About KANOA Headphones

Whether you’re biking, running, swimming, lifting weights, or engaging in any other kind of physical activity, you already know that the right music can make all the difference in your performance. And while music device and headphone technology has come a long way since Walkmans and their foam padded monstrosities, we’re still tethered by wires, which have a habit of getting in the way at the least opportune times.

But with their completely wireless earbuds, KANOA Headphones is out to change how the game is played. Not only will you gain complete freedom of movement, but KANOA’s ergonomic design and customizable fitment ensure maximum comfort, while their cutting-edge audio technology will deliver “beautiful sound straight to your ears.”

Each pair of KANOA Headphones connects via Bluetooth to most modern devices from up to 33 feet away, where the free app (not yet released—more about this shortly) allows you to fine tune the sound to match your preferences. Here, you’ll also be able to track heart rate, calories burned, distance traveled, and time. Then, when it’s time to recharge, simply place your KANOA earbuds into the included carrying case, and they’ll be good to go in about an hour and a half.

A screenshot of Kanoa HeadphonesIn our opinion, if you want a truly wire-free music experience, whether you’re working out or not, KANOA Headphones could be a game-changer.

Between their completely wireless design, the ability to track core fitness stats (say goodbye to your separate tracker!), and their customizable fitment and audio options, there’s a whole lot to be excited about when it comes to KANOA Headphones. But are they your best wireless earbud option? Does the company even have any competition? Are there certain things you should keep in mind before ordering? It’s my job to ensure you have as much information as possible, so I’ll cover all of this—and much more—in this review.

KANOA’S Audio Features

In order to provide the best audio quality available, KANOA implemented a variety of different technologies into their headphones. This includes balanced armature devices that provide safe, crystal clear, lossless audio, along with specially developed sound profiles to deliver a full range of “warm yet precise bass, smooth mids and crystal clear highs.”

Along with the aptX® technology, KANOA’s chipset and audio compression and coding processes allows you to stream CD-quality sound, while the app’s audio equalization feature gives you fine control over your audio. Not only this, but KANOA’s built-in microphone will allow you to make and receive phone calls!

If you run or bike on public streets, paths, or trails, you likely understand the importance of maintaining environmental awareness when listening to music. KANOA’s Audio Transparency can help you accomplish this by allowing you to choose whether or not you’ll let sound in or block it out.

Finally, remember how we mentioned that KANOA Headphones can track some of your core vitals, like heart rate and calories burned? According to the company, the app can use this information to change your music’s pace and volume in order to improve your performance (something they call Dynamic Audio). Here’s how they explain it:

For example: You select your “Back and Biceps” playlist with a 45 minute session. The App starts your music at a warm-up pace and increases steadily as time elapses. Music intensity such as volume and speed increase in peaks for a more dynamic workout before coming down for the cool-off.

KANOA’s Fitment & Other Important Features

Regardless of how good the audio sounds, if earbuds won’t stay in place or you find them uncomfortable, they won’t do you much good. To this extent, KANOA’s Headphones include a variety of different sized, shaped, and styled silicone jackets that can help ensure a proper fit. They’ll also include memory foam tips to help them stay in place better and provide even more comfort.

A screenshot of Kanoa HeadphonesKANOA Headphones feature different silicone jackets and memory foam tips to ensure a proper fit.

You probably noticed that a lot of the athletes shown on the KANOA website specialize in water sports, which is why they’re completely waterproof (IP68 Rating). This means you can actually get in the water with them in place.

Inside KANOA’s app, you’ll be able to view your Performance Tracking metrics (heart rate, calories, distance, time), play around with the custom tuner/equalizer, go through the quick, one-time setup and sync, select motivating playlists from the pros, and access various social and sharing features.

The KANOA Recharging Case

The company claims that KANOA Headphones will provide 4-6 hours of play time, after which you’ll need to use the included carrying case to recharge them (takes about 1.5 hours), and you won’t even need to remove the silicon jackets. The carrying case itself plugs into any standard outlet via a USB cable, and once fully charged, can recharge your earbuds up to five times.

A screenshot of Kanoa Headphones Portable Charging CaseKANOA’s small, portable recharging case can provide protection and extra battery power on the go.

KANOA’s case is small and lightweight, and can slide right into your pocket or even attach to your jacket, keys, or belt loop using the attached steel loop. And since it closely securely, it can double as a protective carrying case.

How much will you pay for all this?

