Boasting BT5.2 with multi-device support, the EVO ticks all the boxes for a modern TWS earphone, more so than many premium models too. The pairing process is simplified by having a dedicated button on the case and the earphones connect quickly and without additional steps like Sennheiser’s MTW range. Once paired, they auto-reconnect in a matter of seconds, providing convenient operation during daily use without issue. You can indeed use them independently and, when connected to two devices, they will seamlessly transmit audio from one or the other – you just have to enable this via the 1More Music app first. The audio cues are also much improved over the ANC TWS as it no longer gives long voice promps but simple chimes that are far less obtrusive during use.
Like its predecessor, the EVO relies on touch controls but forgoes the combination of tap gestures and physical buttons for pure touch and hold touch controls. This somewhat simplifies operation and doesn’t upset the fit as much during use. Holding either side for 1.5s toggles through ANC, aware and ANC off modes with accompanying audio chimes. In addition, double and triple tapping the faceplates permit play/pause and skip track or play/pause and smart assistant toggle. Unfortunately, this is the only setting you can change in the app, you cannot assign custom functions to each specific gesture, only toggle between presets. Otherwise, the touch controls are very reliable and responsive enough that they never irked me during day to day use, a marked improvement over the ANC TWS. I found they had a nigh perfect hit rate due to the large touch-sensitive area and I never found myself struggling to activate the function I wanted. That said, they did take a little longer to activate functions than Sennheiser, Sony and Google competitors.
1More Music App
Perhaps owing to a new chipset, the EVO has hugely expanded functionality using the accompanying 1More app. To be aware that there are two apps, the older app offers a basic player UI and burn-in whilst the new 1More Music app provides further functions for the earphones. This includes toggling between 3 ANC modes, 2 aware modes and overall noise cancelling being on or off. You get OTA updates, a digital user manual and limited touch control customisation (2 presets only). There are two connectivity toggles, one for LDAC support and one for multi-point. It appears strange that these aren’t enabled from factory. However, as LDAC does prioritise quality, it can affect reliability which some users may not prefer. Thankfully, once turned on, the settings stick and you are able to uninstall the app without it affecting these features if you are opposed to bloatware.
One of the most discussed new features is SoundID which is a sort of custom eQ. It’s an interesting feature that will be familiar to anyone who’s taken an eye exam before. The listener chooses a track that loops throughout the process. The app presents two eQ presets A and B, and the listener simply chooses which they prefer. After a few repetitions, the app produces a fully customised preset based on all of your sum preferences throughout. It does make a profound difference and you can get a substantial boost in bass, clarity or both should you choose. The downside is that the changes are so large, it lacks fine-grain control as would have been provided by a manual 5 or 10-band eQ. It would be nice to have both available in the app, however, I can see general consumers enjoying the more coloured sound provided by SoundID and it does make the process very user friendly.
When the ANC TWS was released, budget ANC earphones were really not very good at all. Only Sony, Apple and Bose had truly cracked the code for proper, useable ANC in an in-ear form factor that could be considered superior to a sealed, passively isolating design. 1More, however, was very close on their heels and this was one of the most impressive features of that in-ear. The same can be said for the EVO which features even greater potency and improved refinement. If Sony and Bose’s top-end ANC in-ears cancel 90% of ambient noise, consider the EVO to be a very close 80%; they get very close in terms of effectiveness and feel. I found the ANC TWS excelled most with low-frequency sounds, an area where the EVO matches its predecessor.
The main difference is that the EVO cancels out voices and high frequency sounds to a higher degree alongside passively isolating better which compounds this effect. They still don’t quite match my personal benchmark, the WF-1000XM4. Specifically, the Sony’s do a slightly better job with voices and there is a noticeable difference with high-frequency noise attenuation. Part of this may be due to the Sony’s use of more isolating foam tips as when installing a pair on the EVO, the two were surprisingly evenly matched. However, neither provided head-pounding pressure nor was either prone to artefacts. I found the EVO excellent for commute and workouts, no doubt, they would be a great travel companion too.
Another benefit over its predecessor is the expanded ANC modes. ANC itself has 4 settings up from two. There are mild and high settings and now a third wind noise reduction mode. The mid and high settings are quite self-explanatory, there’s just a slight pressure on the high setting that is completely absent on the mild setting, but ANC efficacy is reduced noticeably. The WNR setting works similarly to Sony’s implementation. Once it picks up wind noise, the ANC samples the noise for a second and proceeds to cancel it out, reducing the buffeting you get with ANC on the other settings. This does, however, come at the cost of less overall attenuation as the efficacy drops about 50%, slightly lower than the mild setting. This is also true for Sony’s considerably more expensive model and is to be expected. Finally, there’s an adaptive setting that is intended to toggle between the other three intelligently. I didn’t find it to effectively scale with my surroundings, for instance, when cycling in front of a fan, the WNR mode didn’t activate. It does scale in intensity based on ambient noise but the unreliable WNR meant it wasn’t my preference for daily use. I was happy having the options in the app or simply leaving it on high.
The pass-through on the ANC TWS was a good performer, more potent than many competitors yet not quite as natural as class leaders like Sennheiser and Apple. The EVO is about the same, it doesn’t quite provide the same clarity and volume as premium competitors but is sufficient to hear your surroundings or have a close conversation without removing the earphones. If someone is a fair distance away, you likely won’t be able to make out what they’re saying which isn’t an issue I have on the Sony’s, Airpods Pros or MTW. The new voice enhancement setting does a decent job but was still lacking clarity for my liking.
It doesn’t let in as much ambient noise as the vanilla pass-through setting but highlights voices to a similar degree. This is great for announcements or having a conversation whilst filtering out background noise. As before, I do wish there was a shortcut to pass through for quick conversations. For instance, you can hold the touch panel on the Sony’s for instant pass-through whereas on the EVO, you have to toggle through 2 other settings, each with a 1.5s hold. Besides this, the performance bump in both ANC and Pass-through is immediately apparent and the added customizability is key on the EVO, as it offers a lot more flexibility than its predecessor. Paired with a more responsive control scheme, it is undoubtedly an upgrade in convenience too.
In my ANC TWS review, I found it provided firmly good call quality and ambient noise cancellation but was still a step down in performance from class leaders. I have found that you generally do have to pay more if you want the full package and that generally call quality is where the cheaper alternatives falter. The EVO isn’t a bad performer and is well above average in this regard. In quiet settings, almost any earphone can produce a good result for call quality. However, in loud environments, many falter. I did find that in any of these situations where the Sony’s produced discernible results, the EVO too was clear enough for the recipient. However, it just wasn’t quite as clear as the Sony. If you don’t need a headset, the EVO is a versatile choice as its call quality is good even in loud environments despite lacking the clarity of the very best. My chief complaint is that you can’t active the pass-through mode when in calls which makes for a more natural talking experience.
Compared to its predecessor, the EVO lasts about 50% longer, quick charges twice as fast and offers the same 3.5x additional runtime from the included charging case. This is hugely commendable given the similarly substantial drop in size on both the earphones and case. This equates to around 8hrs of listening without ANC and 5.5hrs with ANC active. In use, I found these numbers to be reliable similar to the ANC TWS and was able to just match the 5.5hr figure when listening at low volumes connected over LDAC. The earphones claim 4hrs of playback with just a 15-minute charge.