Klipsch’s reputation precedes itself. The brand has been a pioneer of home audio for nearly 75 years and has successfully made the transition over into the headphones market, creating solid models across multiple product categories. Its first attempt at a true wireless earbuds model, the T5, was well received, thanks to heritage Klipsch sound and craftsmanship, which is best highlighted by the all-aluminum flip-top charging case.
One year later, the T5 II True Wireless has been introduced, and not only does it outshine its predecessor, but it also stands out as one of the best wireless earbuds available.
- Our expert picks for the best wireless earbuds, per budget and style
- Check out our Apple AirPods Pro review
- …and our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review
The T5 II True Wireless retains the same crisp, full-bodied sound, steady battery life, and striking design of the original, while offering up new improvements in the form of better controls, clearer call quality, and stronger connectivity. Even though special features are still extremely limited, the T5 II packs plenty of performance to justify its sub-luxury price tag.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless: Availability and price
The Klipsch T5 II originally launched at $199, but is currently available for $149 at Amazon or directly from Klipsch. The wireless earbuds are sold in two colors: Gunmetal and Silver. Bundled with the purchase are a charging case, six pairs of ear tips, a quick start guide, and a USB-C to USB-C cable with a USB-A adapter.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless: Design
Aesthetically, the T5 II is a refined and stylish throwback that pays homage to Klipsch’s classic home audio products. Very minor changes were implemented this time around to improve usability and overall comfort.
I love the polished, minimalist design, and though certain details like the shiny accents around the button and script logo on the front aren’t as eye-catching as on the original, they remain on-theme. New touches like the LED lights to indicate charging statuses, the smaller oval button, and stronger dust and water resistance (IP67) are appreciated as well.
The solid plastic casing houses the internals and provides decent protection against scuffs and scratches. The material also makes this version slightly lighter (0.17 ounces) than the original (0.2 ounces). I do prefer the sturdier build quality of the first-gen model, though you shouldn’t be worried about breaking the T5 II as you would, say, a pair of AirPods.
Now, let’s get to the main attraction: the charging case. It’s beautiful, composed entirely from aluminum, and built to survive tough falls. Klipsch managed to make it smaller than the original for more convenient portability, granted, it is still heavy compared to other charging cases. That won’t stop users from wanting to carry it around at all times and showing it to friends. You can flip it open with one thumb and the Zippo-lighter-inspired design is pretty awesome.
Klipsch made another tiny change to the sound port, which sticks out more, but also makes sliding the buds into your ear seamless. The ear tips do a stellar job of creating a tight seal to keep the buds stable. Six pairs of ear tips come in the package as well to accommodate different ear shapes. I experienced great comfort from the buds for 3 hours straight before fatigue set in.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless: Controls and digital assistant
Returning is the ovular multifunctional button on the front of each bud for playback and call management. The controls work smoothly, are responsive to gestures (presses and holds), and produce great tactility to reassure users of intended commands. I like that Klipsch applied some creativity to the control scheme, letting you perform commands that aren’t available on most other wireless headphones such as volume control (long press) and muting the mic during calls (2x press on the left earbud). That level of practicality deserves recognition.
While Klipsch does an outstanding job of programming numerous controls onto its earbuds, not everything runs smoothly. Since some commands are designated to the same gestures, you can only select one command at a time. For instance, if music is playing, you’ll only be able to skip a track, therefore disabling the digital assistant in the process. You can fire off Siri and Google Assistant commands when music is turned off.
Digital assistant support works fine for the most part, but there is a noticeable lag on mobile platforms. Using the feature on iOS, the mics did pick up my every word. It just took 2 or 3 seconds for Siri to register and execute commands. The same thing happened on Android when enabling Google Assistant to open calendar invites or programs.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless: Audio quality
The original T5 was a pleasant-sounding model and not much has changed with its newer sibling. You can expect a soundstage that falls somewhere between bright and warm, blending detailed mids and highs with some punchy lows. These are some of the better-sounding wireless earbuds in the category that also complement many music genres.
The layering of sounds at the beginning of Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” was sonically serene. I was shocked by how hard the drums hit right from the start, though I was more fascinated by how well the buds reproduced instruments and effects, emphasizing each one to gain an even better understanding of the record’s ingenious composition.
Songs with intricate harmony structures like The Mamas & the Papas' “California Dreamin’” really showcase the T5 II’s definition. Every individual’s voice was distinguishable on the repetitive hook, which made me admire the arrangement even more. The T5 II’s soundstage also does a stellar job of revealing faint details in recordings. I caught the mistakenly played piano chord at the beginning of The Police’s “Roxanne,” and savored the emphasized hi-hats on Sonny Rollins’ “St. Thomas,” which would normally go undetected on other poorly engineered wireless earbuds.
