At first sight
Comfortable for long listening sessions Excellent sound when streaming music with LDAC encoding Solid noise cancellation Incredible battery life
No support for the aptX codec. It is less impressive when streaming audio with the AAC codec
If you’re an Android user with a phone that supports the LDAC codec, 1More has delivered a headset that punches well above its weight. It goes pretty well with an iPhone too.
Price at time of review
Today’s best prices: 1More Sonoflow
Retail Price 1Other $99.99
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1More has a reputation for designing headphones and earphones that look and perform like high-quality audio equipment at an affordable price. The new 1More Sonoflow active wireless noise-cancelling headphones continue that tradition, with good build quality and excellent sound at a sub-$100 price point.
This review is part of TechHive’s in-depth coverage of the best noise canceling headphones.
How well are Sonoflow headphones built?
The 1More Sonoflow headphones are all plastic and leatherette, but have a glossy look and build quality that echoes much more expensive headphones from Bose or Sony. You’d have to have the Sonoflow and the Sony WH-1000MX5 side by side to really tell the difference between the $100 1More and the $400 Sony.
All controls for the 1More Sonoflow are on the right ear cup, with the power button on the front and the noise canceling and volume rocker buttons on the back. While not labeled for listeners who don’t read the manual, that power button also controls play and pause.
The headphones are all black, except for a red fabric lining inside each ear cup. They are helpfully labeled L and R to match your left and right ears. These labels are also important when it comes to using the beautiful gray zippered protective case that comes with the Sonoflow.
The inside of the case features depressions to hold each ear cup, with L and R embossed in the appropriate slots. If you align the L and R from the earcups, the headphones fit neatly into a case that will protect them in transit. There’s also a mesh pocket for the included USB-C to USB-A charging cable and 3.5mm audio cable that lets you use the Sonoflow as a wired headphone.
1More promises 70 hours of playtime with Active Noise Canceling off and 50 hours with ANC on after a full 80-minute charge. You can get a full 5 hours of playback from a 5-minute charge.
The excellent new Soundcore Space Q45, which is $50 more, makes for a good comparison. The Sonoflow’s build quality is equally good, and its case is vastly superior to the Q45, which inexplicably comes with a cheap plastic insert to place the headphones in the case.
What are the audio capabilities of the 1More Sonoflow headphones?
The Sonoflow features 40mm dynamic drivers with a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz. It uses Bluetooth 5.0 and supports AAC, LDAC and SBC codecs. If you’re using a source that supports LDAC, the top of the headphone frequency range expands up to 40kHz.
What’s missing is aptX, the most common higher-quality streaming codec, supported by Android devices but not Apple’s iOS. LDAC is a codec developed by Sony that challenges Qualcomm’s aptX dominance. Offers higher resolution streaming than the aptX standard.
Older Android phones may not support LDAC, but if you’ve bought a high-quality Android device in the last three years or so, chances are it supports both aptX and LDAC.
Is there an app for 1More Sonoflow?
1More has an app for both iOS and Android. Once you’ve paired your Sonoflow headphones to your phone and connected them to your app, you’ll see an app screen showing your current battery level and controls that let you choose between ANC, pass-through, and off. There’s a toggle to turn on the high definition codec if you’re streaming high definition audio.
There is also a “Soothing Sounds” selection of 29 ambient noise options, including summer rain, medium fire, drizzle, thunderstorm, breeze, spring water, bamboo forest wind, snowfall, underwater, space, gale , field, forest, waterfall, river, ocean swell, tiny swell, desert, medium swell, mountain top, volcano, jet stream, creek, stream, brook, train, creek, storm, and downpour. These are synthesized instead of real field recordings, but they do a good job of blocking out the outside world.
There’s also an Audio Options panel that gives you access to a dozen EQ presets, including default, bass boost, classic, deep, hip-hop, pop, bass cut, acoustic, podcast, electronic, lounge, and amp vocal. A second Custom EQ control lets you create your own custom EQ and save it for future use.
Listen with 1More Sonoflow headphones
For testing, I streamed The Beatles’ excellent new stereo mix of 2022 revolvers while the Sonoflow headphones were connected to both an iPhone 13 Pro Max running 16.1 and a 1Plus 10T running Android 12.
For comparison, I connected the Soundcore Space Q45 headphones to both the iPhone and Android. There was a marked difference in the results.
The new revolvers Giles Martin and Sam Okell’s mix is markedly different from the stereo version older listeners grew up with. Stereo mixes were still an afterthought for most pop and rock artists in 1966 and revolvers it’s the Beatles LP that has always dropped the most between the mono star version, approved by artists and producers, and a stereo version that was probably plugged in at the end of a long day and left to a few assistants.
If you can listen with your ears open, the new take embraces the sensibility that would inform stereo mixes of rock music within the next couple of years. revolvers sounds more connected to The White Album And abbey road now than ever. The mono version obviously remains the best version on the album, but we’re testing stereo headphones here.
When the 1More Sonoflow is connected to the iPhone and playing from Apple Music or Qobuz, playback is limited to using the excellent AAC codec but limited to iOS CD quality. Sonoflow headphones capture the spirit of new mixes. The new instrument placements in the sound field come without a hitch.
Compared to the Space Q45, however, the Sonoflow can’t match the detail provided by more expensive headphones when using the iPhone. If you’re an iPhone user and looking for a headset, the Soundcores are probably worth the extra $50.
The results are quite different when using the LDAC codec on Android phone. Bluetooth still can’t provide a true high-resolution audio stream; you’ll need cables and an external DAC for that experience. LDAC, however, provides more data than AAC or SBC, and the results have been amazing.
To get LDAC on an Android, you’ll need to dig into the settings app and toggle the Developer Menu to access the controls that enable hi-res streams. An online search should give you the details of how to do this on your phone, since each manufacturer’s version of Android seems to be a little different.
Once that’s done, turn on the High Definition Codecs option in the 1More app and prepare to be surprised. This headphone sounds great with a hi-res stream, with far more impressive results than I’ve heard with the iPhone. There is more detail in the instruments, especially in the decay of each note. It’s really impressive that streaming music can sound so good.
The performance of the 1More Sonoflow headphones comes much closer to that of the Soundcore Q45 when using LDAC on Android phone. The Q45 is noticeably better, but not by much.
All of the discussion above is about listening with the noise cancellation turned off. When the ANC is On, there is a pronounced bass-forward effect for both headphones when playing on iPhone or Android phone. Listeners may want to adjust the EQ after comparing the two settings.
Should You Buy 1More Sonoflow Headphones?
If you subscribe to a high-resolution music streaming service and own an LDAC codec-capable Android phone, the 1More Sonoflow is a deal that offers a far better experience than you’d reasonably expect for the price. If you’re an iPhone user, they sound excellent for a $100 headphone. They might not have the same magic as an Android user subscribing to a hi-res music streaming service, but they’re still great headphones.
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