Over the years it seems I’ve become quite a collector of wireless earbuds, due to my love of music while I run and the fact that smartphone manufacturers removed the standard 3.5mm audio port out of most modern phones. A couple of years ago I tested out the RHA TrueConnect wireless earbuds and found them to be nearly perfect for my needs, but I wasn’t a fan of the physical button control system.
RHA released its newest truly wireless earbud, the TrueConnect 2 with nearly double the battery life, improved sound, move from physical buttons to touch controls, increased resistance to the elements, and its industry-leading three-year guarantee. These new earbuds are also priced to compete at $149.95.
The new RHA TrueConnect 2 headset is available to order now in either Carbon Black or Navy Blue. I was sent a pair of the Navy Blue earbuds to evaluate for ZDNet. This second generation earbud has a similar design to the first model with a short stem that extends down from the earbud, similar to Apple AirPods.
- Dust and water resistance: IP55 rating
- Sensors: Capacitive touch on each earbud, in-ear detection
- Microphones: Dual mics on each earbud designed to help reduce surrounding noise
- Driver: 6mm dynamic
- Battery life: Up to 9.5 hours with charging case providing another 34.5 hours of music playback. Ten minutes of charging in the case provides over an hour of additional listening time.
- Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 with SBC codec support and 15-meter range
- Earbud weight: 6 grams each
- Charging case weight: 79 grams w/o earbuds
Looking at the TrueConnect adjacent to the TrueConnect 2 reveals that the form factor and design are nearly identical. One design feature I did not like on the first generation RHA TrueConnect headset was the physical buttons on each earbud. You had to press the earbud into your ear to activate the button and the tactile feedback was minimal so it was hard to know when your button press registered. The TrueConnect 2 incorporates capacitive touch controls and after a couple of weeks of testing this is clearly the superior approach.
The TrueConnect 2 earbuds can function individually with two mics on each earbud and a direct connection to your device. One microphone is on the base of the stem closer to your mouth while the other is on the back of the headset on the capacitive touch area. This upper mic helps RHA technology reduce background noises to provide for a better call and voice assistant experience.
The touch controls perform a bit differently than each other with single tap, double tap, triple tap, short hold, and long hold resulting in different actions. For music playback, the touch controls work to play/pause, skip back or ahead, increase or decrease volume, launch your preferred voice assistant (Siri, Google Assistant, Bixby, and Alexa are all supported), and switch to Bluetooth pairing mode.
The touch controls also function for incoming and outgoing calls with answer/end and volume actions. There is no touch option to mute a call.
In regards to fit, RHA includes four extra silicone tips in small, medium, and large sizes with a default set of medium tips installed out of the box. There are no Comply foam tips provided like we saw on the TrueConnect headset, but if you have other eartips in your drawer they may fit too.
Having more than nine hours available on a wireless earbud is outstanding and I’ve yet to see anyone provide such long battery life. The charging case also takes things to the next level and you can probably get through most of a work week without ever connecting a USB-C cable to charge up the case.
Daily usage experiences
The very first test I conducted was fit while running since the AirPods Pro and recent Sony earbuds both fell out after a couple hundred feet and I need a set of earbuds that will last for an hour of pavement pounding. Thankfully, the RHA TrueConnect 2 is light and the design resulted in a secure fit with heavy sweat and motion up and down hills. With the amazing 9+ hour battery life, it looks like I found my new running earbuds.
When compared to the first generation RHA TrueConnect, RHA improved here with the following:
- More battery (44 hours vs 25 hours)
- More volume
- More resistance (IP55 vs IPX5)
- More microphones
- New chip with 50% greater range
- Move from mechanical to capacitive touch buttons
The sound quality was excellent on the first TrueConnect headset, as expected from RHA Audio, and the TrueConnect 2 improves upon that audio experience with a refined sound signature and more volume. My music sounds incredible with good bass, excellent clarity, and perfect stereo playback.
Truly wireless earbuds are used primarily during my daily commute and when I am running and the TrueConnect 2 performed perfectly in both of these situations. The touch controls worked flawlessly and I love the quick and easy volume control while my phone is stored away in a pack while running and commuting.
Google’s Pixel Buds, see our full review, are solid truly wireless earbuds with similar features. However, battery life is about half of what RHA provides, it has a lower resistance to the elements, audio performance is not as good, and they are priced $30 more than the RHA TrueConnect 2.
With the TrueConnect 2 available for $20 less than the TrueConnect, and less than most other truly wireless earbuds, this is definitely a wireless earbud to seriously consider. The long battery life and awesome audio performance alone are enough for me to give them my highest recommendation.
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