First announced earlier this year at CES 2021, Klipsch is finally ready to roll out its new T5 II True Wireless ANC earbuds, which bring active noise cancellation to one of the best-sounding pairs of wireless earbuds currently available. But that’s not the only upgrade: The new T5 II will also incorporate Bragi’s AI technology to facilitate new hands-free functionality.
Now featuring slightly larger 5.8mm drivers, the T5 II True Wireless ANC earbuds will also use a dual mic approach—one pointing outwards capturing external sounds and one located in front of the speaker—for its active noise cancellation to maximize its ability to cancel out unwanted sounds. It’s great news for users stuck on long crowded commutes or in noisy office environments, but it does come with a battery life trade-off.
The original Klipsch T5 II True Wireless earbuds boasted an excellent eight hours of listening time with the buds themselves, plus an extra 24 hours when paired with their Zippo lighter-inspired charging case. With the added ANC functionality, that drops to seven hours with the T5 II True Wireless ANC buds alone, or five with the noise cancellation on, and an extra 21 extra hours with the charging case, or 15 with ANC running. But to make charging the case itself slightly easier, Klipsch has redesigned it so it can be plopped down on a wireless Qi pad, or you can use a USB-C cable for faster charges.
Active noise cancellation might not be quite enough for existing T5 II True Wireless users to be willing to upgrade, especially since the ANC version will be priced at $300, which is $100 more expensive than its predecessor. What makes the new buds worth considering is that Klipsh is now incorporating Bragi’s AI-powered operating system into the earbuds. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because back in 2015 the company created a pair of smart wireless earbuds with built-in fitness-tracking and music storage, but eventually sold off its hardware division in 2019 to focus on its AI-powered software.
The fruits of that corporate refocus are now available in the T5 II True Wireless ANC via a feature called Bragi Moves. In addition to physically tapping the earbuds to trigger common functions like pausing music or switching ANC modes, Bragi Moves gestures will allow users to simply move their heads for certain functions, like nodding up and down to answer an incoming call, or shaking their head from side to side to decline one. Klipsch notes that the “innovative operating system will enable new functionality over the life of the product,” so down the line other AI-powered Bragi features may be available, such as the advanced voice recognition the company has demonstrated in the past.
If a $300 set of wireless earbuds isn’t already enough to break your budget, Klipsch is once again partnering with McLaren for a special edition version of the T5 II True Wireless ANC featuring a design that not only incorporates the legendary racing company’s papaya color, but actual carbon fiber on the charging case, as well as a molded outer shell that emulates the tread pattern of a Formula 1 race car’s tires. The T5 II True Wireless ANC McLaren Edition earbuds also come with a matching dual position charging pad allowing both the earbuds and a Qi-compatible smartphone to be charged at the same time. For $350 this actually seems like the better deal of the two new offerings.