About KANOA Headphones

Published on: Apr 14, 2016

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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32 Customer Reviews for KANOA Headphones

Average Customer Rating: 1.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 5 4 star: 0 3 star: 1 2 star: 2 1 star:  24
Bottom Line: 19% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 32
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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Great everything - customer support, product, and company.

    I ordered these back in August on the 29th of 2016. I bought them for $149.00 with a coupon code. This was when they had their old website, and making the idea a reality. It was obvious it was a pre-order at the time. Many times they promised to release their earbuds, but with little success, it was postponed. That was a little upsetting. But then all suspiciousness changed into hope as they started to release updates weekly. Then they posted videos showing off their brand new product.

    All hope was back, and I knew that the Kanoa team was in full drive day after day to get the Kanoa to their customers. From their perspective, I could see why they want to get it right (I mean we paid good money for even better earbuds). As of writing this, the earbuds are said to ship at the end of June. And I know they will, because I have been in contact with them through their customer support about the earbuds, I am probably annoying them at this point.

    All these people saying their customer support is terrible, and they are fake, have no idea what a pre-order is. Yes, we were promised a date, but we were also promised great earbuds. I want to see you make a painting in a short amount of time and make it perfect. Not possible.

    Not only that, but I actually made a mistake with my pre-order. I have an email on Google, and I put @gmail.net instead of .com. I emailed them about this issue after I realized I couldn't get into my account to see my purchase. Without telling them how much I paid, I gave them my order number. With that, they were able to swap over my purchase to the correct email, and the price, coupon, and the day I purchased it was all there. Within one day too. If that isn't good support, I don't know what is.

    I am a loyal customer, and if you think I'm not, here is how you know I am, go to my Instagram, or even theirs @Giova140 and @getKanoa. I have pictures of me wearing their hat in multiple of my races for my sport. I was not paid. I asked for a hat, and they actually gave it to me for free, only because I missed one of their giveaways, and it shipped to me in two days, from California to my house in New Jersey.

    If you don't want to wait and you feel worried about Kanoa being a scam, then get your money back, a scam wouldn't let you do that, they do, because they are a real company. They work hard at what they do, they even update us weekly. Not only that, but they let real customers go to their HQ and test the earbuds to get feedback! No other companies I know do that.

    Enough ranting. I know this is a well-made product that I'm willing to wait for, and I will be happy with the product when it gets to me because I know it will be fantastic.

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

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  • 0 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Extremely frustrated

    • Fort Bragg, NC,
    • Jun 20, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I ordered in August of 2016. Kanoa failed to hit any timeline they promised, and customer service was not helpful at answering questions.

    My understanding is that they have promised to start fulfilling orders at the end of June 2017, but you probably won't receive it until July, and that's batch one. No word on when batch two will ship.

    After stating my frustration, Kanoa canceled my order against my wishes. I have emailed Kanoa, stating I want my order fulfilled but I'll have to wait and see. Save your money and wait until they make good on their orders.

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

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    • Jun 20, 2017

      Jordan Shou, Customer Service

      Hi Garrett,

      We're sorry that you're extremely frustrated with us. We're working hard to get KANOA out. We're set to begin shipping units at the end of this month. Once we ramp up, and we have a better gauge on production capabilities, we'll be able to provide a more detail timeline as to when the other batches will ship.

      Also, you forgot one crucial piece of information in your review. We didn't refund you based on your frustrations, you attached a picture of male genitalia and told us to go eat it. Your emails pose no questions and are filled with vulgar and offensive remarks. Our customer service rep has reached back out to you if you'd like to have your order fulfilled. Thank you.

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  • 5 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Pretty sure they just want money

    • Texas,
    • Jun 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am pretty sure they are never going ship. I too ordered a pair of these back when they were in the second batch of pre-orders, and according to them they were supposed to ship in October of 2016, but did not happen. Then in spring of 2017, it did not happen.

    But in January I went and bought Jabra elite wireless headphones and have never been happier! Don't tell me you're inventing the wheel when I have a pair of my ears from a different brand. By the way, I asked for a refund, and they said they can't do that due to how close they were to shipping back in spring. After stating that at anytime we could get our money back.

    Like I said, I have a pair of truly wireless headphones in my ear from Jabra. What's their excuse now?

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

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  • 16 out 23 people found this review helpful

    Pre-order yes, but almost two years waiting?

    All I know is, I placed an order on December 22, 2015 (Crowd 5297) with the expectation of getting them in February of 2016. Here we are in May of 2017. The fancy and colorful emails of others wearing and listening to the "beta" earsets have gotten very old.

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

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  • 15 out 22 people found this review helpful

    I don't know if it's a scam, that's a job for your state's Attorney General

    • Florence, KY,
    • May 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    A copy of my order confirmation is below with personal info removed. As you ca see the estimated ship date is April of 2016.

    The latest of many delayed ship dates is September of 2017.

    For people who are considering ordering this product, these are the facts, according to my experience with this company.

