Far too many companies rely on gimmicks to stand out from the ocean of true wireless products, but RHA takes the road less traveled by using a quiet, sophisticated design for the RHA TrueConnect 2. These earphones don’t deviate at all from the original TrueConnect, and that’s a good thing. Rather than wasting time with a redesign, RHA improved what we at SoundGuys care about most: audio quality. Let’s see if these earphones are worth getting, or if they ask for too much and offer too little.
Who should get the RHA TrueConnect 2?
- General consumers in need of a versatile, durable headset, should get RHA’s latest earbuds. They’re easy to operate, fit comfortably for hours at a time, and look great.
- Fans of the Apple AirPods design will enjoy the TrueConnect 2 for the earphones’ stemmed design and rounded housings. The TrueConnect 2 are designed better than the AirPods, though: the dedicated nozzles improve sound quality and isolation.
- Athletes may want to get the headphones for their durable qualities; RHA went through the rigors of getting the TrueConnect 2 IP55-certified, meaning they can resist both dust and water.
What is it like to use the RHA TrueConnect 2?
The TrueConnect 2 charging case remains identical to last year’s case which I’m happy with. As far as true wireless cases go, RHA has it nailed. As fellow SoundGuys Editor Adam Molina will tell you, a user’s experience with true wireless earbuds depends heavily on the charging case. It’s something users constantly interact with to use or disengage the headset, and boy, does this feel premium. Going by the case alone, I could be fooled into thinking this was a $200 headset: the metal accents perfectly complement the matte covering. Be cautious not to use it with greasy hands, as the finish showcases oily fingerprints.
Just as with the case, the TrueConnect 2 earbuds also remain unchanged from the 2018 version. While the lack of change may seem unexciting, it makes sense: the original headset was striking and the TrueConnect 2 continues that legacy. Not only do the earbuds feel great, but they sit comfortably, too, due to the angled nozzles and assorted ear tips. RHA limited its ear tip provisions with the TrueConnect 2, which is a shame as I relied on the previously supplied memory foam ear tips when commuting.
This is how you make an attractive pair of true wireless earbuds.
Although RHA reached for the same all-plastic earbud construction as before, it added something new: touch controls, which drastically improve functionality. For stemmed true wireless earbuds, touch controls are a must-have because buttons often push the nozzles into the ear canal and cause discomfort. This understated improvement is much appreciated, and made it enjoyable to adjust the volume or access Google Assistant during testing.
Seeing how RHA went ahead to upgrade its controls system, it would have been great to have sensor technology too. We’ve seen cheaper headsets support automatic ear detection, so it seems fair to expect from more premium headsets. Sure, it’s not a chore to manually pause music, but it feels like a missed opportunity.
Working out with the earphones
The IP55 rating ensures both dust- and water-resistance, which allowed me to chalk up my hands for climbing without worrying about damaging the internals. I had no problem sweating in the earbuds, but if you’re going to do so, allow the earbuds to dry completely before placing them in the case. I never felt the earbuds were going to fly out during general movement, and the touch controls made it easy to skip songs on the fly. Something that proved annoying when exercising with the earbuds was when I had to periodically towel off during stationary bike rides. In a single one-hour workout, the towel caught on the stem and whipped an earbud out three times.
How do the earbuds stay connect?
These Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds stay connected whether you’re inside or outside, something other true wireless earbuds still struggle with. You can even listen in mono mode by removing just a single bud. Unfortunately, the earphones lack Bluetooth multipoint support and only support one premium Bluetooth codec: AAC, meaning Android users may or may not see some hiccups in performance, depending on what smartphone you have. While this isn’t ideal, it’s one of those issues that you’ll likely never notice outside of extremely specific situations. Plus, the drivers are engineered to reproduce pleasant audio, which matters more than a poorly tuned headset that happens to support a slew of codecs.
How long does the battery last?
The TrueConnect 2 earphones lasted 8 hours, 10 minutes on a single charge which is above average for true wireless headphones. Once the batteries are depleted, just pop the earbuds back into the case stem-first. The USB-C case provides an additional 3.89 charge cycles, providing listeners with nearly 40 hours of listening.
How do the RHA TrueConnect 2 sound?
The earphones sound very good, and audio reproduction has drastically improved from the original model thanks to the tamed bass response; bass and low-midrange notes are uniformly amplified to make music more engaging. They perform well with a variety of music genres even though reproduction succumbs to auditory masking—when loud sounds (e.g. kick drums) make it hard to hear relatively quiet ones (e.g. guitar reverbs).
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While these earbuds don’t include active noise cancelling, passive isolation performance is stellar. Background noise like a roommate loading the washing machine, or your cat meowing in the other room are rendered much quieter than without the earphones in. As with all in-ears, optimal isolation is solely dependent on a proper seal, which is why you should experiment with the array of ear tips provided. Again, I really wish RHA included some memory foam ear tips but you should still be able to find a good fit with the standard silicone ones.
