RHA TrueConnect 2 truly wireless earphones review

0
15

The TrueConnect 2 are the successor to the acclaimed TrueConnect from the Glasgow-based audio brand RHA. The new model may look identical to the previous one but RHA claims several improvements under the hood, including a much longer battery life, better ingress protection, more microphones, redesigned buttons, and more robust connectivity.

At $150, the TrueConnect 2 are priced similar to popular offerings from other major brands. This means they need to be competitive with some of the industry heavyweights while also rising above the increasingly common low-priced alternatives from the Chinese brands. Let’s see if the TrueConnect 2 can do that.

Design

As mentioned before, the TrueConnect 2 look identical to the original TrueConnect. If you know what those are like, then you’d be glad RHA decided to leave the design alone.

For those who haven’t seen the original, the TrueConnect 2 come in a fantastically well-built charging case with rubberized plastic and a sturdy metal enclosure. The opening mechanism for this case is perhaps the most unique I have come across. Depending upon how you hold it, you can either have the metal bracket on top rotate out of the way to reveal the earbuds underneath or you can flip the plastic body from underneath the metal bracket and have the insides flip towards you like an old-fashioned tape deck.

RHA TrueConnect 2 truly wireless earphones review

Either way, the mechanism is super satisfying to operate, with a smooth movement and firm sound at each end of the travel. Holding it in your hand, it’s nearly impossible to not use it as some sort of fidget cube.

On the outside, we find three LED indicators for the battery inside the case. There’s also a USB-C connector for charging.

The insides are lined with the same soft-touch material as the outside. Here we can find the two earbuds nestled quite securely with magnets.

RHA TrueConnect 2 truly wireless earphones review

Moving on to the earbuds, they again share the same design as their predecessors. The design is distinctive, with short stalks and lumpy speaker enclosures. The backs of these have a touch-sensitive surface to control various functions on the earphones. This is a departure from the original TrueConnect, which featured physical buttons that needed to be pressed in. The TrueConnect 2 can be accessed with a gentle touch.

However, this also means that it’s now quite easy to trigger a function on these while handling the earphones. Usually, you’d end up accidentally playing/pausing the music and occasionally may even bring up the voice assistant on the phone with a long press.

RHA has also improved the ingress protection on the TrueConnect 2. They are now IP55 rated against dust and water, as opposed to the IPX5 rating for the TrueConnect.

RHA TrueConnect 2 truly wireless earphones review

The TrueConnect 2 come with three sizes of silicone ear tips. There are two pairs of small size, three pairs of the medium, and two pairs of large size. Why the extra pair of mediums? Who knows. All of them do come attached to a nice stainless steel plate inside the box.

Overall, in terms of design and build quality, the TrueConnect 2 are exceedingly well-designed. The case alone deserves some sort of award for its design and slick operation.

Comfort

The TrueConnect 2 are somewhat uncomfortable when it comes to putting them on and off. The design of the ear tips causes a strong suction inside your ears, which feels quite uncomfortable at first. You also need to be careful to remove them to avoid further shock due to the sudden change in air pressure. It seems the design can’t vent internal pressure successfully or has been designed intentionally to suppress external sounds. Either way, not a fun pair to put on, especially for those who already dislike wearing in-ear earphones.

Once on, however, you can wear them for hours. It takes a while for the pressure inside your ears to equalize but once it’s done you can forget about wearing them as they are barely noticeable. It’s a shame the process of putting them on and off isn’t as nice as they can be quite comfortable while in use.

Software and features

The RHA TrueConnect 2 do not come with a companion app. This means they have a limited feature set and the firmware cannot be updated.

The earbuds feature a single 6mm dynamic driver. They have Bluetooth 5.0 support where each earbud connects directly to the source device, which is an improvement over their predecessor. There is, however, no multi-device pairing nor any way to quickly switch between the current and last paired device. The TrueConnect 2 support AAC alongside SBC, which was an odd discovery as the website only mentions support for SBC.

RHA TrueConnect 2 truly wireless earphones review

The touch controls on either earbud support a range of functions. A single tap will play/pause from either earbud. A double-tap will skip forward on the left earbud and increase volume on the right earbud. A triple tap will skip back on the left earbud and reduce the volume on the right earbud. A short press and hold will activate the voice assistant on the phone. A long press initiates pairing mode but you need to disconnect from the currently paired device first.