    If you want to know if it is a scam, all first "batchers" should send a copy of their order confirmations and company info to their states Attorney General for investigation.

    KANOA Earphones 1 x $149.00 (USD)

    Subtotal: $149.00 (USD)

    Tax: $0.00 (USD)

    Shipping: $0.00 (USD)

    Total: $149.00 (USD)

    Shipping Address

    Estimated Delivery

    April 2016

    Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

    You are receiving this email as a service from KANOA.

    Copyright © 2015 KANOA. All rights reserved.

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

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    Comments (8)
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    • May 10, 2017

      Jordan Shou, Customer Service

      Hey Dwayne,

      We're not a scam. You can check out our social media accounts and YouTube channel of real customers trying out our product. We are set to release next month.

      We'd also appreciate if you do not throw out random shipping dates, as this misinforms customers. To prove we're not a scam, we can refund your order in full if you desire. Thank you.

    • May 12, 2017

      Joshua Daine Dollar

      Jordan from customer service, I do have to dispute that Dwayne threw out random release dates as your company also informed me. I was told that the headphones would be in my hands by April 2016. After a year of waiting, again, I'm doing research and finding that there are a lot of people that said they haven't gotten what they paid for but were guaranteed. My patience is running thin for your company, and as it looks like from hundreds, and maybe thousands of other empty-handed customers. The YouTube videos aren't convincing me of anything, other than your company is just sad at the art of seduction. Can you help us out by listing a date of shipment?

    • May 14, 2017

      Kevin

      Jordan, I don't believe Dwayne was giving out random dates. I've been on the company web page, and I've received emails with the delay, after a delay, excuses. I'm sure many people have them in their emails from when they actually paid for the product and those that they still have not received.

      And speaking of that refund, now you guys are saying until you get closer to product release date you will not do refunds? What kind of company does that? If someone doesn't like a product, you refund the money right away! Having people wait patiently with Kanoa for over a year and a half and then, slap them in the face with "sorry can't help ya?"

      A lawyer is going to have a field day with you guys before too long.

    • May 16, 2017

      Jordan Shou, Customer Service

      Joshua and Kevin,

      Pre-orders will begin shipping in June. We've announced this to all of our customers, and we have made this public on all of our social media channels. We've consistently release fully transparent product and progress updates directly on our blog (www.getkanoa.com/blogs/news).

      Please understand that we are a small pre-order company based in San Francisco creating a brand new piece of technology. We want the product we release to be absolutely fantastic, as this will be our very first product we introduce into the world. I understand that the wait has not been easy. As bad as we want to release KANOA, we can't (in good conscience) release a product with technical issues. This is the reason we've had to delay it in the past. Rather than ignoring these bugs, we wanted to find real solutions to them, which is something that other companies fail to do.

      Things have not always gone the smoothest, but we're doing our best to produce a product that will live up to our customer's high expectations. If you'd like to refund your order, I totally understand. Please reach out, and we'll work with you. Once we release, we hope you give us another chance.

    • May 26, 2017

      Thomas

      I placed an order in June of 2016. I haven't been waiting as long as others, but this is directly from the original emails. The dates have been pushed back time and time again, the latest I've received says "Spring 2017". Quite honestly, I'm not sure if I believe it at this point. While I'm excited to finally receive these, the process has been substandard.

    • May 26, 2017

      Thomas

      Also, the fact that when I bought it, the emails said I'd have the headphones two months later. It wasn't until six months they finally started testing ALPHA units. It tells me right there, they knew damn well that they wouldn't hit the July 2016 deadline because they were in such need for funding. They lied anyway.

    • Jun 16, 2017

      William Moreno

      When will I be receiving these pre-ordered wireless headphones or ear buds?

    • Jun 21, 2017

      Alex

      For any of you that have been involved in the NPD process, you can appreciate how difficult it can be for an established company to hit tight timelines while dealing with a lot of new IP (especially in polymers and driver technology.)

      I have had a number of the emotions mentioned here that run through my veins. As my friends make fun of me for wearing the hat from that company that scammed me. What you have to appreciate in the long run is that they have continued to update and their website. They have not just gone to a non-existing domain or gone all silent.

      Ultimately, you can cancel your order and get your funding back. I am sure a number of people have gone this route, just based on what I have heard. In fact, many got their money back. It isn't a scam. In a world that so much technology comes out half baked needing patches out of the box, you just have to pay into their system until the model that fits the idea you had when you bought the original one finally comes out. I'm going to wait, it is worth it if they are paying attention to the details and making it.

      I have seen more coming out of the Bragi Camp that makes me want to invest in the Dash Pro, but I have faith that my money set aside over a year and a half ago for this product. It is going to be money well spent on a piece of tech that I'll use for years to come, or I'll have time to figure out that it doesn't work, and give it back for a refund. If you're upset about the fulfillment process then get your money back and get the other IP out there. There is no need to tarnish a company before they really even get wet.

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  • 14 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Frauds!

