’t been turned on yet. Trust me, it’s a small but maddening inconvenience.

The Colorbuds have Bluetooth 5 technology, which usually is grounds for an automatic pass in terms of range and connectivity. But for whatever reason, the Colorbuds don’t seem to have the range that I’ve enjoyed when using other buds with the tech. I couldn’t get to the other end of my house without my audio noticeably cutting out, while I could head into my backyard without other products dropping out. Maybe it’s just my specific pair, but they didn’t have the range I’ve come to expect in Bluetooth 5 earbuds and headphones.

Design

Aside from the Apple AirPods, which weigh in at 4 grams each, the Colorbuds have an easy size advantage over many more expensive products. They’re 4.1 grams per bud, which is significantly lighter than industry heavyweights like the Google Pixel Buds 2, Samsung Galaxy Buds+, and Amazon Echo Buds.

1More Colorbuds
Nick Woodard/Digital Trends

The case is even more compact comparatively, coming in at 32 grams compared to the AirPods’ 40-gram case. Run the numbers, and it equates to earbuds that feel extremely light in your ears, with a slim case that’s a nonfactor in your pocket. The earbuds themselves have what 1More calls a “streamlined ergonomic design,” and as marketing speak as that sounds, I kind of have to agree. They fit flush into your ear and provide a secure but comfy feel.

They fit flush into your ear and provide a secure but comfy feel.

There are no physical buttons on the Colorbuds, only touch controls on each bud. When I was first playing with them, I was so ready to write about how the Colorbuds are yet another pair of true wireless earbuds to omit volume controls, which seem so obviousto include and so detrimental when it’s not available. Then I downloaded the 1More music app and was mostly relieved to find that the touch controls are programmable and can include volume commands.

The remaining problem here, from my perspective, is that there’s really only room for two different controls under the Colorbuds’ current configuration. There are no single tap controls here, only double and triple. When there are four different commands that you can set (play/pause, track forward or back, volume up or down, and voice assistant), you’re forced to select two and lose out on the rest. I opted for track forward/back and volume up/down, but I can’t say I wasn’t bummed to miss out on asking Alexa for help.

Features

The most comparable earbuds in terms of features and price to the Colorbuds might just be one of their close relatives, the 1More Stylish. A few key things to remember before I go further: The Stylish first hit the scene when standards in true wireless earbuds were far different than today. While the Stylish originally retailed for $100, you can now find them for $20 cheaper than the newer $100 Colorbuds.

1More Colorbuds
Nick Woodard/Digital Trends

Let’s talk battery life: The Stylish have 6.5 hours of playback in a single charge and a total of 24 hours of battery life with their charging case, plus a quick-charge option that gives you 2 hours after 15 minutes inside the case. By comparison, the Colorbuds are slightly worse at 6 hours per charge and 22 hours with the case. That’s better than the roughly 5 hours found in the Pixel Buds or AirPods, but can’t be considered great in an age where earbuds like the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ and Sony WF-SP800N are dipping into double-digit playback times and the best options out there hitting at least 8 hours per charge. At this price, I’ll give the Colorbuds’ battery life a pass. But be aware that there are better options out there.

I am a fan of the IPX5 weather-resistance rating given to the Colorbuds, which beats out the Pixel Buds 2 (IPX4) and products like the Apple AirPods and Sony WF-1000XM3 that don’t have weather resistance ratings. It gives the Colorbuds solid protection against water and sweat, making these an effective option for working out. They may not be the budget true wireless product I would pick for exercise – that would likely be the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2, which despite their unconventional earhook design have an IP67 weather resistance and nine hours of battery life – but they are suitable in a pinch.

I am a fan of the IPX5 weather-resistance rating given to the Colorbuds.

This section wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the auto-pause functionality built into the Colorbuds, which pauses audio when you remove a bud and resumes the tunes when you put it back in. It’s a feature we’ve seen in many earbuds before, but it’s also a feature that’s been strangely omitted in a growing number of products. To have it included at this price range is a welcome surprise.

Audio quality

From true wireless earbuds like the Stylish to wired buds like the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro, 1More’s track record of developing valuable sound has been nearly unblemished. Its winning formula isn’t exactly a secret, either: Most of these products have powerful drivers, great codec support, and professional tuning in common.

1More Colorbuds
Nick Woodard/Digital Trends

With the Colorbuds, I think it’s safe to add one more (pun!) pair of wearables to that list. They ace the 1More checklist with a full-range balanced armature at the heart of the sound, support for the aptX/AAC/SBC codecs, and tuning by a Grammy award-winning sound engineer. The result: They sound great.

To be more descriptive (and accurate), they sound great for their price. For $100, the Colorbuds give you a more than reasonable amount of clarity, good low end, and solid stereo separation. It just feels like a jack-of-many-trades, master-of-none situation with these earbuds, which is truthfully a win for the cost. I could nitpick and wish these buds moved through frequencies more fluently instead of blurring them together at times, but that hardly seems fair for buds of this stature and price. The Colorbuds shouldn’t be held to the standard of Sony or Sennheiser, but they certainly meet the expectations we’ve come to have of 1More listening devices.

The Colorbuds shouldn’t be held to the standard of Sony or Sennheiser, but they certainly meet the expectations we’ve come to have of 1More listening devices.

The company has also touted the call quality of the Colorbuds, which have four microphones and environmental noise cancellation technology built-in. As is the new norm, I couldn’t test these earbuds under the commotion of a daily commute, but for the environments I did find myself in, from a quiet home office to the sidewalk of a busy street, the Colorbuds were stunningly efficient at keeping both ends of my conversations clear.

Our take

Battery life in the 1More Colorbuds is worse than its older cousin, and there are some built-in control limitations. But those are small prices to pay for a great design, solid overall features, and exceptional sound in the latest from 1More.

Are there better alternatives?

If earhook designs don’t turn you off, the $80 Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 have better features for $20 less. Plus, the older 1More Stylish has similar features for a decent discount. But the Colorbuds have a design and features that make them more attractive than some much higher-priced competitors.

How long will they last?

The Colorbuds have a one-year warranty, and an IPX5 rating for weather protection. I’d be more worried about losing a bud in the couch than I would about damaging them.

Should you buy them?

Yes. For $100, the design, features, and sound of the 1More Colorbuds match the bright colors they’re dressed in. They’re meant to be fun and enjoyable for the budget-minded person, and that’s precisely what they are.

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