As with most truly wireless earbuds, you can use just one of the earbuds for voice calls and using the voice assistant.

The TrueConnect 2 don’t have sensors built-in to detect when they are worn, which means you can’t remove them to pause the music nor can you put them back in to continue playing.

Performance

The RHA TrueConnect 2 are decent-sounding earphones. The sound signature leans more towards a neutral sound but doesn’t quite get there. But people who prefer a neutral sound will likely find these more appealing than those who want a more colored bass or treble-heavy sound.

The bass response is fairly lean. There is a good presence in the upper and mid-bass regions but the low-end lacks the rumble and thump you get from a more well-rounded bass response. I tried swapping out the ear tips in case there was an issue with the seal but things didn’t change.

RHA TrueConnect 2 truly wireless earphones review

Things continue to be a mixed bag with the mids. There’s a good presence in the lower-mid, which makes male vocals sound reasonably forward and distinct in the mix. Unfortunately, there is a drop in the upper-mids, which pushes female vocals and some instruments in the background and makes you want to turn up the volume to hear things more clearly.

The treble also loses some of the energy in the low-treble range, which seems to continue from the mid-range depression. However, there seems to be a bump in the higher ranges of the audio spectrum, which adds a layer or sibilance and sizzle, that accentuates all the S and T sounds. This is usually not that distracting but can be quite aggressive on some tracks.

The overall sound signature still comes across as fairly balanced. But there is a somewhat veiled nature to the sound due to the suppressed upper mids, which robs it of detail and overall volume.

RHA TrueConnect 2 truly wireless earphones review

Another issue with the sound is the lack of soundstage. It’s a very narrow sound that makes it seem contained within the confinements of your head. Most recordings tend to take a monophonic character and only tracks with a really wide stereo soundscape open up a bit on these earphones. Usually, I advise against it but you might be better off enabling whatever surround sound option your phone shipped with to get a more open soundstage on the TrueConnect 2.

The microphone performance on the TrueConnect 2 is quite decent. RHA claims to have improved the mic performance over the previous generation model by adding a second mic on each earbud. The audio is reasonably clear for voice calls.

Latency in audio is subpar. Even with videos, there is a noticeable delay between the video and the audio synchronization. With games, it’s even more noticeable as the audio is tied to your inputs.

Battery Life

Battery life is one of the major improvements in the new TrueConnect 2. RHA claims 44 hours of total battery life, which is a result of a claimed 9.5 hours of continuous use out of the earbuds and an additional 34.5 hours out of the case over 4 recharges.

RHA TrueConnect 2 truly wireless earphones review

In my testing, the earbuds went on for 9 hours of continuous, which is pretty great for truly wireless earbuds and one of the best figures we have seen. What this means is that you can pretty much count on never having to worry about running of juice while still listening. It’s unlikely your listening session will last beyond continuous 9 hours, which means you will end up charging them well before they run out.

The earphones take about 70 minutes to charge completely and the case itself takes about 3 hours to charge.

Verdict

For $150, the RHA TrueConnect 2 are a reasonably good pair of truly wireless earbuds. Their key advantages are stellar build quality and design and impressive battery life for a pair of truly wireless earbuds. They also block a surprising amount of background noise passively and the audio quality, while not exceptional in any way, is also quite decent overall.

RHA TrueConnect 2 truly wireless earphones review

Unfortunately, some issues hold them back. The audio latency is on the higher side, which makes them unsuitable for watching videos and playing games. I missed the convenience of just taking them out of the ear to pause the music, a feature that several other TWS earphones offer in this price range. The touch-sensitive controls on the side are quite easy to trigger while handling the earphones. And lastly, I also didn’t find them very comfortable, at least when it came to putting them in my ear.

So that’s the lowdown on the RHA TrueConnect 2. Now you can decide if these work out for you based on your usage. I’d still choose the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ as they are better in most ways than the TrueConnect 2 while being a bit cheaper but if you fancy the design of the TrueConnect 2 or its case then I wouldn’t blame you.

Pros

  • Excellent design and build
  • Great battery life
  • Impressive passive noise cancellation

Cons

  • Excessive pressure on ears while wearing
  • No wear detection for automatic play/pause
  • High audio latency unsuitable for videos and games
  • Touch controls easy to trigger accidentally

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here