We quite liked the original 1MORE iBFree when we reviewed it last year but found it to be a bit lacking in terms of sound quality. The 1MORE iBFree Sport aims to correct that while offering improved physical hardware and better still, an IPX6 rating. We’ve been testing out the 1MORE iBFree Sport Bluetooth Earphone over the last few days and here’s what we think.
The 1MORE iBFree Sport looks almost identical to the original iBFree. When we’d reviewed the iBFree, we’d found the design to be visually appealing and more importantly geared towards active usage.
Physically not much has changed. The driver unit is cylindrical and is available in both black and red colors. The ear tips are angled inwards for a better fit. However, it is the wingtips that really help keep the iBFree locked in your ears. We ran miles on end and never had to worry about these falling out. The lightweight aluminum construction that clocks in at just 14 grams aids comfort levels. Like the original iBFree, the iBFree Sport is an exceptionally comfortable earphone to wear.
A hard plastic cable guide runs down from each earphone and helps relieve stress. Closer to the right-hand earpiece, you’ll find the control module that has big and chunky buttons. We liked that the power button was circular in contrast to the standard in-line play/pause keys. When you’re out running, it can be jarring if you accidentally switch off your music. By making the buttons distinct, 1MORE has found a very simple and elegant solution to the problem. This is also one of the key physical changes compared to the original iBFree. You’ll also find a micro USB port here to charge the headset.
Another change is that this time around, the 1More iBFree is IPX6 rated which makes it resistant to splashes. The earphones should be able to handle sweat and any occasional splashes of water. 1MORE insisted that we test these out in the shower and hey, they worked perfectly fine! Just don’t take them swimming.
Our biggest gripe with the first generation 1MORE iBFree was the lack of low-end performance and while it isn’t perfect, the iBFree Sport has improved this drastically.
On a track like a 745 by Vince Staples, the underlying bass track has much-improved sub bass. It might still not be in the bone-rattling basshead category but most users won’t find it lacking in any way.
In typical V-shaped fashion, the mids are a bit recessed sitting further back in the soundstage. Since the goal here is to create a fun sound instead of an analytical reproduction, we can’t really complain here but if you like listening to vocal driven music, especially female vocals you might find this a bit disappointing.
There’s a lot of clarity on the upper end. In fact, the iBFree exhibits a remarkably good soundstage for its category. You can easily hear the instruments panning right to left and back again on Pharoah Sanders’ Astral Traveling. On occasion, you might find instruments like the Saxophone sound a bit piercing due to the bright nature of the earphones.
Noise isolation isn’t quite the best here and this is really a matter of personal preference. While running, I prefer to be sonically shut off from the outside world but if you’re running on a road, it is preferable to be able to hear oncoming traffic. Bump up the volume though and you should be able to drown ambient audio completely.
It’s obvious that 1MORE has been listening to user feedback. The iBFree Sport keeps everything that makes the original good while improving on the negatives. The fit is impeccable and the light weight makes you forget that you’re wearing them even if you’re running a full marathon. The battery life is rated for 8 hours and delivers that too. Now that the sound signature has been tweaked to deliver more bass, the 1MORE iBFree comes up as one of the better sports focussed headphones. The 1MORE iBFree is priced at Rs. 2,999 and can be pre-ordered from the company’s website.