KEF & Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

KEF is one of the oldest UK Hi-Fi audio brand. It was founded by Raymond Cooke who was an ex-BBC electrical engineer.

KEF stands for Kent Engineering & Foundry. Kent Engineering & Foundry is a company that owns the land where KEF was founded.

One of KEF product is the Space One Wireless Headphones.

The Space One Wireless Headphones is done in collaboration with Porsche Design. It is retailing for S$629 in Singapore.

Specifications

  • Noise Cancellation: Active Noise Cancellation
  • Driver: 40mm
  • Sensitivity: 94dB
  • Impedance: 16 Ohm
  • Frequency Range: 20 – 20kHz
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.1 with Qualcomm aptX
  • Dimensions: 195 x 170 x 82 (mm)
  • Weight: 330g
  • Battery: 850mAh Li-ion Rechargeable Battery
  • Battery Life:

    • 30 hours with BT on and ANC on
    • 40 hours with BT on and ANC off
    • 110 hours with BT off and ANC on

Unboxing
When Porsche Design comes into the picture, you will know it will be a premium product. Another case in point is the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10.

KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Box Front
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Box Front
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Box Back
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Box Back
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Box
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Box
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Box Inside
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Box Inside
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Box Open
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Box Open
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Box Contents
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Box Contents

Coming from a person who has unboxed many headphone boxes, the Space One Wireless box is huge.

The design of the cover box doesn’t do justice to Porsche Design. Only when you remove the cover box and reveal yet another box, is where Porsche Design starts to shine.

The headphone carrying case is a hard carrying case and inside it contains six items:

  • Small Carrying Pouch
  • Micro USB Charging Cable
  • Airplane Adapater
  • Audio Cable with Remote
  • Audio Cable
  • Space One Wireless Headphones
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Carrying Case
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Carrying Case
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Carrying Case - Open
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Carrying Case – Open
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Carrying Case - Contents
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Carrying Case – Contents

The carrying case is big because the headphones are large. The headphones can’t be folded unlike the Bose QC35, and hence it is not as compact.

Like the Bose QC15 and Bose QC35, the Space One Wireless comes with an airplane adapter that you can use when traveling. This is very useful as not many airlines entertainment system has converted to the normal 3.5mm audio port yet.

KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Micro USB Cable, Small Pouch, Airplane Adapter
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Micro USB Cable, Small Pouch, Airplane Adapter

Interestingly, KEF has chosen to bundle two audio cables with the headphones. One with remote and one without.

KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Audio Cable
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Audio Cable
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Audio Cable with Remote
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Audio Cable with Remote

Design
The design language is simple. Black and grey with Porsche Design and KEF logos.

KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Front
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Front
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Back
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Back

Space One Wireless is heavier than the Bose QC35, 330g vs. 236g.

The materials used to construct it is the reason it is about 100g heavier. The headphones body is made of cast aluminum with a sandblasted titanium finish while the headphones band is made from aluminum with padded leatherette (artificial leather).

KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Band
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Band

Both the leatherette on the ear cups and the headphones band are sweat resistant. But I don’t think you will want to exercise with such an expensive headphones.

KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Right
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Right
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Left
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Left

All the buttons and ports are located on the right side of the headphones. The microphone is located on the right as well.

KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Buttons
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Buttons
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Ports
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Ports

There are three standard buttons, one switch, one micro USB port and one 3.5mm port for the audio cable.

A short press on the center button will play or pause your music. A quick press of the next button will increase the volume, and a long press will skip to the next song. Vice versa for the previous button.

If there is an incoming call, you can answer the call by pressing the center button. A long press will reject the incoming call.

There are three statuses to the switch. Sliding the switch to the right “0” will off your headphones. If the switch is in the middle position “1”, that means the Bluetooth is on. Sliding it to the left “2” means that both Bluetooth and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is on.

If you are running low on battery, you can switch the headphones to wire mode by plugging in any of the two bundled audio cables.

By doing that, your Bluetooth and buttons on your headphones will automatically be disabled. The switch statuses will also change. “0” remains the same which is to off your headphones. You can slide to “1” to off your ANC and slide to “2” to on your ANC.

KEF claims that with both Bluetooth and ANC on, you will get about 30 hours of battery life. With Bluetooth on but ANC off, you will get 40 hours, and if Bluetooth is off and ANC is on, you will get 110 hours.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
When it comes to active noise cancellation, I find that the Bose QC35 still performs better.

The Bose QC35 can block more noises than the Space One Wireless.

I tested it by emulating the noise found inside the aircraft cabin and see which headphones can cancel the noise better. You can search for words like “Cabin Noise Jet Sound” on YouTube.

Audio Quality
As expected, the audio quality of the Space One Wireless wins the Bose QC35 hands down.

It is crisp, and the bass is stronger and packs more punch.

KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones
KEF - Space One Wireless Headphones - Wearing It
KEF – Space One Wireless Headphones – Wearing It

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