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Kmart Anko Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones review

$50 for over 50 hours of playback? I'm listening.

Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones
Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones
2.5 out of 5 stars
2.5
Price
From $50
Battery
Up to 60 hours
Multipoint
No
Fergus Halliday
May 28, 2024
Icon Time To Read4 min read
Quick verdict: Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones

Kmart's cheap Bluetooth headphones try to steal from the best but this cover act is barely skin deep. The material design feels cheap, the controls aren't very intuitive and the sound and microphone quality falls short.

pro
Pros
pro Familiar design
pro Affordable price
pro Surprisingly good battery life
con
Cons
con No features
con Unintuitive controls
con Poor sound quality

Noise cancelling and wireless headphones aren't exactly cutting edge tech anymore but they're still prohibitively expensive for many Aussies. If you can't afford the latest that Sony, Sonos or Bose have to offer, there's a chance that you might end up taking a gander at what Kmart and its Anko brand has to offer. 

Kmart's house-brand has been playing in the tech space for a fair few years now and in recent times its graduated from basic accessories like power banks and car chargers to more ambitious fare like noise-cancelling headphones. On paper, there's a lot to like about that development. It's always nice to see tech that was cutting edge become more affordable to more people and if the big brands won't bring the comforts of noise-cancelling to the masses, I'm glad somebody else is.

Unfortuantely, the Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones leave much to be desired. You might get noise cancelling and 60 hours of playback at a bargain, but you're still very much getting what you pay for.

How much does the Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones cost in Australia?

Starts at $50

In Australia, Kmart's set of cheap over ear headphones starts at $50. Depending on what you're comparing it to, that could be as much as a tenth of what the big brands demand for their respective noise cancelling hardware.

For a sense of how Kmart's Anko Bluetooth over-Ear njoise cancelling headphones compare to the rest of the market, check out the table below.

Compare over-ear headphones

Product
Rating
Price
Battery life
Fast charging
Noise cancelling
Availability

Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones: Design and features

Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones

The Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones are not shy about their inspirations. The aesthetics and button layout here are be a half-decent imitation of better headphones even if it doesn't take long to give itself away as a pale one. There are silver accents, which quickly become besmirched by smudges and fingerprints.

Crank down the resolution on an picture of these and you might assume these are the latest from Bose's QuietComfort line. However, if you pick them up, that illusion falls apart pretty fast. The cheap plastic feel-factor here betrays the budget-friendly price-tag almost immediately.

If there's any silver lining to this, it's that The Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones are surprisingly lightweight. Given the price, it's no shocker that they don't come bundled with any sort of carry case. That said, the ear-cups do fold flat if you want to back them away.

Meanwhile, the button layout is very much what you'd expect. Unfortunately, the locations of those button is just different enough to everything else out there that I found myself tripping up on it more often than not.

In any case, all the action is concentrated on the right ear-cup. This is where you'll find a trio of buttons that handle your volume settings, Bluetooth pairing, pausing and resuming music plus powering on and off the headphones. That's a lot of functionality condensed within a relatively small number of buttons and it did take me some getting used to.

Meanwhile, the noise-cancelling feature gets its own dedicated toggle complete with an LED light that conveys whether it's on or not. I don't love that this remains on (and presumably consumes power) even when the headphones themselves have been turned off.

The last thing worth touching on here is that Kmart cheap Bluetooth headphones don't just come with a USB-C port for charging, they also include a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. Given how rare this legacy port has become in modern noise cancelling headphones nowadays, this feels like a throwback and more like a genuine treat.

The few other fronts where it can be said that the Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones ekes out a win come with similar caveats. It's nice to not have to deal with a companion app, but the experience here isn't really served by the lack of any equaliser settings. Like many Anko gadgets, it all feels very minimum viable product.

Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones: Sound quality

Lo-fi that's hard to love
Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones

Reviewing the Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones in parallel with the new Sonos Ace can't have done the former any favors. All the same, it's fair to say that the sound quality here is very much in line with what you'd expect given the price. In other words, it's not great.

Writ large, the Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones were fairly underwhelming. Enabling noise-cancelling helped salvage the situation somewhat, but music, audiobooks and podcasts all sounded noticeable flat and lifeless. I'm not usually someone who crank up the bass but its absence here was not just felt but likely a defining factor in the overall quality of the experience. The fit wasn't all that snug either, so any pretensions towards noise cancellation fell apart pretty much the moment I left the relative quiet of my apartment and ventured into the outside world.

Still, I began to run through our usual testing playlist I held out some hope. However, it wasn't until Childish Gambino’s ‘3005’  that the scope of the problem became clear. Almost every test track we threw at these headphones fell short. It couldn't keep up with the acoustic anarchy of tracks like Opeth's "The Funeral Portrait" and Deftone's Swerve City and flattened the rich soundscapes of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" into auditory equivalent of concrete pavement. 

As bad as all this sounds, the microphone quality offered by the Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones is somehow even worse. Again, that's not a huge surprise. Still, it's yet another big mark in the cons column for those who care about hands-free calls. Click the button below to listen for yourself.

Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones: Are they worth the money?

Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones

The Kmart Anko Bluetooth Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones rarely escape the gravity of the severe shortcuts they make. They never quite live up to the excitement that the budget-friendly price-tag brings to the table. These are headphones that get the job done, but they rarely delight and all too often fall short. They'll do in a pinch, but you deserve better.

icon-expertise

How we review over-ear headphones

When we review over-ear wireless headphones, there are five main considerations:

  • Sound: Do they sound good? Audio quality is pretty important for headphones, after all.
  • Comfort & Design: Are they comfortable to wear over extended periods of time?
  • Features: How long does the battery last? Is the connectivity reliable? Is the noise-cancelling good?
  • Vibe: What's the overall experience?
  • Value: Are they good for the money?

While audio products can be quite subjective for many reasons, we have standardised testing procedures across the team designed to help us look at the category in a consistent way. You can read more about how we review over-ear headphones here.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.