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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29 Customer Reviews for KANOA Headphones

Average Customer Rating: 1.7
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 4 4 stars: 0 3 stars: 1 2 stars: 2 1 stars: 22
Bottom Line: 17% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 29
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  • 3 out 4 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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  • 3 out 7 people found this review helpful

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

    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 (4)
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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.

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  • 4 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Frauds!

    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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  • 5 out 11 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

    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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  • 4 out 11 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...)

  • 5 out 10 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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  • 14 out 21 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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  • 8 out 26 people found this review helpful

    Not a scam

    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?

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  • 12 out 29 people found this review helpful

    KANOA is NOT a Scam

    KANOA is real. I was looking online for reviews to see if they're on the market yet and I found this thread of people wondering whether it's a scam. Come up. It's a preorder! Have you been following their updates at all? There's like three a week and you can clearly see the progress of the units being built in the factory, being prepared to ship.

    I'm tired of waiting too, but living in the Bay Area I see tons of pre-order and kick starter companies, and although it takes long to produce, and they always have delays, I don't mind because I know that going in. That's why I get the product at a discount and before anyone else.

    Anyway, be realistic people. Why would anyone go through all this trouble for a scam? Check their updates, be patient and no, KANOA is NOT a scam.

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

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  • 15 out 24 people found this review helpful

    Waiting forever

    I understand that there can be setbacks, and you want your product to be perfect, but after ordering a set of batch one buds over a year and a half ago, I still have nothing. Such negligence in a company doesn't bode well for business when all they offer you for compensation is a refund. How about an extra pair for free? There will be no repeat business or recommendations coming from me. That is if I ever get the first pair.

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

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  • 16 out 23 people found this review helpful

    Feeling scammed

    • Bay Area, CA,
    • Mar 12, 2017

    I ordered a year ago with the same delivery promise as you read from others. I finally decided I have had enough of failed deliveries, and let's face it they are now behind the market, with a product we only have their words for on how good it is.

    I asked for a refund and like others was certain you could get money back when asked, considering the delays. What reputable company would not be offering refunds?

    I was emailed back and told I would have to wait, the actual wording was:

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

    Why should I have to wait? I can only draw the conclusions like others that this is either a company in trouble or has been a scam from the outset. I will, of course, contact my credit card company and ask them to assist, but the bottom line (based on my and others experience) is they should be avoided.

    As for people saying they are a startup, it's a pre-order campaign, they look great on social media, blah blah, can you honestly say delays of over a year are a good idea for a startup, and that is to date?

    I can post and make great videos which I post online, that does not mean I can or will deliver! Draw your own conclusions, but my experience has been sobering and has put me off such companies.

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

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