Current testing methodology is v1.2
June 13, 2022
4.45 x 4.06 x 1.65 in
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I love it when a review is easy to write.
The Donner Dobuds One arrived in the mail and I actually had no idea who they were from, but it turned out that Donner had sent them to me asking me to give my opinion on them so, here is my unbiased view.
Like many things, I go into it optimistically, but usually, in the first listen, I’m pretty disappointed.
A few things have surprised me lately, such as the OneOdio Monitor 80 studio headphones, and the Dobuds One from Donner have certainly taken the second spot.
I was super excited when I got them so before we go in to detail, here’s the breakdown.
Donner Dobuds ONE TWS Active Noise-Canceling Earbuds
Balanced Armature Driver + Dynamic Driver in a True Wireless earbuds with ANC = Awesome
Donner have launched their audio line with a cracker. Normally, they stay in the space of musical instruments but the Dobuds ONE have come out the gate swinging at the competition.
The Balanced Armature and Dynamic driver combo make for a really nice, fat bottom end with detailing through the highs and mids.
These are the best budget ANC TWS I’ve heard in the last 2 years, easy.
- Transmission Distance: ≥10M
- Bluetooth Version: 5.2
- Battery Capacity: 55mAh(Earbuds), 520mAh(Charging Box)
- Charging Time: ≥1.5H
- Charging Interface: Type C
- Working Time: 8H(ANC Off), 6.5H(ANC On)
- Standby Time: 32H(Earbuds: 8H+Charging Box: 24H)
What’s in the Box?
- 1 x Dobuds ONE Earbuds
- 5 x EarTips (XS/S/M/L/XL）(more than you’ll get from any competitor)
- 1 x Type-C Charging Cable
- 1 x User manual (which I read)
- x First time use card (this was handy)
Stuff I like
- Good fit and comfort
- Decent battery life and charging case
- Rich mids
- Deep, full bass
- Nice balance of BA and Dynamic drivers
- They look pretty good
- Nice slim case
- External touch sensitive pads work pretty well and are big enough to touch without effort
- XS, S, M, L, XL Tips all included
Stuff I like less
- Some might not like the pink silicon tips on the white, although they disappear in your ears and they have two other colors including black
- External buttons can be accidentally touched – it’s rare but common on these types of touch pads
- No auto pause on removal from your ears
- Mid bass can be wearing depending on genre over time
Where to get it
Comparable products to consider
The UGREEN UGREEN HiTune X6 Earbuds were my favourite budget ANC TWS earbuds until the Donner knocked them off the top pick but they are still a really nice budget pair of TWS earbuds with active noise-canceling.
The battery life is excellent, the ANC respectable and fit is good. They also look good.
I would put these up against the Donner Dobuds One as a close competitor.
See our full UGREEN X6 review
First impressions on the Donner Dobuds One
I was super excited when I got them because I could immediately see on the side of the box that they were a hybrid dual driver, true wireless, active noise-canceling earbud. There are not many brands that can boast to have both a balanced armature and dynamic driver in a set of active noise-canceling true wireless earbuds right now.
So, with that excitement, I cracked them open and have given them a good listen over the last week for listening periods from anywhere from 30 minutes up to about 3 or 4 hours.
Not only is the box well put together and the unboxing experience nice with a handy little quick start guide, but the case itself is a really nice matte finish slim pillbox size, with three LED lights on the front, a USB-C charger at the back, and when you open it up, obviously, you’ve got the two earbuds inside.
The first thing that hit me was that the silicone tips are like a soft baby pink color, but I don’t think that’ll put too many people off and once they’re in your ear, you won’t even notice them.
Included in the box is the charging case, the two wireless earbuds, a USB-C charging cable that’s quite short, as well as eight….four pairs of spare silicone ear tips.
That makes 5 pairs total which no other brand will give with budget TWS earbuds right now.
There are XS/S/M/L/XL and the set that came fitted are the medium.
Also included is a manual, which for a change I actually read this time because I have been finding that in a lot of the true wireless earbuds the control patterns on each earbud are different from earbud to earbud brand.
Pairing and connectivity
Pairing these was a doddle. You just open the case, leave it open and it will be made available to your device. There is a button on the inside of the case, but that’s actually for resetting them.
So, once your phone finds them and you connect from there on, it’s really easy. Every time I’ve taken them out of the case and put them in my ears they’ve paired effortlessly and the range is excellent.
I have a routine where I will walk from my desk in the office out to the kitchen and generally, that’s a good range test for wireless earbuds and these held a strong signal all the way.
If you do go out of range with these, they give you a beeping noise every four or five seconds which can become tiresome, but it does remind you that you are out of range.
The outside of each earbud, of course, has a touch-sensitive pad, which I found good because it’s of a size that is easy to tap with your fingers. It’s not sculpted, it is just flat, but it’s pretty easy to find and get your fingers on.
Each earbud does a slightly different action. If you tap once on the left volume down, on the right volume up.