Are KANOA’s Prices So High You’ll Pop an Eardrum?

At the time of our research, KANOA Headphones were only available for preorder, with a 40% off price of $179. For this price, you’ll receive:

  • 2 KANOA Earphones
  • 1 Charging / Carrying case
  • 3 Sizes Silicon Jackets
  • 3 Sizes Silicon Ear Tips
  • Extra Memory Foam Ear Tips
  • Safety Leash and Accessories
  • Sticker Pack

Batch 1 (already sold out) had an estimated ship date of April 2016 on a first come, first served basis. Batch 2 (53% reserved at the time of our research) had an estimated ship date sometime around May, or after all Batch 1 orders have shipped.

There wasn’t a refund policy listed on KANOA’s website, so we emailed the company for additional information. After waiting less than 24 hours, here was their reply:

“While we're incredibly confident in our product here at KANOA, if you don't like your earphones you can return them within the first year after receiving them! In addition, if you'd like to cancel your order for any reason before we ship, we can process that for you without a problem. We really are here for you!”

KANOA Headphones also come with a limited 12-month warranty that covers manufacturing defects or issues resulting from normal use.

Given these features and pricing, how do KANOA’s Headphones fare against the competition?

Is KANOA the Best Wireless Earbud?

As you might imagine, the term “best” is highly subjective, and depends on a wide variety of personal preferences. For example, you might find one brand of wireless earbuds to fit perfectly, while someone else can’t stop them from falling out. On the flip side, you might find one brand’s audio to be terrible for cycling, but someone else might find them perfect for the slower pace of running.

With this in mind, if you’re on the hunt for truly wireless earbuds, your options are fairly limited. Which, in my opinion, is really surprising. After all, there seems to be huge demand for these products from the fitness community, but only a handful of companies have been able to release successful products to date, including EARIN and Bragi. Other options, like Earity and Elbee, never made it past the crowdfunding stage.

Of these two options, KANOA is currently the clear winner from a price perspective, coming in at 40% less expensive (although this will increase after Batch 2 is sold out). Outside of price, it’s a matter of which features are most important to you.

For example, EARIN doesn’t feature a microphone, so you won’t be able to take calls. It also doesn’t seem to provide any tracking, although it does come with a cool-looking recharging pod. On the other hand, Bragi’s earbuds feature tracking, a microphone, app connectivity, and much of the same audio technology as KANOA, but can also be controlled directly by touch. You’ll pay for this added feature though, as Bragi’s headphones come in at nearly $300.

Outside of these options, if you search online for “wireless earbuds,” most results will be for products that aren’t connected to a music device (often communicating via Bluetooth), but they are tethered to one another. While this design might eliminate some of the problems associated with wires, you still won’t get a truly wire-free experience like you will with KANOA. But if this isn’t your main concern, they’re often much less expensive.

So, should you preorder KANOA Headphones? To help answer this question, I’ll provide my opinion as an avid cyclist.

A Cyclist’s Take On KANOA Headphones

During the height of the cycling season, it’s not uncommon for me to bike 200+ miles per month, and for much of this time, I’m listening to music. I have whole playlists set up just for cycling, and (probably like you), I’ve found music can make a big difference in my physical performance.

The problem is that unless I want to snake my earphones down the back of my jersey and connect them to my phone, which I store in my jersey pocket, I don’t have a lot of options. And because I only wear a bud in my right ear (I always keep my left ear open to maintain awareness of my surroundings), existing “wireless” earbuds won’t work—unless I want the spare bud flopping around for a few hours as I ride over rough singletrack. No thanks.

Even then, my existing setup is an imperfect solution, since a sudden sideways glance is enough to yank the bud out of my ear and interrupt my flow.

But with existing options like Bragi and EARIN, it’s hard for me to justify spending $250-$300 for technology that—according to several media outlets—can leave quite a bit to be desired. On the flip side, earbuds like EARIN are sold at local big box electronics stores, so returning them is easy and free (there’s no return shipping!) if I end up dissatisfied.

Ultimately, I think this might be the biggest sticking point for KANOA. Sure, it seems to provide many of the same features as higher-priced wireless earbuds, but it hasn’t been released yet. So, I can’t gauge my buying decision on customer feedback, and as I’ve learned with some of the other new tech we’ve reviewed, new companies often experience setbacks and delays that can frustrate customers.

