1More Penta Driver P50 review: wired earbuds with premium components and materials

A smart new design keeps these wired buds secure

The 1More Penta Driver P50 against a textured background
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The 1More Penta Driver P50 are a powerful pair of wired earbuds packed with 5 drivers per bud. The sound they deliver is fun, well-balanced and sonically-pleasing. The buds have an unusual over-ear design that’s a little fiddly at first, but comfy and convenient after a few uses.

Pros

  • +

    Powerful and dynamic sound

  • +

    Good sound isolation

  • +

    Comfortable fit

  • +

    Cable can be replaced

Cons

  • -

    Design won’t suit everyone

  • -

    Cable and carry case feels cheap

  • -

    Fit might take getting used to

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1More Penta Driver P50 review: two minute review

Wireless earbuds are incredibly popular, but plenty of people still rate the listening experience of wired headphones, like the 1More Penta Driver P50 earbuds. That’s why those looking for the best sonic sound tend to choose wired options.

They are a premium version of the brand’s Triple Drivers. They’re wired earbuds that fit into your ears, but they have an unusual over-ear design. It takes some getting used to, but the payoff is worth it. Thanks to the design and a range of eartips, these buds are comfortable, stay secure and offer great noise isolation. 

They sound impressive, too. Each earbud is packed with five drivers – this isn’t unheard of, but rivals like the Sennheiser IE 300 only have one – and the audio quality is balanced, powerful and impressive at this price. 

As well as a range of foam and rubber eartips to choose from, you get a USB-C adapter (sorry iPhone users, you’ll need to buy a lightning adapter yourself), as well as a carry case – although I didn’t use it much during testing because it didn’t seem convenient. 

The cable that the buds are attached to can be replaced, which is good news if it breaks or you simply prefer switching it out for something else. There’s also an in-line remote for the basics, which has a built-in mic. 

The 1More Penta Driver P50 earbuds aren’t going to appeal to anyone who’s tempted by true wireless. You also won’t find a dedicated app or fancy features here. But if you want a dependable, comfortable and unique-looking pair of buds that sound far better than they should for this price, they’re well worth considering.  

If you want the best wired headphones in an earbud design, there are only a handful of great-sounding choices. The Sennheiser IE 300 buds are our top picks, and we’ve long sung the praises of the budget 1More Triple Driver earphones so the Penta Driver P50 earbuds are a great new entry to the lineup. 

1More Penta Driver P50 review: price and release date

The 1More Penta Driver P50 with a case

(Image credit: 1More )
  • Released in August 2023
  • Available for $169.99 / £169.99 / AU$326.75

The 1More Penta Driver P50 earbuds were released in late summer 2023 and cost $169.99/£169.99, which works out at around AU$326.75. At this price, these buds are far from budget. But for the quality of the sound and the design, we think they’re good value. 

Compared to 1More’s other great wired earbuds, the 1More Triple Driver earbuds at $89.99/£89.99, they’re significantly more expensive. But they’re meant to be a premium offering, so the step up in price makes sense. 

Instead, it might be more accurate to compare the 1More Penta Driver P50 buds to rivals like the Sennheiser IE 300, which cost $299 / £259 / AU$479. These are cabled in-ear monitors (IEMs) that offer a solid entry into the hi-fi world at a reasonable price for the category.

The 1More Penta Driver P50 might not sound quite as refined as Sennheiser’s offering, but if $299 / £259 / AU$479 sounds way out of your budget and yet you still want power and hi-res performance, they’re a more affordable choice.

Then again, the Sennheiser IE 300 only have one driver and the 1More Penta Driver P50 boast five. Although more drivers doesn’t necessarily mean better sound (it’s a little more complex than that), compared to rivals with the same amount, like the Westone Audio Pro X50 IEM Earphones ($649.99/about £524), they’re much more affordable.