On the left, two taps will do the same thing which is pick up, answer a call, hang up a phone call, or pause and play. So, a double tap is pause and play. Three taps on the left activate a microphone, and three taps on the right activate the mode. Actually, I got that backward. Three taps on the left will give you your voice assistant, and three taps on the right will give you your different modes.
And those different modes are active noise-canceling on, transparency mode, or normal mode. If you press and hold on either one, you will get a skip function or an ignore call. So, if a call is coming in and you don’t want to answer it, hold your finger on the button for one-and-a-half seconds and the call will skip.
Battery life of the Donner Dobuds One
These things have about an eight-hour earbud life span with the active noise-canceling off and about six-and-a-half hours with the active noise-canceling on.
With the charging case, of course, you can do repeat charges which will bring it up to about 32 hours of use with the active noise-canceling off, and 26 hours with it on. The charge time is around one-and-a-half hours which is not the quickest, but certainly, all you need.
And, the Bluetooth on this is 5.2 sound quality. So, that’s really all there is to say about unboxing the accessories that you get and the overall functionality of these Donner Dobuds One. And now it’s really worth getting into the sound quality.
Donner Dobuds iPhone App – Companion Software
The Dobuds One have a great companion app. For the price these things just continue to surprise me.
The app lets you control the ANC settings, EQ and the touch controls. You can also set it to Game Mode and more.
In this video I walk you through the Donner Dobuds App – it’s called Donner Control on the Apple App Store.
Donner Dobuds One Soundstage
As I mentioned earlier, I was super excited to try an active noise-canceling true wireless earbud that had both a balanced armature and a dynamic driver built into it.
Having extensive experience with in-ear monitors and having a favorable disposition towards balanced armature drivers, I was pretty keen to see how warm or how sharp, how deep, and how high these things went.
The closest affordable unit that I had reviewed, which I really enjoyed doing was the UGREEN HiTune X6 earbuds which I thought for the price were really quite impressive.
But as soon as I put in these Donner Dobuds One, I definitely felt like I had gone to a different level. Even the little banjo noise that plays to tell you that you’ve touched the buttons is quite acoustically pleasing.
The first thing that I was listening to most of all was rock music and some heavy rock which is quite a genre that I enjoy. And I find that sometimes earbuds can be tuned well for them, or not tuned well for that genre.
Immediately these were rich and warm, tight, deep bottom end, lovely crisp mids, and some tasty highs. I wasn’t listening particularly to the soundstage at this point, but just the overall general hearing.
I then switched to Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits,” which gives a really good impression of the soundstage, and a really nice depth from the bottom end through the vocals and then up high.
There is a bit of compression in the mid-range, but for an active noise-canceling earbud, this is something that I would expect.
The dynamic driver and the balanced armature driver play off each other beautifully with that dynamic driver bringing some good deep bottom end and the balanced armature bringing some warmth, detailing and some tightness to it all.
So, while overall it definitely feels a little processed and like there’s a little bit of compression around the edges, the overall experience is really quite enjoyable. I wouldn’t say it sounds natural, but it definitely feels impactful.
It’s almost at times like sitting in an environment with some really nice speakers around you, maybe not bookshelves or anything, but definitely a nice, full soundscape.
Not too dissimilar to what I would liken to the Sony sound range.
Bass really shines. It’s not inflated, it doesn’t go too loose at any points of the songs. It stays tight and it holds everything together. And, it is definitely part of why I love these true wireless earbuds so much.
This one sound particularly complimentary, but I don’t know if you’ve ever walked into a restaurant or a café and they’ve had or even a record store and they’ve had music playing and it just sounds really nice. Like you feel like you’re at home.
There’s bass but it’s not like blaring at you. It’s not too loud and not too soft. There are no screeching mids and trebles, that kind of experience is what you feel when you put the Donner Dobuds One in your ears.
Over really long listening sessions, the mid-bass does start to take up quite a lot of space and feel a little fatiguing, but I’m really talking about quite long listening periods.
For commutes of less than an hour-and-a-half or listening sessions of less than an hour-and-a-half, there’s very little doubt that these will keep you smiling.
The mids are separated really nicely from the rest of the soundstage almost to the point where the bass, and then the mid-bass, and then the mids where the vocals are sitting, and all of the keys and guitar work is happening.
And then the treble, there’s almost like there’s quite a distinct separation like you step between each of the kind of key frequency points, from mids to highs. And, there are little bits in the middle that maybe aren’t there, which kind of adds to this extension of the soundstage. I’m not sure if that’s a criticism or a compliment.
The mids with those vocals always is very separated from the bottom end, which I really enjoy. Although sometimes that does give you that feeling like some of that naturalness has gone.
But in saying that, I really have no complaints about the enjoyment factor of these. “Better Days” by Dermot Kennedy, is one of those tracks that starts with his airy vocals, nice simple piano work, and in the right environment, it can transform you with the Dobuds One.
As the effects and the instrumentation come into the mix, they really do start from the outside, and that wide soundstage is really brought to light.
There’s a lovely track of something like a wheel on a track and they’re panning to the left and the right at the beginning of the track. And, it’s just easy to sit back, close your eyes listen to him, but feel this movement from left to right.
