Timekettle M2 translator hands-on: Near-simultaneous translation from in-ear buds

Hands on with the Timekettle M2 translator near-simultaneous translation from an in-ear bud zdnet
  • Editors' rating
    9.0 Outstanding


  • Quick accurate translation
  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable to wear


  • No custom ear tips

I loved trying the compact Timekettle Zero translator that fitted neatly into my wallet and translated for me when I was out. Unfortunately, this device does not work if the other party is speaking on the phone, so you need a different type of device.

ZDNet Recommends

The best wireless earbuds

Good earbuds aren't just great for making and receiving calls when on the move. They can help you relax and even block out the hustle and bustle of the world around you.

Read More

The WT2 in-ear wearable translator is fabulous for translating to and from 36 languages -- and although it might cause difficulties for people who wear hearing aids -- was excellent at quickly translating to and from another language.

Now its successor, the Timekettle M2 translator, has been launched and upgraded significantly from the WT2, and it has some really cool features in addition to its translation capabilities.

The form factor of the M2 is the same as the WT2. A compact magnetic charging case keeps the earbuds ready to use at any time. Take the earbuds out and place them in your ear and connect to the Timekettle app. The translator will deliver almost real-time translation across 40 languages and 92 accents.

Like the WT2 there are three different types of translation modes. Touch mode enables you to control which words are to be translated -- touch the sensor on the earbud, and the other person will hear what you say in the chosen language. Lesson mode translates what is being heard and displays the chosen language on the phone app. Speaker mode will translate your spoken sentences and play them through the phone's speaker when the app button is tapped.

In addition to online, translation, the M2 also uses offline speech to translate to currently six languages including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Russian, and French.

Top ZDNET Reviews

You can also use the M2 translator earbuds to listen to music. Tapping the earbuds enables you to play and stop the music, and navigate between songs. Triple tapping will invoke Siri and Google voice assistants. They will work for over 24 hours before needing to be recharged.

The Timekettle earbuds are relatively comfortable and hold fairly securely in your ear, and are IPX4 water-resistant so they are sweatproof. 

I would be hesitant to run when I was wearing them as they sit in the bottom of your ear and are not jammed into your outer ear canal. However, they are fairly comfortable to wear -- even without custom-sized ear tips, which I think would be better for different sized ears.

Music sounds alright through the earbuds too -- although the bass is not so rich as I like -- the sound is not tinny and mid-range is smooth and very loud indeed.

All in all these are superb translation earbuds that should be part of your travel kit whenever you go somewhere where you do not speak the local language.

With the offline translator feature growing as more languages are added, you can not go wrong with these near-instantaneous translation earbuds. Just make sure you do not forget them on your travels.