We have dedicated several stories in recent years to the demise of the 3.5mm headphone jack and push for wireless earphones as being the only option to listed to music on your smartphone without earning the ire of those around you.
Sure, these are yet another accessory that you’ll need to buy, but as anyone who has used the wired earphones inside of a freshly purchased smartphone box can attest, you’re often better off investing in a pair of truly good wireless earphones.
This brings us to the new 1More ComfoBuds Pro. They are the latest offering to land locally from the international audio specialists, and having been impressed by their affordable predecessor, we were intrigued to see why these new wireless earphones come in at nearly twice the price.
That’s right – twice – at R1 899 (RRP) at the time of writing, which instantly makes us intrigued as to whether two times the performance and value has been packaged into a similarly sized form factor.
To find out if that is the case, we’ve spent the past two weeks with the ComfoBuds Pro.
Here’s what we learned.
A few flourishes
Take a gander at the new ComfoBuds Pro and they don’t seem to be too dissimilar to their predecessor. On closer inspection, however, 1More has added a few flourishes to up the premium feel of these wireless earphones.
Starting with the case and it’s been given a matte finish compared to shiny one of its forebear. It is a small touch, but helps to distinguish the Pro a little. Open it up and the ComfoBuds inside sit in the same position as the previous iteration, although the flashing blue and red lights to indicate their readiness for use are a bit more striking.
Added to this are a few red accents to differentiate things. There’s also a hint of Gunmetal Grey to the colourway, despite 1More simply labelling our review model earphones as Black.
In terms of design, the shape of the ComfoBuds does not break any mould. That said, they definitely keep to their name – comfort. The lightweight (5.g per bud) earphones slip in and out of the ear with ease, while also sitting firmly and comfortably. This is thanks to a new ear tip that is a bit more generous in terms of cushioning.
In past experiences of wireless earphones, after about an hour of wear, the earphones need to be taken out for a couple of minutes to give the canal a bit of a breather. That was not a concern with the ComfoBuds Pro and we could use them for three to four hours throughout the work day without any signs of discomfort.
Once you’re setup, which can be done swiftly via Bluetooth 5.0 and sans 1More Music app if you really want to (although we suggest downloading it on iOS or Android), the listening experience on the Pro is solid. They feel well tuned and yield good quality listening on the low, mid and high ends of the spectrum. That said, there is a distinct leaning towards bass heavy music, so the ability to change that up in the app via an equaliser would have been welcome.
In terms of the in-ear test, they pass with flying colours.
Now our attention turns to what the Pro model features that the regular version does not, apart from the aforementioned price tag.
One of the key aspects is the noise cancelling, with adjustable active noise cancelling onboard the Pro compared to environmental noise cancelling on the regular model. The former sees the addition of a few different options in terms of the degree of ANC you can opt for, such as strong, mild and pass-through. Even with the ANC disabled, the ComfoBuds Pro go a decent job at keeping outside noise… out.
It means that you don’t have to always have ANC enabled in order to enjoy your music, with it being always on naturally impacting the battery life.
Speaking of which the ComfoBuds Pro can muster up to eight hours of use when fully charged and ANC toggled off, with the case holding an extra 20 hours. In total this is 10 hours extra than the regular ComfoBuds can manage, which is a sizeable difference. It means you’re essentially squeezing an extra work day worth of listening before you visit a charging point. It also worth pointing out that fully charging the earphones again takes one hour and the case an extra two hours.
The technology driving the sound is comparable between the two earphones, with the key difference being the added extras in terms of six microphones for making and taking calls and the customisation in terms of touch controls, which serve up three different interface slots for a number of controls, such as volume, turning ANC on and off and the usual play/pause and skip options.
From a simple features standpoint then, the ComfoBuds Pro has some noticeable extras over the previous iteration and helps put it on a similar footing to some of the more expensive options from smartphone makers.
At R1 899 the 1More ComfoBuds Pro are a significant increase in price compared to their earlier iteration. If you place importance on smart features and battery life, the price change is warranted. That said, outside of the ANC functionality, the sound quality of the regular model and the Pro flavour are on par.
Where the ComfoBuds Pro start to hold more sway is when they’re weighed up to the likes of the Apple AirPods, Samsung Galaxy Buds and Huawei FreeBuds, all of which are more expensive than 1More’s offering, but are relatively the same in terms of performance and functionality.
If you own the R999 (RRP) ComfoBuds, upgrading does not seem with the gamble right now. If, however, you’re in the market for a new pair of wireless earphones and the smartphone maker options are too rich for your blood, the ComfoBuds Pro Pro are a savvy choice.
FULL DISCLOSURE: THE 1MORE COMFOBUDS PRO WERE SEEDED TO HYPERTEXT FOR REVIEW. DUE TO COVID-19, WE WILL BE KEEPING THE PRODUCT TO ENSURE IT IS NOT GIVEN TO ANOTHER PUBLICATION.
1More ComfoBuds Pro
At nearly double the price of its predecessor, one may be forgiven for thinking that the ComfoBuds Pro are not as professional as one might think, but the addition of several smart features, touch controls and massive improvements in battery life are worth it.