Hands-on Review

Award winning piston, but do they work?

1More 1M301 in-ear headphones
Image: Zarif

The market for in-ear headphones and entry-level, pseudo-premium pistons are currently so saturated you'll come across new names almost every single day. 1More is a new name for almost anyone, and I had personally never come across the brand before a gadget-hoarding colleague got himself one and I naturally asked for…one more.

Silly puns aside, the initial design and packaging was what drew me to the single-driver in-ear piston. Right at the bottom end of 1More's lineup of headphones (both wired and not), the 1M301 comes with a triple layer metal composite diaphragm, dual resonant chambers, tangle-free cord and a standard three-button control that makes it compatible with all iOS and Android devices that feature a 3.5mm jack.

The packaging and product design of the 1M301 are top notch. The unboxing experience is a joyous occasion not because you're unwrapping something amazing and expensive, but because the surfaces you touch and the materials you look at are all fantastic. The headphones come encased in a plastic box with a clear lid and satin-finish surfaces on the bottom—remove the headphones wrapped around the soft rubber casing and you'll see the three sizes of buds that are included.

The headphones themselves are funky-cool and sure to be a hit with people who like loud colours but understated design. The pistons look like the top half of a space capsule (the point end that ends up in the ocean after re-entry), while the buttons, jack surround and cord itself all have nicely textured surfaces. Looking at it and feeling the surfaces, you'll instantly understand why the 1M301 got an iF Design award in 2016.

The problems start when you start using it for the first time. The OEM buds that are included are not very comfortable and slight movements of the head (left-right) cause them to slip out—an extremely annoying experience that just adds to the hassle of wired headphones. Unless you invest in proper aftermarket buds, you're not going to have a great experience in terms of fitment.

The sound quality is also not on par with the best in the segment—with competitors like Fiio providing a better sound space and a clearer separation of notes with similar specs in the FH3, the 1M301 suffers from a case of good design but sub-par performance. However, for the price of BDT 1800, there's not a lot you can expect from in-ear headphones, unless you're willing to go a bit higher for the sound quality you need.

For the price, the 1More 1M301 offers fantastic design and build quality that provides all the aesthetics without the superior performance that you'd expect from pricier, more premium headphones. They're cheap for audiophiles and decently priced for general users, and are, at most, an entry point to high-end audio gear. Enjoy the premium quality build and excuse the lack of premium performance.