1More Penta Driver P50 review: specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Drivers:Built-in DLC dynamic driver with 4 planar units.
Impedance:32 Ω
Frequency: 20Hz to 40kHz frequency range
Weight:21g
Cable length: 1.25m
Wire material:Silver Plated OFC Wire
Plug: 3.5mm Gold Plated
Sensitivity: 105dB
Power:5mW

1More Penta Driver P50 review: features

  • 1.25m cable
  • MMCX connectors
  • Comes with a USB-C adapter

A hand holds the 1More Penta Driver P50

(Image credit: Future)

Because the 1More Penta Driver P50 earbuds are wired and have a fairly simple offering, you won’t find the high-end or fancy features here you might expect from a pair of the best true wireless earbuds, like an app or customizable settings. But what you do get in the box with the buds is pretty impressive. 

A 1.25m cable attaches the buds to your audio source device. 1More says that this is made from silver-plated and oxygen-free copper with durable rubber on the exterior. Despite the materials here being premium, I thought it felt a little cheap. I’d have preferred a fabric or braided option. Then again, there are gold-plated MMCX connectors here that enable you to switch it out if it breaks or you’d just prefer to replace it with another. 

Attached to the cable there’s an in-line remote with three buttons. So you can play/pause, skip tracks and change volume with it. That’s also where a built-in mic lives, which we found works well on calls. At the end of the cable there’s a gold-plated 3.5mm headphone connector, but there’s a USB-C adapter included – sorry iPhone owners, you’ll need to get a lightning cable adapter. 

The headphones also come with a small, fabric carrying pouch but I didn’t find it very useful and wasn’t keen on the shiny material either. 

Features score: 4/5

1More Penta Driver P50 review: sound quality

The 1More Penta Driver P50

(Image credit: 1More)
  • 1 dynamic driver and 4 planar units
  • Solid bass and lots of clarity
  • Certified for High-res

It’s no wonder the 1More Penta Driver P50 earbuds deliver excellent sound because specs-wise they’re impressive. In each bud there’s a a diamond-like carbon (DLC) dynamic driver and four balanced armature drivers (planar diaphragm units). The buds cater to the 20Hz to 40kHz frequency range. They’re also certified for High-res, which means with the right track they perform incredibly well. I could hear every shred of detail during testing with Tidal Masters. 

Overall, I’d describe the sound on offer here as impressively detailed. There’s an expansive soundstage, too, which feels quite immersive, as if it’s coming at my ears from all directions. This was probably helped by the secure fit, which meant there was solid noise isolation. I noticed a good balance across the range and was most impressed that the same clarity continued across the highs – tracks never sounded too tinny or sharp. 

I wasn’t expecting to be so pleased by the bass, these are small in-ears after all. I listened to several of my favorite thumping tracks, like Black Orchid by The White Stripes, and the bass was noticeable to the point of sounding boosted. Purists might not like that, but for me it made an enjoyable listen. 

For the best possible listen, I’d definitely recommend pairing them with one of the best portable DACs or best hi-res audio players.

Sound quality score: 4.5/5

1More Penta Driver P50 review: design

The 1More Penta Driver P50 headphones with ear caps

(Image credit: 1More)
  • Unusual over-ear design
  • Great selection of ear tips
  • Very comfortable once you get the hang of them

The 1More Penta Driver P50 earbuds have a unique design. It’s a little like the earhook-style of buds like the Beats Powerbeats Pro, but there’s no moulded hook. Instead, you put the buds into your ears, then the cable goes over and behind your ear. This tucks the wire out of the way and means there’s better weight distribution and less likelihood they’ll come loose or fall out. 

However, as much as I got on with this design, it did take some getting used to. For the first few days of testing I had to fiddle with them when I wanted to use them, but I’m glad I persevered.

There’s a great selection of ear tips on offer. Some are made from a soft rubber, others from a soft silicone. I chose the smaller foam options and found they fit my ears perfectly, providing that all-important noise isolation.

The buds are made from aluminium and have a shiny, glittering exterior and a little 1More logo on them. These small touches and the unusual design contribute to these being a stylish-looking pair of buds. Although they’re not the smallest earbuds, at 21g they’re surprisingly dinky, especially when you learn they’re packed with five drivers.

