(Pocket-lint) - As you can already deduce from the name, RHA's TrueConnect 2 isn't its first foray into the world of true wireless earbuds. Its first pair, the original TrueConnect, set itself a task of offering RHA-quality sound, with reliable everyday performance, and a price tag that won't hurt your pocket.

For the second-generation there haven't been any major sweeping changes, but considerable improvements have been made to battery life, making these in-ears an easy recommendation for anyone looking to spend less-than-flagship money on a pair of earbuds that won't let you down.

First-gen looks

  • Weight: 6g per earbud
  • IP55 water/dust resistant rating
  • Flip case with USB Type-C charging

One of the things we really liked about the design of the original TrueConnect earphones was the design of the case. It looks and feels premium, and features a design and opening mechanism that's both unique and enjoyable.

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Unlike the majority of earbud charging cases, this one doesn't have a lid that flips open from a flimsy hinge to reveal the earbuds inside. Instead, it has a single piece of aluminium that wraps around the sides, with a smooth hinge near the bottom. This ensures the 'lid' is sturdy, and opens smoothly. The matte soft-touch finish on the plastic case adds an extra touch of class too.

Like the first-generation it has the single USB-C port on one side, used to top it up, and a battery level indicator made of three single LEDs on the front, with the subtle RHA labelling on that same side. As case designs go, it's simplistic yet classy.

The earbuds themselves haven't changed all that much either. They feature the same simple round casing with the slim protrusion sticking out of the bottom. Similar in fashion to Apple's AirPods, but very different in execution.

There's a single touch-sensitive button on both RHA earbuds to pause and play music, or launch your phone's assistant when touched once or long-pressed. Double- or triple-tapping the right 'bud adjusts the volume, while the same action on the left skips backwards and forwards through your track queue.

It's pretty easy to use, and isn't all that sensitive, so we didn't find that it accidentally activated any of the features when we were adjusting our glasses, or brushing our hair behind the ear.

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The fit of the earbuds is nice and snug too. Never did we get that loose or unbalanced feeling; these buds just stuck in there without even threatening to come out. That snug in-ear feel does mean that after a couple of hours listening we wanted to give our ears a breather, but there's no sense of ear canal sensitivity even after tugging these 'buds out.

Its balance of lightweight design and snug fit, combined with an IPX55 water- and dust-resistant rating, means the RHA TrueConnect 2 is super practical for everyday wear.

Solid performance

  • 9.5 hours music playback out of case
  • 35 hours additional charge
  • 44 hours total use time
  • Bluetooth 5.0 w/12m range

Undoubtedly the biggest reason to opt for RHA's TrueConnect 2 is day to day performance. When it comes to battery life and wireless connectivity, these are as solid as you can get in the true wireless market.

RHA states you can expect up to 9.5 hours of music playback from a fully charged pair of 'buds, with a further 35 hours supplied by the case. That's a total of around 44 hours which - by any standards - is fantastic.

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In our testing we didn't get as far as listening down to battery depletion, but it was reassuring to know there would likely never be an instance where we'd have to worry about battery life. After an hour or so of music streaming, the battery indicator in iOS still showed 100 per cent, suggesting that it's not an accurate indicator at all.

Sadly there's no dedicated app to allow you to monitor the battery life more closely or adjust the equaliser (EQ), so that's something for RHA to consider adding to its product offering. 

With the combined battery offered by the 'buds and the flip case, the reality is that we could listen to a couple of hours each day for a full working week, and still the case wouldn't need plugging in to top it up further. Two of the three LEDs on the case's front were still lit up to show there was plenty of juice left over.

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Similarly, with a 12 metre Bluetooth 5.0 range, we didn't once experience a drop-out in connection on either earbud, even when moving to a couple of rooms away from the music source.

As another point of convenience, if you ever need to place one earbud back in the case for a charging top-up, the music/audio will continue through the earbud remaining in your ear. That's something not all TWS earbuds do.

Sound

  • 6mm drivers
  • Passive noise isolating fit

If there's one thing RHA knows how to do well, it's sound. We said the original TrueConnect was "one of the nicest sounding pairs we've tried". The second-gen still sound just as good - but there's been an awful lot of decent true wireless releases since, which means the competition in this price bracket has hotted up.

The TrueConnect 2 offers a good balance of bass, mid and treble. You don't get the sense that bass is taking over too much, or that there's any lacking in treble or vocal frequencies. Acoustic guitar comes through really nicely, retaining its tone. Bass is well controlled and prominent. It doesn't become boomy when it's loud and doesn't fall away when the frequency gets low. It retains its shape.

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But if we're being extra critical then the sound profile isn't quite as bright as some other in-ears we've heard. It doesn't lack in detail, or get distorted when loud, it's just slightly more dull than we'd like. 

Noise isolation is excellent. This isn't active noise-cancelling - frankly it doesn't need that - it's a purely passive feature. It impressed us how little noise from around outside gets past the excellent passive seal. The design of the tips ensures a secure seal, so blocks any external noise from coming through, completely immersing you in your music.

Verdict

For years RHA's mission has been to create affordable earphones with super sound in practical, well thought-out designs. For the second-generation TrueConnect earphones the mission was to put the extra mile in when it came to battery life.

Talk about mission accomplished: with its combined 44 hours of music playback from the earbuds and charging case, you'll struggle to find anything that lasts as long as the TrueConnect 2. These 'buds might look virtually the same as the last generation, but the performance is extended by some distance. 

We have some reservations about the slight lack of brightness and clarity in the sound, but we can't argue with the balance of frequencies or the all-day performance. Plus, the charging case is stunningly practical and sturdy. 

The wireless earphone market may be even more crowded than ever, but RHA still manages to carve out its own space by taking that battery performance up a notch.

Also consider

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Sony WF-XB700

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If you want sound that's a bit more dynamic and hard-hitting, Sony's true wireless Extra Bass earphones are certainly a fun listen. The battery doesn't last as long as RHA's though, and the design and build is a lot cheaper looking and feeling. 

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Master & Dynamic MW07 Go

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As the company name suggests, the sound from the MW07 Go is very dynamic. The MW07 series is one of our favourites to listen to, and the 10 hour battery life out of the case is super too. Sadly, the battery in the charging case doesn't offer as many refills as RHA. 

Writing by Cam Bunton.