The Klipsch T5 II Sport is essentially a sportier version of the T5 II. Klipsch has rolled out several pairs of wireless earbuds over the past the year and a half, hoping to stake its claim in both the true wireless and sporty true wireless (yes, this is now a thing) markets. And while their earlier attempts have all been well-received, it is the second-gen Sport that stands out as the company’s most ambitious creation yet.
Colors: Black, Gray, Green
Battery life (rated): 8 hours; 24 hours (with charging case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Processor: Not stated
Size: 1.3 x 1.2 x 0.9 inches (per bud); 3.4 x 1.6 x 1.8 inches (charging case)
Weight: 0.3 ounces (per bud); 3.1 ounces (charging case)
Similar in style and performance to the standard version, the T5 II Sport comes with a few extras, including silicone ear wings, wireless charging support, and a more robust charging case with moisture removal. Dynamic sound and stable battery life also place these buds in the same company as top performers such as the Jabra Elite Active 75t and Beats Powerbeats Pro. A lack of active noise cancellation (ANC) and a more neutral soundstage might not suit some exercisers needs, but if you read our full Klipsch T5 II Sport review you'll see why it's worth considering alongside the best workout headphones.
Klipsch T5 II Sport review: Price and availability
The Klipsch T5 II Sport is currently available at major online retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy, and is sold directly from Klipsch. These earbuds originally launched at $229, but are currently priced between $179 and $199, and come in three color options: Black, Gray, and Green. Also, the McLaren Edition is on sale for $199 on Amazon (originally $250).
This is relatively affordable compared to many of the best workout headphones or best running headphones out there, though there are some models that offer similar performance for a lower price. These include the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC ($99) and Jabra Elite Active 65t ($99).
Klipsch T5 II Sport review: Design and comfort
The entire T5 II lineup is very attractive. All three versions have a clean and polished appearance with the brand logo scripted right on the front, and have an IP67 rating for dust resistance and waterproofing. Ear wings come bundled with the T5 II Sport and McLaren edition. What’s most important is that this Sport version is well built, takes on damage better than most competitors, and looks pretty cool.
While the difference between the T5 II and T5 II Sport is minimal, the charging cases are night and day. Instead of sticking with the gorgeous Zippo lighter-inspired case, Klipsch went more extreme with the T5 II Sport’s case, opting for a bulkier storage unit with some unique and questionable detailing.
The honeycomb design and gold accents give it some pop. It’s also durable (again, IP67-rated) and heavy at 3.1 ounces. Klipsch focused on making the lock mechanism super secure, which it definitely is, though the way it locks requires a bit of practice to master. A lanyard is attached to the end for portable convenience as well; it beats stuffing the case into your workout pants and dealing with some unpleasant bulge.
Inside is where things get interesting. According to Klipsch, the case has a moisture removal system that features absorbing crystals in the lid to pull moisture out of the buds and case. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I commend Klipsch for its creativity. One can see why the USB-C charging port was placed on the inside, since the entire case is housed in one solid piece of plastic, but this makes powering the buds a frustrating task since having the lid open takes up extra counter space. The case can be charged wirelessly, but you must keep the lid closed or else the case will flop right off the charging pad.
Comfort and fit are pivotal for any pair of sporty earbuds. Thankfully, the T5 II Sport delivers both at the highest level. The sound port sticks out more to let the buds slip right into the canal, while the oval silicone tips (six pairs in different sizes come bundled) create a tight seal. Using the wings will optimize fit. Once placed on the ear and properly adjusted, you’ll be able to perform lateral movements without worrying about them falling out.
Klipsch T5 II Sport review: Touch controls and digital assistant
The T5 II Sport sticks to a traditional control scheme, employing an ovular multifunctional button on each bud. You can control playback, calls, and the digital assistant by applying single-, multi-, and long-press gestures. Klipsch even went the extra mile of placing more functionality at the tip of your finger by including onboard volume controls and the ability to mute the mic during calls.
I found the controls responsive when pausing or skipping tracks, plus the buttons produced great tactility to reassure me of intended commands being executed. There are no touch controls, and I’m fine with that, but it would have been beneficial for Klipsch to integrate on-ear detection to automatically pause music when removing the buds.
Siri and Google Assistant are at your disposal, though there is one caveat. Since Klipsch assigned both skip forward/back and voice assistance to the same command (2x press), you can only enable the latter whenever music or video programs are closed. It’s impractical, especially since the buds will be primarily used for listening: no hardcore runner is going to force close Spotify and halt their momentum to create a calendar invite or text a friend.
Outside of this programming snafu, the feature operates smoothly. Klipsch’s mic array picks up every spoken syllable and registers voice commands with accuracy.
Klipsch T5 II Sport review: Audio quality
Klipsch’s reputation for audio precedes itself, as sound quality is exemplary on the T5 II Sport. Much like the T5 II, sound is well balanced, sitting somewhere in between bright and warm, though the low end is slightly raised on this model to give bass more oomph.
