1More Comfobuds Mini Review: Dashing Design, Spotty Execution

1More’s minuscule Comfobuds Mini raise an intriguing question from the outset: Just how much smaller can wireless earbuds get? To borrow a phrase from your favorite clickbait sites, the answer may surprise you. With advancements in battery efficiency and speaker technology, we can expect future earbuds to continue to push the boundaries of size and durability without compromising performance.

For now, however, compromise is key when weighing an earbud’s size against factors like sound quality, features, battery life, and cost. The affordable Comfobuds Mini aim to stretch these boundaries as far as possible, dubbed by the company as the “world’s smallest active noise canceling earbuds.”

The aesthetic is impressive, but 1More’s mini buds leave something to be desired when it comes to sound performance and overall execution. That said, if you’ve got small ears or you just love the idea of having the tiniest beads of sound on the market, the Comfobuds Mini are worth a look.

Miniature Shock Factor

The first thing seasoned headphone shoppers will notice about the Comfobuds Mini is that the case is reminiscent of what you’ll get with Google’s Pixel Buds. From its grippy matte finish to its egg-like shape and clickable endcap, the initial package is compact and cute.

Once you pop the cap, you’ll forget all about the Pixel Buds, simply marveling at how impossibly tiny the Comfobuds Mini truly are. Pulling the little beans from their magnetic terminals, they practically fall into your ear canal. Seriously, I was almost worried they were going to keep going, like a rock tumbling down a well.

They didn’t, slipping snuggly into my outer ear for a nearly invisible profile and a fit that felt stable even during moderate workouts. Their minute size and weight of well under 4 grams per bud provide airy comfort for hours of listening. The package helpfully includes four sets of ear tips instead of just three, offering an added layer of customization for those with particularly tricky or small ears. That’s where the Comfobuds Mini make their strongest appeal.

The buds’ first notable compromise is the battery playback time of just five hours with noise canceling (six without it). That’s below average, and you won’t want to go much lower for fear of diminishing returns over the product life cycle. Based on my testing, the earbuds tend to meet or exceed those estimates at lower volume, and you’ll get up to 20 hours total with the case, as well as 1.5 hours of playback after 10 minutes of rapid charging.

Another compromise, whether due to the Mini’s size or cost, is the limited touch controls. It’s nice that you can customize some gestures within the 1More Music app, but you’ll have to forego conveniences like volume control and voice assistant to get staples like play/pause, song skip, and ambient audio (i.e., noise canceling and transparency modes).

What’s more irritating when it comes to usability is the Mini’s microphone placement directly along the touchpads, which produce audible swiping noises when you brush against them with noise canceling or transparency mode engaged. Plenty of other micro-size buds find ways to keep the microphones away from wandering fingers.

I found a few other execution points lacking. The right earbud’s ambient audio microphone seemed to stop working after a few days, forcing me to delete the buds from my phone and pair them again to fix it. The buds also tended to lag and/or lose connection with the app at times, requiring me to put them back in the case and reconnect. It’s possible that I got a particularly finicky pair, but the hiccups reminded me of the wonky early days of true wireless earbuds.

Sweet Features

The Comfobuds Mini make up for some of their shortcomings with a healthy helping of features for their price. You’ll get convenient standbys like sensors to auto-pause the buds when you take one out and the ability to use one bud at a time, plus fancier fare like personalized sound and even a Qi wireless charging case.

Active noise canceling is the marquee offering, and it’s pleasantly effective in the lower registers. Utilizing professional studio monitors with my go-to airplane drone and vocal chatter test videos, the Mini held their own against the powerful Anker Space A40 (8/10, WIRED Recommends), potentially even outdoing them when it came to muffling voices. The caveat is that they accentuate higher frequencies in the process—like keystrokes or a running faucet. Still, for activities like yard work or long flights, they should provide solid sonic relief.

Transparency mode is also relatively effective, providing a clear if somewhat tinny reproduction of the world around you to keep you aware of your environment. I could have used some better wind buffering on blustery days, but the Mini fared well over a couple of weeks of daily dog walks, assuring I never felt unsafe or unaware of my surroundings.

So-So Sound

Photograph: 1More

The Comfobuds Mini’s sound performance is passable, if uninspired. A more charitable description would be “accessible.” I generally had little to complain about, as the buds provide good balance across frequencies for easy listening. Bass has some heft to it, and the higher registers never sound sharp or overly brittle.

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