1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 review: cheap wireless earbuds with noise cancellation, detailed sound – and a few drawbacks

Want feature-packed earbuds for less than $50 / £50? Look no further

White and silver 1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds sitting in the charging case with the lid open. The case is sitting on a white marble-effect desk.
(Image: © Future / Cesci Angell)

TechRadar Verdict

The 1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds offer superb sound quality that you wouldn’t usually expect for such a low price, even before you fine-tune the equalizer settings. While the active noise cancellation isn’t perfect, it’s very good for a pair of budget buds. Aside from the disappointing battery life and the occasional touch-control issues, these headphones are impressive, and they’re a steal for the price.


  • +

    Good sound quality

  • +

    Durable design

  • +

    Multipoint pairing


  • -

    Minor iPhone app issues

  • -

    Disappointing battery life

  • -

    Hit-and-miss touch controls

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

1More PistonBuds Pro Q30: Two-minute review

The 1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds pack in an impressive number of features that make them a tempting purchase at their $49.99 / £39.99 (approx AU$75) asking price. While some of these features don’t always work perfectly, they perform adequately for the price, but it’s the sound quality that really impresses.

The case feels solid and, even in white, has stood the test of time in use for me – and they weren’t given an easy ride. The materials used don’t scream cheap-and-cheerful – the matte finish on the outer case is tactile and has proven to be durable, and the buds themselves feel well made.

The only slight downsides in terms of the design are that the PistonBuds Pro Q30 may not prove the most comfortable fit for those with petite ears due to their wide and shallow inner ear stalks. And the touch detection area on the earbud posts is rather small, making it tricky to use the touch controls at times.

These earbuds are definitely a welcome upgrade over their predecessors, the 1More PistonBuds Pro, and could prove the ideal purchase for those on a limited budget. Especially if you still want great sound quality and the ability to fine-tune your listening experience, whether that’s through the 12 different equalizer presets or by creating your own custom EQ.

While it would be unfair to expect top-performing active noise cancellation for this price, the ANC on offer is more than adequate, capable of blocking out a fair level of ambient noise and effective in tuning out consistent distractions such as aircon humming.

The battery life on offer is also perfectly adequate. It’s certainly nothing to get excited about, and it’s disappointing that during my testing the earbuds weren’t able to make it to the claimed seven and a half hours of continuous playtime, instead lasting just under seven hours. If listening for long hours is a priority for you, but you don’t want to shell out on higher-end headphones, then check out our best wireless earbuds guide for some alternatives. Alternatively, if you’re looking for earbuds that are better suited to petite ears, take a look at our best earbuds for small ears guide.

A top-down view of white and silver PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds in their open case.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 review: Price and release date

  • Released in December 2023
  • List price: $49.99 / £39.99 (about AU$75)

Released at the end of of 2023 as a welcome upgrade over their predecessors – the mediocre sound of which we touched on in our 1More PistonBuds Pro review – the 1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 promised to deliver more in the form of additional active noise cancellation capabilities, customizable EQ settings, and upgraded Bluetooth 5.3 LE Audio. And this is all despite being one of the cheapest offerings from the 1More range, coming in at $49.99 / £39.99.

The PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds are currently available in the USA, Europe, and Japan, but at the time of writing they don’t appear to be available in Australia.

1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 review: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
TypeWireless earbuds
Drivers10mm DLC Dynamic Driver
Codecs supportedSBC, AAC
Active noise cancellationANC, WNR, Adaptive
Claimed battery life7.5 hours (buds) 30 hours (with case)
Weight0.16oz (4.6g) per earbud, 1.55oz (44g) total weight
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3
App supportYes

1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 review: Features

  • Multiple noise-cancelling modes
  • 12 presets and customizable EQ
  • Battery life could be better

1More certainly hasn’t held back when it comes to the number of features on offer from these earbuds – especially given the price. While some of these features can be a little hit-and-miss at times, on the whole the PistonBuds Pro Q30 offer a great listening experience.

The touch controls work fine, although it took me a while to perfect the adjustment technique due to the small touch-sensitive area on the earbud post – even after using the earbuds for several months, I was still struggling to hit the target every time. It’s worth noting that my long gel nails may also have played a part in this, as it further reduced the contact from my fingertip – so if you happen to have nails on the fabulous side you may find buds with a post-less design, like the JLab Go Air Pop, more user-friendly.

