Showing my complete lack of knowledge about modern musicians, I had absolutely no idea who Kygo was until I started writing this review, assuming it was just some random brand I had not heard of.
Norwegian DJ and record producer Kygo, famed for his Firestone song, has turned his hand to the hardware side of music, producing a range of headphones, earphones and even a smart speaker with built-in Google Assistant.
The headphones range from relatively affordable, to the more premium Pro Line with the active noise cancelling A11/800 which cost €249.00 and now the new Xenon headphones at a slightly more attractive price point of €199.90 or £179.99 via Amazon.
Kygo Life Xenon Features
- Active Noise Cancelling
- USB-C charging
- 16 hours playback time (ANC + Bluetooth mode)
- 24 hours playback time (Bluetooth mode)
- Qualcomm aptX, aptx-ll, and AAC sound quality
- Foldable and includes a carry case
Kygo Life Xenon vs A11/800
|Playtime||24 Hours||40 hours|
|Codec||SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-LL||aptX®, aptX® LL, and AAC® codecs|
|Driver Size||40mm||40 mm|
|Sound Pressure level||98±3dB||110±3dB|
|Frequency response||20Hz-22KHz||(±3dB): 15Hz-22KHz|
|Other||NFC, Kygo Sound App, Prximity sensor|
I wouldn’t normally compare headphones, but having two active noise-cancelling headphones within £50 of each other is not often seen. I have not used the A11/800 so cant subjectively compare, but the specs above give some indication what the price difference between the two headphones gets.
I obviously can’t comment on sound quality but the A11/800 has a better battery, can go louder and has some smarter features such as NFC and app control which includes various equaliser settings including pre-defined settings based on locations Kygo has played in.
Design and Build
These are attractive and well-made headphones, arriving in a thick study box with the headphones contained in their own carry case.
I was sent the Stellar colourway, which is a light grey and I think they look great, nicer than the usual boring black.
There is plenty of foam padding, both on your ears and the headband themselves. The handband is then adjustable allowing you to expand them out for larger heads.
Thankfully you get charging via USB-C, though this is to be expected at this price point nowadays. You can also optionally use these in wired mode via the 3.5mm headphone jack.
You get the standard basic controls on the right ear and this includes a switch to enable and disable ANC.
I don’t have any of the market-leading models to compare against such the Sony WH1000XM3 or the Bose QuietComfort headphones. I do however have the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2, Anker Soundcore Life Q20 and Huawei Freebuds 3.
I suspect the noise cancelling is not as good as the Bose or Sony, but it is excellent. Using all my headphones and playing aircraft noise, I was able to compare the performance with each.
Playing aircraft noise via YouTube at moderately loud volumes eliminated the vast majority of engine noise with almost all the low-end hum gone, leaving just a slightly high-level hiss. This is vastly better than the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2, and about the same noise cancelling as the Anker Soundcore Life Q20.
Noise-cancelling was also superior to the Huawei Freebuds 3, but that was to be expected due to the different designs.
The performance of the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 is exceptional considering the price, but they suffer from lack of volume, so when I have used them on loud flights in the past they do suffer a bit. In comparison, these go much louder and have superior sound quality.
I was very impressed with the sound quality of these, they have a rich well-round sound and can produce deep lows that are not too overbearing.
They may be a bit bass dominant if you prefer a more reference sound quality, this is no surprise with Kygo being a DJ, and I personally prefer this for ANC headphones. The extra bass if good for movies and gaming, which I am more likely to do on a plane, which is mainly where I use ANC headphones.
I haven’t tested the claimed 16 hour/24 hour battery life thoroughly but during my use it is exceptional and I have no doubt that these would easily last a couple of long haul flights without charging.
These the Kygo Life Xenon headphones are excellent overall I was impressed with the active noise cancellation and the sound quality was superb too.
I think they are positioned quite well too, being around £65 cheaper than the Sony WH-1000XM3 and £80 cheaper than the Bose QuietComfort 35. They are cheaper than most other big brand ANC headphones too, the Jabra Elite 85h is probably the closest in price at around £200.
There are of course plenty of respectable, affordable options, I was impressed with the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 which are just £50, but I find the volume doesn’t go high enough for some flights.
So overall, if you are looking for a high-quality pair of ANC headphones for under £200 then these are well worth considering.
Kygolife Xenon Bluetooth Active Noise Cancellation Headphones Review Rating
Overall - 85%
Excellent noise-cancelling headphones that are priced just low enough to make them stand out from the major players in the ANC headphone industry.
Last update on 2020-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API