1More S50: What is it?
While many earbuds focus on helping you to shut the world out using active noise cancellation, there are times when you want to be able to listen to your music or other audio whilst also being aware of your surroundings. Hence we have more ‘open’ buds like the 1More S50s, which are designed to provide high-quality sound while simultaneously enabling you to hear what’s going on around you.
With investment from smartphone specialist Xiaomi, 1More has billed itself as “China’s answer to Beats”, the Apple subsidiary that was founded by Dr Dre
The S50s are designed with sporty types in mind - hence the ear hooks that hold them in place and IPX7 sweat and water resistance - but aren’t exclusively for runners and gym goers. You might fancy them if you want to be able to monitor something in your ears - a metronome click, for example - while playing an instrument.
Inside you’ll find 1More PurePower drivers which are said to provide a 40% boost in power in comparison to “conventional models”, though what these are isn’t specified, and there are dual mics on each earbud for when you need to chat. Battery life is listed at an acceptable 11 hours, with a total of 38 hours on offer if you have a fully-charged case. Connectivity is via Bluetooth 5.3.
1More S50: Performance and verdict
If you’ve never tried open earbuds before, putting the S50s in for the first time makes for a slightly disconcerting experience. Although they don’t plug into your ears, they do still have silicon ‘sound loops’; these sit in the outer part of your ear and help to hold the buds in place. The feeling is not unlike the one you get when an in-ear bud is in danger of falling out, but those hooks are there to ensure that the S50s remain securely fitted.
Three sizes of sound loop come supplied so you can find which fits you best, though we didn’t notice a dramatic difference in sound quality between them so opted to stick with the default medium option. It’s more about choosing the one that fits more securely in your auricle.
Comfort is very good. In fact, the S50s are so light and unintrusive that it’s possible to forget that you’re wearing them at all.
And in terms of sound quality, the S50s are a bit of a revelation. Given their open design, we feared that there might be a lack of bass and a sense of distance between you and your music, but neither is true. In fact, the sound is more immersive and detailed than you get from many in-ear buds we’ve tried, and you can tweak it to taste with a variety of EQ presets. These were created by Sonarworks, developer of the SoundID technology that enables you to tune your speakers and headphones, though, unlike in some of 1More’s other products, you can’t upload a personalised sound profile here.
The good news is that you do indeed retain more awareness of sounds around you when using the S50s, which certainly helps when you’re walking or running in high-traffic areas and want to keep your wits about you. The downside is that, if you’re sitting on a noisy train, music and speech are very easily drowned out - these probably won’t be your go-to commuting earbuds.
What’s more, we’re not totally convinced by the touch control panels that sit on the side of each earbud. These can be customised to offer track play/skip/back or volume level adjustment, but require either double- or triple-taps to function, and didn’t always respond in the way we were hoping them to.
Oh, and the case isn't the smallest although, given the S50's hooked design, it was never going to be possible to make this as compact as some others.
Overall, though, the S50s are a pleasant surprise, achieving their stated functionality with aplomb. It looks like they’re being heavily discounted at the moment, too, which could make them an even more enticing proposition.
MusicRadar verdict: Comfortable and offering well-balanced sound, the 1More S50s exceeded our expectations. Just don't wear them on a rickety train...
1More S50: The web says
"The S50 sound more like a regular headphone than their competitors and appeal if you want good sound without compromising situational awareness." CNN
"The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 aren’t the best earbuds around, nor the best ones you can get for the money at $150. But they serve a unique purpose, one that’s more often approached by bone conduction headphones, and they do it admirably." Android Police
1More S50: Hands-on demos
Andy's Tech Tone
1More S50: Specifications
- Weight per earbud/with case: 10g/63g
- Waterproof IPX rating: IPX7
- Playtime per charge: 11 hours
- Total playtime with charging case: 38 hours
- Driver: 1More PurePower Dual Magnet Driver
- Charging time earbuds/case: 80 min/90 min
- Contact: 1More