Lows, mids, and highs
Layla’s song Oh My Love begins with an Ab-Eb-Cm-Ab chord progression on a keyboard. The song’s ambient high-pitched electronic background noise remains audible in spite of the amplified bass response. Josephine Vander Gucht’s vocals come through clearly during the verse, even as she exhales, which surprised me given the 1-4.5kHz dip.
It isn’t until the chorus that auditory masking becomes apparent, which is normal for most consumer earphones since choruses tend to be more instrumentally busy with more powerful basslines than the verses. You can really hear this phenomenon at 2:11, when Vander Gucht begins harmonizing with the male vocalist. His voice is barely audible as he sings the words, “Oh my love…” at 2:37. It isn’t just vocals that become more difficult to perceive, though. As the song crescendos, the triangle’s metallic resonances are difficult to hear from the triangles, and the violin’s harmonics are nearly imperceptible above the piano chords.
Can I use the RHA TrueConnect 2 for phone calls?
If you’re worried about call quality, don’t be. The integrated microphone system deliberately attenuates low-frequency sounds to combat the proximity effect—when low notes are unpleasantly amplified as a speaker gets too close to the microphone. As far as embedded mics are concerned, it’s very good but not perfect: plosives and fricatives (p, b, s, z, sh, and zh sounds) are sibilant, and wind noise isn’t reduced very effectively. Speech intelligibility was never a problem, though, which is the most important thing with headset mics.
RHA TrueConnect 2 microphone demo:
What’s the difference between the RHA TrueConnect 2 and TrueConnect?
The RHA TrueConnect 2 may look identical to the RHA TrueConnect first-generation earbuds, but there are some marked upgrades between the two headsets like the addition of dust resistance ensured by the IP55 rating, compared to the old model’s IPX5 rating. Again, the TrueConnect 2 housings feature touch controls, unlike the previous generation’s button controls. RHA greatly improved the sound quality of the TrueConnect 2 for a more accurate representation of sound while remaining pleasing to the average consumer.
The RHA TrueConnect 2 looks similar to its predecessor but makes big improvements to battery life and sound quality.
Battery life has greatly improved, too, as standalone playtime has nearly doubled. We measured 4.38 hours of playtime on the old earbuds, while the earphones in question lasted 8.1 hours on a single charge. Charging case capacity has also doubled; well, almost: it went from supplying an extra 20 hours of listening to an extra 35 hours of playtime according to RHA’s measurements.
Should you buy the RHA TrueConnect 2?
If you value build quality, RHA puts craftsmanship first—and that hasn’t changed. The TrueConnect 2 may share similar design DNA to the AirPods, but they sound much better. While I certainly miss last edition’s included memory foam ear tips, I’ll happily take touch controls and better battery life. After all, ear tips are an easy upgrade. These earphones aren’t the highest value deal on the market, but if you enjoy the finer things in life, the TrueConnect 2 are for you.
True wireless alternatives to RHA
All that being said, the RHA TrueConnect 2 has some stiff competition. If you aren’t yet sold on them there are plenty of other candidates out there.
For cutting-edge software, get the Google Pixel Buds
The Google Pixel Buds (2020) retail for just a bit more than the TrueConnect 2, and are much more feature packed. Google’s earphones support hands-free Google Assistant access, live Google Translate, wireless charging, and better microphone quality. Also, the Pixel Buds use spatial vents to sidestep that unpleasant suction-like feeling, which is created by the TrueConnect 2. I personally am not bothered by this, but many are which may make the new Pixel Buds a better fit, literally.
Workout with Jabra or Jaybird
Athletes should think about the Jabra Elite Active 75t or Jaybird Vista, both of which may withstand submersion for up to 30 minutes, have excellent apps for creating custom EQs, and fit securely. Listeners who value good microphone quality should go with the Jabra earbuds, while listeners who require a very stable fit should get the Jaybird Vista.
Go cheaper with these picks
Another great headset for Android or iPhone users are the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, which last for over 11 hours on a single charge. The earbuds are extremely lightweight and stay secure thanks to the interchangeable ear and wing tips. The touch controls are easy to use, even if a bit too sensitive, and they can even be remapped for direct Spotify access. Microphone quality is good, and sound quality is great.
A much more affordable pick: the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2, which has some of the best microphone performance of any true wireless headset we’ve tested. Sound quality is clear and can be equalized via the SoundCore app. The earbuds support both aptX and AAC while using the same Bluetooth 5.0 firmware as the TrueConnect 2. Anker SoundCore’s charging case isn’t nearly as premium as RHA’s, but it still feels great and can be charged wirelessly.