RHA, the Scottish audio brand, has always held a rather sturdy reputation in the audio industry over its decade-odd run in the field. Over time, it has delivered some stellar products in what is a pretty uncomplicated portfolio. The TrueConnect 2 has only recently joined its list, and safe to say, it is a rather compelling product. For starters, the RHA TrueConnect 2 is a pair of true wireless earbuds – a segment of gadgets that are increasingly growing in popularity. Secondly, it comes into that segment of the market that has the Apple AirPods dominating, and Samsung’s latest Galaxy Buds Live giving things a serious shot. As such, it has a tough task at hand – convincing Apple and Samsung users that the RHA TrueConnect 2 is better than its rivals made by Apple and Samsung themselves.
Priced at Rs 12,999 on Headphone Zone, the RHA TrueConnect 2 plays squarely in the premium market, which isn’t particularly witnessing a stampede in sales right now. Nevertheless, it is an important market, since this is the segment that really defines what the more mainstream or affordable products of the next years would be. Everything taken together, the RHA TrueConnect 2 ticks most checkboxes, and makes a formidable case for itself. Here’s how.
Design, ergonomics and usage
RHA has always had a penchant for good product design, in the sense that it doesn’t get in your way. In other words, it has always had the ‘it just works’ approach that Apple has showed across generations of its devices. The TrueConnect 2 is just that – it just works. The charging case does not charge wirelessly, and is carried over almost in exact from its predecessor, but that works well. It gets a flat edged angle on one side and a curved edge to the other, which is a great ergonomic design because it helps you hold it better. Even when you’re fishing for it in your backpack or trying to pull it out of your pockets from between a barrage of keys and coins and whatnot, it is easy to find (because of the unique shape) and easy to hold as well.
It charges with USB-C, which is adequate for its segment. In fact, given the gradual ubiquity of USB-C ports and cables among smartphones, you are almost always likely to find one with a friend or colleague, should you need a quick juice-up before you head back home from work. The earbuds themselves have the stemmed design that’s a bit like the AirPods Pro, and it works and looks rather good. Here, again, RHA has not done a lot, but by not doing so, it has done the right thing – not made design an intrusive part of the earphone’s overall being. The ingress and egress for the buds from their charging case is acceptable but not entirely fuss free – you have to really tug it to get it off its charging magnets.
There is another slight design overlook here – by habit, we tend to push a box upward to open it, and not down. However, in case of the RHA TrueConnect 2’s charging case, you need to push it downward to open it the right way, or open it upward and have the right earbuds to your left and vice versa. This may not seem big, but can be supremely annoying if you’ve gotten a call and are trying to put it on quickly. For a brand so chic and suave with its design and unfussy ergonomics, this is a weird flaw in the TrueConnect 2’s design.
Apart from this, there’s hardly anything to complain. The charging case, with its metal edges and smooth finish, feels super premium. The earbuds are light, unobtrusive, offer brilliant passive noise cancellation, fit very well in almost all ear sizes, and have excellent gesture control on them. The approach is super easy to get used to – on the left earbud, two taps is next track and three tracks is previous. On the right, two taps is volume up and three is volume down. On either, single tap is play/pause/receive call, a 1.5s long press pulls up the phone’s voice assistant, and a 5s long press puts it on Bluetooth pairing mode.
In other words, it all just works. The Bluetooth 5 chip inside ensures pairing is seamless each and every time. You can pair the RHA TrueConnect 2 with multiple devices, and actively switch between them. The earbuds pair as soon as you slide open the charging case instead of taking out the earbuds. The pairing snaps the moment you put the buds back in and shut the case. The original AirPods by Apple was hailed for this super seamless and non-fussy usage ergonomics, and the RHA TrueConnect 2 offers just that, with a better designed and more premium package.
Audio quality and battery life
We typically always talk about audio quality first, but with true wireless earbuds, it has to be the other way round at times. But once you get beyond the easy usage and good design of the RHA TrueConnect 2, you realise that they sound great too. There is a great sense of poise and composure about the TrueConnect 2’s audio performance, which helps it sound peppy to an Alan Walker mix, represent the gut wrenching panache of Hans Zimmer with equal gusto, and the irreverent playfulness of Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams in Feels with all the colours of the song.
In simpler words, the RHA TrueConnect 2 is versatile. It isn’t neutral, but offer just a tinge of bass bias instead. That ensures that you get the powerful backline kicking in, without taking the flair of highs away from bright tracks. It offers a good deal of mids by way of clear, well pronounced vocals, and its inherent range ensures that you get good accuracy across a wide variety of pitches and octaves. The likes of Roger Daltrey and Steven Tyler will be just as pleased with the RHA TrueConnect 2 as Jim Morrison and Trent Reznor. Those in the middle (Lou Reed and David Gilmour come to mind first) are almost in the perfect sweet spot of the RHA TrueConnect 2, and for fans of classic rock, the earphones produce good overall isolation of instruments as well. You hence get clean rhythm lines, and also make out loops of snares and a backing guitar pretty clearly.
The bass stays powerful, but does not dominate, which is the most earnest sign for a pair of good earphones. However, while you can manually tweak the bass up should your smartphone offer you an equaliser at hand, those without it may find the overall punch of the bass slightly lacking. In terms of the overall timbre, the RHA TrueConnect 2 sounds wholesome and warm enough, but isn’t particularly earth shattering. It does add plenty of flair to its sound signature, though – you may feel the urge to get off your sofa and waltz to Yumeji’s Theme, or bring the house down to your average weekend RHCP marathon.
At the centre of all this is impressive battery life. The earbuds ran for a little over 10 hours on a single charge, while RHA rates it for 9 hours of playback. The charging case offers four full charge cycles, and on overall terms, I could even make the RHA TrueConnect 2 last for two full weeks without needing to charge the case. This, with about two hours of music/video streaming, and loads of phone calls for six days each week. That is rather impressive in terms of the overall battery performance.
Should you buy it?
To simplify things, yes – if this is the price bracket you are looking at, the RHA TrueConnect 2 should definitely be at the top of your shortlist. Your other options could be the Jabra Elite Active 75t, the Klipsch S1, the first generation Apple AirPods and the newly launched Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. For iPhone users, AirPods would be the default choice, and we’d recommend the TrueConnect 2 over that. By sheer virtue of premium build and design, as well as the overall sound signature, we’d recommend the RHA TrueConnect 2 over Jabra’s Elite 75t as well. To sum up – if you are purchasing true wireless earphones at around the Rs 15,000 price point, go right ahead and get yourself the RHA TrueConnect 2. This will be a purchase that you won’t regret.