Face-Off: Noise-Canceling True Wireless Earbuds 1More True Wireless ANC

1More True Wireless ANC
($200) usa.1more.com


Performance
Features
Comfort
Value

When auditioning the noise-canceling buds in this roundup, the question of why anyone would need to pay more than $200 for any of them kept nagging me. Exhibit A: the 1More True Wireless ANC, which provide great audio quality, noise-canceling, and ambient sound, along with decent battery life, all for $200.

Out-of-the-box, the 1More aims to please. Instead of the requisite trio of small, medium, and large round silicone ear tips, 1More provides a broad selection of roundish and oval tips, plus various-size "ear grip" wings to make sure you get the firmest, most noise-isolating, and comfortable fit possible.

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The slightly bulbous 1More buds do protrude a bit from the ears, but the wings stabilize their positioning to keep them firmly in place. For control, you get not one, but two on-bud methods: tapping each bud's surface to toggle through the varying noise-canceling/ambient sound settings; and pressing a small button on the perimeter to manipulate music navigation, calls, and volume adjustment.

The 1More's most distinctive feature is its silky smooth sonics. With even-balanced bass, a spacious soundstage, and a detailed presence usually missing from most true wireless buds, it works well with rock/pop vocals, jazz, and classical music genres. They are the "first true wireless headphones pending THX Certification," according to 1More, and are tuned by Luca Bignardi, a four-time Grammy Award-winning sound engineer. Fans of more head-banging or beat-dominant fare should take note that they do lack a certain brassy dynamism and turn-it-up-to-11 loudness.

Not only is the 1More's sonics up to snuff, but so is its noise-canceling and ambient sound features. There are actually two levels of noise-canceling: Level 1 (suitable for transportation environments like planes, trains and automobiles), and Level 2 (people-dominated environments like streets, malls, airports, and restaurants). While both proved excellent during my test, Level 1 was especially effective. The 1More's Pass-Through ambient sound mode, which made voices sound perfectly natural, and at the same volume you'd hear when not wearing the buds.

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Of course, having an extra level of noise-canceling means an extra level of on-bud tap-toggling, with four sound settings—noise-canceling Level 1, noise-canceling Level 2, Pass-Through, and Off—to cycle through. And while they're all voice-identified, it's just easier to auto-pause music when needed by taking a bud out than to tap-tap-tap to Pass-Through mode. The 1More also lacks a sound customization app—a feature that the pricier buds offer.

The 1More delivers 5 hours playback time with noise-canceling on and 6 hours off, which is about average. With case recharging, you get 16 hours with noise-canceling on, and 22 hours off. A quick charge adds 2 hours of listening from just 15 minutes of being plugged in. Finally, the 1More's oblong rounded case is easy to pocket.

With its subtle yet sophisticated sonics and complete lack of moisture or dust protection, the 1More, like Sony's WF-1000MX3, is best suited for indoor listening—but at $30 less than the Sony, they represent a better deal.

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