1MORE has made a name for itself in the audio industry, thanks to several successful in-ear headphones launched in recent years. I have reviewed many of the multi-driver earphone models, both wired and wireless, and can attest to their build and audio quality. What stands out is the number of accessories that they include in the packaging, making the products extremely value for money.
Like previous models, this latest 1MORE True Wireless ANC In-Ear Headphones (EHD9001TA) are tuned by Luca Bignardi, a 4-time Grammy award-winning sound engineer. Following the recent trends of active noise cancellation feature, this new 1MORE EHD9001TA is also equipped with ANC, putting it head-on against Sony WF-1000XM3, Apple AirPods Pro, Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus, and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. The 1MORE EHD9001TA retails for S$329, available at the following authorised retailers: 1MORE LazMall (https://www.lazada.sg/shop/1more), AV One, Challenger, Isetan Scotts, iStudio, Mobile Bash, Mobyshop, Popular, Shopbotic, Stereo Electronics, Takashimaya, Treoo.com and XGear.
Unboxing and Design
The retail box design follows all previous 1MORE headphone models – a magnetic flap reveals product design sketches, with the product beneath the transparent plastic cover. Removing everything in the box, you will find 6 pairs of silicone ear tips, 3 sizes of O-hooks to hold the earbuds in the ears, as well as a carrying case and a thick instruction guide with multiple languages. Reading the English version uncovers a handful of mis-translation, leading to question marks when it comes to operating the earbuds. More to it later.
The earbuds are as chunky as the Sony WF-1000XM3, but certainly has better design. For one, it comes with ear hooks. Second, it has a tiny button facing the back of the head to operate the playback and volume. Click once on the left to reduce volume, click right to increase volume. Double-click to pause, Press-hold the right earbud to skip next track, and press-hold the left earbud to go previous track. For incoming calls, double-click to answer, press-hold to reject. When no music playback, triple-click to activate voice assistant.
You can control ANC modes from the earbuds by tapping the earbud surface. Tap twice to toggle all the modes – ANC 1, ANC 2, Passthrough, ANC off. This is better than most other true wireless earbuds, as most of them were limited by either touch panel or physical button. 1MORE builds both navigation options, which naturally extends the operational functions.
The earbuds have the ability to auto-pause and auto-play as it has an infrared sensor to detect proximity, quite similar to the Sony. I find it somewhat annoying so I prefer to disable it, which can be done through the dedicated smartphone app. Called “1MORE Music”, it only manages the earbuds settings, updates firmware and is not a music player.
Battery and Usage
The charging case is made of solid aluminium which feels silky cold to the touch. The bottom is silicone-rubber material to allow wireless charging with any Qi-standard charging pad. A single LED light is all you have to decipher the amount of battery remaining in the case. Pairing is automatic, like most other recent TWS models. As long as the earbuds are not connected, it will be ready for pairing.
Each earbud can provide about 4 hours listening time with ANC, or 5 hours without. The charging case can add another 10-13 hours of listening time. In total, you get 14-18 hours (ANC to no-ANC). Comparatively, the Sony WF-1000XM3 delivers 6 hours per earbud (with ANC), total 24 hours with casing.
Somehow the battery drain seems to be a lot higher on the review unit where I had to charge the casing every 2 days even though I listen to less than 2 hours of music. This is what I observed: once the charging case cover is opened, the earbuds will be powered up and connected to the previously-paired device, which is good, so that when I insert the earbuds to the ears, I can start using it immediately. When I place the earbuds back to the dock, they do not get disconnected, until I close the cover. What I found out is that even after I close the cover, there is still some connection activity between the devices, as observed from my phone’s Bluetooth menu.
As per most earbuds behaviour, when the earbuds are not connected for a few minutes, it will auto-power down. In some situations, when I remove the earbuds from the dock, the earbuds do not auto power up. This occurs when the case battery level is low so it doesn’t charge the earbuds. I would only realise after I started playing music and found that only one or both sides has no audio, so I had to press-hold the earbuds to manually power up.
Then there is another scenario, where the earbud is already powered up but did not automatically connect to the phone. As the 1MORE EHD9001TA supports Qualcomm True Wireless Plus mode, both earbuds connect directly to the phone instead of cross-head method. For this scenario, I had to go to the Bluetooth menu and tap the second earbud to manually connect it.
My conjecture is that somehow the earbuds keep draining the battery even though I have placed the earbuds back to the case, and the case keep charging the earbuds, resulting in battery drain every few days. The lower-than-average battery amount does not help in this situation, so I think the 1MORE EHD9001TA may not be ideal for consumers who need to use it for long hours.
Audio Quality (Firmware V0.3.44)
(When I received the unit and did the initial listening test, the treble was veiled and laid back. The sound signature changed after a firmware update, so I’m basing my observation on the new firmware)
The 1MORE EHD9001TA is enjoyable and engaging to listen. There are much treble details and layers of separation, like percussion, which the ears can easily pick up without listening too hard. The bass level is not exactly strong or massive, which is rather disappointing considering there is a separate 10mm dynamic driver. Perhaps due to the positioning of the Balanced Armature driver which is very close to the earbud, it probably drowned the bass intensity. The bass gets more prominent on tracks with strong bass, like EDM, but even so they sit slightly back, with vocals and high-pitch percussions taking more forward position. Fortunately, the treble does not get over-cooked, delivering transparency and sparkle without sibilance.
With ANC On, the treble sounds more constricted and compressed, the bass less expansive, and the midrange withdrawn. With ANC Off and Passthrough, the dynamic range is fuller. Personally I prefer a more balanced sound, so the lack of midrange warmth is a small drawback for me, but this tuning is something that most consumers will enjoy better. The earbuds go well with all genres that demands clarity and overall musical tightness.
Compared to Sony WF-1000XM3, I find that the Sony achieves a little more full sound overall. The treble is less thin and pushy, and a little more bass. Through the smartphone app, user can adjust the EQ and enable other sound processor modes, so from that perspective, the Sony is still a better value buy.
In quiet environments, I find the 1MORE EHD9001TA active noise cancellation feels slightly stronger than Sony WF-1000XM3. The ear pressure effect is heavier, and it subdues the keyboard and mouse clicks better than on Sony. However, in noisy environments, the Sony still does a better job in keeping the overall noise down, such that you could only hear the higher frequency sounds thinly. This is also why the keyboard clicks sound more obvious on the Sony. Wearing the Sony feels like you are naturally pressing your ears to cover the noise, while on the 1MORE, there is still some noise leakage across a wider frequency.
The 1MORE Passthrough mode is more natural sounding and does not have the over-amplified effect on the Sony’s Ambient Sound mode. The 1MORE also has 2 ANC modes, as commonly offered to many other headphones. For Sony, while it has ANC fine adjustments, it is focused on adjusting the Ambient Sound level.
The 1MORE EHD9001TA has done well in offering competitive ANC features. Its audio tuning is also enjoyable and engaging with hi-fi details which do not sound muddy or congested. However, there are more drawbacks and issues as a product compared to other true-wireless earbuds. While they are not critical or show-stopping, it mars the whole review experience, which is a pity because I like the sound balance, I like the ANC, the secure fit with ear hooks, the durable aluminium case with wireless charging, and the buttons to operate the earbuds.
The 1MORE True Wireless ANC In-Ear Headphones retails at S$329. Click here for the official product page.