As a warm-up before hitting the streets, I put on Snoop Dogg’s “Gin N Juice” and felt my energy levels gradually increase as the song played out. The drum loop and synth bass had pleasant bounce and gave my legs more lift when performing jumping jacks in the garage. Songs like Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” shot a rush of adrenaline down my ear canal during 5K runs. The reproduction on Slash’s iconic guitar riff was riveting and Axl Rose’s screaming vocals were also crisp and invigorating to hear.
Those who want head-rattling boom might want to look elsewhere, as bass is a bit more tamed on the T5 II Sport. That's not a complaint, though, because Klipsch’s soundstage is well engineered and gives mids and highs more room to shine; I recommend indulging in jazz classics when in recovery mode to hear for yourself. You do get some lively bass out of these buds, but if you want a model that prioritizes the low end, then the Elite Active 75t or Powerbeats Pro go heavier on bass.
Despite lacking active noise cancellation, the T5 II Sport does give you decent passive noise isolation. Just don’t expect these buds to block out a large amount of ambient sound. Car horns and whistles will creep onto the soundscape, but common fracas like chatty neighbors or dog barks will go unheard.
The T5 II Sport does bleed a lot of sound when set to max volume and blasts music at an alarming level. So, unless your goal is to visit the otolaryngologist (a.k.a. the ear doctor) on a frequent basis, keep the volume somewhere between 50 to 80 percent.
Klipsch T5 II Sport review: App and special features
The Klipsch Connect app looks clean and is easy to navigate, though other apps like Jabra Sound+ and Sony Headphones Connect are more extensive. You do get a customizable EQ to create sound profiles, along with six preprogrammed presets – Flat, Treble, Bass, Rock, Vocal, and Podcast – that are hit or miss. Rock is perfect for the music genre, but Bass is terrible and bloats up the soundstage. Treble actually works better for EDM and rock songs.
There's only one more big feature: Transparency Mode. Where other brands have a slider to adjust sound, the T5 II Sport simplifies things by letting you select from three different levels: Low, Medium or High. Each level is effective, depending on how much ambient noise you want to hear, but for exercising, stick with High since it picks up distinct sounds from afar and up close. I could hear my newborn whimpering on the baby monitor, as well as oncoming traffic during nightly runs.
Besides firmware updates, there isn’t much else to Klipsch Connect. Control customization, power-saving options or a Find My Buds feature would have been ideal additions, but Klipsch didn’t think so.
Klipsch T5 II Sport review: Battery life and charging case
Battery life is rated at 8 hours on a single charge. In my experience, this is more like 7 hours when factoring in high volume and Transparency Mode, which is a huge battery drainer. You still get a sufficient amount of playtime that is higher than the AirPods Pro (5 hours), but also falls short of the Powerbeats Pro (9 hours) and Elite Active 75t (7.5 hours). Quick charging is available to get you 1 hour of use on a 15-minute charge.
As for the charging case, it holds up to 32 hours when fully charged. That should be enough for about 3 to 4 weeks of exercising. As mentioned, you can wirelessly charge the case by placing it on top of any Qi-enabled charging pad — just make sure it’s closed.
Klipsch T5 II Sport review: Call quality and connectivity
I think the T5 II Sport is serviceable as a calling headset. Not the best, not the greatest, but good enough to hold brief chats. My wife could make out everything I said during grocery runs and when walking through rowdy environments. Some background noises (e.g., bus engines, gusty winds) were distracting, but never to the point that she wanted to hang up.
The T5 II is compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 and provides reliable wireless performance. Range was strong, letting me stream music from about 35 feet away from my audio source. I didn’t experience any dropout during calls or video chats either. What impressed me most was connectivity. Multipoint technology isn’t available, so you can’t link the buds to two devices at the same time. However, the initial pairing process was quick and simple, and re-pairing to known devices was instantaneous.
Klipsch T5 II Sport review: Verdict
At its current price, the T5 II Sport is a bargain worth pursuing. Protection is top notch, as highlighted by the buds’ waterproof exterior and the moisture-removing charging case. Nestling them into your ears will reward you with pleasant comfort and fit. The vibrant sound they deliver will encourage you to use them for casual listening as well. Battery life also holds up strong to keep you powered up for several workouts.
Klipsch did get a bit overzealous with its design choices, which impede on certain functions such as charging and voice assistance. The T5 II could have also benefited from more features such as on-ear detection, a Find My Buds mode, and most importantly, ANC. Still, these omissions don’t diminish the buds' overall value.
If you want something more feature-laden, the Elite Active 75t is a suitable option that can be had for the same price. Then there are selections like the Epic Air Sport ANC that are designed with a fool-proof fit and throw noise cancellation into the mix for under $100. You have plenty of alternatives to choose from, but the T5 II Sport makes a compelling case for why it should be your workout companion.
- More: These are the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now