review

1More ComfoBuds Review Open Air Earbuds With App Support

Monday, February 01, 2021

They say good things come in small packages and, 1More make good on that good old saying by releasing the ComfoBuds - a sleak and extremely compact pair of open air earbuds with charging case as small as a AAA battery! There is also the new, improved ComfoBuds Pro version with ANC.
1More's ComfoBuds charging case has a bathtub design; hence the earbuds lay flat horizontally rather than vertically like a lot of true wireless. The ComfoBuds charging case opens up via a plastic hinge that keeps the lid open securely upright. Removing the earbuds is easier than it looks, although it requires having to push each earbud out at an angle. Given the tight space, it's difficult to pinch the earbuds from the charging case, especially with slippery and/or chunky fingers.
The ComfoBuds touch control mechanism is responsive and, it easily activates via subtle taps, rather than forceful taps, which can cause ringing inside the ear canal. There is only two functions available per earbud, which is somewhat restricted since a lot of true wireless earbuds can support up to four functions per earbud. On the plus side, the ComfoBuds come with a mobile app (1More Music app), which lets you remap the touch controls to any functions you want.
Functions include volume, voice assistant, track skipping and play/pause an " no function" and are activated via a double tap and triple tap combination. You cannot mix and match functions so, if you choose volume control, you have to have volume up and volume down. This means, you cannot choose volume up and skip to previous song because functions have to be selected in pairs (i.e volume up/down or skip to next/previous song)
The 1More Music app can be downloaded from Google Play Store and App Store. The 1More Music app lets you customize touch control functions, as well as disable the Smart Playback function, which can also be customized from either automatic play/pause or automatic pause only. Automatic play/pause works well, thanks to the proximity sensor, which is more accurate than an accelerometer. The audio automatically pauses and plays when you remove one or both earbuds from the ears.
ComfoBuds have a classic pod-bodied stem design but instead of a thick stem, ComfoBuds use a thinly rounded 2.5cm long stem that integrates a microphone and a large status led. While the status led is large they have been discreetly embedded within the stem; hence they aren't noticeable until they flash, which only happens when the earbuds are charging, in bluetooth pairing mode and running low on battery. The status leds do not flash during audio playback. The ComfoBuds microphone call quality is good with a natural sounding pickup that gets nicely amplified in a noisy environment.
The pod, which houses a massive 13.4mm dynamic driver, has a large oval-shaped nozzle opening surrounded by a rubber ear tip that is permanently attached to it. The pod also houses the proximity sensor for the auto play/pause function. The ComfoBuds audio quality is good with crisp midrange, bright treble and decent bass, although not as much as you would expect from 13.4mm dynamic drivers. This is not surprising though, due to the ComfoBuds pod style, which isn't able to provide the same tight seal as in-ear earbuds.
In terms of fit, it feels like wearing "outer ear" earbuds and in-ears, although the ComfoBuds nozzle doesn't insert as deep into the ear canal, which is a good thing for those with sensitive ear canals. There is also no need to exchange ear tips, making ComfoBuds more likely to fit whether you have small or large ear canals. ComfoBuds have an IPX5 rating and feel secure to wear during exercise, thanks to the ultra low weight (3 grams per earbud) and flange design of the ear tip.
Both the ComfoBuds earbuds and charging case have a glossy finish with subtle branding etched on. The charging case weighs 28 grams and measures 7cm long, 3cm wide and 2cm high. ComfoBuds uses a Bluetooth 5.0 chip that provides stable wireless connection and supports AAC and SBC codecs. This means, the ComfoBuds do not support aptX, which enables high resolution audio and low latency when streaming via an Android device. Despite the lack of aptX, there is no noticeable latency when watching videos on YouTube.
Pairing the ComfoBuds is easy. Simply open the charging case and pair the earbuds. You can alternate between mono and stereo listening by putting one earbud in the charging case, although the audio gets paused automatically so, you have to manually resume audio. This isn't a big deal, although with many true wireless earbuds, you can switch from stereo to mono without the audio pausing, which makes the experience seamless. As far as re-connection delay, there is none. The ComfoBuds reconnect instantaneously, which is good since the ComfoBuds can be paired while sitting inside the charging case. This means, you can quickly pickup the earbuds and answer an incoming call without delay.
The ComfoBuds do not support "independent" function; hence they cannot be paired individually with separate devices nor do they support multipoint pairing connection, which means you cannot connect the ComfoBuds to a second device at the same time. 
The ComfoBuds charging case takes 1 hour and 20 minutes to charge via USB-C charging connection and can hold 14 hours of power. The earbuds give out a warning (beep and flashing led) when battery is low. The low battery warning kicks in 30 minutes before the battery runs out completely. The ComfoBuds earbuds take 1 hour 30 minutes to fully charge (no quick charge support) and can deliver 4 hours of runtime at 50% volume.
1More's ComfoBuds (model Model ESS3001T) are a solid alternative to "more" expensive, mainstream earphones. The app support is a huge plus since most true wireless do not come with one. That said, there are a couple of things worth pointing out about the app. When running the 1More Music app, you are greeted with a user message that you have to okay but, it is not entirely translated into English so, it's not clear what you're agreeing to. 
The other thing about the 1More Music app is the number of permissions required, which are too many for this type of application. 
The 1More Music app requires access to your phone's location, storage, calls, microphone and contacts and, you have to grant access to all in order to use the app. Also, the 1More Music app forces you to update to the latest firmware, in order to proceed, rather than making it optional, which always makes the experience for the user less stringent. You can buy the 1More ComfoBuds from amazon.

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