Photo of a hand holding one of the PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds by its post, showing the small touch control area.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

The 1More Music app is straightforward to use and houses a bunch of useful features – quite an impressive stack of them, in fact, considering the price of the earbuds. If you like to fine-tune your listening experience, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a decent range of 12 equalizer presets, plus you have the option to customize EQ the setting too. There is a little bit of lag when switching between presets on my iPhone 12 Pro, with the app taking a couple of seconds to catch up, but it’s only a minor inconvenience.

Another little frustration is the display of the EQ presets. Half of the options are displayed too far to the right of the screen so, while you’re still able to select the preset, you can’t read what it is. This doesn’t make them redundant, though, as once selected, the EQ preset name is displayed at the top of the screen, and you’ll likely learn where each of them sits. This issue wasn't present on the iPad app.

At first, I couldn’t get the earbuds to connect to my iPad without first going into my iPhone settings to unpair them. In contrast, higher-priced alternatives such as the Marshall Motif II A.N.C will allow you to connect to more than one device without manually adjusting the settings. When I explored the app further, I found an Experimental Features section hiding in the top-right menu, which has a dual-device connection feature, and after enabling this I was able to connect to my iPad and iPhone simultaneously with standard Bluetooth multi-point pairing.

Smart Playback, which is 1More’s wear-detection feature, works fairly well for the most part – but occasionally, the music doesn’t resume once you’ve put the earbuds back in. If you want more control over when your music starts or stops, there are options to set the earbuds to Auto-Pause & Play, Auto-Pause Only, or No Smart Playback. At times, however, either turning off smart playback didn’t work, or the touch controls were overly sensitive when putting the buds in my ears, as this sometimes set the music off.

Despite this, without fail, even with Smart Playback off, the earbuds still detected when I’d taken them out of my ears, and turned off the active noise cancellation. The ANC is automatically re-enabled when you put the earbuds back in your ears, which is helpful when it comes to preserving battery life.

Both 1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 buds lying on a marble effect desktop. The top of the earbud has a microphone, and the speaker and silicone tip are toward the front. The left earbud post shows the letter L, and the right shows the letter R.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

The active noise cancellation performance is good for the price. Some cheaply priced earbuds can sound like the volume has just been bumped up when ANC is enabled, but this is not the case with the PistonBuds Pro Q30. The Strong ANC setting does an okay job of filtering out a lot of office noise, like chatter, mouse clicks, or keys clacking, but most notably it did a fantastic job of filtering out bass-range sounds, such as the loud humming from the air-con system above me.

Unfortunately, a white-noise-like effect from the ANC itself is sometimes noticeable in the background of quieter tracks. Pass-through mode, which is supposed to enable you to hear your surroundings and keep up with conversation while your music is playing, has a background hum similar to airplane cabin white noise. Some users may be better at tuning this out, and I was able to after a little while, but it’s worth noting that it’s nowhere near as natural-sounding as the same feature in the likes of the Sony WF-C700N or Nothing Ear (a).

I was also impressed with the clarity and prominence of my voice over the built-in microphones. It’s always hard to accurately judge the quality of the microphones during calls due to the number of variables, such as connection quality, but I did find that I had to switch back to my handset when making a call on a windy April afternoon, as the recipient couldn’t hear me through the wind noise. When testing in controlled conditions, however, the microphones in these earbuds performed miles better than those in similarly priced earbuds such as the Speck Gemtones Play.

Unfortunately, the battery life underperformed during testing. The earbuds survived for just under seven hours, even though 1More claims the PistonBuds Pro Q30 will play continuously for seven and a half hours with the ANC off. During testing, the battery life of the earbuds was reduced to just over five hours when Spatial Audio was enabled, although this was at least as advertised. While this isn’t the end of the world if you don’t intend to listen for hours at a time, if you enjoy listening to music all day without having to pause to charge the buds or if you want ANC or spatial audio on, these may not have the longevity you need.

  • Features score: 4/5

White and silver 1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds sitting in the charging case with the lid open. The case is sitting on a white marble-effect desk.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 review: Sound quality

  • Great sound quality for the price
  • Impressive level of detail
  • Volume levels don’t disappoint

When it comes to sound quality, the PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds certainly hold their own. The bass isn’t overpowering, and they don’t struggle with the treble either. These earbuds pack a punch, and are generous when it comes to volume level, too.  

