1Plus PistonBuds Pro Review | PCMag
Despite a relatively low price of just $69.99, the 1More PistonBuds Pro offer decent active noise cancellation (ANC) and a balanced, precision-focused sound signature. They are also water resistant and have a low latency mode for gaming, increasing their value proposition. Unfortunately, lackluster on-ear controls and a lack of EQ customization options hold them back from top-tier status in this price range. For $10 more, Anker’s Soundcore Life P3 headphones remain our Editors’ Choice winners under $100 because they’re easier to control and customize, plus they offer superior noise cancellation.
Small size, disappointing controls
Available in black or white, the PistonBuds Pro are quite small, but they fit securely without the need for additional accessories. The package includes three pairs of silicone ear tips in small, medium and large sizes.
(Photo: Tim Gideon)
The exterior of each earbud functions as a capacitive touch control panel. A double press controls media playback and call handling, a long press toggles between different ANC modes, and a triple press summons your device’s voice assistant. In the app, you can change the gesture from the triple tap to control navigation or track volume, but you lose the existing feature in the process. The panels are also less responsive than we’d prefer and didn’t register many double taps in testing. Other headphones just do a much better job with on-ear controls.
The PistonBuds Pro are compatible with Bluetooth 5.2 and support AAC and SBC codecs, but not AptX.
Each earbud carries an IPX5 rating, which means they can withstand light splashes of water from all directions. The earbuds should hold up to exposure to rain and sweat with no problem, but you shouldn’t rinse them under a faucet. And since this note doesn’t apply to the case, be sure to completely dry the headphones before docking them for charging. The Jabra Elite 3 headphones ($79.99) offer a slightly higher IP55 rating and might be a better choice if you’re looking for a pair suitable for exercise.
The flip charging case is relatively compact and has a status light on the front panel. The rear panel houses a USB-C port for the USB-C to USB-A charging cable that arrives in the package. 1More estimates that the PistonBuds Pro can last around 7.5 hours on battery power and the case holds an additional 22.5 hours of charge (with ANC off). Of course, your volume levels and ANC usage will affect these ratings. With ANC on, for example, battery life is rated at five hours.
The 1More app (available for Android and iOS) offers many features. You can switch between ANC and Transparency modes; switch to low latency game mode; upgrade firmware; and choose from several equalizer presets (although unfortunately you can’t create custom ones). Alternatively, you can switch between ANC Strong and ANC WNR (wind noise reduction) modes – the mode you choose remains active until you change it again.
Mainly effective noise cancellation and accurate sound
The PistonBuds Pro offer solid noise cancellation for the price. In testing, they noticeably reduced the loud low-frequency rumble (like you hear on an airplane). They also admirably reduced the volume of a busy restaurant recording with loud dishes and loud conversation. The higher frequencies passed the ANC filters without too much trouble, but that’s typical of affordable models. We also noticed the addition of a hiss to the signal (think slight white noise), but that’s also common in this price range. Ultimately, we still like the noise-canceling performance of the Soundcore Life P3 headphones a bit better.
When it comes to audio, on tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the headphones deliver a powerful low-frequency response and don’t distort at the loudest volume levels. students. At more moderate levels, the bass still sounds robust and the treble offers reasonable balance.
Bill Callahan’s “Drover”, a track with much shallower bass in the mix, reveals the sonic signature better. The drums in this song might sound too thunderous on the bass-boosted models, but 1More takes a more subtle approach: the drums are given such body and depth, though nothing ever sounds unnatural. Callahan’s baritone voice features extra richness in the low-mids, as well as great definition in the high-mids and highs. We note a solid balance between bass and treble overall, so the sound signature doesn’t really stand out as advanced bass or overly crisp. Even if you select the bass boost EQ mode, the low frequency boost is still subtle compared to most competitors.
(Photo: Tim Gideon)
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop gets plenty of high-mid presence and retains its attack. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat sound a little subtly – we hear their throaty top notes, but don’t get much subwoofer-like bass depth here. Again, the bass setting in the EQ section of the app doesn’t add much punch. Otherwise, vocals are clear and crisp, without too much extra sibilance.
Orchestral tracks, such as John Adams’ opening scene The Gospel According to the Other Mary, clear and detailed sound. The lower register instrumentation doesn’t get much boost here, so the spotlight remains on the upper register brass, strings, and vocals. None of the elements ever feel thin or brittle, further emphasizing the natural, flat response-style sound signature.
The built-in mic works well, and we had no trouble catching every word of a test recording on an iPhone. We didn’t notice any obvious Bluetooth audio artifacts in the signal.
Affordable and above-average active noise cancellation
We really like 1More’s PistonBuds Pro – their active noise cancellation is better than you’d expect for the price, and their sound signature is surprisingly natural. A compact design and low-latency gaming mode should also appeal to some fans. But the inefficient control layout and lack of EQ customization options hold them back a bit. Ultimately, the aforementioned Soundcore Life P3s are better headphones under $100, with stronger noise cancellation and on-ear controls. If you don’t need noise cancellation, Jabra’s Elite 3 headphones are also easier to use and have a slightly higher water resistance rating, making them better suited for indoor use. sport.
The 1More PistonBuds Pro offer a precision-focused sound signature and solid noise cancellation for a reasonable price, though their on-ear controls might be better.
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