    • Chicago, IL,
    • May 8, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Two years after paying through their crowdfunding campaign, there is still no product. I have patiently listened to 2 years worth of excuses while I've watched better products hit the market. Now they refuse to give a refund until "closer to their ship date", which should be right around the 5th of never.

    They allege shipping in June, which I've heard before. Their job posting for a chief engineer and their history of overt lies makes this very unlikely. And they are still shamelessly taking pre-orders! If anyone wants to start a class action to stop these con artists just hit me up.

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

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  • 14 out 22 people found this review helpful

    Scam or not, they have no product after more than 18 months of taking money

    • Dallas, TX,
    • May 1, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Whether you believe they are a scam or not, they are using your (our) money to bankroll their so-called R&D and production. It's a shady business tactic.

    I "reserved" a pair back when it first came available in 2015. I, too, waited impatiently and finally gave up and got a refund in early 2016. Even IF they do come out with this product, I will not be purchasing a pair, no matter how "great" they are making it (supposedly). Good luck to those trying to get a refund, be persistent. I found it difficult to get, and it took over three months to happen.

    FYI, I have done research and seems as if a class action lawsuit could be a way to go.

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

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    • Jun 6, 2017

      ML

      How did you get the refund? I have been demanding the refund for some time now and I have not been successful. They state no refunds until they ship!

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  • 7 out 16 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Ripoff!

    Today, 4/28/17, I received an email (after I threatened to report), that my refund had been processed. Further, it states they have set aside a certain amount of resources for those in special circumstances (whatever that means).

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

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    • Previous review
    • Apr 28, 2017

    Ripoff!

    I pre-ordered in 2015 and push back release date notifications is all I have gotten since then. I read reports on the internet and finally decided to request the refund. I got the same "mumbo jumbo" as everyone else.

    They wanted my money right away, and I paid. They asked for patience while development happened, so I waited. I am tired of waiting. They seem to think I should wait for my refund until their "release date," which is uncertain. I won't. I've given them five working days from today to issue the refund, or I'm going to my State Attorney General. They cannot be a legitimate company or even have a legitimate product.

    (read moreread less...)

  • 7 out 14 people found this review helpful

    Alert, stay away

    I wanted to get these in March of 2016. They took my money but never sent me an email, and I have not received the ear buds. So I emailed them asking them if I could get a refund. Wait for this one (reply I got on April 24, 2017, at 10:58 AM PDT).

    Kyle replied:

    Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for reaching out,

    I totally understand your request. Due to the nature of pre-order campaigns, we will issue refunds as we near our release.

    Please enter your email below, and I can email you directly once we reach that stage. —

    http://getkanoa.us4.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=5b29f517109b4d56adcd85f4c&id=b445483334

    Know that if you should have any other questions or concerns in the future, we are here to help. Thank you.

    Kyle

    Customer Experience

    That's what they sent me. I've never heard of what he's talking about. Every company I've ever dealt with when you're actually asking for a refund will give it to you, or they'll try to exchange the product. I have never heard of what he's talking about. Stay away people.

    P.S. I went to the bank, and my bank refunded me the money.

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

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  • 18 out 28 people found this review helpful

    Issue refunds or ship product now, it's that simple!

    Just like most of the folks on here, I too am tired of their empty promises. After almost a year, the only thing I have to show for my money is placating and insulting emails. KANOA is probably writing the good reviews on here trying to pump themselves up. If not, the folks who are giving them four stars are delusional. It's a start-up company and a pre-order (blah, blah), they are making the absolute best product they can. No, they are using my money to build orders taken before mine, on a Unicorn product they say exists.

    Time to get my Bank involved and then a nice letter to the Attorney Generals office. The AG does not screw around and will not tolerate companies like this.

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

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    • Apr 24, 2017

      Paul

      You know you can cancel your pre-order at any time for a full refund right? Stop being a petulant child who has no idea what they signed up for. If you want the product, just wait. If not, cancel it and stop whining.

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  • 13 out 36 people found this review helpful

    Not a scam

    • Portland, Oregon,
    • Mar 29, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    KANOA isn't a scam. They're creating a product, and there is just a delay because they want to make sure the product is as good as possible. Just check social media! I don't think a scam would actually create a product and keep all of their customers up to date with their progress if they were a scam.

    They would just take your money and leave! I can't believe that people think they are a scam. Wireless earbuds are a new technology; give it some time people. I think they will release very soon. KANOA, if you are reading this, I believe in you. Get the product out soon!

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

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    • Mar 31, 2017

      Xavier

      It's a scam when they do not update you personally and make you pay tons of money upfront. New technology? Please, give it a rest. There are so many other companies that have released their product to the public. I was supposed to receive my product in the fall of last year, and after repeated delays, it is now at the end of March 2017 and there is still no product. What incentive do I get for waiting this long?

    • Jun 22, 2017

      Giovanni Spagnoli

      They literally update you every week on their website and post new and different updates on their Instagram. Not only that but every once and a while they post testing videos on their YouTube channel to show you what the earbuds are really like. Read my review once it gets posted on here and then you'll understand. I just wrote the review today so it may take a little bit of time to post.

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