The launch of the Apple AirPods heralded a wireless future for headphones giving music listeners audio freedom without the risk of tangles or damaged cables.
Setting the tone for what would become the standard-bearer for true wireless, the market is now seeing an explosion of AirPod competitors.
For Klipsch, its competitive selling point, much like Sennheiser, has been its legendary sound signature.
The T5 True Wireless earphones are no exception with the combination of aptX and AAC high-quality conversion technology, the audio signal is both detailed and dynamic.
Available for $350 in either black or silver, the Klipsch T5 True Wireless earphones are $49 cheaper than the AirPods Pro, though $100 more than the gen 2 AirPods.
With over 60 years of loudspeaker manufacturing experience, Klipsch has included ‘the same advanced acoustic engineering and industrial design’ for its T5 Series earphones.
Klipsch has engineered these earphones ‘from the ground up’ including a dynamic driver for high output and full bass extension.
Listening to Michael Jackson’s Thriller presented an expansive soundstage, preventing the music from being trapped between your ears, even without an open-backed design.
Bass response is dense, with a little bit of rumbling at higher volumes for that extra immersion.
I was most impressed with the vocals from Vincent Price’s Thriller monologue for an even spookier experience.
Moving onto something more modern with Free Your Body by Chris Lake & Solardo, you start to get a real feel for the frequency range of the earbuds.
Probably my favourite test for audio devices is the THX Sound System ‘Deep Note’ tone, which older cinephiles and Hi-Fi enthusiasts will remember fondly.
The T5’s handled the distinctive synthesized crescendo extremely well across frequencies of 200Hz to 400Hz over the three octaves.
Klipsch aimed to complement its audio quality with patented contour ear tips, helping to reduce fatigue and to ensure better noise isolation.
However, with only three tips supplied by Klipsch, those that find the earbuds uncomfortable, like me are out of luck.
While the tips ‘snap’ on securely without much fuss, the lack of options makes it harder to get comfortable.
Unfortunately, I found the earbuds tended to slip from my ears when eating.
It seems the up and down jaw movements tend to dislodge the earbuds from my ears, requiring me to readjust constantly.
Another issue I found was Bluetooth connectivity issues.
Much like the Apple AirPods, which automatically pair with your device upon opening the charging case, the T5’s will also do the same.
The difference here is that each earbud is listed in the Bluetooth menu, which appears to cause a number of connection issues where the left earbud will disconnect out of nowhere.
Unfortunately, this then requires me to reseat the earbuds into the charging case to restart the pairing process, which occasionally still causes connection issues.
There are also moments where audio playback will be disrupted or delayed, which counters the claim of a wireless signal ‘as good as wired with no delay’.
Continuing on the negatives train are my issues with the physical button shortcuts.
The jury is still out on whether touch or physical buttons are best for true wireless headphones, but for the Klipsch T5’s, I found the controls confusing and fiddly.
Both the left and right earbuds feature different controls which can be confusing when controlling music, despite providing more functionality.
Voice chat also leaves a lot to be desired with many complaining that I sounded either too far away or muffled.
This also presented issues when calling on the digital assistant, with Siri continually telling me she doesn’t understand my requests.
The included charging case has the aesthetics of a Zippo lighter case, with 24 hours of additional battery life.
Weighing in at 100 grams, the case is considerably more massive than the Apple AirPods case, making it very noticeable in your pocket.
Three small lights on the outside of the case alert you to the battery life left in your case.
There is a lot here to love about the Klipsch T5 earphones, from the incredible sound quality to the attractive design of the charging case.
Bass is rich and dense, without being overpowering, with mids and highs coming through nicely.
When you get that perfect seal with the included ear tips, the isolation really takes the sound quality up a notch, but that’s only if you have that seal.
Without it, you’re left with a lot of ambient noise which may disrupt you on a daily commute.
When it comes to functionality, Klipsch really missed the mark.
From poor button controls to unstable Bluetooth connections, the hassle of using the earbuds sadly do not outweigh the poor functionality.
While I love the aesthetics of the Zippo-esque case it’s simply too heavy at 96.9g or a total 1.024kg.
I am hopeful that Klipsch will be rectifying these issues in the recent relaunch of their True Wireless earphone range.
Revealed at CES 2020, the five new pairs of true wireless earphones, including a pair over-ear headphones, will feature an optimised Bluetooth antenna for, hopefully, improved connectivity.