1More’s iBFree Sport Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones: A Runner’s Review

10 July 2020

1More’s iBFree Sport Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones: A Runner’s Review

By Werner Schmidt

When you speak to runners about running to the tune of music you will get complete polar opposite views and everything in between. From the ‘absolutely, I can’t run without music’ to ‘absolutely not, it is just not safe when you can’t hear what is going on around you.’ Personally, I have never cycled or ran with music, but when I got the opportunity to test this stunning looking pair of In-Ear Sport headphones recently, I thought, hey why not, let’s take it on a few runs and see what it is all about!

Enter the 1More Fitness E1018BT iBFree Sport Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones. Yes, that is the full name printed on the box. And, let’s start there. If you look at any of 1More’s Headphone, the packaging is top-drawer. The manufacturers have clearly gone with a philosophy of ‘you may judge this book by its cover’, and this is evident on every model in their range. The more premium their models go, the better the packaging. This little puppy comes in what feels like a wax-coated solid white and red box. The back of the box actually has some useful spec information on it, helping you understand the product’s ability without having to secretly break open the seal while in the store to look for the information inside on the user’s guide (shhh, yes, we have all thought about doing that). More manufactures can take a feather out of 1More’s cap on this. After all, let’s be honest, who wants to rely on a store assistant’s uneducated guess to our questions only to be disappointed with our purchase when it does not meet our spec requirements?


Once you have opened the box you will immediately be impressed by the generosity in the number of silicone in-ear fittings available to you. We have all tried these “one size fits all” gimmicks and we all know, it hardly ever works. 1More have included three different sized ear tips and three different sized retention tips in this package, the latter marked L or R on it. For the mathematically inclined, that is 9 different combinations. Now tell me you will not find a suitable fit for your ear! 


The earpiece is ergonomically designed and made of lightweight, water-resistant aluminium alloy. The control unit is a lightweight plastic with the usual (+ -) left and right buttons, doubling as volume and song-skip buttons. The middle button is to answer that out of the blue phone call from the wife when you have been away too long for her liking, checking to see if she needs to come and haul your ass out of complete fatigue misery. Notably, the on/off switch is a prominent aluminium button in the same colour as the earpieces, making it easily identifiable by touch when the unit is around your neck. There is also an interesting little black clasp which allows you to pull the cable connecting the two earpieces taught against your neck.


Charging times varied depending on the amount of battery drained, but the box suggests no more than 2 hours is required, which I assume is from low battery status. Playing time is around 8 hours, but I never pushed beyond 4 hours before charging again. When you switch it on each time, you are greeted by a useful voice prompt indicating ‘battery high’ or ‘battery medium’ or ‘battery low’. If you have an iOS device (Apple), you can see the headsets battery/volume displayed on your device. Sound quality for this price point is phenomenal and if you find the right earpiece fit combination such that the earpiece fits snug in your ear, the bass quality is noteworthy. The range is about 10 meters and if it loses connection it will try for 5 minutes to reconnect, then switch off if unsuccessful. 

So how did it perform on the runs? I took it out on a few 30-minute, 1-hour and even a 3-hour run to see how it performed. Conditions varied from very hot to very windy and the terrain always included many undulations. This is where the correct ear tip and retention tip combination is paramount. Since I had dialled into the perfect combination, I had no earpiece slippage out of the ear due to perspiration on hot days nor finding the earpiece popping out with heavy footfall on a steep decline. I did experience a slight problem when I was running into a very strong headwind and downhill at the same time. This is where the right-hand side earpiece tended to lose traction inside the ear, mainly because the control unit adds extra weight on that side, then coupled with the wind tugging at it and finally the body jarring caused by the downhill. I was able to counter that by loosening the tightening clasp on the cable, which allowed me to wrap the control unit behind my right ear, neutralising its weight against the earpiece to a large extent. 


While running with the earpieces firmly fitted in your ear and the volume at 50% and more, you will not hear much, if any, external noise. The volume and the quality of the sound, along with the bass, drowns it all out. If that scares you a little because you want some semblance of what is going on behind you, you can reduce the volume or you can adjust the earpiece in your ear or put a larger ear tip on so that the ear tip does not sit flush in you ear tube. This allows for external noise to filter in, but it also reduces the bass effect of the device, making for a more treble-biased music experience. But, as they say, ‘there are many ways to skin a cat’ and this device coupled with some creativity, gives you many skinning options to suit your exact audio or safety needs.


So, if you are a runner looking for a companion to get you through those long and lonely LSD runs or just need some beats on that early morning run for some motivation, then this little fellow is just for you. Make no mistake, this device was designed for the sporty at heart, but it by no means is out of place as a casual everyday in-ear headset, no matter your state of heart. And, while you are out buying this device for yourself, look at the other models in their range and take one home for your better half too. It’s a sure way to impress him or her, 1More time! 


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