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 in design at all from the original RHA 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.
Editor’s note: this review of the RHA TrueConnect 2 was updated on August 17, 2021, to include information about product availability.
Who should get the RHA TrueConnect 2?
- General consumers in need of a versatile, durable headset, should get RHA’s latest earbuds. It’s easy to operate, fit comfortably for hours at a time, and looks great.
- Fans of the Apple AirPods Pro design will enjoy the TrueConnect 2 for the earphones’ stemmed design and rounded housings. The TrueConnect 2 has dedicated nozzles that improve sound quality and isolation.
- Athletes may want to get these earphones for its durable qualities; RHA went through the rigors of getting the TrueConnect 2 IP55-certified, meaning it can resist both dust and water.
What is it like to use the RHA TrueConnect 2?
The TrueConnect 2 charging case remains identical to the original TrueConnect’s case which I’m happy with. As far as true wireless cases go, RHA has it nailed. The case is 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 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 with the original TrueConnect.
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.
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 connected?
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 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. The TrueConnect 2 also has fast charging, so if you pop it in the case for 10 minutes you can use it for an hour.
How does the RHA TrueConnect 2 sound?
The RHA TrueConnect 2 sounds very good, and audio reproduction has drastically improved from the original model thanks to the gently amplified bass response. This headset performs well with a variety of music genres even though reproduction succumbs to auditory masking—when loud sounds (kick drums) make it hard to hear relatively quiet ones (guitar reverbs).
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 is 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.
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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 and have 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:
As of July 23, 2021, 135 readers have rated the above mic sample as somewhere between “okay” and “good.” This is a pretty typical result for true wireless earphones, and at the higher end of what you should expect to get out of any products of this type.
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.
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 new headset 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. While I certainly miss the 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 is for you. Unfortunately this product is currently very difficult to come by so you may be better off looking for an alternative.
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.
If you have an iPhone, get the Apple AirPods Pro
While the RHA TrueConnect 2 is a discount alternative to the AirPods Pro, it misses some of the key features of the AirPods Pro that may be worth the extra investment. The AirPods Pro has active noise cancelling, and houses Apple’s H1 chip. iPhone users will have a really easy time with connectivity and software updates. If you have an Android device but want something Apple-esque, read up on the Beats Studio Buds.
For cutting-edge software, get the Google Pixel Buds
The Google Pixel Buds (2020) is more feature-packed than the RHA TrueConnect 2. Google’s headset supports hands-free Google Assistant access, live Google Translate, wireless charging, and better microphone quality. Also, the Pixel Buds uses spatial vents to sidestep that unpleasant suction-like feeling, which is an issue with the TrueConnect 2. For a cheaper option, consider the Google Pixel Buds A-Series, or jump ship from Google altogether with the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) noise cancelling earbuds.
You may get better value with these picks
Another great headset for Android or iPhone users is the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, which lasts 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 is the Anker Soundcore Life A1. You get a bass-heavy sound that can be equalised from the Soundcore app.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you may use the RHA TrueConnect 2 earphones with an Android or iOS (iPhone) device. Since the only high-quality Bluetooth codec support is AAC, iPhone users will have a more reliable streaming experience than Android users. That's not the fault of AAC or RHA; rather, is a consequence of Android's inability to process AAC consistently across devices.
Yes the RHA TrueConnect 2 supports mono listening with either the left or right earbud: both house microphones for calls and virtual assistant access.