It’s actually a very well-mixed track, but the Donner Dobuds One does it real justice. When that bottom man kicks in, it’s so full and rich, and you’re just thinking, man, these were worth the money.
I’m a big fan of vocals so, when they stand out as clearly as they do in tracks like this, I definitely feel like these would be the earbuds that I pick up to go on a trip with and that’s coming from someone that owns the AirPods Pro which are better than most will give credit to.
Switching to a track like “The Idea” by Blackbear, the experience has changed a little bit. So, it’s kind of a pop rock song, but it’s that kind of mid-bass range that I was talking about. It’s that bass guitar that starts to kind of struggle a little bit to create that clarity and separation.
So, on some tight heavy rock, hard rock, and tracks, there’s a really nice cohesiveness to it, but on tracks that are relying heavily on that lower keyboard range, that bass guitar range, then that is probably the only criticism I have of the Donner Dobuds One.
And, that’s really on the choruses. In the verses and the breakdown, it just sounds fantastic. Switching over to a track like “Animals” by the Architects, the mids, again, have their opportunity to shine, but so too do the bass and the trebles.
And, what I love about this and it’s not just the track and the mix, but it’s really easy with affordable true wireless earbuds to make the snare and the mids sound too sharp and too harsh in your ears. And these do not do that. I’m really starting to sound like a fanboy. When the vocals kick in on that track, they sit right where they should.
They’re not too far back, too far forward. Overall, mids for me have definitely been a real shining light to these, but the bass supporting those mids is definitely a match made in heaven.
Treble, I don’t have a lot to say about because the treble on these is nicely balanced with everything else, that it’s not too harsh, too screechy, or too loud. There are moments when it could be a little bit more natural but not necessarily sharper or higher.
I think it’s the crisp edges on the mids and the rounded edges on the bass. There are times you almost want sharper edges on the treble but, again, that’s a very micro criticism on what is still impressing me with every track.
Another favorite song I like to throw when I listen to Hi-Fi, or any kind of in-ear monitor or true wireless earbud, or headphones is “Shadow Boxing” by Parkway Drive which has some pretty heavy-hitting four-on-the-floor rock going on.
This track to me is a good one because it combines nice acoustic instrumentation as well as some strings mixed in and some nice space between the wording and the phrasing that gives an opportunity for any headphone or earbud to shine to show its worth.
So, I could keep waxing lyrical about these, but I will pause there. I will say that listening in the quiet of an office is more enjoyable than listening in the noise of an office. And so, that leads us nicely into the active noise cancellation.
The active noise-cancellation on these is very good. And the transparency mode is also very good. Not as strong as something like the Sony WF-1000XM3s or the AirPods Pro, but it is certainly all you need.
It doesn’t open them up super well, there is still some natural sound isolation, but wearing them in the office was actually good in that it wasn’t too sensitive because I could hear everything but it wasn’t too loud.
The active noise-canceling when it kicks in is excellent. Everything goes quiet, you get that feeling like you’re a little bit underwater, but it’s not too uncomfortable. Everything sort of mixes and melts away. And while, of course, you can still hear things around you, it really takes the edge off nicely.
I think these on a plane or anything similar would be definitely worth a try on my next trip somewhere. So, while Donner has sent the Dobuds One to me, I’m still not sure of the pricing.
Conclusion for the Donner Dobuds One
Normally, when I’m reviewing earbuds and headphones, I do keep the price in mind when I’m making recommendations on whether they’re worth it for people. With these already I’m not really sure what the price is going to come out at, but these are a definite buy indicator for me.
I’d give them a solid 5 out of 5 if they’re priced anywhere under $200 I would definitely consider outlaying cash for these (Turns out it’s only $49.99).
And, while I often do giveaways for the stuff I review to readers as a way of saying thanks for reading, I might just have to keep this pair.
They might be like those movies you watch that bomb at the box office and then become cult classics afterward. Surfs Up, Shawshank Redemption etc.
If I can get enough people to try the Donner Dobuds ONE, I think that they could be quite an industry standard setter with the balanced armature driver and dynamic driver built-in in the budget TWS earbud range.
But, that’s enough for me. I’ve given all I can to hopefully help you understand how they sound. If you’ve got any questions do fire away in the comments below, and I look forward to hearing any feedback you might have if you’ve gone out and got yourself a pair.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-03-20 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.
4 thoughts on “Donner Dobuds ONE Earbuds Review – ANC TWS with Hybrid Drivers”
Did you happen to test the mic on a call? If so, how’d they turn out?
Hi Chris – I’ve added a microphone test above for you in the middle of the post. They sound OK, a little compressed but not too bad. Let me know what you think.
Hi, I got these for my son for Christmas and they won’t charge. They are from Amazon so can’t contact any customer service to ask them. Any idea why? Thanks Teresa
If you got them from Amazon then there won’t be a problem getting them replaced, if they are faulty. I would just go back to your account in amazon and in your account next to the purchase there should be ‘contact’ options or ‘refund’ options. Mine are still going really well so I expect this will be a one off. Mark