Tribit MoveBuds H1
Tribit MoveBuds H1 Review
I currently don’t include sports earbuds in my regular listening rotation. The recently arrived $89.99 Tribit MoveBuds H1 also failed to make the cut despite impressive audio and environmental specifications—they simply do not fit.
Note on price: At the time of posting this review, Tribit listed the MoveBuds H1 on their site at $89.99 without a discount. Amazon listed them at $89.99 as well but showed that price as a discount from a $119.99 list price.
True wireless earbuds, for the most part, fit into an ear canal without worrying about the overall shape of the ear. Some include wings to flesh out their shape and fill space for improved sound isolation. I’m not a fan of ear wings by the way.
Loops, however, must work with the entire ear. And for my ears, they don’t work. The loops are usually too short, and that is the case for the Tribit MoveBuds H1, which means tension between the loop and the earbud resulted in the earbud being pulled from the ear canal.
There is no solution for a fit issue, as the rigid top of the earloop offers no give. It’s like putting on a shoe a size too small in hopes that it will stretch.
The biggest issue with earbuds that offer over-the-ear loops is you can’t try the fit before purchase like you can a shoe, which may result in more returns.
I do understand some people need the earloops or really want them to protect their listening investment when performing strenuous tasks. Those people may need to play with a few designs and process a few returns before finding a pair that fit.
Unfortunately for me, and I tested this with a couple of vendors in-person at CES, I have tall ears that place the heart of the listening experience—the earbud and its speakers—too high to make a consistent seal. Even open-ear solutions, like Cleer’s Edge, sit well above my auditory canal compared to their marketing images.
With all of that, the Tribit MoveBuds H1 still offer good sound, impressive water resistance, and long battery life. For those they fit, they may well be a solid sub-$100 buy. I wish they fit because I would love to have a pair of “sports” buds in rotation, but the annoying tendency to pull the eartips from my ear canals distracts from my listening pleasure.
What we like
- Long battery life
- aptX support
- Great water resistance rating (IPX8)
I recently wore the Tribit MoveBuds H1 during a long mulching afternoon. After four hours of moving bag after bag of mulch around my yard in the rain, bending over as water poured over my Seahawks cap while I split them open with a utility knife and poured their fibrous guts over my lichen and moss-covered soil, the IPX8 MoveBuds were still going. Soaked and soiled, they kept on playing.
The company rates playtime at an impressive 15 hours of continuous listening.
So points for battery life and water resistance.
As for sound, Tribit included aptX for those with Android and other devices that support it, along with Bluetooth® 5.2 for superior wireless sound. As a primarily Apple user, I can’t hear the subtleties of aptX from my AAC experience, but the inclusion of the standard demonstrates sound-forward design goals. The company also integrated CVC 8.0 to reduce noise on calls and video conferences.
When pushing the earbuds into my ear canals, I found the sound pleasant and rich. There is no more genre-hopping experience than listening to Linda Ronstadt’s Greatest Hits, and the MoveBuds H1 performed well from the Aaron Neville pop duet of All My Life to the moving Long Long Time to the rocky Heat Wave and Someone to Lay Down Beside Me.
It’s just too bad that the clearly good sound isn’t my default experience because the earbuds pull out of my ear canals as the rigid ear loop pulls them up and back.
On-device controls include track and volume control, transparency mode, and call answering.
Tribit includes a USB-A to USB-C cable to charge the earbud case.
What could be improved
- Very large charging case
- Poor ear fit (at least for me)
- Requirement to sign-in to the app
I don’t think there is an engineering solution for the MoveBuds H1s that will solve the fundamental fit problem, not at a sub-$120 price. Any extras, in terms of service or materials, will drive up costs.
I did not find any value in transparency mode for earbuds that don’t have Active Noise Cancelation (ANC). The company touts this as a safety feature, but I didn’t find much difference to the listening experience regardless of the transparency setting—which is usually an almost shocking auditory departure for earbuds with ANC.
The Tribit app was generally unreliable when wearing the earbuds. It often fails to connect to the earbuds, which is its primary task.
Further, I don’t like apps for hardware that require a sign-in. There is nothing Tribit needs to know about its users to service firmware or configure their earbuds. I highly suggest that they move this tracking feature immediately and make it an opt-in for those who want a deeper relationship with the company.
I would like to see Tribit flip its case design so the right earbud is on the right side of the case. A minor issue but one that distracts from the overall experience.
And speaking of the case…this is a large case, a very large case as cases go these days. The case, of course, contributes significantly to the long extended battery life and is required to hold the large earbuds, but buyers will need to consider pocket contours when planning a run. For this size of case, I would also expect Qi charging, but Tribit did not include that feature.
And with many devices from China, the software and the marketing would both benefit from a native English speaker making an edit pass. I’m not sure, for instance, what genre the Antiquity EQ setting is intended for or how the Music setting differentiates from all the other music-oriented EQ settings—and while the marketing gets the main points across, it wouldn’t pass a basic copy edit in a marketing class, especially the text associated with the Amazon listing.
I would also like to see Tribit adopt paper-based internal packaging or recyclable plastic to replace its non-recyclable internal blister pack. Otherwise, the packaging was mostly paper-based.
Tribit MoveBuds H1: The bottom line
Because of the fit issues, I can’t evaluate the Tribit MoveBuds H1 with the same rigor as other earbuds. To get the best sound, I had to hold the earbuds in my ear canal, which isn’t a good user experience. When doing that, they sounded pretty good, with a rich tone and broad sound stage, but as soon as I removed my fingers, the sound isolation failed, and the earbuds pulled from my ear canals, making the sound distant and disconnected. No amount of long battery life or water resistance is going to make up for earbuds that don’t fit.
Tribit provided the MoveBuds H1 for review. Images courtesy of Tribit unless otherwise noted.
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