Klipsch has been in the true wireless earbud game for a few years now, but it hadn’t announced any noise-cancelling earbuds until it bowed the latest version of its T5 II earphones in January at CES. Those earbuds are finally on sale, for a somewhat lofty price.
You can snap up the Klipsch T5 II True Wireless ANC earphones now for $299—more than Apple’s AirPods Pro or Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro, but less than Bowers & Wilkins’s high-end, $399 PI7 earbuds. Meanwhile, a McLaren Edition version of the T5 II ANC earphones comes with a tread-patterned, co-molded case and a wireless charging pad for $349.
Available in gunmetal, silver, and copper flavors, the T5 II True Wireless ANC earbuds look almost identical to Klipsch’s earlier T5 II model, right down to the charging case that resembles a Zippo lighter. But there are some key differences, starting—of course—with the active noise-cancelling functionality.
Klipsch’s ANC technology employs a hybrid dual-microphone setup, with one outside-facing microphone sitting behind the earphone’s custom 5.8mm dynamic driver, while the second mic is positioned in front of the driver. Klipsch says the active noise cancellation in the new T5 II earbuds can block up to 35dB of noise.
As with many competing noise-cancelling headsets, the T5 II True Wireless ANC earphones offer a transparency mode that lets in ambient sounds, while a “Noise Shield” feature is designed to “detect and cancel” loud sounds when the transparency mode is enabled.
Another key addition is an AI-powered operating system from Bragi, the former headphone manufacturer (remember the Dash Pro?) that’s now solely focused on software. On the new Klipsch earphones, the Bragi OS will enable Bragi Moves, a gesture-based feature that lets you accept and decline calls, skip tracks, or perform other actions by shaking or nodding your head. The Bragi OS will also power “Sidekicks,” which are AI-enabled automations that perform such functions as turning on transparency mode whenever you’re on a call. Additional Braggi OS features will arrive “over the life of the product,” Klipsch says.
Finally, Klipsch’s T5 II True Wireless ANC earphones will be the first wireless earbuds to incorporate Dirac HD Sound, a DSP technology that uses Dirac’s sound-correcting algorithms to deliver (according to Dirac) “more natural and transparent” audio, as well as greater bass range and a more dynamic soundstage.
Designed to meet IPX4 standards for resistance to water splashes from any direction, the T5 II ANC earphones support Bluetooth 5.0, including the SBS and AAC codecs, but not lossless codecs such as Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive or Sony’s LDAC.
The earbuds also come equipped with six beamforming microphones for voice calls, while the buds themselves are rated for up to seven hours of battery life (five hours with ANC enabled). The charging case should deliver up to 21 more hours (or 15 hours when using ANC).
Besides the standard T5 II ANC model, the $349 McLaren Edition boasts accents with McLaren’s “signature” papaya color, while the co-molded charging case has an outer shell that is said to look and feel like the tread of a Formula 1 race car tire.
The McLaren Edition also comes with a bonus: a Qi-compatible wireless charging pad that can charge both the case and a phone simultaneously.
We’ll have a review of the T5 II Truly Wireless ANC earphones once we go ears-on with a sample unit.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.