The difference in volume level was particularly evident when compared to the Speck Gemtones Play earbuds. When following the TechRadar testing protocols and playing our curated tracklist on repeat at 50% volume, the sound coming from the Gemtones Play was barely audible, whereas the PistonBuds Pro Q30 sounded like mini Bluetooth speakers when they were on my desk.

These earbuds deliver a nice level of detail. Listening to Rains Again by Soliji was a great experience. The rainfall that punctuates the beginning of the track is clear enough that it doesn’t mush together into static, and you can hear so much detail in the vocals. They had no issues handling the treble of the high vocal notes either, even on the default EQ setting, which some budget earbuds can struggle with.

Continuing with the default Studio EQ preset, when listening to St. Thomas by Sonny Rollins the earbuds provide impressive detail again, picking up subtleties in the physical impact of the drums being hit – when the Acoustic EQ preset was selected and Spatial Audio enabled, it sounded like I was right there in the room with the band.

The same preset also skillfully handled the raw and high-hitting vocals of the Moloko track I Want You. Further fine-tuning can be achieved by selecting other presets, with Lounge, in particular, delivering satisfying results – the earbuds did well to keep up with the massive variety of instruments, vocals, and synths that are thrown at them on this track. 

It’s impressive that the PistonBuds Pro Q30 can deliver an all-round good-quality listening experience, even on the default EQ preset, meaning that it’s possible to feel relatively satisfied without having to mess about with different settings. This has previously proven a problem with other earbuds in this price range, as they aren’t always capable of delivering crisp vocals while maintaining dynamic sound from other elements.

  • Sound quality score: 4/5

The back of the 1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds, showing the silver-tipped white posts, with a small raised touch-control area and the 1More logo in silver.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 review: Design

  • Available in two colors
  • Good build quality
  • Comfortable to wear

The PistonBuds Pro Q30 are available in black and gold, or white and silver, with a matching case. I was given the white and silver earbuds to review, and, to be honest,I was a little disappointed that I didn’t receive the black and gold version – mostly because that color combination is one of my favorite things, but also because white cases have the potential to get grubby, fast.

It’s been a pleasant surprise, however, to find that after several months of being transferred between pockets and bags or left out in various locations, the case still looks good, other than a few minor scrape marks, which is forgivable after so many months of being thrown into bags and pockets with house keys, and the like. Unlike the black Speck Gemtones Play case, which showed signs of wear within the first hour, the PistonBuds Pro Q30 case has proved itself to be durable, even in white. 

The majority of the case has a matte finish, with a glossy top panel that bears the 1More logo. This is a nice detail, but it does show fingerprints when it catches the light. There’s a small indicator light on the front panel that displays a green light if the case is over 80% charged, amber if the charge is anywhere above 20%, or red if the charge has fallen below 20%.

The hinged lid feels sturdy, while still being easy to open and close. Cases that open this easily always make me a little nervous, but I didn’t experience any issues with it – and even if the case were to open up in my bag, the magnets in the case do a great job of keeping hold of the earbuds, even when the case is given a good shake.

Image shows an open PistonBuds Pro Q30 case lying on its back in a marble-effect desktop. You can see the magnets inside the case that help to hold the earbuds in place.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

The build quality of the earbuds themselves is satisfactory. The white and silver variation features a mostly gloss finish apart from the satin-finished silver section at the top of the post, and the little 1More logo on the middle of the post. When it comes to weight, these earbuds are pretty standard, at 4.6g per bud, making them comfortably light to wear. 

The touch controls are located on the earbud posts, and they’re not as easy to use as the controls on traditional bud-shaped headphones like the JLab Go Air Pop earbuds due to the limited surface area. They also lack a single-tap function, which is disappointing. As default, the touch controls are set to play or pause the track being played with a double tap, and launch your device's voice assistant with a triple tap.

The case is charged via a USB-C cable – a short charging cable is included in the box, and this plugs into the bottom of the case. This is fairly standard placement across other earbuds, but personally I’d prefer the charging port to be on the back of the case; this would then make it possible to place the case upright on a surface when the cable's plugged in, making it easier to take the earbuds out or replace them while the case is charging.

