KEF Porsche Design Space One Wireless hands-on review

KEF’s Space One Wireless headphones meld supercar class with superstar sound

Noise canceling without the drawbacks, inside a supremely comfortable, classy headphone design.
Noise canceling without the drawbacks, inside a supremely comfortable, classy headphone design.
Noise canceling without the drawbacks, inside a supremely comfortable, classy headphone design.

Highs

  • Beautiful design and build quality
  • Superb noise cancelation
  • Long battery life
  • Excellent audio quality

Lows

  • No AptX HD
  • Pricey

London, just like any big, busy city is rather noisy. Some days that’s fine, but on others you just wish everyone would zip it and we’d all go about our business in civilized silence. Obviously, that’s not going to happen, so the next best thing is to put on a pair of noise canceling headphones. In our KEF Porsche Design Space One Wireless hands-on review, we enjoy their extraordinarily effective noise cancelation, which makes the world around us disappear.

Let’s take in the design for a moment. Porsche Design has given these beautiful headphones that polished, minimalist, ultra-stylish look we’ve come to expect from the brand’s tech endeavors. There’s just no fuss; no exposed cables, no oversize buttons, no flashy touch panels, and absolutely no pointless, attention-grabbing garnish. The KEF Porsche Design Space One Wireless come in black and brushed aluminum, with a small KEF logo and Porsche Design’s PD insignia on each cup. It’s mature, stark, and beautiful. If B&O Play is business casual, then KEF and Porsche Design are business smart.

We love the attention to detail. The hanger is covered in soft, black leatherette, with just the right amount of padding around the aluminum frame, while the motion for extending the frame is wonderfully dampened, giving it a solid, premium motion. The leatherette padding continues on the earcups, and is plush enough that we can wear the KEF headphones comfortably with our spectacles. This is an important point. Many over-ear headphones are annoying if you wear glasses, with the cups pulling them about in different directions if you dare to change expression. These didn’t irritate at all. The seal is strong, and although the phones aren’t tight on our head, we did get a little sweaty underneath after a couple of hours on a plane.

The design is mature, stark, and beautiful.

This is the first time KEF has incorporated Bluetooth and noise cancelation into a pair of headphones, and it’s a joy. On the train, the underground, and walking around the city, it removed just the right amount of noise, while barely impacting the quality of the music. It was most effective listening to podcasts, where spoken voice is usually drowned out by roar of the London underground. Wearing the Space One Wireless I was able to hear, understand and enjoy Tell ‘Em Steve Dave, a podcast where voice volume and clarity is notoriously erratic, surrounded by the underground din. Listening to music with noise cancelation did remove some of the spaciousness, but didn’t sacrifice any detail, and we never once wanted to turn it off for tracks we really love, because it sounded suitably similar.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Wireless hands-on review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

A pair of 40mm KEF-tuned drivers with a 20mm neodymium magnet live in each earcup, and give a warm, wonderfully well-rounded sound. The KEF’s don’t favor midrange or bass, offering a vibrant, exciting sound that brings out the best in “big” tunes. For example, the sweeping vocals and uplifting orchestral moments in Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku’s Kanjodensha are as joyous whether noise cancelation is on or off. Returning to test-track favorite Jidenna’s Long Live the Chief, the bass thump is strong and forceful, although we did find Boris Blank’s Electrified lacked some of its searing thrill with noise cancelation on. It still wasn’t enough to make us turn it off and let London into our ears.

The battery inside is designed to last 30 hours wireless playback with noise cancelation on, and we’d say that’s accurate. We only charged the headphones once in an entire week in Tokyo with regular use, including a high percentage of the 11-hour flight over.

The KEF Porsche Design Space One Wireless headphones are a class act.

Two 3.5mm headphone cables are included in the box should the battery give up before you can recharge, including one with inline controls for phone use, and the other without. We also like the physical buttons on the headphones themselves for controlling volume and track pause, which is easier than using a touch pad on the move. If there’s a negative to the Space One Wireless, it’s the lack of AptX HD. Standard AptX is there, but the HD codec would have elevated these way above the competition — which is very strong at this price point.

You’ll spend 350 British pounds, or about $470, for the pleasure of owning the KEF Porsche Design Space One Wireless headphones. That’s more than you’ll pay for the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless headphones, and the Sony MDR 1000x, two of our favorite wireless headphones out at the moment. It’s similar to the Bowers & Wilkins PX, and the B&O Play H9s, which are equally as stylish and provide super sound quality. However, in our early tests, we feel the KEF’s noise cancelation is superior to these two.

From the dreamy style, the sound quality, and even the zip-up case, the KEF Porsche Design Space One Wireless headphones are a class act. There are no compromises. Noise cancelation is superb, the audio performance is excellent, and they’re as comfortable as they are good-looking. Now, excuse us while we go back to enjoying London without the infernal chatter.

Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Computing

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering changing up your mouse for something ergonomic. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Product Review

Dolby makes the most comfortable headphones ever, and that's only the start

Dolby has taken its first step into product design with the new Dolby Dimension wireless headphones. Offering tons of features, supreme comfort, and a shocking price tag, the Dimension are a unique new take on audio in the home, and out.
Product Review

These AirPod look-alikes are better in every way but one

With silicone eartips, water resistance, and a more palatable price tag, Mobvoi’s Ticpods Free are impressive AirPod doppelgangers. But for all the great things they have going for them, there’s one flaw holding them back.
Home Theater

From game consoles to 4K UHD spinners, these are the best Blu-ray players

Streaming may be popular, but the disc isn't dead yet. To get the very best picture and sound quality from your system, you need to be watching Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and these are the best Blu-ray players you can buy.
Product Review

Hisense’s new H8E 4K TV serves up a pretty picture at a very nice price

Budget TVs continue to get more attractive and that includes the latest from Chinese TV maker Hisense. The company’s new H8E, which offers 4K resolution, HDR, and a slick design for well under $500.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (December 2018)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in November and December 2018, from new original series to classic films.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this fall with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Deals

Here are the best 4K TV deals for November 2018

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.