Klipsch T5 True Wireless earbuds (2019) review

Striking design that stumbles when the basics

Klipsch T5 True Wireless Earbuds
  • Klipsch T5 True Wireless Earbuds
  • Klipsch T5 True Wireless Earbuds
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Striking to look at
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Mediocre sound quality
  • Doesn't actually open like a zippo lighter

Bottom Line

$349 might get you a set of slick-looking earbuds, plenty of battery life and a charger case that’s unlike anything else out there, but it doesn’t buy you perfection.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 349.00 (AUD)

Should I buy the Klipsch T5 True Wireless?

Honestly, the Klipsch T5 True Wireless earbuds are more of a curiosity than they are a competitor to stuff like the AirPods. 

The eye-catching design is a sight and a delight to behold. However, in action, I consistently found that the Klipsch T5 earbuds fell short of what I want - and expect - from a modern set of true wireless earbuds. 

$349 might get you a set of slick-looking earbuds, plenty of battery life and a charger case that’s unlike anything else out there, but it doesn’t buy you perfection. 

Price when reviewed

In Australia, the Klipsch T5 True Wireless Earbuds are priced at AU$349.

Klipsch T5 True Wireless earbuds full review

Price

In Australia, you can buy the Klipsch T5 True Wireless Earbuds for a recommended retail price of AU$349. You can buy them on Amazon here.

Design & Build

More often at home within the Hi-Fi and audio space than consumer tech, Klipsch’s first set of true wireless earbuds make quite the entrance. 

Arriving in a striking and zippo-lighter inspired flip-case, the Klipsch T5’s deploy a premium visage to great effect. From the moment you lay your eyes on them, it’s hard not to find yourself humming along. They’re Klipsch earbuds - minus the wires. All told, it’s a familiar song but one rarely rendered in such a fashion. 

Credit: Klipsch

Packed away in their charger case, the true wireless earbuds feel safe, sturdy and... surprisingly heavy. This quirk does make the T5s feel more premium but it also saddles them with several drawbacks. I get the sense that most people would probably prefer to carry something lighter and, aside from being able to show off the T5s, there’s not all that much to offset the cost in comfortable portability you’re paying here. 

You can’t even do the zip-lighter thing and flick the top of the case open, which feels like a missed opportunity. 

It doesn’t help that the lid of the case is only held in place by a small magnetic mechanism. It’s not terribly secure so, when/if you drop this thing, those buds are definitely going to go flying. 

Unfortunately, while the Klipsch T5 True Wireless earbuds look excellent they don’t hold their own that well during regular use. They’re IPX4 rated but - as with the charger case -  there are still side effects to the design that ultimately leave users in the lurch. 

For example, Klipsch have opted for the nozzle-like design that allows the buds to be rotated while inside your ear-canal. On paper, this should reduce fatigue and keep things comfortable them for longer. Unfortunately, in practice, it just meant that I was never really able to find the “right” way to wear them. They always felt a little loose and uneven. I never found that sweet spot where I knew I was getting both the best fit and the best fidelity. 

To add to that, I found that the ear tips themselves really didn’t create much of an effective seal against outside noise. Even when compared to cheaper looking and feeling earbuds, the Klipsch T5 allowed much more external noise into my ears than I was comfortable with - which really hurt my listening experiences with them. 

Features & Sound Quality

To both their credit and their loss, the Klipsch T5 True Wireless earbuds are largely devoid of any smart features. 

At this time, there’s no connected app for these things. Klipsch say that a special Connect app for the earbuds will come later down the line. However, right now, there’s only the most basic of voice assistant integration. You can call up Siri or Google Assistant using a button on the left earbud but it’s pretty inconsistent. Sometimes I’d press the button and nothing would happen - which is obviously far from ideal. 

Credit: Klipsch

In fact, using the T5s for anything beyond the basics was unreliable and frustrating in a way that most other true wireless earbuds simply aren’t. The Bluetooth connectivity between the two earbuds is actually pretty tight but, despite running on Bluetooth 5, I often had to repeatedly pair the earbuds with my phone half the time I wanted to use them. 

Again, this is one of those fundamental things that pretty much every other big brand set of earbuds has down and it's frustrating to see Klipsch fumble it when they’ve gone in such an appealing direction on the design side of the equation. All these side effects add up. By the time I actually got around to listening to music using the Klipsch T5s, I found it hard to enjoy them.

I mean, they don't sound bad. I’ve heard worse true wireless earbuds but I’ve also heard better - and definitely at the AU$349 price-point. They don’t sound as good as top-tier stuff like the Sony WF-1000XM3s or the Sennheiser Momentum TWs but they do still sound decent and the reliability of the connection (plus the long battery life) between the two earbuds does salvage things somewhat. 

Still, testing them side by side with the new BlueAnt PumpAir Wireless - which are about half the price - I found the cheaper set of headphones sounded better to my ears. Things like Alex Lahey’s cover of “Welcome to the Black Parade” came across as a lot more authentic in terms of sound signature. Make of that what you will. Your mileage may vary.

Battery Life

The Klipsch T5 True Wireless earbuds deliver 8-hours of battery life per single charge. The charger case contains another full charges, bringing the total usage time up to 24-hours. 

Read more: Klipsch Image S4A II headphones

This is a really impressive mark to hit. It puts them more or less in line with Apple’s AirPods for total use time and eclipses almost all the other options when it comes to single use scenarios. You could actually get through a short-to-medium plane flight on a single charge with these - which is quite a feat for any set of true wireless earbuds.

The Bottom Line

While I applaud the distinct approach and sense of style that Klipsch have brought to their first effort in the category, it feels like they’ve fumbled on a lot of the basics. That’s a shame.  

Despite the handful of years between now and the day Apple declared the headphone jack dead, the true wireless category has already become far more homogenous than I’d like it to be. Fundamentally, I want to see more true wireless earbuds that look like the Klipsch T5s.

A set of Klipsch T5s that are just as capable as the other options wouldn’t be bad either.

Credit: Klipsch

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