Will we experience the same with KANOA Headphones? At this point, there’s no way to know, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, in my opinion, it might be worthwhile to lock in KANOA’s ultra-low preorder price—but I’d recommend waiting until we hear back from the company about their refund policy (be sure to bookmark this page and check back often!). After all, with all its features, I think it might just be a game changer for whatever you do to get your endorphins pumping.

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12 Customer Reviews for KANOA Headphones

Average Customer Rating: 1.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 0 4 stars: 0 3 stars: 1 2 stars: 0 1 stars: 11
Bottom Line: 8% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 12
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  • Scam

    In this market, you first get a product out and then improve. If you say, you are delaying to get the best product out it basically means you do not plan to get any product out. Just plan to scam people.

    I had ordered in January and recently requested and got my refund. The reality is, get your refund fast. Once many folks get their refund, they will likely file for bankruptcy.

    I wish them well in their project but they should use venture capital, not consumer funding. Clearly, no VC has given them sufficient funding to back their half-baked plans.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Can not get them delivered and they will not give me a refund.

    • Sata Rosa Beach, FL,
    • Nov 19, 2016

    I paid for these ear buds in Feb 2016, despite being told they would be delivered in the spring of 2016 and then Sept 2016 and now spring 2017.

    I have asked for a refund and they have stalled for a couple of weeks. Not sure if they are crooks but they have not been able to deliver and despite promising a refund they have not come thru.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Failure to Deliver

    Ordered in 2015 with a promise of spring 2016 delivery. Got pushed back to June/July. Pushed back again to Sept/Oct. Now pushed to spring 2017. Lies, lies, lies.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Scam

    • Chicago, IL,
    • Sep 30, 2016

    Don't fall for the flashy website, this is a scam. They are selling a product they cannot build. Multiple delays and excuses. Modern day scam for millennials.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    A Complete scam

    • California,
    • Sep 27, 2016

    I was part of the Batch 1 pre-orders and have seen them delay the delivery three (3) times. This on its own might not be that alarming (since its possible that they just don't know how to run a company) but after some further research, there are a lot of additional red flags.

    1. There is no contact phone number for Kanoa or a way to speak with anyone from the company
    2. All written responses are pre-canned messages, never anything remotely specific to my previous request for more information.
    3. Company changed names in late 2015 from Peaq to Kanoa
    4. Several red flags regarding their website domain registration

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Disappointed

    • Layton, Ut,
    • Sep 27, 2016

    I ordered these back in Feb 2016 and am part of Batch 1. Was told will be shipped April 2016. It is now Sept 2016 and they just sent me an email that they won't ship until Spring 2017 and that they haven't even started manufacturing them. I feel like a chump to have been strung along all this time. Apple has their own wireless as well as other manufacturers and I'm sure many others will between now and Next Spring now that Apple has released the iPhone 7. I will be requesting a refund to put towards a different company, one that doesn't lie to you for a year.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Kanoa Headphones

    I am in Batch 1 for delivery of a set of Kanoa Headphones. I invested in the company in September of 2015 and still have yet to receive my purchase. Kanoa has change the delivery date several times stating that it's due to advanced tech changes and the desire to produce the best product on the market. And as of a notice today, it is 9/14/16, I have been told again that there is another delay and I should get my product by Spring of 2017. That's a year and a half with nothing to show for my money. I have requested a full refund from the Kanoa Company. How long will that take?

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Scam - they're smart though.

    • Philadelphia PA,
    • Sep 27, 2016

    Total scam! They take the money, keep up a great pretense on FB and answer people's comments - but never deliver a product. Meanwhile, they're churning the cash and hoping that most people won't ask for a refund. I did get a refund after no product for 6 months - but they must be making money just by putting a bunch of BS on FB and the website. These guys need to find a real job.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 4 people found this review helpful

    No ship date in sight

    BE VERY CAREFUL. This company has set the ship date back with the most pathetic of excuses. Do not order until they can ship.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 10 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Scam for sure

    • Provo, UT,
    • Aug 9, 2016

    I pre-ordered in December of 2015, and the release kept getting pushed back. Finally I decided to write them to request a refund, but they have what appears to me to be a false email page. When you click send message it does nothing. Sucks to get scammed, stay away from KANOA.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 14 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Promises Promises

    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Jul 24, 2016

    Don't fall for this scam. I ordered these back in Feb 2016. They keep pushing the delivery back every month. Now they say November 2016. They have pictures of these all over in their advertising and yet NONE have been shipped. I think they have made an art form of taking people's money for sure!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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