It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had a chance to demo a new Klipsch headphone. Still revered in Audiophile circles for their commitment to solid sound, Klipsch has been hard at work with their latest release: the T5 Sport earphones. A wireless (but not true wireless) exercise earphone, the Klipsch T5 Sport retails for a solid $99. But can it live up to the legendary Klipsch reputation for comfort and sound quality at an affordable price?
Klipsch T5 Sport Review
The Klipsch T5 Sport comes in a fairly slim box that will surprise you with the amount of accessories crammed inside. You don’t just get the earphones, but a micro-USB charging cable, a carrying pouch, five pairs of ear tips, a pair of in-ear hooks (Klipsch calls them “wings”), and a cable clip come included as well.
Older Klipsch Bluetooth models like the R6 seemed big and bulky. Not the T5 Sport. Once I break this baby out, it’s clearly the younger, hipper, sexier incarnation of the Klipsch Sound in a sportier package.
Sure, some things are still decidedly Klipsh-esque: the oval eartips, the slim nozzle, the small and lightweight earpieces. All of this is still very much a thing. But there’s some new improvements in the inclusion of a nylon jacket on the cabling, as well as an easy-as-pie pairing mode.
Honestly, talk about painless – press and hold to enter pairing mode, then dive into the T5 Sport’s sound. This earphone uses Bluetooth 5.0 and offers support for AAC, SBC, and aptX HD codecs.
With 10 hours of battery life, the T5 Sport goes toe-to-toe with models like the JBL ReflectContour 2 and ReflectMini 2. But the bigger selling point is something less measurable – an air or impression of quality. Despite a water resistance of only IPX4, the Klipsch T5 Sport seems much more resilient, with its nylon cabling and stainless steel nozzles. You really do get the impression you could beat the tar out of this thing, then pop it back in your ears, and go right back to listening to your sweet, sweet jams.
At first listen, the Klipsch T5 Sport can seem a little light in the lows. However, the longer I listen to this earphone, the more impressed I become. There’s detail here, and energy, too. Rock and hip-hop come alive with verve and intimacy, and the bass response offers just enough punch to compliment drums and bass guitars without becoming sloppy or bloated. Overall, this low end provides a refreshing counterweight to so many other consumer-oriented wireless earphones: not so much bass, but still enough to make you fall in love with the sound.
The mids sound gorgeous. Tempered but resolving, they pull vocals away from any track and serve them up with clarity and precision. Against this, instrumentation can seem a little muddled, but focusing on specific elements changes that perspective. Critical listening reveals just a little compression – the Achilles Heel of wireless audio. But that being said, there’s no real distortion here. Instead, the mids brim with a sense of accuracy, delivering an impressive listening experience worthy of the Klipsch name.
The Klipsch T5 Sport features a pleasingly-relaxed high end. On the most intense female vocals, there’s still a hint of brightness – just enough to lend a little bit of sparkle to certain tracks. But overall, this part of the frequency range seems a bit rolled-off. While this may lead to an impression of less detail, it also prevents the earphones from ever sounding too harsh or uncomfortable. And, when combined with the lifelike mids and reserved low end, it provides a comfortable but engaging sound that will work with every genre.
Due to the in-ear design and wireless connection, soundstage isn’t exactly the T5 Sport’s strong suit. Instrumentation – especially on more complicated classical pieces – can seem a bit cramped and confused. However, this seems to be less of a problem with pop, rock, hip-hop, and electronica tracks. Complimenting this, the depth to the sound still feels pretty decent, preventing the sound from feeling too oppressive.
The Klipsch T5 Sport remains the only earphone I’ve demoed that works (almost) equally well with every genre of music. At the same time, it offers class-leading battery life and great build quality. If there is one thing Klipsh could have done better, it would have been including a cable clip that keeps the earphones fastened to the collar of a shirt or jacket.
I sometimes find the earphones slipping or sliding off of my neck when I’m not actively listening. But this is still a rare occurrence as I have a hard time actually wanting to take them out of my ears.
If you need a wireless workout earphone (or just a wireless earphone for any application), and don’t want the same old bass-heavy sound, the Klipsch T5 Sport won’t let you down. With it’s balanced sound and rich vocals, this $99 wireless earphone hits a sweet spot in terms of sound, performance, and build.
If you want more bass and even more weather-proofing (but don’t mind paying a little bit more), the JBL UnderArmour React offers a solid alternative at $129. A bit more consumer-oriented, it offers more punch in the bass at the expense of that juicy, detailed Klipsch Sound.
Like K-Pop, Clint Eastwood westerns, or crack cocaine, the Klipsch T5 Sport earphone is highly addictive. The longer I listen to it, the harder it is to put it down. For $99, no other wireless in-ear headphone offers this kind of sound quality with such a long battery life. So, if you’re in the market for good audio that just won’t quit, put your money where your ears need to be and snag this baby, posthaste.
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