The PistonBuds Pro from 1more show what features and sound quality can be packed into really affordable True-Wireless in-ear headphones today: from the sound to the noise cancelling, they have put together an all-round, practical package for everyday use.
The rounded plastic charging case with a silver top comes with a status LED, pairing button, USB-C port and inductive charging function. A flap closure provides access to the attractively designed in-ears, which are removed from the top. The in-ears, available in black or white, are pleasantly light, compact and have touch areas on the outside. Technically, the Chinese manufacturer relies on dynamic 10mm drivers, Bluetooth 5.2 with support for the SBC and AAC codecs, as well as Active Noise Cancelling.
The battery power is 38 mAh per earpiece and 410 mAh for the charging case. Depending on the level, this results in up to five hours of playing time with ANC (7.5 hours without ANC) and up to 30 hours with the charging case (without ANC). The charging time is one or two hours, respectively, and this is supplemented by a quick-charge function. This is sufficient for longer journeys.
Functions can be controlled not only directly on the device but also via the 1more app (iOS and Android). There, among other things, firmware updates can be carried out, and the touch control, sound and noise cancelling can be configured.
The fit and the resulting wearing comfort are fine. These earphones fitted easily and without pressure in my ear canal and also sat quite securely for a long time. They are suitable for everyday mobile use but are not explicitly sports headphones – there is no certification against splash water or sweat. The wireless link proved to be stable in practice and extended across several rooms. If necessary, just one earpiece can be used for telephone calls (single mode).
The touch functions (firmware 1.05) can be configured via the straightforward app. Double and triple clicks are available, while a longer touch cycles between the noise cancelling, transparency function and inactive ANC modes.
Controls for music playback, track jumps, volume and calling up a voice control can also be accessed here. Telephone calls can be made by double-clicking. Single clicks have been completely dispensed with, and this minimises operating errors but, at the same time, allows fewer control functions.
Under the strange name “Stabiliser”, you can call up twelve equaliser pre-sets designed by Sonarworks. With these, the sound can be quickly adjusted to suit your own taste. However, you do not have access to the individual frequency bands.
The PistonBuds Pro also have an adjustable automatic mode that automatically switches off or pauses playback when the earphones are removed from the ears. Last but not least, a gaming mode can be switched on; this reduces the latency of sound transmission – useful for improved speech synchronicity when watching a film.
In this price range, active noise cancellation is unusual. The 1more PistonBuds Pro offer adequate passive noise reduction thanks to the good fit, and this is significantly intensified by the active circuit. Via the app, you can choose between a more powerful version (38dB, manufacturer’s specification) and a less efficient version, which aims to tame wind-induced noise and actually manages to do so. In addition, there is a transparency mode in which noises from outside are passed on to the drivers for improved communication with the environment.
The ANC mode offers typical lowering in the low-frequency range but also creates an additional quiet space in case of static noises. For example, on the train or public transport, this provides a space for relaxation or simply improves the quality of music playback on the go by increasing the signal-to-noise ratio. The performance offered is decent and, for this price range, is a real selling point.
The sound was quite impressive in accordance with the price range (around 60 euros), but you should not expect any audiophile feats. The focus was more on tonal neutrality than on superficial bass emphasis, even if you could help this out by using the equaliser pre-sets.
In the bass, the 1more PistonBuds Pro delivered depth and contour and didn’t get out of step too quickly even at higher levels (e.g. Rihanna “Pon De Replay”).
The midrange was reproduced richly, especially with rock music. Tracks like “Pawns & Kings” by Alter Bridge demonstrated the fullness and pressure of modern rock productions. Voices and acoustic and electronic instruments were also well conveyed. However, I could see a certain weakness in the treble range. Of course, you should not expect the transparency and transient behaviour of a more expensive system. Unwanted harshness did not occur, but in comparison to the aforementioned products, there was a lack of “air” and sometimes also of “bite”. This is exactly why I would have liked to see a configurable equaliser.
In view of the price, I found the reproduction of the dynamics quite successful. For example, the continuous variation of the acoustic bass line in “I Can See Clearly Now” (Holy Cole Trio) was clearly traceable and proved that the 1more PistonBuds Pro can also cope with jazz. In quiet surroundings, it was even possible to immerse oneself in classical works. The spatial depth was rather underrepresented, while the stereo panorama built up a stable width.
In direct comparison to the LG TONE Free DT90Q, the 1more Piston Buds Pro sound more subdued overall and less open and detailed. The same manufacturer’s 1more EVO also have a sonic advantage. However, in both cases, the significantly lower price should not be disregarded – budget and intended use should be the deciding factors.
To ensure high voice quality, the 1more PistonBuds Pro offer a total of four microphones and an algorithm for background noise suppression and voice emphasis. And these are a success because the voice quality during telephone calls was really good. The device we tested was thus well suited to use for communication.
The 1more PistonBuds Pro offer an impressive price-performance ratio: with balanced sound, practical noise cancelling, adequate battery life and good voice quality during phone calls, you get a favourably priced accessory for everyday use. However, the TWS headphones have hot competition from their own company: the 1more ComfoBuds Mini are also impressive due to their tiny dimensions and noise cancelling features.
- attractive price
- limited to the BT codecs SBC and AAC
- sound a little too muffled in the trebles
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Impedance16 ohms
- Weight without cable4,5 g each, case: 30 g
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of silicone earplugs (XS, S, L)
- USB-C charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in black and white
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC
- BT version: 5.2
- BT profiles: HFP, A2DP, AVRCP