1More Comfobuds Mini review – Laptop Mag

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By published 20 June 22
The $99 1More ComfoBuds Mini have pleasant ANC and sound, but there are numerous kinks that need to be worked out.
Dynamic audio with SoundID integration
Above-average ANC
Contemporary and comfy design
Excellent wireless range
Many bugs that affect several categories
Weak call quality
Mediocre battery life
Loose fit
The 1More ComfoBuds Mini are one of two new affordable noise-cancelling earbuds launched by the San Diego-based audio brand. They join the PistonPro Buds in the swamped cheap wireless earbuds category and combine 7mm dynamic drivers, active noise cancellation (ANC), SoundID support, and wireless charging into a teeny design. 
Specs alone should have you curious about these micro-in-ears, along with the $99 MSRP.
Price: $99
Colors: Black; White
Battery life (rated): 5 hours (ANC on); 6 hours (ANC off); 20 hours (charging case with ANC on); 24 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
Water resistance: Yes (IPX5 rated)
Size: 0.6 x 0.59 x 0.51 inches (per bud); 2.2 x 1.9 x 0.9 inches (charging case)
Weight: 0.13 ounces (per bud); 1.23 ounces (charging case)
These buds do deliver on the noise cancelling and sonic fronts. They also come with features that not many models in the same price range offer. At the same time, they suffer from the same issues as previous 1More releases (inferior call quality, poor controls) and somehow have more bugs in their system.
Read on for the full breakdown to see if you can live with the bugs.
You can purchase the 1More ComfoBuds Mini for $99 at Amazon (opens in new tab) or directly from 1More (opens in new tab). Available colors include Mica White and Obsidian Black. Inside the box are a charging case, USB-C charging cable, three sets of different sized tips, and a user guide. 
These are one of many new models entering the cheap noise-cancelling earbuds market and face stiff competition from some well-known competitors. The Edifier NeoBuds Pro ($99) are our current favorite, which produce top-notch ANC and sound, followed by the well-rounded Anker Liberty Air 2 Pro ($79). For top-of-the-line performance, consider splurging on elite options like the AirPods Pro ($249) or Sony WF-1000XM4 ($279).
Be sure to bookmark our headphone deals page for the latest sales.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that these are possibly the smallest oval wireless earbuds out there. That’s good news for those who want to commute and hear music in a discrete fashion. They’re slightly larger than a jellybean and smaller than other circular-shaped buds like the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. Build quality is on point and the all-plastic exterior with IPX5 certification gets you stronger sweat/water resistance than the AirPods Pro (IPX4).
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
More appealing is the egg-shaped charging case that resembles the Google Pixel Buds A-Series case, only it’s a bit thicker and wider. That doesn’t take away from its handsome appearance. A matte finish, plus understated details like the flush pairing button on the right and tiny LED on the front, add to its appeal. You can slide the case into denim pockets and not worry about an unflattering bulge. It also feels premium and sturdy.
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
Wearing the buds for a few hours daily felt comfy. The cavity rested right on the concha and didn’t apply unwanted pressure like the ColorBuds 2. It wasn’t until the four-hour mark where fatigue started to set in.
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
Unfortunately, the compact design makes these buds feel loose on the ear. The short sound port and silicone tips don’t form a tight, secure fit. I had to readjust them every other block during runs, and I feared dropping them down a sewer grate when crossing the street.
1More gives you a full suite of media controls, including playback, call management, volume, digital assistance, and listening mode activation. These can be customized in the companion app and assigned to either the double or triple-tap input.
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
None of the above means anything if the controls don’t work, and they don’t work on the ComfoBuds Mini. Touch accuracy is off, failing to recognize tap gesture almost 80 percent of the time. If by chance they do acknowledge input, intended commands won’t execute until about 30 seconds later. Get a bit overzealous with attempts and the buds will play and pause randomly over the course of an hour. On-ear detection for auto-pause/play didn’t work at all.
I had hoped the digital assistant function would ease my pain. It didn’t. Either there was trouble activating it or the mics couldn’t pick up vocals well. The fact that Siri struggled to understand “open Apple Music” because of poor mic intelligence says it all. Google Assistant was just as unreliable for voice commands.
The sound signature is neutral right out of the box. However, turning ANC on gives it a punchier resonance by increasing the bass levels. Depending on your preference in frequency output, this could either be a positive or negative. There’s also the option to create your own sound profile through SoundID – an app that adjusts the EQ based on your personal hearing. 
1More ComfoBuds Mini revidw
DJ Honda’s “Travellin’ Man (feat. Mos Def)” sounded more natural through my SoundID profile. The snare drums remained impactful, and the flute play was serene, whereas switching to 1More’s default profile dropped the quality of these sounds, while adding minor bloat to the low end.
Wondering if this would occur on more boomy tracks, I played Green Day’s “Longview” and was surprised to hear the iconic bass riff and smashing drums remain consistent between the two profiles. Vocals took a very small hit when enabling 1More’s profile, but there was still enough clarity to hear and sing along to lyrics. 
