The problem with being the king of anything (whether actual or perceived) is that someone, somewhere, will inevitably want your crown. When Apple acquired Beats Electronics in 2014, the star power and status symbol of both placed a stake in the ground, a declaration of supremacy. Three former Foxcomm executives answered this declaration with one of their own: the founding of audio device company 1More, Inc.
In a 2015 interview with the Wall Street Journal, 1More co-founder Gary Hsieh said, “Our strategy is to offer premium quality audio devices at mid-range prices. We want to be the Lexus of the global audio market.”
Not content to simply compete with Beats Audio in the category of music, 1More has dropped a pair of wireless headphones heavily marketed toward esports. Let’s find out if the Spearhead VR BT can keep up.
- MSRP: $59.99 USD
- Bluetooth V 4.2
- Protocol: HFP / A2DP / AVRCP
- Driver type: Dual Dynamic driver design uses titanium and graphene composite
- Wireless Range 35 ft.
- Battery: 120mA lithium battery with quick charge capabilities, estimated 6 hour per charge
- Environmental Noise Canceling
- Included Accessories: 4 silicone ear tip sizes, Micro-USB cable, headphone pouch
One of the first things that I noticed about 1More’s product delivery is presentation - a quality that I have always admired about Apple’s purposeful design. In order to compete within this space, attention to detail like this is meant to capture the essence of this contest: perception.
Perception of quality, however, is not the same as actual quality. How does the product function and feel? Does it deliver the quality of sound it promises without charging the “Apple Tax” for the name? Let’s talk about that.
Aesthetically, the 1More Spearhead VR BT follows in the black and red design scheme, but mixes textures. The silicon neckband is united to plastic control housings by a metallic red band with subtly textured red wires connecting the earbuds to the band. The earbuds themselves use replaceable silicon tips and are accented by red LED branding that illuminate when the Spearhead is powered on. These LEDs have three modes and the option to power them off.
The battery life-span on the Spearhead is decent. They offer 6 hours of use (less than the estimated 8 of the nearest Beats proxy), whether listening to music, gaming, or talking. When powering on, the headphones will give you an indication of the state of the battery - fully charged, half charge, or low battery.
This same friendly voice will let you know when the Spearhead is at half charge and when it hits the lower levels of its limited while in use. It is mildly annoying to have a nearly three second total interruption while in use. If you do find yourself hitting these limits, the 1More Spearhead VR BT does offer a 10-minute quick charge which they claim will afford you an additional three hours of use.
These details are great, but how do they sound?
In order to discern the quality of sound produced by the Spearhead, I have a battery of tracks that I run products through to test their high, mid, and low end responses. This selection includes everything from musical selections including symphonic scores, technical rock, and EDM to the spoken word. After running those tests, here is what I found:
For gaming, the Spearhead VR BT do offer a good depth of sound and surround capabilities for the experience, but frankly, these headphones have me stumped. While I would not describe myself as an audiophile, I am used to listening to music in order to pick out instrumental parts. It seems as though the Spearhead is voiced to favor more electronic or pop styles of music. The tracks I typically use to test products like this felt off. While bass and drums have good presence and acoustic guitars chime with clarity, anything with gain-heavy distorted electric guitars feel ever so slightly wanting. However, at their price point, the 1More Spearhead VR BT have an impressively articulate sound of anything I have used within the ~$50 price range.
I did have some intermittent connectivity issues with the Spearhead. Every now and then, I would have slight interruptions in my listening sessions. It is entirely possible that it is a problem with streaming tracks rather than the headphones themselves. What is an issue though is that something within these headphone - and my money is on the Environmental Noise Cancelling - is creating a faint white noise that makes you feel like you have tinnitus. You won’t notice it while listening to sound through them, but if there is a lull or if you have your audio paused, it’s there.
While the audio market seems to be saturated with options in the ~$50 USD price range, the Spearhead VR BT makes a case for itself with their attention to design, build quality, and the the soundscape they create. While there may be better sounding headphones out there, you would be hard pressed to find a pair that boxes above their weight-class as well as these do. They are comfortable for long-term use and have a long wireless range, if you happen to be the type that likes to wander while using them!
Do they unseat Beats as a status symbol? Probably not, but perhaps they don’t need to. Their quality within their market speaks volumes for them. Chucking spears at “kings” can be a dangerous business anyway!
If you are looking for a pair of Bluetooth headphones for mobile gaming, to use with a laptop, or take to the gym and you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of battery life to save some money, the Spearhead VR BT may be the edge you are looking for.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Good voicing for the price point
- Discrete on-device controls
- Random battery indicator interrupt playtime for 3+ seconds
- Environmental noise cancelling creates faint ringing
- Occasionally drops connection briefly
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.