Verdict: If you want a fashionable pair of TWS earbuds that offer stellar sound quality, 1More’s ColorBuds deserves a closer look. Their use of balanced armature drivers makes them deliver a detailed soundstage, especially for mids and highs, and its multiple colorways make it stand out from the pack. Additional features like wireless charging, aptX, and programmable touch controls make them a winner in the sub-Php 5k TWS earbuds segment.
- Cheapest TWS earbuds to use a balanced armature design
- Detailed sound stage for mids and highs
- Stylish design for the earbuds
- Not for bassheads
- Wearing them properly may be tricky at first
1More is a name that some people are familiar with when it comes to value-for-money audio products. Their latest TWS earbuds aim to offer a fun, millennial-friendly stylish design along with balanced armature drivers–making it one of the very few sub-Php 5k TWS earbuds to deviate from the usual dynamic drivers.
As the name implies, the ColorBuds come in a variety of colors, with our review unit being in green. The case itself is very compact, making it small enough to fit in most jean pockets. You get an LED light in front and a USB-C port at the back, along with a rubber base–which is a nice touch, as it prevents the ColorBuds’ case from slipping off any surfaces.
When you pop open the case, you’ll see the buds themselves, along with a pairing button. As for the buds, you get a unique design which 1More claims to be more ergonomic than its rivals. The body has a matte finish, while the touch controls are decked in a darker shade, have an anodized finish, and sport the 1More logo. Both earbuds have three pins for charging and a wear detection sensor.
As part of 1More’s more premium offerings, the ColorBuds is compatible with 1More’s Music app, which lets you do things like program the touch controls according to your needs, enable or disable auto play/pause, and update firmware for future upgrades. The latest version of the app even has a smart burn-in feature for optimizing the ColorBuds’ balanced armature drivers.
Pairing is simply done by removing the buds from the case and waiting for your device to find them and prompt you to pair them. If that does not work, you can do a manual pairing by pressing the pairing button inside the case.
Aside from being small and light at a little over 4g per earbud, the ColorBuds have a more ergonomic design that makes it one of the most comfortable pair of TWS earbuds I’ve tried in the under Php 5k range. Fitting them into your ear may be tricky at first (1More’s manual details how you wear them properly), but once you get used to it, you will appreciate the overall design of the ColorBuds in ensuring a good and comfy fit.
While the ColorBuds go for the usual touch controls that are limited to tapping, the 1More Music companion app lets you map the buttons depending on your needs. By default, it is programmed for music controls and voice assistant activation, though you can opt to swap either for volume controls, play/pause, and vice versa.
Just like TWS earbuds in its price range, the ColorBuds have wear detection sensors that automatically pause music then you take the buds off your ear and resume playing music when you play them back. If you are not a fan of this feature, you can disable it through the 1More Music app.
What makes the ColorBuds different from most TWS earbuds in the market is that they use a balanced armature driver instead of the usual dynamic driver. Unlike dynamic drivers that use a diaphragm and a voice coil, a balanced armature driver makes use of a coil that is suspended between two magnets. (You can read more about the difference between the two here.)
Balanced armature drivers are typically more expensive and more complex to manufacture than dynamic drivers, but they come in a smaller package while providing a more detailed sound compared to dynamic drivers.
In the case of the ColorBuds, its balanced armature drivers are tuned to emphasize more on the mids and highs, which explains why they shine more on tracks that are heavy on vocals and multiple instruments (ie. guitars and drums). Those who are into bass-heavy or EDM tracks might get a little disappointed, as the ColorBuds’s lows are not as bright as those using dynamic drivers instead since its balanced armature is tuned more for the mids and highs.
While the bass on the ColorBuds is not as bright as its rivals, I do prefer its soundstage leaning towards giving more detail to the mids and highs. This kind of audio tuning makes me appreciate music tracks with complex instruments or those that are heavy on vocals.
As for battery life, the ColorBuds lasted me for almost 6 hours, which is close to 1More’s claims. I need not worry about draining the battery of the earbuds, as the ColorBuds’ fast charging feature lets me use the earbuds for a good 2 hours with just 15 minutes of charging.
Speaking of charging, the ColorBuds comes with both USB-C and wireless charging–the latter being a nice addition especially if you have a device that supports reverse wireless charging. Topping up the battery case would take around an hour via USB-C.
The ColorBuds are unique in the sense that they opt for balanced armature drivers instead of dynamic drivers, and they definitely deliver better sound quality as long as you don’t listen to bass-heavy tracks. Aside from the unique drivers, 1More did invest in the overall design of the ColorBuds, giving emphasis on comfort with its unique shape.
With additional features like wear detection sensors, aptX, wireless charging, and a svelte case, the ColorBuds is a unique and compelling offering from 1More. The use of balanced armature drivers is unusual for a pair of sub-Php 5k TWS earbuds, but the ColorBuds prove that this unusual choice translates to better overall sound quality.