NOTE: This article is a contribution and do not necessarily represent the views of IBTimes.
1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review
Hands-on with the 1MORE SonoFlow ANC Headphone Jeff Li/IBTimes

When companies come in with aggressive pricing in exchange for market shares, the consumers often get the last laugh. 1MORE has made their intention clear from the get-go, that they have their eyes set on becoming the new Beats headphones on the global market, and have been fighting the good fight since.

The 1MORE SonoFlow is the company's latest jab into the headphone world. Can the latest ANC headphone from 1MORE punch above its weight? Let's dive in to find out.

1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review
The included travel case for the SonoFlow Jeff Li/IBTimes

Travel Case and Foldable Design

Since global travel is finally back on board again, my hunt for the right gear as a business traveler has also resumed. So it was very pleasing to unbox and find the 1MORE SonoFlow in a surprisingly familiar travel pack. The softshell case that's included reminds me a lot of Sony's infamous WH-1000XM series case. It's well-rounded, roughly the thickness of my palms put together, and is a good size to throw into the backpack.

1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review
The SonoFlow folds into its travel pack Jeff Li/IBTimes

The compact travel case is an obvious tell-tale of the foldability of the SonoFlow headphones themselves, and the hinged cups can indeed maneuver itself to lay completely flat on the desktop. The way the headphone folds into the case is a bit like a puzzle at first, and takes some getting used to. But once it's in there, the protection feels more than adequate, even indulgent, considering these travel headphones cost only a fraction of the price of Sony or Bose headphones.

1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review
Stainless steel band in the telescopic headband Jeff Li/IBTimes

Lightweight but Durable Construction

Most of the 1MORE SonoFlow is made of plastic, and for good reason: to keep the weight and fatigue down for the user. But don't mistake all that plastic for cheap, thanks to the metallic dark gray coating that covers most of the headphone, these look as premium as they come.

Even though most of it is plastic, 1MORE uses real metal where it counts. Especially the telescopic headband - the component on any headphone that typically gives out first, is made of a thick stainless steel band that would outlast any other part of the headphone.

1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review
Soft memory cushion on the ear cup Jeff Li/IBTimes

The cushioning on the 1MORE SonoFlow is made of soft touch synthetic leather, and the cups use plush memory foam that's both comfortable and good for sound isolation.

Overall, the SonoFlow is made to last - which is quite a statement for a pair of headphones that's under $100. I don't see why it wouldn't outlast any of the top wireless ANC headphones on the market that costs 2-3 times more. What's more, its lightweight is easy on the neck, and is great for long listening sessions like a flight or long train ride.

Crowd Pleasing Sound with Decent ANC

Sound has rarely been a department that I worry about with 1MORE headphones, and the SonoFlow didn't disappoint. Continuing the 1MORE tradition, it is tuned for fun rather than critical listening, but is well balanced so that nothing is over exaggerated. These headphones again carry the name of Grammy Award-Winning sound engineer, Luca Bignardi, who tuned many of the company's earphones.

The large 40 mm dynamic driver of the SonoFlow is made of a composite of two different materials, with DLC (diamond-like-carbon) in the center handling the treble that's encircled by a soft PET film that would produce an impressive amount of bass. Overall I'd say the low-end is the stronger suit on the SonoFlow, especially when applying some equalizer - these headphones can pump out an immense amount of bass while not muddying up the mids and trebles.

1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review
QuietMax: 1MORE's active noise cancelling technology Jeff Li/IBTimes

One surprising characteristic of the SonoFlow is that the instrument separation is surprisingly clean, which is often not the case with more budget friendly, wireless headphones. This is probably where the bass boost is attributed as well. I used a FiiO M11 Plus ESS, and PowerAmp audio player, and got an impressive result by turning the Bass Boost all the way up to 70%.

