“Our take on RHA’s first truly wireless earbuds, the TrueConnect”
A little over a month ago, my fellow reviewers in the industry were getting all amped over Apple’s new AirPods, and rightfully so. The Cupertino giant hit the ball out of the park with its first-gen truly-wireless earbuds and naturally, there was palpable excitement in the air for the company’s latest model too. I, on the other hand, was anxiously waiting for a parcel from folks at Headphone Zone, who’d sent me a pair of RHA’s TrueConnect. For the uninitiated, the TrueConnect is the Scottish giant’s first stab at truly wireless earbuds and after testing them thoroughly, I’ve some thoughts to share. Read on to know if the earbuds are the right fit for you.
Design and comfort
I’m pretty sure folks at RHA are part audiophiles, part fashionistas, because every single product from the company’s stable doesn’t just sound good, but it looks great too. The same is true for the company’s latest TrueConnect earbuds as well, which are quite possibly the most premium truly wireless headphones I’ve tested, save for the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless (review). Let’s start with the case, shall we?
Since truly-wireless earbuds aren’t conjoined by a cable, they often ship with a docking case which also doubles up as a battery bank. Unsurprisingly, RHA’s TrueConnect earbuds too ship with a case, but boy oh boy does it look otherworldly. For one, the unit has been constructed in entirety using metal and it comes sporting a two-tone matte finish which looks spectacular, to say the least. Secondly, instead of opening like a pack of Tic Tacs, the RHA Trueconnect’s case features a semi-rotating mechanism which slides the darker portion of the case upwards, thereby revealing the earbuds.
Now, having tested close to a dozen truly wireless earbuds ever since the category blew up, I must admit – the charging case for the RHA TrueConnect is hands down, the best in the biz. It’s the perfect marriage between style and function. The case is big enough to provide a solid battery backup, ships with magnetic connectors to securely lock the earbuds in their place and snaps shut tightly too. Moreover, it features a USB Type-C port for charging, has LED indicators to notify you when it needs a top up and, did I mention how satisfying the clicking mechanism of the unit is?
In summation, the case looks good, but what about the earbuds? Well, they’re every bit as stylish and practical too. The earpieces take their design cues from Apple’s AirPods (review) albeit ship with a smaller stem and are of the in-ear variety. Furthermore, the pair has been constructed using plastic, come sporting an all-black matte finish and are rated IPX5, making them impervious to damage from sweat or splashes of water. You’ll also get two circular buttons underneath the RHA branding on each earbud, which will help you control your music, invoke the search assistant of your choice and answer or end calls. The control scheme has a slight learning curve, but you’ll be able to get a hang of it after you’ve spent a few days with the earbuds.
If you do end up buying the earphones and don’t want to comb through the user manual’s tiny font to learn which button does what, here’s a quick guide for you:
1) A single press on either of the earbuds plays/pauses the track
2) A double or a triple press on the right earbuds reduces or increases the volume
3) A double or a triple tap on the left earbud will take you forward or backwards in your playlist
4) Long-pressing the buttons on either the left or the right earbuds invokes the search assistant of your choice
It goes without saying that tapping the buttons with the earpieces nestled in your ears isn’t the most comfortable experience. Thankfully, the buttons press easily and the earphones registered my commands flawlessly too.
As for the comfort of wearing the earbuds, I am thoroughly satisfied with how the RHA TrueConnect fit my ears. The earbuds ship with a wide assortment of different sized ear tips which will undoubtedly help you narrow down the best fit for your ears. Moreover, you’ll also get comply foam ear tips with the unit, which not only offer superior comfort compared to silicon ear tips, but also isolate background noise better. All said and done, I didn’t have any problem jamming to my favourite playlists for hours on end with the RHA TrueConnect in my ears.
Sound quality and connectivity
Audio purists across the globe hold RHA to very high regard as the company offers earbuds with class-leading sound output and a neutral sonic signature. However, this time around, the company is gunning for a more mass-market approach as the TrueConnect earbuds sport a coloured sound signature which favours the low-end.
That said, as is expected from a manufacturer with RHA’s pedigree, the bass output doesn’t take the spotlight away from the rest of the frequencies. In fact, while the low-end has an aggressive attack, it also offers minimal decay and therefore, the beats don’t linger around for long and mask the rest of the instruments in a track. In Burr by Parris, you’ll be able to hear the song’s steady bassline as well as the rest of the electronic instruments clearly. The same goes for James Blake’s Air & Lack Thereof, wherein, the beats although impactful, don’t overshadow whenever the singer murmurs “born in Bethlehem”.
The mids sound eloquent and lush, and if you listen to a lot of acoustic blues, then the RHA TrueConnect will be a treat to your ears. Case in point, the piano version of Sia’s Elastic Heart wherein, the TrueConnect capture every bit of emotion in the singer’s voice flawlessly. As for the highs, they’re not the best suited IEM for this genre, but they do manage to sound somewhat decent by resolving riffs from an electric guitar coherently. However, in chaotic rock ballads, you’ll find it challenging to discern between the different musical instruments.
As for the battery life, it’s been superb too. The earbuds lasted me a little over four hours off a single charge, however, the case further added 20 hours of battery life to the unit. Suffice it to say, you’ll be able to go days on end without plugging your RHA TrueConnect to a wall charger.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and while the RHA TrueConnect sound fantastic, the pair is marred with connectivity issues which simply put, makes them unusable. During my time with the pair, the left and the right earbuds randomly dropped connection, which was irritating, to say the least. In fact, I couldn’t walk five feet away from my phone without hearing a jarring track skip. That’s unacceptable from an IEM which costs upwards of Rs 10k.
I’d also like to point out that unlike some other truly wireless headsets in the market, the RHA TrueConnect lacks support for Qualcomm’s aptX codec and instead, only supports SBC codec. Therefore, you won’t benefit by streaming higher-res audio through the RHA TrueConnect either.
Ever had a dream where everything is going right until the very end? Well, to me, the RHA TrueConnect is exactly that. While the earbuds boast a superb design, long-lasting battery life and a fantastic audio output, the unit is plagued with connectivity issues which take away from the overall listening experience.
Consequently, if you’re okay with listening to music glued to your seat without flinching a muscle, then you can pick up a unit of the RHA TrueConnect from HeadphoneZone’s website. If not, then you might fancy Samsung’s Galaxy Buds (review) or the Jabra Elite 65t Active (review), which sound good but more importantly, offer a reliable Bluetooth connection.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Solid, elegant design
- Unique charging case
- Good sound quality
- Long battery life
- Unreliable Bluetooth connection
- No aptX support