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If you think of true wireless earbuds, chances are the Apple AirPods just popped up in your mind. That’s not a bad thing. They’re outselling every other product on the market while also opening the true wireless earbud flood gates for other manufacturers.
In 2019, we’ve seen so many additions to this market, and one such example from Klipsch just happened to land in my lap a few weeks ago.
The Klipsch T5 True wireless earbuds, to give them their full title, is the American firm’s first go at the true wireless earbud market. The company’s well versed in creating flood standing speakers for homes, but it’s a noob when it comes to condensing that knowledge into a package that fits in your ears.
With that said, there are hits and misses with these buds which I’ll detail in the below piece.
Hit: The Klipsch T5 True earbuds will turn heads
Forget practicality. Klipsch made these buds with two things in mind: sound quality and style.
Unboxing the T5 True buds, you’ll notice the Zippo lighter-like charging case coated in a heavy metal outer shell. It sheens and shines in light, and makes for a great fidget toy.
The two buds can fit in either earbud slot too, a case design you won’t see on Samsung’s or Apple’s products. It flips open on a thick hinge that I first mistook as the latch I had to pry open.
In the box, the actual buds are housed in their own protective slots.
The buds are as gorgeous as their charging case, with Klipsch going for a golden embossed label for the buds’ outer portion.
Three white LEDs on the case detail its battery level, while there are bright LED indicators on the buds too.
Miss: Klipsch forgot the simple things
Those indicators on the buds, annoyingly, don’t flash in sync, and will easily light up a dark room. Distracting in a bedroom at night, I can’t imagine how irritating this would be for others, say, while on a plane.
The case itself, while a piece of art, is pretty heavy. It makes carrying the Klispch T5 True buds in your pocket more of a chore than a convenience.
There aren’t any touch controls on these buds either, a big issue for those who want to spend as little time as possible using their phones to control their music.
Hit: The sound quality is incredible
These are small issues when considering the real reason why people buy audio products: audio quality. The Klipsch T5 True earbuds are the best sounding buds I’ve ever used.
Using a high-quality streaming service like Deezer HiFi, these buds excel with practically every genre from punk to hip-hop, jazz to classical.
Bass is rich and dynamic in EDM, while sawtooths can be heard with clarity at all volume levels. Indie strings from bands like Say Sue Me feel full of life.
These are excellent buds if audio quality is your biggest requirement.
Miss: The buds are cumbersome in the ear
These buds don’t have active noise cancellation, so fit is everything.
The stock preinstalled eartips didn’t provide the best fit or noise isolation, but two other sizes (a pair much smaller and another much larger) are provided.
I went with the latter, but this meant they didn’t quite fit as easily into their carrying case. They would otherwise fall in without hassle with smaller tips.
To that extent, one of the biggest issues with the Klipsch T5 True is finding a good fit. Even with the larger tips, flexing my jaw, smiling, or turning my head loosened the buds in my ears, breaking the audio seal and ruining the sound.
What’s also immediately apparent is their size. These are big earbuds, and poke out of your ears by about 5mm compared to the Galaxy Buds. This makese them that much easier to dislodge by accident.
Hit: Battery life is beyond impressive
On one particular Friday, I spent the best part of five hours listening to music from my smartphone using these buds with the volume well above 50%. At the end of my session, they still had charge.
I can’t tell you how much charge as Klipsch’s Connect app just wasn’t available for me to download at the time of review.
Klipsch notes that these buds, with the case, should provide the listener at least 24 hours of music playback, and I have no doubt that users will achieve this.
Miss: Intermittent connectivity
An odd issue I encountered way too often with the Klipsch T5 True buds was wobbly Bluetooth connectivity. When connected to my phone with music playing, the buds would randomly skip and jitter. Note, I wasn’t in another room. I was within a metre from my phone.
I tried to replicate this issue by covering the buds with my hands, leaving the room, and moving my head and body to break line-of-sight with the phone (even though this isn’t how Bluetooth works), but to no avail.
I just couldn’t reliably replicate this issue.
It’s something I haven’t experienced on the current crop of true wireless earbuds. It’s also odd because these buds support Bluetooth 5 and aptX, so I’m not sure what the issue could be.
Hit: They’re IPX4 water resistant
I’m not sure I’d wear these to gym (as I noted, the fit is an issue for me), but you totally can thanks to their IPX4 water and sweat resistance.
This rating ensures the buds will brush off water splashes in any direction, but they won’t be able to handle submersion.
It’s a nice touch, especially considering that you needn’t take these off if your outside in a light drizzle. A heavy downpour? I wouldn’t take the risk.
Miss: The price
And finally, the biggest sacrifice is the price.
If you’re buying true wireless earbuds with the sole focus of getting the best audio experience, the Klipsch T5 True buds are a no-brainer. They deliver gorgeous audio with spades of style to boot.
But, if you’re a more practical human who wants touch controls, a reliable fit in any scenario, and a package that won’t weigh down your pocket, the premium of the Klipsch buds make less sense.
To that end, you’ll be paying around R3700 for these — nearly R1500 more expensive than the Galaxy Buds, and close to R1200 pricier than the AirPods at their cheapest.
Images: Andy Walker/Memeburn