(Pocket-lint) - Klipsch might not be a brand that's made it to the big time in the world of headphones and earphones. You're more likely to see a pair of Sony, Apple, Beats or Bose earphones in ears or on heads.
But Klipsch has an authentic legacy, it's been around a very long time. And, as we've seen in the T5 True Wireless, it makes some great earphones.
A cool flip case
- Stainless steel exterior design
- No fins/grips for secure fit
- S/M/L in-ear silicon tips
- Case: 49 x 49 x 31mm
With the wire-free earphone market being flooded with Apple AirPods lookalikes, it's always a breath of fresh air when a company comes in and does things a bit different. For Klipsch, that means a case and earphone solution quite different to anything else we've seen so far.
The most obvious place to start - unusually for earphone - is the case. It's undoubtedly the heaviest, most solid case we've ever had with a pair of earphones. The metal exterior is hefty and looks like a chunky Zippo lighter, in that the lid flips open lengthways, rather than from front to back.
It might not be the most portable and lightweight, but it's easily one of our favourite cases, purely for the way it looks. And because it has a brushed finish it doesn't attract fingerprints or show scratches as clearly as the similarly good-looking case that Master & Dynamic uses on the charging case for the MW07.
As for the Klipsch earbuds themselves, those are similarly eye-catching. Each bud features bold bronze lettering and accents which contrast against the plain black plastic of the exterior casing. Each also has a single LED that flashes to let you know when connected and if battery levels are getting low.
There are no buttons anywhere on the Klipsch T5. Instead, by relying on the touch-sensitive panels on both earbuds, it means controlling is quite fiddly. Pairing to begin with by tapping-and-holding both earbuds isn't the easiest either
Unlike some other wire-free earbuds, the Klipsch rely on nothing except the in-ear tip to keep themselves securely in your ears. There are no fans, and there's no ear-hugging ergonomic shaping either. It's kind of unusual, but the fit feels secure enough. These buds didn't feel like they'd fall out - even when nodding or shaking our head.
Perhaps the only downside to this method of fit is that the in ear tip definitely makes itself known. You can tell they're in your ears all the time. We wouldn't go as far as saying they're uncomfortable, but some wearers might not like the slightly pressured in-ear feel.
Also, because there's nothing really to hold them securely and snugly in the ear, over the course of time the tips can slowly, gradually slide outworks and become less secure. While they never fell out, this did have a tendency to affect the sound quality, losing all the bottom-end once the seal wasn't as tight.
- 5.0mm dynamic coil driver
- 10Hz-19kHz frequency response
- cVc 8.0 Quad-mic for voice calls
While the fit and design might not be 100 per cent perfect, we couldn't find any major complaints about the quality of the sound. The Klipsch T5 sound epic.
Klipsch has existed since 1946, creating fantastic-sounding hi-fi and speaker systems, priding itself on reproducing songs in a way that's as close as possible to what the artist intended. With the T5, Klipsch has really nailed it.
There wasn't one genre of music we didn't enjoy listening to using these wire-frees. It didn't matter if it was a light acoustic song, a more poppy number, or an expansive orchestral piece, we loved every minute.
Bass is powerful, without being overpowering, but still having the impact that it should, to the point where you can almost feel it. On the opposite end of the scale, any acoustic guitar plucking or vocals were clear, but not in that harsh or over-bright way. Details and superb.
These earbuds also let you pick out the subtleties in the background, which any really good earphones should. As an example, listening to Friends and Lovers by Incubus, the bass adds depth, while a restrained drum beat adds to a fantastic, open soundscape. When the second verse comes in you get a subtle additional acoustic guitar strumming in the left channel, and despite being quiet, you can still hear it clearly.
Switching up to a completely different genre, we took some time out to listen to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's recording of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. The third movement is where a lot of different elements combine, starting with the low double bass, then adding the high-pitched piccolos and strings, and the earphones give each the treatment they deserve; it's a sublime experience.
Overall, we found the Klipsch T5's balance of sound absolutely perfect for our own personal preference. You get impact, bass, clarity and detail all together in a sumptuous mix. It's just a shame that every now and then when the tips slip, you don't get as engaging a sound until pushed back into place properly.
Performance and battery
- Bluetooth 5.0
- aptX connectivity
- 360mAh battery in case
- 55mAh battery in earbuds
Klipsch claims up to eight hours of music playback outside of the battery charging case. Based on our own usage, that's not far off being an accurate claim - we'd suggest somewhere between seven to eight hours is realistic to expect.
Of course, there's also the battery in the charging case to consider, because that adds an extra 24 hours. In other words, it wouldn't be completely unreasonable to suggest that you'll get around 30 hours in real-world, everyday listening before you have to plug the charging case into a power outlet. It's not quite up there with the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, but it's not far off.
Even if you commute everyday into the city, and your commutes are two hours in and out, you'll still make it through a full week of listening to and from work without completely draining the battery of the case and the earbuds.
Wireless performance is similarly solid. With that said, the left earbud is a slave to the right. So, while you can listen in with a single ear (if you use the right earbud), taking your right bud out and keeping the left one in will result in the connection being ended and no audio being heard.
In the end, we've been pretty blown away by the impact of the sound and the detail offered by the Klipsch T5 True Wireless earphones. You'll struggle to find anything with the punch and dynamic sound elsewhere at this price point.
If the fit was more comfortable and secure, or the earphones could work completely independently from each other, these might be the best pair of truly wireless earphones on the market.
It's worth remembering that this pair of in-ears is much cheaper than the Apple AirPods Pro and the Master & Dynamic MW07 (which is probably its most direct comparison in terms of design and sound). That makes for a great-sounding relative bargain.
Alternatives to consider
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
For about £50 less than the Klipsch T5 True Wireless, the Cambridge Audio doesn't have any real compromises as a result. These in-ears offer good sound, long battery life, and a neat and portable case for carrying around.
Master & Dynamic MW07
M&D has a similar approach to design, offering a stunning charging case, as well as an opinion-dividing earbud aesthetic. We really like the MW07, but the first-gen won't come close to matching the Klipsch T5 battery life terms.