In most cases, we tend to be underwhelmed by celebrity DJ or producer endorsements; they always end up being mediocre and not worth your duckets. Kygo, however, has bucked this trend with his Xellence True Wireless Buds that deliver big on sound, noise cancelling, customization, design, and comfort.
Let's start with design; the Xellence is not trying to reinvent the wheel with these buds, but they have added some great touches like LED X's that light up when toggled on and a clean overall look for both buds and the case. The headphones come in both white and black and have an integrated app called X by Kygo to customize and toggle on/off features, touch sensors for control, and a slick case that provides up to 20 hours of charging along with the buds 10-hour life span.
The X by Kygo app helps you get your buds set up out of the box and gives you quick controls for Active Noise Canceling, Bass Boost, Ambient Mode (which lets in 50% of the outside noise), LED control, allowing you to turn the X on the side of the buds on/off and sound customization profile.
The sound profile is what sets these headphones apart, allowing you to conduct a sound test with the buds on to optimize what volume and EQ settings will sound the best to you. We have seen this type of tech before in the Audeara headphones, and it does make a big difference, so big points here for this being included for the Xellence buds.
The build quality of the Xellence along with the packaging is top-notch; Kygo has definitely put his name on a quality product and one that rivals the Airpods Pro and other buds at the $250 and below price point.
One of the things that we look for in True Wireless buds at this price point is ANC or Active Noise Cancelling. The Xellence model delivers big time and passes our snap test with flying colors. What is our snap test? Ok, so this is not exactly scientific, but while wearing the buds with ANC, we snap our fingers about an arm's length from our head. If we can hear the snap while the music is playing, then that's a fail.
As far as sound quality is concerned, we tested these buds in various configurations with different devices and genres of music.
iPhone 11 Pro - The buds paired quite quickly and automatically saw our phone when removed from the case, which is a nice touch. We listened to both streaming and downloaded AAC files on the device across genres, including electronic, indie rock, jazz, classical, and hip hop. The buds were also configured with the sound profile technology, so it was dialed in for our hearing specifications.
The Astell&Kern AKJr HD Audio Player - The pairing of the buds wasn't as easy here, but that's just the nature of this device. We listened to high-quality AAC, WAV, FLAC, and AIFF files with the same genres as the iPhone 11 Pro.
Overall, the sound quality was quite good on both devices, with AKJr HD player edging out the iPhone only because it features a built-in DAC (Digital Audio Converter) and played higher quality files. The bass was full enough and played nicely with the mids and highs to deliver a good overall sound. The bass boost wasn't all that necessary with electronic and hip hop, but it was nice to use for jazz and classical genres to fill in the sound a bit. Compared to similar buds at this price point, you might do a little better with the GRADO GT220 as far as overall sound quality. Still, you wouldn't get the ANC functionality - which is impressive and perfect for commuters frequent travelers. Connectivity is via Bluetooth 5, aptX, and AAC codecs to give you stability and CD quality sound with the right files.
Are these audiophile buds? Not really, and nor would we expect them to be at this price, but they will deliver great sound for most listeners. Where the Xellence shines is the ANC, which makes the ambient noise of cities, planes, trains, loud talkers all but disappear when the music is playing.
Should you buy these?
If you are looking for an alternative to the AirPods Pro, then the Xellence is something to look closely at. The build quality is quite good, and they have an IPX5 water resistance rating so that you can sweat on them, and they would even survive a rainstorm most likely. These are headphones for commuters, open plan officer workers, and frequent travelers looking for peace and quiet, good sound, and easy to use functions. Aesthetically we think they are a few steps ahead of most, and the LED light X's on the side of the buds is a nice design touch.
For those always on the move, you can also take calls on them that sound crystal clear (connection depending) and use your voice assistant like Siri. The touch controls take a little bit of getting used to and work ok but not great. Answer calls, start/stop music, control volume, fast forward track, repeat, etc., are all available. Last but not least, you get a stellar battery life of 10 hours per charge and an app that integrates very well with your buds giving you quick controls when you need them and the ability to customize your sound profile.
Great ANC and solid sound
Long battery life
Cool design and super comfortable
Touch controls are finicky
MSRP - $239 / £179 | You Can Learn More and Purchase Here
IN THE BOX:
- Xellence TWS Noise-cancelling earbuds
- Charging case
- 5 sizes of silicone tips
- USB -C charging cable
- Limited Warranty card
- Warning sheet
- Digital hybrid Noise-Cancelling w/Ambient mode
- 30 hours playing time (10 hours each charge in BT mode/8 h with BT/ANC on +LED off)
- Mimi Sound Personalization
- X by Kygo™ app compatible
- Sound quality approved by Kygo
- Qualcomm® aptX™ and AAC® sound codecs
- IPX 5 waterproof and sweat resistant
- Excellent microphone quality
- Voice Command
- Proximity sensor
- USB- C charging
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Impedance: 32 ohm
- Driver size: 10 mm
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 97db (+-3 db)
- Playing time: 30 h
- Water resistance: IPX5
- Bluetooth Profile: A2DP/ AVRCP/ HSP /HFP
- Wireless range: 10 m
- Weight: 63 gram
- Battery charging: 750 mAh
- Battery earplugs: 85 mAh
- Charging time: approx. 2 h
- Quick charge: 15 min= 2 h extra charge
- Size: 68 mm x 42 mm, 28, 5 mm