'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Over the years it seems I've become quite a collector of wireless earbuds, due to my love of music while I run and the fact that smartphone manufacturers removed the standard 3.5mm audio port out of most modern phones. A couple of years ago I tested out the RHA TrueConnect wireless earbuds and found them to be nearly perfect for my needs, but I wasn't a fan of the physical button control system.
RHA released its newest truly wireless earbud, the TrueConnect 2 with nearly double the battery life, improved sound, move from physical buttons to touch controls, increased resistance to the elements, and its industry-leading three-year guarantee. These new earbuds are also priced to compete at $149.95.
Also: RHA TrueConnect earbuds review: High quality, stylish wireless earbuds for your commute or workout
The new RHA TrueConnect 2 headset is available to order now in either Carbon Black or Navy Blue. I was sent a pair of the Navy Blue earbuds to evaluate for ZDNet. This second generation earbud has a similar design to the first model with a short stem that extends down from the earbud, similar to Apple AirPods.
Looking at the TrueConnect adjacent to the TrueConnect 2 reveals that the form factor and design are nearly identical. One design feature I did not like on the first generation RHA TrueConnect headset was the physical buttons on each earbud. You had to press the earbud into your ear to activate the button and the tactile feedback was minimal so it was hard to know when your button press registered. The TrueConnect 2 incorporates capacitive touch controls and after a couple of weeks of testing this is clearly the superior approach.
The TrueConnect 2 earbuds can function individually with two mics on each earbud and a direct connection to your device. One microphone is on the base of the stem closer to your mouth while the other is on the back of the headset on the capacitive touch area. This upper mic helps RHA technology reduce background noises to provide for a better call and voice assistant experience.
The touch controls perform a bit differently than each other with single tap, double tap, triple tap, short hold, and long hold resulting in different actions. For music playback, the touch controls work to play/pause, skip back or ahead, increase or decrease volume, launch your preferred voice assistant (Siri, Google Assistant, Bixby, and Alexa are all supported), and switch to Bluetooth pairing mode.
Also: Google Pixel Buds review: Android's more affordable AirPods Pro
The touch controls also function for incoming and outgoing calls with answer/end and volume actions. There is no touch option to mute a call.
In regards to fit, RHA includes four extra silicone tips in small, medium, and large sizes with a default set of medium tips installed out of the box. There are no Comply foam tips provided like we saw on the TrueConnect headset, but if you have other eartips in your drawer they may fit too.
Having more than nine hours available on a wireless earbud is outstanding and I've yet to see anyone provide such long battery life. The charging case also takes things to the next level and you can probably get through most of a work week without ever connecting a USB-C cable to charge up the case.
The very first test I conducted was fit while running since the AirPods Pro and recent Sony earbuds both fell out after a couple hundred feet and I need a set of earbuds that will last for an hour of pavement pounding. Thankfully, the RHA TrueConnect 2 is light and the design resulted in a secure fit with heavy sweat and motion up and down hills. With the amazing 9+ hour battery life, it looks like I found my new running earbuds.
When compared to the first generation RHA TrueConnect, RHA improved here with the following:
The sound quality was excellent on the first TrueConnect headset, as expected from RHA Audio, and the TrueConnect 2 improves upon that audio experience with a refined sound signature and more volume. My music sounds incredible with good bass, excellent clarity, and perfect stereo playback.
Truly wireless earbuds are used primarily during my daily commute and when I am running and the TrueConnect 2 performed perfectly in both of these situations. The touch controls worked flawlessly and I love the quick and easy volume control while my phone is stored away in a pack while running and commuting.
Google's Pixel Buds, see our full review, are solid truly wireless earbuds with similar features. However, battery life is about half of what RHA provides, it has a lower resistance to the elements, audio performance is not as good, and they are priced $30 more than the RHA TrueConnect 2.
With the TrueConnect 2 available for $20 less than the TrueConnect, and less than most other truly wireless earbuds, this is definitely a wireless earbud to seriously consider. The long battery life and awesome audio performance alone are enough for me to give them my highest recommendation.