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
From there, it was off to instrumental recordings. Jazz tracks like Lee Konitz’s “Foolin’ Myself” rewarded me with superb instrument separation, allowing me to hear every musical tool as they blended beautifully with one another for a melodic listen. The double bass was tight and not overly aggressive on either profile. Details like the steady cymbals also sounded distinctive.
Be aware that not every ANC setting enhances sound quality. That leads us to the next section.
ANC on the ComfoBuds Mini is modest for the price. Don’t expect it to outperform elite mid-rangers like the Beats Studio Buds. Instead, be satisfied with its low and mid-frequency neutralization, as well as the effective ambient listening mode.
Three ANC settings are available: Mild, Strong, and Wind Resistant (WNR). The latter two drastically affect sound quality and severely bloat up the midrange on songs. They also don’t cancel out much noise. Strong is the more dependable option and minimizes noises across the frequency range as best as possible.
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
Using the feature in the house provided some quiet time during work hours. None of the loud kitchen chatter or tumbling noises from the laundry room distracted me. Neither did the electronic toys in my baby boy’s playpen. His cries were a different story, coming in loud and slightly muffled. Doorbells and whistles had the same effect. ANC performed similarly outside, putting a muzzle on barista chatter at Starbucks and construction work from afar, but still struggling with high frequency sounds (e.g., ambulance sirens, bird chirping). 
Transparent Mode was useful for increasing my awareness of surroundings. I could hear cars coming from up the block, which provided a sense of security when walking the baby. Being able to communicate clearly with the missus without removing the buds was also great.
Not many sub-$100 wireless earbuds come with a companion app, but 1More is happy to gift ComfoBuds Mini owners this perk via the 1More Music app. There are a fair number of features to personalize the buds, including the aforementioned ANC/Transparent modes, SoundID support, and control customization.
Let me warn you that the app is ridiculously buggy and will discourage you from even using it.
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
The first you’ll encounter is on the homepage – Soothing Sounds – a soundscape mode with 16 profiles that mask the ambient noise around you with nature sounds. It’s buggy, either experiencing “connection issues” or freezing; the loading icon spins until you force-close the app. Sleep Detection is a feature you’ll find in the Experimental Features tab on the backend and is tied to Soothing Sounds. It is said to automatically place the buds in sleep mode when inactive for 40 minutes. There was no way to test it since Soothing Sounds never worked.
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
A pop-up window can also be enabled to display the Comfobuds Mini’s battery life in an overlay when paired to your Android device. The Smart Burn-in feature has also returned, letting users play audio (usually static noise) for several hours to break the buds in and supposedly improve audio. Some people believe in the process and others believe it’s a myth. Find out for yourself. 
Battery level indicators for both buds and the charging case, firmware updates, and a visual guide round out the app.
1More rates ANC playtime at 5 hours. This is the same as the NeoBuds Pro, and slightly higher than the AirPods Pro (4.5 hours), but lower than the Liberty Air 2 Pro (6 hours) and WF-1000XM4 (8 hours). It should suffice for 2 to 3 days of moderate use. Turning off ANC extends battery life to 6 hours. High volume and other special features decrease these playtimes by 45 minutes to 1 hour.
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
The charging case holds up to 24 hours when fully charged, which is the industry average time for charging cases (thank the AirPods). If four extra charges aren’t enough, keep in mind that a 10-minute quick charge can generate 1.5 hours of listening time.
Wireless charging was also added to the spec sheet. You’ll need to be careful when leaving the case on a Qi-enabled pad because it overheats after about 30 minutes of charging.
Muffled and tinny are the two adjectives that best describe the ComfoBuds Mini’s call quality. The mics picked up lots of external noise and the whisking effect produced by wind sounded awful. I thought taking my conversations indoors would improve things, but very little changed; vocals were slightly less tinny. Voice and video calls sounded better on the ComfoBuds 2
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
Bluetooth 5.2 was another feature plagued with bugs. Connections with recognized devices weren’t always established, even when confirmed in the Bluetooth settings. If the buds did pair correctly, then lag became a concern during Spotify streaming sessions. Songs randomly paused or took several seconds to play.
Google Fast Pair and multipoint technology (pair to two devices simultaneously) are MIA.
1More ComfoBuds Mini review
Despite the connectivity troubles, the ComfoBuds Mini somehow managed to achieve up to 70 feet of wireless range. Most wireless earbuds get you a good 35 feet, and these buds practically double that.
With so many 1More models already fighting for positioning in the under $100 range, the ComfoBuds Mini don’t present a compelling case. To get decent ANC and solid sound that can be customized through SoundID technology is impressive. The miniature and durable design for both the buds and charging case is also attractive. 
Certain flaws like finicky controls and weak call quality are common on models with low prices. But what I can’t get over are the countless bugs that hinder overall performance. If a software update could patch up these problems, then the ComfoBuds Mini might be worth the gamble. Even then, your money is better spent on more reliable buds like the NeoBuds Pro.
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