The Kygo Xellence earbuds are nicely presented in an attractive rectangular charging case with rounded corners and edges. The lid features the Kygo X logo and a silver metal band which delineates the top from the rest of the case. The USB-C port is located on the side of the case and around the front are four LED lights to indicate charge status.
The earphones themselves have a distinctive design and the white ones, I received for this review, look like Silvermints in my ears and stick out just a little bit. Of course, style is subjective, but I do like the styling of the flat outer pad and silver rim around each bud which have a large X on the outside that lights up. If you don’t like this you can turn it off in the X by Kygo app or by double-pressing the little button on either earbud.
Including the case, you will get up to 30 hours or up to 10 hours for the earbuds. With ANC enabled this falls to a respectable eight hours. A full charge takes around two hours but there’s no wireless charging option. A quick 15-minute charge should see you good for two hours of use.
The Xellence earbuds feature ANC to reduce unwanted background noises. This works but not as well but not as Apple AirPods Pro or Huawei Freebuds Pro. With ANC active, I could still clearly hear most sounds around me but it did a decent job of muting the fan noise from my PC. With Ambient mode enabled you will hear 50% of surrounding sounds and voices. This is ideal for walking around busy streets or to hear your own voice when taking calls.
I found the fit in my ears was comfortable with the medium size silicone ear tip. They also felt relatively secure in my ears but I wouldn’t feel as confident in them staying put while jogging. They do offer IPX5 water resistance.
Both buds have a button and a touch-sensitive pad. A single tap on the right earbud raises the volume while a tap on the left lowers it. A double-tap on either one will play/pause and a triple tap toggles between ANC on/off and Ambient modes. To pair a new device all you have to do is press and hold on either pad.
If you press and hold either of the buttons it will summon your voice assistant. A single click does nothing which seems a waste of an opportunity.
The gestures are intuitive and easy to remember but I found them a little hit or miss in use, especially in the beginning. There is a proximity sensor that will pause music when you remove an earbud. This can be turned off if you prefer in the X by Kygo app.
The app is basic with no EQ feature but there is a bass boost on/of option. It also features Mimi Sound Personalisation. This can create a custom listening profile by testing your hearing. It bases this on your age and a hearing test which it performs from the app to the earbuds. You can turn this on or off and decrease it increase it in the app. It might have been a placebo, but I thought the sound improved when I turned it on.
Overall sound quality is excellent with mid to high frequencies that are crisp and clean. The bass response is tight but not mushy. You can enable a bass boost in the app but I found it a little overpowering. Using Qobuz 24-bit Hi-Res tunes I could hear fantastic details with good separation of highs and mids.
I had no issues streaming over Bluetooth 5.0 on both Android with aptX or iPhone using AAC protocols.
Listening to podcasts was pleasing with natural-sounding vocals and I didn’t have any lip-sync issues when watching videos either. The soundstage is nice and expensive with good stereo separation.
Overall, the Kygo Xellence offer a decent feature set in an attractive design that should please the Kygo generation.
Available in Black or White from xbykygo.com €149.25 (RRP €199)