These transparent noise-cancelling over-ear headphones are exactly what Nothing should have released, but didn't

Mondo by Defunc headphones on black background
(Image credit: Defunc)

In a parallel universe, these headphones are the latest product from Nothing. Because like the Nothing Ear (a) earbuds, they're considerably more affordable than their direct rivals, they have an unusual design that exposes their innards, and they have all the tech you'd want (apart from Nothing earbuds' ChatGPT integration, of course) – including active noise cancellation. But these headphones aren't the Nothing Headphones. They're the Mondo by Defunc. 

Defunc is straight outta Stockholm, where it claims to "create purposeful audio products to simplify choices for sound-savvy personalities around the world" by combining Swedish style with carefully chosen tech. Mondo is the brand's flagship range, but here premium doesn't necessarily mean pricey: the Mondo headphones are currently listed on Amazon for £125 in the UK and $166 in the US (which is around AU$240). 

That pricing undercuts the May-launch Beats Solo 4 (which don't offer ANC) by some distance – in fact, it makes the Mondo by Defunc cheaper than most of the best over-ear headphones around. 

Mondo by Defunc over-ears: key features and specs

Mondo by Defunc headphones

(Image credit: Defunc)

The Mondo headphones have serious stamina, with 180 hours of standby time and a claimed 45 hours of listening. Under the hood, it gets even more interesting, with dual drivers of 40mm and 10mm respectively and dual microphones. You also get Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX HD and what Defunc calls Environmental Noise Cancelling, which reduces background noise in calls to help others hear you more clearly. They're relatively lightweight at 275g, and if you're not a fan of the transparent design, they're also available in black or "greige". The frequency range is 20Hz to 20KHz and charging time from flat is just under two hours.

These aren't the first transparent headphones from the brand; there's also a model called Mondo Freestyle with the same transparent approach but this time it's combined with orange foam to deliver a distinctly late-70s Sony Walkman vibe.

There are some interesting designs coming out of Defunc: a forthcoming Bluetooth speaker, also in the Mondo range, looks like somebody locked an 80s boombox in a hotel room with a cheese grater and Barry White's greatest hits. Hopefully it'll sound as good as it looks…

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Carrie Marshall
Contributor

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.