I feel like I have been living with earbuds stuffed into my ears for most of this year. There are a lot of fantastic podcasts out there and streaming music is always a welcome addition to my life, especially as I work more and more from home. It drives my partner absolutely insane, as she can never be completely sure when she has my undivided attention or not, but hey, it’s a pandemic and I have to find some piece of mind somewhere. Maybe, if I got some more obvious earbuds, maybe in some garish pastel colour, it might make things a little easier for her. So, 1More’s ColorBuds might just be the thing to help keep the sanity of my relationship.
Well, they sent me the black ones.
In all honesty, the black ones would probably have been my choice where I to buy these for myself, so it’s not a huge deal. I can’t say I would have gravitated toward the pink ones, the gold ones look more like a brassy cream colour on their website (Maybe they’re gold in person, I’ll never know). Maybe I would have gone for the sea foam looking spearmint because they are probably the most obnoxious, but people might be worried I had some unfortunate ear based fungus. For an accessory meant to help you express yourself, it feels a little awkward that these are the colours they chose, like there are four personality types: black, pink, greenish, and creamy metallic.
Colour quibbles aside; the presentation of these earbuds is fairly attractive. The sleek clamshell case looks nice and is an excellent size to just toss in your pocket on the go. The earbuds slot inside nicely with the help some magnets to ensure that everything is oriented properly for charging. The case has a rubberized bottom to prevent it from slip-sliding all over the place while it sits on your desk or nightstand. Each earbud will get a good 6 hours before it needs to be tossed back into the case for some charging and you should be able to eke out roughly two full charges before the case itself needs to be juiced back up. The case charges through USB-C, so it should be back into fighting shape pretty quickly without needing to keep a crusty old micro-USB cord around, and I’m definitely in favour of phasing out those old cords.
Now, as for the actual functionality of the buds themselves, they are thoroughly and completely just fine. The sound quality is okay, but nothing amazing. Fine for your average podcast or regular music enjoyment, but that stash of FLAC files will be better served with something else. The same could be said about the directional microphone. Its fine for a phone call while you’re out in the world driving a car or doing something else with your hands, but I certainly wouldn’t dream of doing any sort of recording. It’s nothing great, but perfectly acceptable for average everyday use. Luckily, the little buds fit into the ear nicely and were perfectly comfortable after many hours of use.
All of that could be perfectly acceptable, and I should be happy to give these little bits a fine review as a decent piece of entry-level consumer grade noisemakers, but there’s a problem. These earbuds are not only being marketed as colourful statement pieces to express your individuality in one of four corporate approved colours, but these go for the premium asking price of 139.99 CDN, 99.99 USD. While the build on the buds is nice and the case is well-made, the sound and microphone quality cannot justify that kind of price, no matter what funky colour these things come in. I have a set of earbuds that I purchased for less than half the price of these, that give me what is arguably the same listening experience I got using the ColorBuds with a slightly worse case. It’s very telling that these are the things piping hot beats into my noggin as I write this rather than 1More’s pricey though colourful affair.
1More’s ColorBuds are average in almost every way. The sound output and microphone are utterly fine, they come in a variety of dubious colours, have a pretty dandy case with advanced charging technology, but none of that can justify the ludicrous price tag associated with them. Maybe if there were more colour, it would be enough to make these worthwhile for a niche audience, but as they are, I can’t imagine the sort of person I would be comfortable suggesting these too without a significant discount.