1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 review: A promising earbud let down by fit

These open-ear buds show promise, but they’re let down by an unstable fit and rivals do it better.

Feb 29, 2024 - 20:30
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1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 review: A promising earbud let down by fit

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: One minute review

The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 use air conduction technology to get sound to your ears. They don’t sit in your ear canal, like most other true wireless earbuds, or cover your whole ear, like over-ear headphones. Instead they’re designed to hook around your ears, positioning little speakers above your ear canals.

The benefits of this open-ear design is that you can stay more aware of what’s going on around you, which is ideal for outdoor workouts or anyone who doesn’t want to feel cut off from their surroundings. Because no part of the design goes inside your ear, they’re also a good option for people who don’t like the intrusive design of other types of buds.

Other audio brands have been venturing into air conduction tech recently, including Bose, Shokz and JBL. But, as I’ll get to soon, keeping earphones in place when there’s nothing inside your ear is a challenge: the 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 won’t give the best earbuds a run for their money. It’s very difficult to get fantastic sound from this sort of design, but I was pleasantly surprised by their audio: it was clearer than I was expecting with some decent, but not powerful, bass. 

They’re built for workouts with some specs you’d expect from the best workout headphones, like an IPX7 rating, making them sweat-resistant, and an impressive listed 38 hours of battery. I got around 35 hours during testing, so this is quite representative. The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 may sound like a decent set of earbuds, but they’re sadly let down by their fit: for me, they simply weren’t stable enough. 

It’s easy to see why there’d be a problem with this design as in-ear buds are “anchored” in place when they fit in your ear canal. 1More attempts to solve this problem both with earhooks and small silicone rings, which sit just outside of your ear canal. However, the earhooks didn’t bend enough and were oddly-shaped for my ear. This meant I never got a good fit on my left ear, the bud fell out several times, and although I managed to get a slightly better fit on my right ear, the bud still felt precarious the whole time – not ideal for earbuds built for fitness.

Some of these fit issues could have been down to the size and shape of my ears, but I asked a few other people to test them and several had similar problems. Issues with stability became even more apparent when I was wearing glasses, too, as the earhooks and glasses were competing for the same small space behind my ear.

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Specifications

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Price and availability

1More S50

(Image credit: Becca Caddy)
  • Cost $149.99 in the US
  • £149.99 in the UK 
  • Around AU$290

The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 were released internationally in September 2023 and cost $149.99 / £149.99 / around AU$290. At the time of writing, they’ve been reduced on the 1More website to $99.99 / £104.99. We don’t know if this is a permanent discount or part of a limited deal. 

1More also makes the S30, and while these earbuds use the same air conduction tech and have a similar design, they’re cheaper and a step down in terms of specs. They only have an IPX5 water-resistant rating and a 30-hour battery, compared to the S50’s IPX7 rating and 38-hour battery. The S30 cost $69.99 / £69.99 but, like the S50, are currently reduced to $47.99 / £49.99.

To put the S50 into broader context, similar air conduction rivals, like the Shokz OpenFit, are more expensive at $179.95 / £179.99 / AU$289, although I did find the Shokz buds to be generally better and much easier to wear. The S50 are more similar in price to JBL’s air conduction offering, the Soundgear Sense, at $149.99/£129.99/AU$231. 

When comparing the 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 to sports earbuds more generally, you can often expect to pay more for buds at the top of their game, like the Beats Fit Pro at $199 / £199 / AU$299. Then again, plenty of the options in our best workout earbuds guide are much cheaper and perform significantly better than the 1More buds, like the JLab Go Air Sport at only $30 / £29 / AU$69.  

  • Value score: 3.5/5 

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Design

1More S50

(Image credit: Becca Caddy)
  • Earhook design
  • Unstable fit
  • Looks nice and slickly designed

The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 use air conduction technology to enable you to hear audio, which means there’s nothing in your ear canal. Instead, a speaker is just outside of it. So what keeps these buds in place is an earhook design that fits behind your ear and little silicone rings, which 1More calls “sound loops”, that rest just above the ear canal. There are three different sizes of these loops to choose from to get the best fit. Rival buds have a similar earhook, but we’ve not seen the sound loop-like design anywhere else yet.

I get the thinking behind the sound loops: they’re a way to keep the buds in place without putting anything in your ear, which means you’re still aware of your surroundings. But they defeat the point of open-ear buds a little for me, as they are still using something to block your ear, even if it’s not as intrusive as a bud in your ear canal. I much prefer the design of the Shokz OpenFit. 

But the reason the Shokz OpenFit work well without similar loops is that their earhooks are effective (albeit not perfect). Unfortunately, the 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 have earhooks that are too rigid and not as ergonomic – at least not for my ears. This meant I never achieved a snug or stable fit with the buds, especially in my left ear. This bud fell out even when I was just walking and not working out. 

I played with the earhook, adjusted the positioning, tried out all of the different loop sizes but had no luck. My best guess is that the distance between the bulk of the bud and the top of the earhook was just too big, so it actually fell down over the top of my ear. I did wonder whether this was a quirk of my ears and so enlisted a couple of friends and family members to see if they had similar problems. This was by no means an exhaustive test, but I found women with smaller frames had similar problems, either with one bud or both. 

