Klipsch Paired Fantastic Wireless Earbuds with Another Weird Charging Case

Klipsch Paired Fantastic Wireless Earbuds with Another Weird Charging Case
Photo: Andrew Liszewski - Gizmodo

Klipsch’s first foray into wireless earbuds, its T5 True Wireless, paired a set of decent-sounding buds with a stainless steel charging case inspired by Zippo lighters. It was a fun way to differentiate the brand, and for round two Klipsch has gotten even more creative. But the charging case for its new T5 II True Wireless Sport earbuds sports adds functionality that just doesn’t feel necessary, especially when the buds themselves sound so good.

The Klipsch T5 II True Wireless earbuds are available in two different options: The $US200 ($261) version carries over the Zippo-inspired charging case design of the original, but with a thinner design that’s more pocketable and a new gunmetal grey finish to go along with the original stainless steel. Klipsch also released a $US230 ($300) Sport version, which features the exact same wireless earbuds but swaps out the Zippo-esque case for a beefier charging pod that introduces some unique functionality. For this review I tested the Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Sport earbuds.

Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Sport Earbuds

WHAT IS IT?

Klipsch's second-generation wireless earbuds designed for sports, which include a moisture-wicking charging case allowing the buds to be rinsed after a workout but charged while they're still wet.

PRICE

$US230 ($300)

LIKE

Easily some of the best-sounding wireless earbuds I've ever tested. It's clear that Klipsch put a lot of work into improving the overall sound quality from the original T5 True Wireless earbuds.

DISLIKE

The added functionality of the charging case doesn't justify its beefy size. No noise cancellation makes the $US230 ($300) price tag a hard sell. The optional ear wings don't reliably stay on the buds themselves.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.

When I reviewed the original Klipsch T5 True Wireless earbuds I was worried the gimmicky Zippo-inspired charging case would be the only thing they had going for them, but the buds delivered decent sound — even if they were a little beefy and stuck out of my ears more than I like wireless earbuds to. They weren’t a bad choice for wireless earbuds, but never became my go-to buds, because over time I experienced quite a few connectivity issues where individual buds would just randomly stop playing music for a few seconds at a time.

Photo: Andrew Liszewski - Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Andrew Liszewski - Gizmodo, In-House Art

The T5 II True Wireless earbuds are smaller than their predecessors so they don't stick out of your ears as much.

Photo: Andrew Liszewski - Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Andrew Liszewski - Gizmodo, In-House Art

The buds are a bit larger than the Apple AirPods Pro and the Jabra Elite Active 68 T, but the difference in sound more than justifies their size.

The new T5 II True Wireless earbuds are an improvement in every way imaginable. They’re much thinner and don’t noticeably stick out of your ears anymore (at least no more than any other wireless earbuds do), and from my testing, Klipsch’s claims that it’s improved the antenna design on each bud are valid. I’ve yet to experience any random disconnects with either bud. Klipsch has even reduced the size of its logo on each bud, which also means the clickable buttons on each side are smaller and harder to accidentally press while you’re sticking them in your ear or removing them.

There is no such thing as too many ear tip options, and Klipsch now includes six size options in the box. (Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo) There is no such thing as too many ear tip options, and Klipsch now includes six size options in the box. (Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo)

If you’ve ever had a hard time finding a set of silicone ear tips that fit your ears, Klipsch’s new earbuds are worth considering if only because out of the box they come with six different sizes of tips, as well as a pair of Comply memory foam tips with the new Sport version. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Three sizes of silicone ear tips just aren’t enough to ensure every user has a comfortable listening experience, so bonus points for Klipsch here.

The Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Sport earbuds also includes three sets of ear wings in different sizes which are crucial for keeping buds in while physically active, but unfortunately the swappable wings tend to easily fall off the buds. (Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo) The Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Sport earbuds also includes three sets of ear wings in different sizes which are crucial for keeping buds in while physically active, but unfortunately the swappable wings tend to easily fall off the buds. (Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo)

The Sport version of the T5 II True Wireless earbuds comes with three sets of swappable silicone ear wings in three different sizes which I find are crucial for keeping most earbuds securely in my ears if I’m out walking. The fact that you can swap in the wings that best fit your ears is nice, but the way they attach to the buds themselves — a silicon ring held in place with tension — just isn’t secure enough. The wings tend to slowly slide off over time, which is frustrating.