Design score: 4/5

1More Penta Driver P50 review: value

The 1More Penta Driver P50 in a hand

(Image credit: Future)
  • Solid built that will last
  • Secure and comfortable fit
  • Sound better than they should at this price

With great sound, a solid build, secure design and powerful performance, the 1More Penta Driver P50 earbuds are good value. I particularly like the fact the cable is replaceable, meaning there’s likely going to be a longer lifespan here compared to rivals.

If you want high quality audio and don’t want to worry about battery life, or just prefer wired headphones for whatever reason, the 1More Penta Driver P50 are a solid option in our books. Especially considering you’d have to pay significantly more for the same sound, comfort and amount of drivers. Yes, there are much cheaper buds on the market, but none that tick all of the boxes like these do.

Value score: 4/5

Should I buy the 1More Penta Driver P50?

The 1More Penta Driver P50 on a textured background

(Image credit: Future)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Features:You get a 1.25m cable with MMCX connectors. There’s a USB-C adapter in the box too.4/5
Sound: Five drivers in the buds deliver powerful sound with surprising bass.4.5/5
Design: An unusual over-ear design that’s very comfortable once you get the hang of it and lots of ear tips to choose from.4/5
Value: Good value when you consider how much rivals cost and the performance and comfort you’re getting at this price. 4/5

Buy them if…

You want a pair of affordable wired earbuds
These aren’t budget buds, but they’re affordable when you consider how great they sound.

You have a portable DAC
Plug the 1More Penta Driver P50 earbuds into your DAC for the best possible sound.

You’ve struggled to find a secure fit in the past
These buds are secure and stable once you get their hang of their unusual design.

Don’t buy them if…

The convenience of true wireless is appealing
The cable can get tangled, if you want flexibility and ease true wireless is a better bit.

You want only the best audiophile-grade sound
Sound here is fantastic, but not the best you can buy – you’ll just have to pay more to truly beat it.

You want high-end features
Without Bluetooth or a dedicated app you don’t get the cool touches you’d expect from the best true wireless earbuds.

1More Penta Driver P50 review: also consider

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 1More Penta Driver P50SoundMagic E11CSennheiser IE 900
Drivers: Built-in DLC dynamic driver with 4 planar units10mm Neodymium dynamic driversSingle driver with 7mm transducers
Frequency: 20Hz to 40kHz15Hz to 22kHz5 Hz to 48,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ω42Ω18 Ω
Weight: 21g11g4g
Cable length:1.25m1.2m1.25m
Sensitivity: 105dB112dB 123dB
Image

SoundMagic E11C
If you’re looking for a cheaper wired option well and truly in the budget price bracket, the E11C from SoundMagic. Audio is just fine, audiophiles will absolutely need to look elsewhere, but they’ll do for casual listening. 

Read our full SoundMagic E11C review

Image

Sennheiser IE 900
The IE 300 above are going to suit more people, but if you want a high-end option with a high-end price tag to match the IE 900 offer excellent audio performance that will beat these 1More buds with a choice of cables.

Read our full Sennheiser IE 900 review

How I tested the 1More Penta Driver P50

The 1More Penta Driver P50 in a hand

(Image credit: Future)
  • Used the 1More Penta Driver P50 for two weeks
  • Tested with an iPhone 14 Pro
  • Used a mixture of Spotify and Tidal

I used the 1More Penta Driver P50 earbuds for two weeks across a range of scenarios, from working quietly at home to working out at the gym to taking an international flight. This was a good opportunity to put both comfort and stability, as well as noise isolation to the test. I’m happy to say they performed incredibly well on all fronts – much better than I was expecting.

I used an iPhone 14 Pro for testing and often used Spotify given I know it’s such a popular music streaming service. However, I tested with Tidal too in order to ensure these buds performed as well as I was expecting with HiRes FLAC tracks. 

How we test: Read TechRadar's reviews guarantee

First reviewed: September 2023

Becca Caddy

Becca is a contributor to TechRadar, a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than ten years, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality.