The 1MORE PistonBuds Pro are affordable and comfortable earbuds that are easy to recommend for those on a budget. However, the unresponsive touch controls and lack of customisable EQ do hinder the experience.
- Comfortable fit
- Great battery life
- Netural audio
- Low-latency gaming audio
- Touch controls are sometimes unresponsive
- EQ customisation is bare
- UKRRP: £59.99
- USARRP: $69.99
- ANC Features ANC technology
- Silicon eartipsComes with four different sizes of eartip
- 10mm dynamic driverLarge 10mm dynamic drivers for improved audio
The 1MORE PistonBuds Pro earbuds sport a sleek design and active noise cancellation. They come with four silicon earpieces and boast a snug fit. However, the unresponsive touch controls do make them more cumbersome to use than I’d have liked.
Nevertheless, the low price of these earbuds makes them an affordable option for anyone who is after ANC but has a limited budget. While these buds can be used for gaming, I wouldn’t recommend them solely for this purpose.
- IPX5 rating
- Multiple earpiece sizes included
- Touch controls aren’t perfect
The PistonBuds Pro earbuds come with four silicon earpieces in the box, and I found the buds fit very snugly in my ears. They didn’t budge at all during my running or yoga sessions, and since they sport a corkscrew design, they didn’t interfere with my long hair or glasses – unlike the stem design of the Onesonic BXS-HD1, for example.
Supported by an IPX5 rating, these buds can handle a low-level spray of water. While I didn’t get them fully wet, whether from getting caught in a rain shower or partaking in sweaty workouts, I didn’t notice any performance issues.
The earphones sent in for review came in black, but the 1MORE PistonBuds Pro are also available in white. The charging case feels sturdy and more durable than other flip-top cases I’ve tried, such as the Cleer Roam NC. The case houses a USB-C port on the rear for charging, plus a small light on the front that indicates when the case is open or in use.
Unfortunately, just like my experience with the Roam NC, the PistonBuds Pro’s touch controls proved a little unresponsive. 1MORE claims that pressing the earbuds for 1.5 seconds toggles the audio from ANC to Transparent, but this didn’t appear to work for me, with other controls better but never constant.
I used the 1MORE app for control instead – which I’ll touch on in more detail in the next section. Nevertheless, it’s something to keep in mind if you don’t want to be pulling out your phone whenever you want to change a track.
- 1More app is worth downloading
- Audio can be slightly customised
- ANC is effective
I was surprised at the effectiveness of the ANC delivered by the PistonBuds Pro, especially for the price point. The ANC performed well in closed-in environments, shutting out the chatter of co-workers while I was working.
They did slightly diminish the rumbling of the underground and worked great on quieter public transport, with Transparent mode letting in noticeably more background noise – ideal for scenarios in which you need your wits about you. The PistonBuds Pro also feature ANC WNR (wind noise reduction), which was slightly more effective during high winds, but the difference was negligible overall.
In the 1MORE Music app (available on Google Play and iOS), you have the option to alter multiple EQ presets – although what’s on offer isn’t as expansive as I’d have liked. There are 12 different modes that you can boost, such as Bass booster, Pop, Classical and Deep, which can have a positive impact on certain songs.
However, since there’s no custom setup for these modes, with you having to manually switch between them, I seldom used them – unless I was listening to a playlist that consisted primarily of tracks of the same genre of music, with the same mode working throughout.
Through the 1MORE Music app you can also view the battery life of each earbud and the charging case, while also providing the option to toggle low-latency mode. Generally, I had no issues using the app, and I’d certainly recommend downloading it to aid with the frustrating touch controls and to use the equalizer settings; but I doubt many people will remember to switch the modes to match the song playing, as I rarely did.
In terms of battery life, in my experience the PistonBuds Pro lasted around eight hours with a mix of ANC turned on and off. 1MORE claims that the charging case holds a further 22.5 hours. I ended up using these earbuds for around one week with pretty constant use without needing to charge them. While your mileage might vary, depending on your use of ANC, I was very impressed with the battery performance of these earbuds.
I appreciated smart playback too, with the PistonBuds Pro pausing the music on being removed from your ears, resuming once the buds are put back in the ears. This proved ideal for those occasions I needed to quickly catch a train announcement, doing away with having to fumble for my phone; overall, this is one of my favourite aspects of these earbuds.
- ANC audio works great
- 10mm dynamic drivers
For sound quality, the 1MORE PistonBuds Pro impress for their price. The music I played through the buds sounded natural and balanced, with no sign of being muddled or distorted. The earbuds appear to favour bass over high notes, since those tracks displayed more depth and nuance. Nevertheless, the highs never sounded harsh, just occasionally empty.
Performance did fall short of my AirPods (2019), with the audio lacking the same vibrancy with the high notes; but they were an improvement over the Onesonic BXS-HD1.
I dived into the 1MORE Music app to emphasise the audio, with the Bass Booster and Vocal Booster options my favourite. For a majority of tracks, I found that the Vocal Booster improved vocals by bringing them forward on the soundstage – although for some softer songs, such as Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo, I preferred to keep it off.
Candy Wine by Lostboycrow sounded great, with a clear soundstage that placed the vocals at the front and the instrumentals towards the back. Bass-heavy songs such as Lovely Day by Bill Withers also sounded good; the drums and bass sounded clear and vibrant, and the separation of instruments made the song feel full and warm, especially with the Bass Boost turned on.
Bad Behaviour by Elli Ingram sounded full, with the high notes being highlighted over the booming brass and percussion. I do think that some songs require more volume to be heard as intended, although I found these earbuds to be fairly quiet to begin.
I preferred to listen to music with ANC turned on, mostly to keep out any distracting ambient noise. I also found that ANC helped to keep the audio sounding warm, even in quiet environments. In fact, I found myself turning it on during soft acoustic songs such as Clairo’s Flaming Hot Cheetos to emphasise the vocals.
I also connected these earbuds to my Nintendo Switch via Bluetooth and found them to be perfectly serviceable. The audio sounded natural and I could catch the faint whispers and mumbles of ghosts in Hades, although I was unable to track any enemies or pick up on fighting cues, which limited the experience.
Stardew Valley offered a better experience, since I didn’t need to keep track of any cues, with the overlaying music sounding smooth and warm. I wouldn’t recommend these to anyone who wants to play competitive high-octane games, though, since the audio was slightly too muddled to allow for pinpoint accuracy. Nevertheless, the PistonBuds Pro are a decent option if you’re looking to game more casually.
Should you buy it?
Affordable earbuds with ANC These earbuds come with ANC and a companion app to alter audio. They offer balanced and warm audio for under £60, making them an easy recommendation.
You want a more refined experience While there’s a lot to love about these buds, the dodgy touch controls and limited equalizer do hinder the overall experience. Look at brands such as Bose and Sony for high-end earbuds – although they’ll come with a high price tag.
The 1More PistonBuds Pro earbuds don’t tick every box, but there’s plenty to love here. The sound profile of these earbuds is surprisingly full and balanced, with the bass well represented in most tracks.
The inclusion of ANC is a bonus at this price, giving users with a limited budget the chance to experience active noise cancellation without breaking the bank. I found the feature effective even in noisy environments, and well worth it for under £60.
How we test
We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry-standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested for a month
Tested with real world use
Used for gaming
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Yes, these earbuds have an ANC mode, as well as ANC WND for reducing wind noise. Both can be turned on and off via the 1More Music app or the touch controls.
There are four eartips accompanying the PistonBuds Pro.
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