Truly wireless earbuds haven't been the most popular choice among Indians but they are catching up as the category now has a number of options at varied price points.
The most known come from Apple, Samsung and Sony, but real audiophiles are recommended to look at other options that are available on Headphone Zone (a one-stop shop for headphones across various brands in India).
One such brand is RHA, a well-known Scottish audio company. They recently introduced their flagship TrueConnect truly wireless earbuds in India at Rs 14,999. Audio-wise, the RHA TrueConnect compete against the likes of Apple Airpods 2, Sony WF-SP700N, Plantronics Backbeat FIT3100 and Samsung Galaxy Buds.
The RHA TrueConnect is the company’s first foray into the truly wireless headphone market but the brand has created an instant win. How? Find out.
The RHA TrueConnect has a relatively unconventional design. I really like how the company has followed the matte-black-everything approach with a soft layer of rubber coating to make them look cool and feel even better. The case body is covered in the same matte black soft-touch rubber as the earbuds, it attracts fingerprints really easily.
Similar to the Apple AirPods, the TrueConnect feature stems that jut out from the bottom of each bud. But I personally found the TrueConnect to be more comfortable to wear for a longer period of time where you can also switch the silicone tips, unlike the AirPods.
There are two control buttons on each earbud, and that's all. Of course, there are input patterns for different functions. You can control play/pause from either side, but only the left controls music playback while the right handles the volume.
Double-clicking the right earbud increases volume and a triple tap lowers it. This control scheme isn’t very intuitive but I eventually got hold of it.
As we mentioned, the matte black coating of the earbuds is super cool, it adds that secret agent-ish feels to the design. More so because of the case that features a fidget-like swivel design that reveals the earbuds when pushed back. Sliding the aluminum cover is so smooth and satisfying, that you might end up playing with it most of the times.
The case itself is extremely well built with an aluminum cover that’s PVD coated black. We've heard from our colleagues in the UK that the PVD coating begins to wear off slightly on the edges after few months of use. But there's no sign of it in our set after a month of use.
You’ll find a single USB-C charging port on the bottom of the case, which means the earbuds top off more quickly than headphones using the outdated micro USB port. There's also a white battery indicator LED, that shows the amount of battery left in the case.
I've been using the RHA TrueConnect as my go-to headphones since they've arrived and they're so good that there was not a single occasion where I felt the need of switching to other headphones (I have quite a few options).
The wireless strength of the RHA TrueConnect is hit and miss. It gets connected to the phone every single time I took them out of the case. But it doesn't mean we didn't struggle initially. There were a few instances where we had to reset the headphones because they stopped pairing with each other. I don't know if my unit was faulty or it's a product-wide issue that I had to press and hold both the buttons simultaneously to pair it to the phone.
Once we paired it for the first time with the phone, it worked flawlessly although sometimes it took 5-10 seconds to pair when taken out of the case. While in Galaxy Buds and AirPods, this isn't the case.
We didn’t experience any of the lip sync latency issues common with some of the true wireless earbuds.
Not only were they reliable, but the RHA TrueConnect also impressed with its sound quality. There was no hiss when music wasn't playing, which is an issue common with true wireless headphones and, tonally speaking, they had a great balance. On top, they are really good at noise isolation without making you go completely dumb. It does a great job at canceling out high pitched voices.
Bass is deep without being overbearing, mids are lush with a nice texture, and highs are exciting without sounding sibilant. The overall tonality of the TrueConnect is warm, but pleasant to listen to for hours at a time.
At times we did miss having an audio equalizer, but RHA has made sure that it sounds well across all genres. I tested almost every genre ranging from classic rock, electronic music to Bollywood numbers, the TrueConnect aces most of them. But if you're expecting a loud and boomy output, you need to look somewhere else.
I was impressed to see that the RHA TrueConnect can last for hours as the earbuds last 5 hours on a charge and the battery case provides another 20 hours for a combined playtime of 25 hours. On top, with USB-C quick charging, it can be a pair of headphones you rely on for long flights or a long day at the office.
It's tough to believe that the TrueConnect is RHA's first true wireless headphone. Although it seems a bit pricy for the Indian market, not for a single moment I felt that Rs 14,999 is an unreasonable price tag for what you're getting.
The combination of sound quality, battery life, and wireless reliability means these are a pair of headphones you can rely on. Good looks make it even cooler to flaunt around your friends. The RHA feels more like a premium product than its all-plastic counterparts.
The only area where the RHA TrueConnect falls behind its competitors is the set of features that it offers. We would love to see features like ambient noise mode, aptX support and an equalizer to make it more user-friendly and customizable.