There was another problem that affected the fit: glasses. Even with my right ear feeling stable, wearing glasses meant the arm of my glasses and the earhook were competing for space behind my ear. I could either lay the earhook down first and put my glasses arm on top, which meant my glasses were unstable and vision ever-so-slightly distorted or the other way around, which meant the buds were even more unstable. 

I opted to wear contact lenses for the rest of my testing, but some people won’t be able to. This also means wearing these buds and sunglasses could be an issue, which feels disappointing considering these are buds designed for outdoor workouts.

Despite these fit issues, these are a nice-looking pair of earbuds with a sleek design. I tested the silver version but, from what I can tell from online press shots, the darker grey shade is a little more appealing. The silver shade is nice, but does look a little cheap and plasticky. The same can be said about the charging case, which has a shiny cheap look about it. The charging case that comes with these buds is also big compared to the cases offered by competitors at 86 × 65 × 29.8 mm and weighing in at 63g (82.5g with the buds in). It could be slipped into a bag or a large pocket, but it’s not ideal for taking out on a run with minimal gear.

  • Design score: 2.5 / 5

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Features

1More S50

(Image credit: Becca Caddy)
  • IPX7 water-resistant rating
  • Air conduction for ambient awareness
  • Good battery life

These earbuds are durable with an IPX7 sweat-resistant rating. This means they should handle the most sweaty workout sessions, even splashes, light rain and, technically, an accidental dunk in water. However, we wouldn’t advise it – and best keep them out of the shower.

There’s some opportunity to change the audio with 12 EQ presets within the 1More app. It’s good to have this option, but I preferred the way the buds sounded out of the box. You can also use the app to customize some of the touch controls on the buds. These didn’t work well for me as I never got a stable fit, so touching them made it more unstable.

The 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 have what 1More calls its ‘PurePower Driver’ inside. The company says it has a diamond-like DLC diaphragm, which results in a 40% boost in power over conventional models. It’s not clear whether this means whether that’s over previous 1More models or rivals. There are also dual mics on each earbud for calls, and an AI algorithm promises to distinguish voices from background noises, helping block out any ambient sound when you’re on a call. 

In terms of battery, 1More promises up to 11 hours of battery life from the buds and 38 hours of battery life with the charging case. I found these figures to be accurate during testing. 

This is where the S50 really shine, bringing some of the best battery compared to rivals. For example, the Shokz OpenFit offer seven hours of battery life, and 28 hours from the case. And the JLab Go Air Sport (with an in-ear design) bring you eight hours with an additional 32 hours of battery life with the case.

  • Features score: 3.5/5

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Performance

1More S50

(Image credit: Becca Caddy)
  • Decent sound
  • Only some leakage
  • Great for hearing your surroundings

One of the biggest benefits of these open-style buds is that you can hear what’s going on around you, especially traffic, loud conversations and music. I personally found this to be a better experience than simply using the “ambient awareness” or similar modes on ANC headphones and earbuds, which I always find difficult to process.

However, due to the build of these buds – with their positioning and the silicone sound loops – not all sounds were clear in my immediate environment and it was easy to get distracted by the audio. This means you’ll need to be careful, as you definitely can’t hear everything when you’re using them. Especially when the volume is loud, which is worth bearing in mind if you run next to roads.

As you’d expect from an open-ear design, there’s some sound leakage. But not as much as I anticipated, which makes the 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 a versatile proposition for wearing in a range of different environments – assuming you get a decent fit.

The S50 deliver a good but unremarkable sound. The audio is clear and there’s some decent bass and volume here too – again, two things I wasn’t expecting from the open-ear design. Push up the volume high on a bass-heavy track and things do start to sound a little muddied. Due to the style of these buds there’s also no real sense of immersion or an expansive soundstage. But then again, these buds were never going to be the best-sounding out there, you’d need to find a pair of the best ANC buds for a more polished experience. However, for me, the sound is perfect for providing a soundtrack to a walk or workout.  

  •  Performance score: 3.5/5 

Scorecard

1More Fit Open Earbuds S50: Should I buy?

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How I tested

I wore the 1More Fit Open Earbuds S50 most days over three weeks, and had the opportunity to test them in a range of different environments.

I used them while walking around the city and by the beach, running through the countryside and rollerblading. I took them to work at several coffee shops and the gym and wore them as I worked at home alone.

I also went on a trip to Rome whilst testing these buds, which gave me a good opportunity to use them in some different situations, like on a plane to listen to movies with my phone and in an airport to listen to podcasts and stay aware of flight announcements.

I paired them with an iPhone 14 Pro and mostly used Apple Music and Spotify streaming services to test them with music, as well as podcasts on Spotify and movies on Mubi.

I’ve tested many different headphones and earbuds over the past 12 years, especially those designed for fitness and active lifestyles. I like to find the devices that prioritize comfort and ease of use and flag up any new tech that feels more style over substance.