The Open Earbuds S50 are open-back headphones from 1More Fit, and they deliver an impressive result in their core application, sports use, and thoroughly respectable sound quality for this type of design. However, they also scored points thanks to good wearing comfort and practical run times in everyday mobile use and around the office. I would currently rank the S50 among the best open-ear headphones available on the market.
- Suitable for sports and office use
- Comfortable to wear
- Occasional interruptions in sound transmission
- No editable EQ in the app
1More offer a range of different headphones from true-wireless models to audiophile designs with multiple drivers (most recently with the 1More Penta Driver P50). The manufacturer, which is based in San Diego, now offers Chinese-made products sold under the name 1More Fit, which are designed to be particularly suitable for sporting activities. However, these headband headphones have other virtues.
These true wireless headphones fall into the category of sport headphones and are available in three different colours (black, grey, silver), availability of which depends on your region. Their special feature is the open-ear headphone design, which means that your ear canal is not closed or completely covered, enabling communication with your surroundings.
1More see cyclists and outdoor sports enthusiasts as the main potential target groups for this product. It is therefore important that the headphones are securely attached to the ear, and this is ensured by the headband. This headband is made of soft silicone with an integrated wire to help it retain its shape.
Rigid DLC (Diamond-like Carbon) diaphragms with a size of 13.6mm are used as drivers, and these are intended to ensure accurate sound reproduction. Four special fitting pieces made from transparent silicone ensure the correct projection of sound towards the ear.
The attractively designed and impressively crafted S50 are IPX7 certified, which means they should be waterproof for short periods and can be worn both in the rain and in the shower. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the protection class was determined by the manufacturer and has not been subject to independent verification.
The second major benefit of these headphones is that they can be used on the move and at work. To a certain extent, the user should be able to wear them at all times and still be able to communicate with their surroundings. Listening to music is, therefore, only one facet, just like with the OpenFit model from Shokz or the OneOdio OpenRocks.
With a total runtime of up to 38 hours (manufacturer’s specification at 50% level and AAC codec) and the Quick Charge function, the S50’s power can usually last for several days. The headphones are “parked” in a generously sized case with a folding lid and USB-C connection with multi-coloured status LED, and this can also be wirelessly powered up via inductive charging.
The connection to a smartphone is established via Bluetooth 5.3. In terms of codecs, 1More provide SBC and AAC, meaning that the manufacturer only fulfils the basic requirements. Finally, the Open Earbuds S50 have two touch-sensitive areas for quick control, automatic functions as well as an app.
To wear these earbuds, simply place them over your ear so that the driver floats in front of the ear opening and emits sound into it. The design felt comfortable against the skin. The light weight of around ten grams meant that the headphones were barely noticeable, and they fit comfortably and without pressure on the ears, even over long periods of time. There was no feeling of having a foreign body in the ear, and sometimes, I even forgot that I had put the earpieces on. Occasionally, the position of the drivers needed to be adjusted slightly, but otherwise, the wearing comfort was excellent, even during fast movements such as running or exercising in the gym – so I concluded they are absolutely suitable for sports.
As mentioned, the ear canal is not closed off so that you can still hear external noises. Nevertheless, the choice of partially open fitting pieces influenced the resulting sound. The different sizes resulted in different degrees of coverage of the ear canal and also a funnel effect that influenced the volume.
The advantage of open-ear designs is the possibility of exchange with your environment. This was definitely an advantage in day-to-day sports use on the go because closed headphones, especially with noise cancelling, are by no means without problems, especially for use by joggers and cyclists.
However, the ability to communicate, whether on the move or in the office, was another advantage. In the latter scenario, it is possible to set up a multipoint connection with two smartphones, but this is currently still in the beta stage (firmware V.1.5.7., app version 4.9.7).
The automatic functions deserve a special mention: The S50 can automatically resume the music when you take them off and turn it back on when they are returned to your ears. If the headphones are stored in the case, they are automatically switched off. Of course, you can also use just one headphone at a time in single mode.
The runtime of these headphones was specified by the manufacturer as around eleven hours, with the charging case providing double that capacity. These are reasonable values resulting from the larger design. In reality, the runtimes were somewhat shorter, as I always set the volume significantly higher than 50% when listening to music and making phone calls. Aside from the fast charging process, the full charging process takes around one and a half hours.
Wireless connection was quick to set up and was pretty stable over several rooms. However, there were occasional brief dropouts in the data stream.
The touch functions can be used to specify two functions for each of the earpieces via double and triple clicks. Music playback, volume, making phone calls and summoning a voice assistant can be controlled in this way. Calling up these functions was quite reliable after a little practice, especially as without the use of single tap functions, you can easily avoid accidental incorrect operation.
The free “1More Music” app for iOS and Android can be used to access and configure additional functions. These include firmware updates, a low-latency mode for videos and games and the aforementioned configuration of the touch functions. There was also an equaliser with twelve non-editable pre-sets that offered quick switching to alternative sound profiles. However, there was no option to customise the sound to suit your personal preferences.
As usual, 1More has enlisted the help of Luca Bignardi, who has been nominated for a Grammy several times for his sound engineering work, to tune the sound. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t expect audiophile masterpieces from this device. With their open-ear design, they are not designed for pure music enjoyment, as the open construction restricts the degree of sealing and, therefore, also the bass reproduction, resulting in a comparatively high signal-to-noise ratio.
For me, at least, a prerequisite for music playback with sufficient quality is an increased output level, especially in mobile operation. Once you have ensured that this can be achieved, the Open Earbuds S50 deliver a thoroughly appealing, pleasing sound. As expected, the bass was thin, but it was still satisfactory and defined. But under no circumstances should you expect deep bass.
The basic tuning was surprisingly harmonious and also quite warm. Mids and highs were reproduced pleasantly and without harshness. Thanks to the design, the detail resolution and dynamics were rather average, while the stereo panorama was reproduced quite well. Modern genres, from pop and rock to R&B, as well as radio plays and podcasts, were at an advantage, while jazz and classical recordings were not really suitable for playing with this type of headphones.
In short: As open-ear headphones, the Open Earbuds S50 delivered an appealing performance, but they should not be compared with headphones explicitly designed for music consumption. The open design means that the sound output also reaches the outside. The more you turn up the volume, the more your neighbours on the train or colleagues in the office will be disturbed.
On the phone, using the two integrated microphones, my interlocutor rated the call quality during phone calls as easy to understand and completely practical, but at the same time found they found the sound slightly clipped in the high frequencies. There were also some unwanted noises. But on the plus side, ambient noise was filtered out quite efficiently thanks to AI support, making it possible to make phone calls on the train and in the street.
- Ear couplingOpen-Ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Impedance16 ohms
- Weight without cable10 g each, 63 g
What's in the box
- Sound Loops x 3 pairs (XS / S / L / XL)
- Charging cable USB type C to A
- Carrying case
- Charging case
- Available in black, grey and silver
- BT version: 5.3
- BT codec: SBC, AAC
- BT profiles: HFP, A2DP, AVRCP