The biggest improvement Klipsch made to the T5 II True Wireless Sport earbuds is how they sound, which is simply fantastic. I’ve spent a few days testing them against the competition, including Apple’s AirPods Pro, Jabra’s Elite Active 68 T, and even Sony’s WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds (which are due for a much-needed upgrade soon) and I’m not just blown away at how good the T5 II True Wireless Sport sound — I’m very close to making them my daily drivers. An accompanying app allows users to make EQ adjustments to customise how the buds sound, but even with the default settings the bass performance is incredibly satisfying while the highs remain crisp and pronounced. When the beat drops around the 30-second mark of the Tropic Remix of Surf Mesa’s “ily,” the T5 II True Wireless Sport actually sounded better than some over-the-ear headphones I’ve tested. To my bass-loving ears they easily outperformed the AirPods Pro, the Elite Active 68 T, and even Sony’s WF-1000XM3.

The only place where Klipsch’s T5 II True Wireless Sport don’t outperform the competition is active noise cancellation. It doesn’t have any aside from serving as a cork in your ears to physically blocking other sounds from getting in. $US199 ($259) (for the non Sport version) wireless earbuds lacking ANC is a tough sell these days, no matter how great they sound.

Photo: Andrew Liszewski - Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Andrew Liszewski - Gizmodo, In-House Art

The T5 II True Wireless Sport's charging case is large, and you'll struggle to comfortably squeeze it into a pocket.

Photo: Andrew Liszewski - Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Andrew Liszewski - Gizmodo, In-House Art

The charging case also includes a complicated clamping mechanism which will make you appreciate the magnetically secured lids the competition uses.

With wireless earbuds that sound as good as they do, I’m kind of left scratching my head as to why Klipsch felt it needed to over-engineer the T5 II True Wireless Sport’s charging case. It’s huge, and using it feels like you’re sticking your earbuds into one of those shock-proof, highly-protective Pelican cases because you’re about to participate in some extreme sports. Instead of a magnetic lid, it features a complicated clamping mechanism on the side which, along with a rubber gasket around the seams, ensures the case is waterproof, but I’m just not sure that’s necessary, even for this product’s sport-minded target market.

Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo, In-House Art

The T5 II True Wireless Sport's case charges wirelessly, but accessing the USB-C port for wired charging requires the case to be left open.

Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo, In-House Art

A compartment full of silica gel desiccant beads in the lid helps the earbuds dry if rinsed and returned to the case while still wet.

The case wirelessly charges, which is nice, but to maintain a watertight seal a USB-C charging port is located on the inside, requiring you to leave the case open during charges if you don’t have a Qi pad. The most interesting feature of the T5 II True Wireless Sport’s charging case is a compartment on the lid packed full of tiny silica gel desiccant beads. After a workout, users are encouraged to rinse any sweat off the earbuds and then pop them back into the charging case wet. Then the beads will absorb all the moisture as they dry. I can see why this might be occasionally useful, but I’m not sure the bulk this feature adds to the charging case is worth the claimed convenience of not having to dry your earbuds off first.

I can definitely see the value in wireless earbuds with features that cater specifically to athletes, and if you have trouble keeping buds in your ears while you’re physically active, the selection of ear tips and ear wings included with the Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Sport will definitely help them stay put as you’re moving around. But the charging case included with the Sport versions of these buds feels a little over-the-top and unnecessary. Quickly drying off a pair of freshly cleaned buds with a towel is just faster and more convenient.

The Klipsch T5 II True Wireless earbuds are the better way to go, assuming you don’t need or care about active noise cancellation. You’ll save yourself $US30 ($39) with the non-Sport version and will end up with a charging case that’s still kind of gimmicky, but one that’s much smaller and easier to stash in a pocket. I don’t necessarily hate that Klipsch is still trying to differentiate its wireless earbuds from the competition through their charging cases, but I’m hoping that next time around, the company realises that the sound performance they’re now delivering is all it really needs to take on Apple, Sony, and Jabra.

README

  • These are simply some of the best sounding wireless earbuds I’ve ever tested, delivering excellent bass performance and crisp highs with a balance and intensity that outperforms even some over-the-ear headphones. Sound can also be tweaked using a simple EQ on the mobile app.
  • Klipsch includes six different-sized sets of silicone ear tips that all but ensure you’ll find a size that fits you, while the Sport version adds Comply memory foam tips and three sets of ear wings for added in-ear security.
  • The Zippo-inspired charging case included is now thinner and easier to pocket.
  • The waterproof charging case included with the Sport version is just too bulky, and the claimed convenience of water-absorbing silica beads inside to dry the buds after a rinse doesn’t justify the size of the case.
  • At this point, a $US200 ($261) starting price point without even rudimentary active noise cancellation is challenging.
  • Improved antenna design has resolved disconnection issues the original T5 True Wireless earbuds experienced.
  • Smaller earbud design doesn’t stick out of the ear as much, and the size of the Klipsch logo has been reduced so you feel like less of a walking billboard.