Video content sounded great too. Debate programs and dialogue-heavy clips were crystal clear with subtle nuances like pronunciations being audible. I spent much of my listening time enjoying YouTube clips outside in the gazebo with my newborn sleeping in my arms. For the best results, I recommend using the Podcast EQ, which is available in the accompanying app.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless: App and special features
The Klipsch Connect app isn’t loaded with features, but it offers enough to personalize the listening experience for the better. At the forefront is the EQ that comes with six different presets – Flat, Treble, Bass, Rock, Vocal, and Podcast – along with the option to create your own music profile. The presets are hit or miss. Rock is perfectly engineered for contemporary music, but Bass is disappointing; the low end sounds extremely bloated.
Note: The app will only allow you to access the EQ if playback is enabled. This is somewhat odd, as I don’t see the harm of using it when media is playing. Do you, Klipsch?
The second and last major feature is the three-level Transparency Mode. Truthfully, I thought Klipsch would have included active noise cancellation on the T5 II, so it is disappointing to see ANC missing on the spec sheet. However, this shouldn’t take away from the fact that they developed a great ambient listening mode.
The feature worked best on High, picking up distinct sounds such as my wife snacking on crackers from several feet away. Medium was ideal for common distractions like nearby conversations and smartphone ringers, while Low was still powerful enough to pick up the engine roar of airplanes flying over my head. If gaining a better awareness of your surroundings while jamming out to tunes is essential, you’ll absolutely love this mode.
Other than those two, you get battery level indicators for both buds, firmware updates, and some helpful tools (e.g., how-to videos, quick-start guide) to get you familiar with use. It lacks a Find My Buds feature, as well as other standard ones like control customization, but even with its shortlist of extended functions, the T5 II is serviceable.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless: Battery life and charging case
Battery life remains untouched from the original. Klipsch claims a single charge can generate up to 8 hours, though it’s really about 7.5 hours when factoring in high volume, heavy streaming, and Transparency Mode. Still, by comparison, this is nearly 3 hours more than any AirPods model (both the standard and Pro versions) and more than what some other premium models offer like the Sony WF-1000xM3 (6 hours). Something else you’ll like is that the earbuds come fully charged right out of the box.
I used the buds for about 1.5 hours daily for Spotify and phone calls. It wasn’t until the fourth day that I needed to toss them in the charging case. Rapid charging helps expedite the recharging process by generating 80 minutes of playtime on a 10-minute charge.
The T5 II charging case hasn’t changed either, holding an additional 24 hours, the same as Apple’s charging cases. The only difference is that Klipsch’s small chunk of metal doesn’t support wireless charging, which would have earned it more cool points, especially being a second-gen model.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless: Call quality and connectivity
The T5 was an underrated calling headset that produced loud and crisp results, though the mics often picked up too much ambient sound. Call quality on the T5 II is slightly better, especially for video chats. Speaking with several clients, I received zero complaints on the audio front; everyone was able to hear my voice clearly during Zoom calls, both inside and outside of the house. One time my wife noticed a slight draft coming into the mics, but it was only after I asked if she could hear it.
An even greater improvement is with wireless performance. The original suffered from some of the poorest connectivity, so I’m grateful that Klipsch took such criticism to heart and strengthened it on the T5 II. The initial pairing process was a breeze and re-pairing to devices was even smoother, with the buds recognizing connections instantly. I also got some solid range out of the buds; streaming music stutter-free with my smartphone 40 feet away was liberating.
The only thing missing is multipoint technology to pair the buds with two devices simultaneously.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless: Verdict
The Klipsch T5 II is a superb sequel that welcomes some nice upgrades without compromising performance. These earbuds deliver clean, well-balanced audio that you can enjoy across multiple media formats (e.g., music, movies, podcasts), along with reliable call quality and connectivity for interruption-free Zoom calls in any setting. Battery life holds strong at 7.5 hours. Then there’s the absolutely gorgeous charging case that holds an extra three chargers and serves as the perfect conversation starter for fashion-forward mobile users who want a more attractive, well-built AirPods alternative.
The lack of some modern features such as active noise cancellation, multipoint technology, and a Find My Buds mode does show that there is room for improvement in the series. We hope that a future firmware update can add some of these. Drawbacks aside, the T5 II holds its own as a pair of wireless earbuds that sounds as great as it looks.