“The RHA TrueConnect 2 offers a comfortable battery life for comfortable radio buds.”
IP55 weather resistance
9.5 hours of playback
Good sound quality
Limited codec support
The call quality needs to be improved
It is not easy to be RHA TrueConnect 2. Not only are you expected to outperform your own ancestor in the outstanding first generation TrueConnect, you must now achieve an impact in a class of real wireless earbuds that has become exponentially more competitive almost overnight.
Objectively speaking, RHA has improved its original earbuds with its new TrueConnect 2 for $ 150 by doubling the battery life of the buds and increasing water resistance. But are these unique real wireless champions so advanced that they can maintain their status in a packed field of great earphones? That is the question of the hour for RHA.
Out of the box
Especially with real wireless earbuds, it is standard to keep the packaging simple. True to this tradition, there are no surprises with the TrueConnect 2. The packaging contains the earphones and their charging case, a USB-C charging cable and several pairs of stainless steel earplugs.
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With TrueConnect 2, no app can be downloaded. So you just have to get a mobile device with Bluetooth functionality up and running. These buds have a Bluetooth 5 connection. After over a week with these buds, I still didn’t have a single connection problem. If you’re looking for buds that work just like Apple’s AirPods, these are the ones for you.
There’s not much to say about the design of the TrueConnect 2 here, which hasn’t been said about the first generation RHA buds yet. Both pairs are almost identical in design, probably because there was nothing broken on the original blueprint that was to be repaired.
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Back in these second-generation TrueConnects is the golf tee structure popular with AirPods, as well as the same matte black finish that the originals were clad with (there is also a dark blue option). We said it in the first review and it is just too good not to repeat it. These are Darth Vader’s AirPods, although I suspect that he already had all of the noise cancellation required in this helmet.
They’re a bit heavier than the AirPods (6 grams compared to 4 from Apple), and the case weighs an impressive 79 grams compared to the smaller AirPods case at 40 grams. However, the TrueConnect 2 is as well built and unique as the original, mainly because there is really no physical difference between the two.
What is different are the controls in this pair. The first generation each had a button that required multiple presses to activate each command. With the second generation TrueConnect buds, RHA has integrated capacitive touch controls to make the use of the buds considerably easier. I will agree that it is better – to a certain extent. The touch controls are a bit too sensitive, which caused me to accidentally pause podcasts and music repeatedly when I tried to adjust them in my ear.
Speaking of adjustments, the TrueConnect 2 fit is reasonably secure for more intense activities, although full disclosure was fairly warm during my time testing these buds, so the runs I usually take with new earbuds were much shorter. They have held up well for these routes, but I cannot say how well they would stay in place for the world’s long distance enthusiasts. No matter how long you have these buds, they are comfortable thanks to the soft foam tips included in the set.
The RHA TrueConnect 2 has some new features as well as some remnants of the originals that still offer solid benefits. The problem, however, is that these functions are often insufficient to distinguish these buds from the multitude of new competitors that perform the same functions.
Nick Woodard / Digital Trends
RHA has almost doubled the battery life compared to the first TrueConnect buds and equipped the new version with 9.5 hours of playback time and 44 hours of total battery life with the supplied case. These numbers slightly outperformed the Apple AirPods and would have been considered groundbreaking statistics if, for example, these buds came out a few months earlier. The Samsung Galaxy Buds + and the Sony WF-SP800N both hit the RHA and have better playback times (11 and 13 hours respectively). Although I haven’t even unpacked the USB-C charging cable because it took so long, 9.5 hours don’t have the same shine as at the beginning of this year.
The water resistance has also been improved in the new TrueConnect 2 with a degree of protection IP55 compared to the IPX5 of the first generation. The new review offers the TrueConnect 2 protection against dust and is not only waterproof, so these earphones are more than suitable for training. Sony’s WF-SP800N has the same resistance, but costs $ 50 more. The Jabra Elite Active 75t are fully waterproof with IP57 protection, but again cost $ 50 more than the TrueConnect 2.
The TrueConnect 2 is also compatible with voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri or Amazon Alexa. However, if you want buds specifically for this functionality, Google Pixel Buds 2, Apple AirPods or Amazon Echo Buds are better alternatives.
Apart from these three features, the TrueConnect 2 offers only a few functions. For example, you don’t have active noise cancellation. Competitors like the AirPods or Pixel Buds don’t do that either, but an increasing number of competitors are adding ANC on a budget (I can think of the Edifier TWS NB as well as the Panasonic RZ-S500Ws), and RHA could have taken a step up the apples and glasses of the world by working in an effective noise cancellation. It looks like his absence is hard to ignore here.
RHA says it “refined” the TrueConnect 2’s sound signature, but the truth is that these buds probably don’t sound much different than the originals of the average ear. But that’s a good thing, because both pairs sound damn good.
Nick Woodard / Digital Trends
The authoritative bass of the first generation made the transition to TrueConnect 2 well and showed controlled low-end in songs like One More Night by Maroon 5 or Truth Hurts by Lizzo. Bass is not everything, and thankfully, the dynamic 6mm drivers at the heart of these buds seem able to handle all the frequencies that get in their way. The Ooh La La deraces is always one of my favorite test tracks, as I know exactly how these opening chords should sound, and I’m happy to report that TrueConnect 2 did them justice.
I am disappointed that RHA has stopped aptX support, which is what we were looking for in the originals. The TrueConnect 2 offers SBC support, but is otherwise incredibly limited in the availability of audio codecs. Still, I would be confident that these buds can compete with most other competitors in their price range, from the AirPods to Google’s Pixel Buds to the Samsung Galaxy Buds +, with the quality difference in this vicinity being almost entirely subjective. The TrueConnect 2 doesn’t touch our benchmark buds in terms of audio quality, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, but we didn’t expect it for half the cost anyway.
The TrueConnect 2 has a dual microphone setup that, according to the RHA, should focus on your voice and remove background noise at the same time to improve call quality. In my experience, RHA has done it reasonably right. My voice was exceptionally clear on calls with these buds, but in several cases the other end of the call received all background feedback. Walking down a busy street with a wood chopper growling in the distance is not a pleasant experience for the person you are talking to.
The RHA TrueConnect 2 used a pair of very good real wireless earbuds as a base and improved them in some key areas. But while the TrueConnect 2 made a solid step forward, it seems like everyone else has made three. Still, it can be difficult to reconcile the sound quality and features compared to the price. While we were looking for more here, due to the relatively low cost, it is difficult to criticize RHA for the end product.
Are there any better alternatives?
For another $ 50, the Sony WF-SP800N for $ 200 could be a very convincing option due to its better battery life, comparable weather resistance, and excellent active noise cancellation. If you’re looking for buds that are friendlier to a particular operating system, you won’t lose much quality if you look at the Apple AirPods for $ 199 or Google Pixel Buds 2 for $ 179, though TrueConnect 2 relates both on performance exceeds battery life.
How long will they last?
The TrueConnect 2 comes with a three-year warranty, which is by far one of the best guarantees I’ve seen for real wireless earbuds. RHA stands by their buds, which should give you some level of certainty as to how long they will last.
Should you buy them
Yes. Although many competing buds have gained ground on RHA, the TrueConnect 2 are a solid pair of buds just like their predecessors. You might fall into a sea of similar earphones in the not too distant future, but at the moment these are some of the better buds you can find in this price range.