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Between Spotify, Apple Music, and more recently, Netflix, spatial audio seems to be the hottest commodity in the audio market these days. Naturally, the feature has started to trickle down from more expensive headsets to the low-to-mid market, ensuring surround sound regardless of where your head turns and how much you're willing to pay.
Just recently, 1MORE released the spatial audio-supported Aero buds. On the surface, they may seem like just another pair of earbuds that connects wirelessly, but with an ultra-lightweight design, comfortable ear tip cushions, and another hotly-contested audio feature: active noise cancellation (ANC), you may want to read the rest of this review before you let them slip through the cracks.
True wireless, in-canal, active noise canceling (ANC), wind noise reduction, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, dual device connection
The first thing I noticed with the 1MORE Aero was how lightweight they felt. The buds are barely noticeable, both in my hand and in my ears, despite having a longer stem than others I've tested. Similar to the classic AirPods design, the buds hang off my ears while fitting snugly within the canal thanks to the plush silicone cushion.
The ear tip cushions come in three different sizes for a more customized fit. For those who have read some of my previous reviews, it'll come as no surprise that I opted for the smallest size. Between the more custom fit and the lack of in-ear pressure, the Aero buds are slowly rising to the top of my comfortable earbuds list.
The elongated stems may seem unflattering in the ears, but I think they greatly contribute to the in-ear comfort. Instead of relying solely on your ear canal for balance, the long stem lets gravity do some of the stability work -- therefore, taking pressure away from the ear and preventing the pressure build-up that I typically find with more intrusive buds.
When exercising, the buds felt stable for most strength training and lightweight exercises, but are not the most reliable for workouts that involve higher-intensity movements.
Like the earbuds, the charging case is also impressively lightweight. Using a semi-clamshell design, the case opens and closes like a pocket mirror. A USB-C charging port is well-kept on the backside of the case, sticking to the case's general vibe of minimalism.
With a strong magnetic hold, the buds snap into their respective pockets and stay there even if you were to drop them with the case lid open. To my clumsy readers, you won't have to worry about earbuds going rogue with this Aero.
The only downside with the case is the material. The unibody plastic is so light that both the buds and the case give off a cheaper look and feel. For $110, this is clearly an area where 1MORE cut costs.
I'll continue to sing high praises of the longer stems as they make for excellent control pads. If you've ever hung up a call too quickly or skipped a track while adjusting your earbuds, you probably understand my frustration when it comes to sensor controls with a mind of their own. 1MORE's controls require a more forceful input, making each register accurate and purposeful.
You can also switch the three different ANC modes and ambient mode by tapping and holding the touchpads, although I found it easier to switch via the app.
How do they sound?
Overall, the sound quality on the Aero buds is solid. From listening to Taylor Swift to Bad Bunny and all the Fleetwood Mac in between, the bass was clear, without being too intense for comfort, and the tenor was surprisingly full.
I also appreciate that the buds offer three different ANC modes: strong, mild, and wind noise reduction. I usually opt for strong or mild and find both effective at blocking out distractions. Obviously, the former applies a heavier white-noise layer that's more noticeable when you're not playing music.
Now onto the buds' headlining feature: spatial audio.
At first, I thought the spatial audio was too subtle to even notice, but I soon realized that the sound really was all-encompassing in a way that wasn't jarring or distracting. When watching (and listening) to a YouTube video, everything was clear and I felt like the video I was watching was constantly playing in my direction regardless of where my head turned.
I had a similar experience when it came to music and podcasts -- even when the buds had to compete with the ambient sounds of New York City. As long as the earbuds are in your ears, spatial audio is turned on. They're not as reliant on the software or program that you're listening to, compared to the AirPods which have a bias for Apple Music audio. Given the subtle nature of the Aero's spatial audio, though, I haven't found the always-on feature distracting.
Beware that the Aero's connectivity chime -- for when the earbuds successfully pair to a device -- is very inconsistent. During my first few uses I didn't hear any audible feedback for when the earbuds were paired, so I had to check the companion app or look at my device's sound output source to make sure. It wasn't until a week of wear, literally as I am writing this review, that I finally heard the typical pairing chime when I connected the buds to my MacBook. The Aero's fickle audio signaling isn't the end of the world but is a constant reminder of what could've been.
Another issue that I had with the 1MORE buds was how the company claimed that the buds had dual device connectivity. However, I was only able to connect to one device at a time. I was even prompted to "forget the device" before reconnecting to my phone from my laptop.
Among the earbuds apps I've tested in the past, I found 1MORE's lacking in settings but in a good way. There's still a custom equalizer and the freedom to coordinate touch inputs with sound functions, but nothing more. The simplicity lets the earbuds shine on their own. That said, some users may prefer companion apps that offer more flexibility and settings, like the ability to change the default voice assistant. If that's the case, then I'd opt for an alternative.
The 1MORE Aero earbuds don't do anything fancy, but they do a lot of things well. 1MORE's Aero earbuds don't just add more features for the sake of being different. Instead, by focusing more on things like spatial audio and head tracking, the Aero gets the job done for what they advertise.
Between the extremely comfortable and stable fit, solid all-around sound quality, and superb microphones for $110, you can color me impressed. That said, I wouldn't recommend the Aero earbuds if you must have a headset that can connect to multiple devices at once and/or a companion app that gives you granular control over the listening experience.