Klipsch T5 II true wireless earbuds review: Never mind AirPods

Klipsch’s T5 II wireless earbuds are stylish, compact, and they sound great. But is that enough to raise them above all the other wireless earbud choices?

If you’re considering the Apple AirPods, or just looking for an alternative, you definitely need to check out Klipsch’s $200 T5 II wireless earbuds. They are the second generation of an already great set of earbuds, and while (like the AirPods) they don’t have noise canceling built-in, they’ve got just about everything else. And unlike the AirPods, they’re compact and comfortable to wear.

What’s in the box?

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While the Klipsch T5 II’s come with a paper instruction manual, you can also access all the information in the manual via their app. The earbuds come with a nice selection of silicone eartips — some oval and some round — which are crucial to the comfort of the earbuds, as well as their sound quality performance. With wireless earbuds, the comfort of the fit is everything, and the T5 II excel in this area.

You’ll also find a braided fabric USB-C-to USB-C charging cable, as well as a USB-A-to USB-C adapter.

The charging case of the T5 II’s is … well, awesome — it feels and looks like a Zippo lighter. It’s metallic and chunky, and fairly heavy, so it feels pretty great in your hands. It also has a magnetic lid that feels very secure when it clicks in. Given the weight, I didn’t feel much like pocketing the case, but then again, I rarely pocket cases in general.

The case comes with about 24 hours of charging capacity. Add that to the eight hours of playing time you get from the earbuds and that adds up to 32 hours total — that’s class-leading in terms of earbud battery life.

Comfort

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The earbuds themselves, as I mentioned before, are very comfortable for a variety of reasons. First, they’re very light — about five grams each. The sound tube tip is also very slender, and because the tips are silicone, they fit snugly in the ear and provide an excellent seal. Given their shallow profile, the T5 II are more inconspicuous than other earbuds. You could easily wear these all day and forget you even have them in.

Model choices

There are two other models in the T5 II line. The T5 II Sport adds fins and more water resistance, and the T5 II McLaren Edition is similar to the Sport model, but adds some design and aesthetic upgrades.

Exterior controls

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On the exterior of each T5 II bud is a fingertip-sized button and each button operates different features. Functions like volume, play, pause, take calls, end calls, skip tracks, etc., are controlled by these buttons, but remembering which side to click (and how many times) for each function can be difficult. There are guides in the app and the manual that walk the user through all of the options, but it may be a bit confusing.

Now, I’m not blaming Klipsch for the complexity — getting controls on a wireless earbud to work well is difficult, and we can’t think of anyone that’s doing it particularly well. So until you memorize them all, you’ll want to keep that app or manual handy.

Noise cancellation/transparency mode

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As we mentioned above, these earbuds do not have active noise cancellation built-in. But because the silicone tips fit so snugly into your ear, much of the outside noise is well abated. By the time you start playing music, you won’t hear much of what’s around you. If you do want to hear more of your environment, you can also turn on Transparency Mode, and dial that up or down in the app to get as much or as little outside sound as you want. That’s a hugely important feature too few earbuds offer.

Call quality

These earbuds are not designed specifically for call quality, but they get the job done. Klipsch’s buds do a decent job at eliminating exterior noise, but the sound of the voice itself came across as very compressed — to the point of sounding like an old-school landline telephone.

Sound quality

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At first, I didn’t get the sound quality I was expecting, especially given that I am familiar with the original T5.  But this happens if you don’t get the right fit in the ear and even though I thought I had a good seal, I realized that wasn’t the case after swapping the installed eartips out for something larger.

Once I did, everything opened up. The bass is very powerful, the midrange is very clear, and the treble is articulate, but never sibilant. Basically, it sounds like a Klipsch speaker. They are very fun to listen to, with a kind of rock vibe going for them.

There is an EQ built into the app, but I didn’t like any of the options, so I set it at “Flat.” Funny enough, the sound signature is anything but flat. These earbuds are designed to sound good just the way they are, so you don’t have to toy too much with the EQ to get what you want. The default sound is powerful and engaging, with just enough texture and detail to be as interesting as it is fun.

I listened to several genres of music, and they all sounded great — the sound wasn’t pigeonholed to make one genre sound better than another. And that’s a huge bonus, because, at their price point, they’re competing against a multitude of true wireless earbuds. When it comes to sound quality, these are up there with the absolute best.

Our take

There isn’t a whole lot I don’t like about the Klipsch T5 II True Wireless earbuds. Sure, the call quality isn’t great, and sometimes the controls feel a bit unwieldy, but they do everything a set of quality wireless earbuds need to do, and they do it all very well. If you’re ready to spend AirPods money, I would definitely check out the  Klipsch T5 IIs and see if they are, literally and figuratively, a better fit.

Is there a better alternative?

At their price, the Klipsch T5 II are a top choice. For about $30 more, the Jabra Elite 85T also offer excellent sound quality, a comfortable fit, and active noise canceling. For a little less money, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro offer a similarly compact and inconspicuous fit but don’t sound nearly as good.

How long will they last

The Klipsch T5 II are solidly constructed and will last as long as their batteries do.

Warranty

Klipsch offers a two-year warranty for the T5 II True Wireless earbuds. You can find out more at the Klipsch warranty page.

Should you buy them?

Yes, The Klipsch T5I True Wireless earbuds sound excellent, fit well, and work like a charm.

Klipsch T5 II true wireless earbuds review: Never mind AirPods

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