  • Design score: 4/5

Image shows the base of the 1more PistonBuds Q30 case with a USB-C charging port in the centre.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 review: Value

  • Great audio performance for a budget price
  • Disappointing earbud battery life
  • Durable, good-quality design

You’re getting a lot more than you pay for with the PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds. The sound quality is beyond impressive for the sub-$50 price tag, and I can’t rave about this enough. Even considering the battery life issues and tricky touch controls, thanks to the decent ANC performance and fantastic audio, these earbuds are excellent value for money. There are alternative options in the same price range that can offer longer battery life, but few compete with these earbuds when it comes to sound quality.

  • Value score: 4.5/5

Image shows the 1more PistonBuds Q30 case, which is white with a matte finish.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

Should I buy the 1More PistonBuds Pro Q30?

Swipe to scroll horizontally
FeaturesMulti-point pairing, decent ANC, and Smart Playback options are all good – but battery life drops the score.4/5
Sound qualityWhile it would be unreasonable to compare these to higher-end headphones, the sound quality on offer is incredible for the price.4/5
DesignLightweight and durable, even in white, the case and earbuds have proven themselves worthy after months of use. The small touch-control area makes for tricky operation, though.4/5
Value The quantity and quality of features on offer here make these earbuds excellent value for money, especially considering the fantastic sound quality.4.5/5

Buy them if...

You want high-quality sound for less

Without doubt, these earbuds deliver great-quality sound. Beautiful detail and clear, crisp vocals make for a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.

You want to fine-tune your listening experience

With 12 varied equalization presets and the option to create your own custom preset, these earbuds allow you to optimize your listening experience.

You’re on a budget

There are lots of budget options on the market, but the range of features you get here, as well as the sound quality, makes them genuinely great value.

Don't buy them if...

You want to listen all day without pausing to charge

When listening without active noise cancellation, these earbuds didn’t achieve the advertised 7.5 hours of playtime. They struggled to play for seven hours, and when ANC was enabled this was reduced to five hours.

You need reliable touch controls

While they are functional, the small touch-sensitive areas on the earbud posts aren’t user-friendly. You’ll need a good aim to hit the target each time, and what can feel like a mis-placed tap can still register when you attempt a double-tap again a moment later.

1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 review: Also consider

Swipe to scroll horizontally
1More PistonBuds Pro Q30SONY WF-C700NCMF By Nothing Buds
Price$49.99 / £39.99 (approx. AU$75)$119 / £99 / AU$199$39 / £39 (approx. AU$60)
Active noise cancellationYesYesYes
Quoted battery life 7.5 hours (buds) 30 hours (plus case) ANC off. 5 hours (buds) 20 hours (plus case) ANC on 7.5 hours (buds) 15 hours (plus case) ANC on8 hours (buds) 35.5 hours (plus case) ANC off. 5.5 hours (buds) 24 hours (plus case) ANC on
Weight4.6g per earbud, 44g total weight4.6g per earbud, approx. 40g total weight4.6g per earbud, 44g total weight
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.2Bluetooth 5.3


If you have a little more to spend, consider these ergonomic earbuds. They offer excellent immersive 360 Reality Audio that really impressed us during testing. They also offer optimizable Adaptive Sound Control, enabling you to set the level of ANC deployed depending on your environment or activity. Read more about the praise these earbuds received in our full Sony WF-C700N review.


CMF By Nothing Buds

If you want something slightly cheaper that offers a little more playtime, these earbuds could do the trick, especially if you enjoy a bright and sleek design. As we outlined in our CMF By Nothing Buds review, the cheaper price does mean you have to compromise on the sound and ANC quality, but the crisp vocals make them a great choice for podcasts.

How I tested the 1More PistonBuds Pro Q30

  • Tested for five months
  • Tested at home, in the office, on walks, and commuting
  • Used to listen to music, podcasts, and YouTube content

I tested the 1More PistonBuds Pro Q30 earbuds over the course of five months. I tested them according to our TechRadar standardized testing, including listening to a curated playlist so that I could fairly compare different earbuds, checking the quality of the microphones, and real-world measurement of battery life.

I tested the wearability, sound quality, and features by using them to listen to music, podcasts, and YouTube content whilst at home, in the office, commuting, and generally when out and about.

Read more about how we test.

  • First reviewed: May 2024
Cesci Angell
Staff Writer

Cesci is a Reviews Staff Writer for TechRadar. She writes in-depth reviews based on her real-world testing across a variety of categories, but has a particularly keen interest in home tech, and has written features and reviews about gadgets ranging from headphones to smart lights to graphics tablets. She also has a broad range of experience from working in different industries, from sustainable materials and packaging to skin care.