Two of the best pairs of earphones over the past year have been 1More’s $99 Triple Driver and $199 Quad Driver. Both struck the correct balance between price, performance, ergonomics, and aesthetics, and I still recommend them with little reservation. But what they lacked was the wireless convenience that headphone buyers are demanding with increasing regularity and intensity. So 1More is doing the logical thing and offering Bluetooth-connected versions of the Triple and Quad Drivers. The only problem is that they look like the worst kind of neckbuds.
When audio companies are unwilling to compromise on the acoustic design of their earphones, their solution has often been to integrate wireless radios and batteries into a neck-worn appendage, just as 1More has done in this case. It’s just never made for attractive products, and in this case it profoundly puts me off from even trying these Bluetooth variants. Not only would I be encumbering myself with a big plastic necklace I don’t want, I’d still have to recharge the damn thing — two substantial downsides relative to simply having a wire going to my phone.
1More isn’t charging a huge premium for the wireless addition, raising the 1More Quad Driver price to $229.99 and the 1More Triple Driver to $179.99. Alongside those premier models, the company is also rolling out wireless variations of its more affordable products: there’s a new 1More Dual Driver with active noise cancelling at $129.99 and a (single driver) 1More iBFree Plus sports pair for $59.99. 1More hasn’t disclosed the essential spec of expected battery life or a release window yet, but its new range will be on show here at CES 2018 and we’ll be checking it out.
Update January 8th, 3PM ET: 1More has gotten in touch to say that the images the company provided are not the final design and should be interpreted only as first-draft renderings and concepts still being refined.