Competition in the truly wireless headphones market is tougher than ever.
What used to be an expensive, often glitchy addition to your on-the-go listening (you know, when we used to actually go places) has got its act together to become the go-to option for a pair of portable buds, even on a budget. That means the new version of RHA’s TrueConnect buds have a newly invigorated market to compete with, just over a year since the originals (that we liked very much) launched.
Still, RHA doesn’t seem phased. The design here is pretty much unchanged and the sound we loved in the originals has had only subtle tweaking. If it ain’t broke, after all…
The big improvement comes by way of a whopping boost to battery life, now at 44 hours in total, with up to nine hours per charge. That’s among the best that we’ve come across in this category.
Intrigued? You should be.
Design and features: simplicity refined
Smart without being flashy, the TrueConnect 2 have the same soft-touch matte finish of their predecessors, which gives them a more quality feel than your bog-standard shiny plastic. They’re still guilty of holding onto a greasy fingerprint or two, but you’ll notice that more on the charging case than the buds themselves.
The charging case is much like the original, with a brushed aluminium surround and a swivel opening mechanism. On the front there are three LEDs that light up to show you the case’s charging level, while inside there is a little red dot that corresponds with a red dot on the right master earbud, to help you put them away correctly.
The subtle stem design is back too, with a silicone earbud that helps them to sit securely in the ear. They do come with less replacement ear tips this time, ditching the optional Comply foam tips for just a choice of silicone options in small, medium and large.
As Comply tip fans, that’s a bit of a shame, but we still manage to get a good seal with what’s included – do test out each one to ensure you do too.
RHA has really nailed the wearability of these buds too. They’re lightweight enough to be comfy enough for a mammoth listening session, while the silicone eartips and circular body ensure a snug fit that’ll sit tight, even during exercise.
Speaking of exercise, these buds have had a little tweak to their durability, adding in dust protection alongside sweat and waterproofing to now be IP55 rated.
RHA has also added touch controls, in place of the buttons on their predecessors. Touch controls always take some patience while you get used to them, and these are no different. We found you need to make sure you tap them right in the centre for your command to be recognised, but they’re pretty sensitive, so you don’t need to tap overly hard. Once we got the hang of them, even multiple taps to change track and volume worked smoothly.
As far as more advanced features go, RHA has kept things relatively simple here. You’ll have to look elsewhere if you want things like noise cancelling or EQ controls. If we’re being picky, a companion app would’ve been nice, to allow the ability to programme the touch controls yourself, and would also open up the buds to firmware updates, but RHA has chosen to pour its focus into the sound here – and it shows.
Performance: back to bass-ics
At their £130 price point, there are few headphones that can better the TrueConnect 2 on sound alone. They remind us a fair bit of their predecessors, and that’s because RHA has left a lot about their sound as it was, save for some newly added kick in the low end.
The original TrueConnects weren’t exactly lacking in bass, but a listen to No Church in the Wild by Jay-Z and Kanye West shows off the extra power on offer here. There’s just a pinch more punch when needed, which ensures the instrumental’s chunky bassnotes land with the impact intended. Thankfully, this doesn’t add much more richness to the overall presentation than we heard before. The sound is still on the warmer side of neutral, but the extra bass just works to give a touch more confidence, depth and solidity to the presentation, without being overpowering or sounding bloated. That means the midrange remains clean and crisp, and there is plenty of clarity to both vocals and instruments, not to mention a good amount of detail too.
Listen to Dua Lipa’s Don’t Start Now and the TrueConnect 2 handle the toe-tapping pop instrumental with the energy and agility it requires. Vocals get the spotlight, as they should, but they’re punctuated perfectly with the electronic beat in a way that shows just how well the RHAs can hold a track together. While you can identify all the individual parts of a track if you’re listening critically, they also work together in a way that just sounds right – not to mention a lot of fun. They even manage to escape that enclosed sound you can sometimes get with lesser talented buds, giving space to the presentation while still delivering a direct and focused sound. This helps them to have the headroom to stretch into when it comes to dynamics, and gives the treble some room to breathe too – you’ll never hear them sounding pushed or stretched.
If we’re being picky, timing could be just a touch tighter on more complicated tracks, but at this price, it’s something that can easily be overlooked. It doesn’t take away from the enjoyment that listening to music with these buds brings, thanks to a sound that just works, no matter the genre. As for more general performance, we know that some people had issues with the original buds when it came to connectivity wobbles and drop outs.
For the record, it wasn’t something that we experienced at all in our few weeks of testing them, and it certainly isn’t anything we have noticed in this generation either. We have left our phone downstairs and walked upstairs or out into the garden while music has played seamlessly, and we’ve had our phone in a bag while walking about without any playback issues either. Range certainly seems decent, and the connection between the buds is strong too, meaning they stay in sync at all times.
That’s even the case when watching video, with audio and video timed perfectly together. Even now, not all truly wireless in-ears have that nailed, so it’s great to see the RHAs do it so well. As we touched on earlier, all of this is backed up by impressive battery life, which offers a whopping nine hours of listening per charge and up to 35 more hours in the case. While we haven’t managed a nine-hour listening session to put this to the test, we have listened for several hours in a row without denting their battery life, and even after over a week of testing, the case isn’t close to needing a charge.
RHA TrueConnect 2 verdict
While feature junkies might find themselves wanting here, the RHA TrueConnect 2 keep things simple to put sound quality front and centre of their endeavours – and the results don’t disappoint.
Whatever your taste in music, the sound is fantastic. It’s confident and articulate, but above all, it’s hugely enjoyable.
Combine that with a comfortable design, unshakeable connectivity and market-leading battery life, and you’ve got a pair of headphones that do all the important stuff very well indeed.