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Klipsch T5 True Wireless review: A true wireless headphone with excellent sound

Their fit may not be for everybody, but Klipsch's first totally wireless headphones have excellent sound and strong battery life.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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Klipsch's T5 True Wireless ($200, £175, AU$350), the company's first stab at AirPods-style true wireless headphones, have a few things going for them: Not only are they sturdily built, they deliver excellent sound, have strong battery life (8 hours) and include a sleek-looking (and impressively solid) Zippo-inspired charging case that juices up via USB-C. They're a very good set of truly wireless earphones. I do have some small reservations about their ergonomics, however, which may or may not impact you.

Klipsch T5 True Wireless
8.0

Klipsch T5 True Wireless

The Good

The Klipsch T5 True Wireless is sturdily built, delivers excellent sound if you get a tight seal and has strong battery life. Its Zippo-inspired charging case is sleek, solid and features USB-C charging.

The Bad

The fit isn't for everybody; charging case is heavy.

The Bottom Line

While I have some small reservation about their fit, the Klipsch T5 True Wireless are worth checking out if you're considering a set a premium set of true wireless headphones.

As you can see from the photos, each earbud is fairly "deep." That's both good and bad. A lot of these types of earphones are designed to kind of nestle in your ear. But with these, you have to jam the tip into your ear canal to get a tight seal because getting a tight seal is crucial to optimizing sound quality. Klipsch has been making in-ear headphones for a while and has some patented oval-shaped tips to help you get that tight seal. I got a tight seal, but using the medium-sized tip that was best for my ear, I ended up having to jam the tip into my ear canal to the point where it felt a little uncomfortable.

Klipsch T5 True Wireless
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Klipsch T5 True Wireless
Sarah Tew/CNET

The good thing about reviewing a lot true wireless earphones is that I have plenty of silicone tips lying around from other models. I swapped in a pair from a set of Jabras that had a flatter, wider shape and ended up getting a more comfortable fit. (I found the Jabras more comfortable, but the Klipsch models do sound better.)

I mention all this because how much you like these headphones will largely depend on how well they fit your ears. Get a good fit and you should be quite pleased. As I said, I was impressed with the sound -- it's nicely detailed with natural, slightly forward-sounding mids and punchy, well-defined bass. As far as true wireless goes, it has more of an audiophile sound that should work decently with a variety of genres, but is probably best-suited to rock, pop, jazz and acoustical material.

Klipsch T5 True Wireless
Enlarge Image
Klipsch T5 True Wireless
Sarah Tew/CNET

In this price range, you'll also find the Sony WF-1000XM3 ($230, £220, AU$400). The Sony sounds a little warmer, with slightly bigger, more rounded bass that's going to be a better match for those who listen to more hip hop and electronic dance music. I ultimately preferred the Sony's sound and fit, but the Klipsch makes our list of best-sounding true wireless headphones and I was perfectly happy using the T5 during my commutes to work on the New York City subway and for workouts at the gym. I also slightly preferred the sound of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, but the Sennheiser costs $300 (£220, AU$385) and doesn't have as good battery life.

Unlike the Sony, the T5 does have some water resistance -- it's IPX4 certified, which means it's splashproof but not waterproof (you can't submerge it). As mentioned, battery life is good. The buds themselves can run for up to 8 hours on a single charge at moderate volume levels and the case provides three additional charges on the go.

Klipsch T5 True Wireless

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That Zippo-inspired case is sleek looking and feels very sturdy, but it's also surprisingly heavy for its compact size, weighing in at 3.84 ounces (109 grams) with the buds inside. The case does fit in a pocket but it's not something you'd want to walk around with at the gym, for example. The Jaybird Vista ($180, £160) is better suited to sporting activities. 

The T5 Wireless uses Bluetooth 5.0 and has support for both AAC and aptX. Except for a few minor Bluetooth hiccups, I didn't experience any connectivity issues and I thought the earphones worked decently as a headset for making calls (with a four-mic system, it has some noise-reduction features).

In terms of extra features, there's no transparency mode or touch controls. The earphones have physical buttons that work just fine and there is a companion app for tweaking the sound, although I didn't get a chance to try it in advance of the T5's shipping date.

Ultimately, this is a very good first stab at true wireless for Klipsch. These headphones are a little expensive at $200 and not everybody is going to love the fit, but they're certainly worth checking out if you're considering a set a premium set of true wireless headphones. 

Key specs, according to Klipsch:

  • 5mm dynamic drivers
  • Three sizes of Klipsch oval eartips
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX and AAC audio
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels (three extra charges from charging case)
  • USB-C charging
  • IPX4 (splashproof)
  • Four-mic system designed to better capture your voice in noisy or windy conditions
  • Price: $200, £175, $AU350
Klipsch T5 True Wireless
8.0

Klipsch T5 True Wireless

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Sound 9Value 7
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