Klipsch's redesigned T5 II true wireless earbuds are a big improvement over the T5 that debuted in 2019. However, the company's 2020 models didn't offer active noise cancellation (ANC) and only the pricier Sport version had wireless charging. Today, Klipsch is making both of those standard features with the T5 II ANC, plus it's throwing in AI-powered features from true wireless pioneer Bragi and Dirac HD Sound. All of the additions make this model a true flagship, right down to the premium price of $299.
The T5 II ANC has the same design for both the earbuds and the case as the T5 II. The buds were retooled after the original T5 to make them more comfortable. Klipsch still includes six sets of oval silicone ear tips to help you find the best fit, but the T5 II ANC is only IPX4 rated water resistant (compared to the T5 II's IP67). Inside, the company uses a redesigned 5.8mm driver with a thinner diaphragm that it says improves sound quality across all frequencies.
Klipsch takes the audio profile a step further with some help from Dirac's HD Sound technology. Dirac is known for its "digital audio optimization," and in 2020 the company announced plans to both recalibrate your headphones and integrate its sound tech directly inside future products. For the T5 II ANC, Klipsch says HD Sound will improve staging, clarity, voice and bass while still allowing you to apply custom EQ settings at you see fit.
Another key element of the T5 II ANC are the hands-free gestures called Bragi Moves. Bragi was one of the first companies to build true wireless earbuds, long before Apple helped popularize the product category. The company's Dash line of earbuds not only worked better than many of the early options, but they were also packed with more tech: gesture controls, on-board music storage, fitness tracking, real-time translation and more.
In 2019, Bragi announced that it had sold its hardware business to focus on software and AI. Klipsch is one of the first to integrate the company's gesture controls, including the ability to answer calls by nodding or to skip tracks by shaking your head. Bragi's tech will also enable Sidekicks or automated processes like turning on ANC when you listen to music or activating transparency mode when you get a call. Klipsch and Bragi said more features will be available in the future.
The noise-cancelling setup on the T5 II ANC employs dual microphones on each earbud (feedforward and feedback) to catch as much external distraction as possible. Like the T5, this model also includes a transparency mode so you can tune into your surroundings when needed. Klipsch promises "loud and clear" calls as well, with six beamforming microphones and automatic noise suppression.
All of those new features led to less battery life. With ANC on, Klipsch says you can muster five hours of listening on the buds themselves. That's down from eight on the T5 II and T5 II Sport. When you disable the noise-cancelling feature, the company says you can expect two more hours of use. The included case holds 21 additional hours (three full charges) and Qi-compatible wireless charging is on board.
Like it did with the T5 II Sport, Klipsch is offering a McLaren Edition of the T5 II ANC. The company is a sponsor for McLaren's Formula 1 team, so it's bringing papaya orange, carbon fiber and a tire tread pattern from the track to your earbuds. This special version carries all of the same features of the regular T5 II ANC, but it comes with a wireless charging pad and it's equipped with NuCurrent charging tech. Klipsch says this feature combined with the McLaren Edition case "will charge twice as fast as anything else on the market." Racing fans will have to pony up an extra $50, though: the special edition is $349.