Kygo's AirPods Pro rivaling wireless earbuds boast stylish looks and long battery life

(Image credit: Kygo)

If you need a new pair of noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds and you don't love the design of the Apple AirPods Pro, the latest buds from Kygo could be a stylish alternative.

The X by Kygo Xcellence sport a lightweight, fashion-forward design, with flat, circular housings that feature touch-capacitive sensors, a little like the Microsoft Surface Earbuds.

Each earbud features an illuminated 'X' on its outer housing, which looks very striking compared to the sea of AirPods copycats that have flooded the true wireless market.

Meanwhile, an IPX5 water resistance rating means that you can use the Xcellence for working out, without the worry that a little sweat might cause problems.

Looks and smarts

It's not all about looks, of course; with a 30-hour battery life (10 from the buds themselves and a further 20 from the wireless charging case), these earbuds are longer-lasting the best true wireless earbuds of 2020, the Sony WF-1000XM3

Like Sony's wireless earbuds, the Xcellence come with active noise cancellation, with the ability to block out annoying environmental sound when you're trying to enjoy your music in peace. 

There's an Ambient Mode for when you need to tune into your surroundings, which allows environmental sound to pass through the buds while your music is still playing – and the earbuds will automatically pause playback when you take them out.

Connectivity comes courtesy of Bluetooth 5, while aptX and AAC codecs are supported, which should ensure a stable connection and "CD-quality wireless audio streams from any device".


(Image credit: Kygo)

So, how do they sound? Featuring 10mm drivers, Kygo says that the Xcellence provide a "naturally deep and balanced sound", which can be fine-tuned via the X by Kygo app. 

According to Kygo, "this uses real-time adjustments to tailor the Xellence’s sound to your needs, delivering a brilliantly customized listening experience that also protects your hearing". 

If these earbuds can match the audio quality of their predecessors, then they could rival the best wireless earbuds of 2020. The company – which was created by Norwegian DJ Kygo – is quickly making a name for itself following the launch of the Kygo Life A11/800 last year, which we awarded four out of five stars in our review, thanks to their good sound quality, comfortable fit, and decent battery life.

At $239 / £179 (about AU$330), the Xcellence are a little cheaper than the AirPods Pro (in fact, they're a lot cheaper if you're in the UK), and if they can deliver on those impressive specs, they could make a great alternative. 

They're available to buy now from the X by Kygo website, although it's worth bearing in mind that you could save money if you wait for Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday 2020 – though any discounts are likely to be modest as these are brand-new buds.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.