ANC is another thing that 1MORE does very well in my experience, with the 1MORE ANC Pro Headphone being my current top pick for noise canceling, having a ridiculously effective noise canceling that causes me vertigo at times. The SonoFlow is effective, but just shy of matching the performance of my top choice. The good news is that the passive sound proofing on the SonoFlow is already pretty good, that I mostly don't even turn the ANC on and enjoy the extremely long battery life, more on that later.

1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review
The included auxiliary audio cable and USB-C charging cable Jeff Li/IBTimes

LDAC vs Cable

Since I do have a very capable DAP, the FiiO M11 Plus ESS, I wanted to test how different the 1MORE SonoFlow sounded when comparing its LDAC and wired connection.

The LDAC wireless connection is quite a luxurious feature for 1MORE to include in an affordable headphone. Second only to the new aptX Lossless connections, the Sony developed wireless technology can transfer a maximum bitrate of 990 kbps, roughly three times the data of the standard Bluetooth connection which is used by most budget wireless earphones.

Using the LDAC connection, the SonoFlow indeed sounds with noticeably better resolution than standard Bluetooth connections. It's quite a new standard of clarity that spells out the exciting future of wireless headphones and earphones, especially if it can be featured in an affordable headphone like this.

But how does it compare to the wired connection? When using the single-ended auxiliary cable, there was firstly a noticeable volume increase in the output, which marginally improved the dynamics. Interestingly after a few A-B comparisons, I noticed that the instrument separation is actually better in the LDAC mode, possibly an advantage that comes from the software processing.

In terms of power, wired connection still takes the cake. When the auxiliary cable is plugged in, it also powers down the headphones, ironically requiring no battery power. Conclusively, the SonoFlow is a headphone that is best served wireless.

1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review
The button placement naturally corresponding to the hand Jeff Li/IBTimes

Well Designed Controls

One great feature that I noticed of the SonoFlow is the placement of the controls. Firstly, I appreciate the simplicity of using tactile buttons and staying away from fancy but not-so-reliable capacitive controls that I prefer to stay away from.

What's even better is the placement of the buttons: if I naturally gripped the cup with my right hand upside down, the buttons naturally lie under each corresponding finger and thumb. I doubt this is a coincidence, but a clever design. Once I discovered this, simply by touch, I've been able to control the headphones fully without making any mistakes, or needing to take it off to look at the buttons.

1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review
The USB-C charging port can power up the SonoFlow in 5 minutes Jeff Li/IBTimes

Ultra Long 70 Hour Battery and Fast Charging

One last but very important feature to mention of the 1MORE SonoFlow is its battery life. The previous champion in my book was the Jabra Elite 45h, which could last 50 hours, which is another excellent headphone under $100.

The new headphones from 1MORE blew that performance out of the water by being rated at a whopping 70 hours without ANC. That number would surely drop significantly by using a higher tier connection like LDAC and ANC, but is still an impressive feat. This is an endurance that counts for a lot when you're on the road.

If the batteries are flat, and you need to leave in a jiffy, the recharging speed is also impressive. A mere 5 minute recharge will give the SonoFlow enough juice for 5 hours of playback.

1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review
The SonoFlow headphone is an impressive list of features wrapped in an affordable package Jeff Li/IBTimes

Final Verdict

So who is the 1MORE SonoFlow for? If you're someone on the move, for long periods of time, and need a wireless headphone that can accompany you with a decent ANC, as well as a powerful bass to cover any other noise, this is the headphone for you. Connected via LDAC, you're also enjoying one of the highest resolution sounds from a wireless source, compromising little in terms of sound quality - and even getting some improvement according to our experience.

1MORE SonoFlow Hands-on Review

All that wrapped in a nicely built headphone with intuitive controls, and all costing less than one bill of Benjamin? It's hard not to recommend the 1MORE SonoFlow as IBTimes' Best Travel Headphone on the market right now.

Sam is a production engineer turned tech writer who specializes in seeking out gadgets that enhances productivity while still looking sharp. This is a contribution to an ongoing IBTimes review series on gadgets for Business Travelers.