RHA releases wireless edition of the excellent T20 earphones
Scotland’s RHA is one of those charming boutique companies that operates on the strength of word-of-mouth recommendations and the occasional placement on Apple store shelves. Specializing in earphones, its best model to date has been the T20, which I gave a glowing review back in 2015, and which today gets an overdue wireless upgrade. The T20 Wireless matches the price of the former T20i Made for iPhone model at $249.95, promising to deliver the same exciting sound signature and quality, but with fewer wires and a 12-hour battery life. I’ve had a pair of these T20 Wireless in for review for a few days, and I wouldn’t quite say RHA has succeeded at either of its goals. The battery of these new neckbuds seems to run down at a rate that puts their battery life closer to nine or 10 hours rather than 12, and, when connected to an iPhone over Bluetooth, their sound doesn’t match its former refinement. But both of those are small detractions, and there’s still a lot to like about the T20 Wireless. Photo: RHA They carry over the same DualCoil internal structure from the original T20s, and they have a hefty steel enclosure that feels made to last multiple lifetimes. With standard MMCX connectors, the T20 Wireless can be used with a wide variety of accessories from other manufacturers, including those from Shure and Final Audio, and RHA provides a regular analog cable in the package as well. Alongside it, there’s a wide selection of really good ear tips and two pairs of additional sound filters you can install inside the earphones. One bumps the bass, the other heightens the treble, and the preinstalled filter is the so-called reference one for a balanced sound. Personally, I find the T20 Wireless a little too forward in the high frequencies, which is something of an RHA signature sound, and so I favor the bass filter. I really appreciate the USB-C charging on the T20 Wireless, which the company says takes them from empty to full in 1.5 hours. What that means in practice is that I just plug my phone charger into them for five minutes before I head out and that’s enough for them to always be topped up. Photo: RHA My biggest issue with these earphones is the Bluetooth neckband that comes with them. It’s rather crude and chunky, making it impossible to ever forget you’re wearing it and occasionally tugging down on the earbuds. If only this part of the design was a little nicer, I’d be recommending the T20 Wireless on the strength of their rock-solid construction, stable connection, good battery life, and fast recharging. However, at their high price of $250, they cost a fair chunk more than the majority of true wireless models of today, and I can’t accept the compromised ergonomics of their bulky battery collar. The T20 Wireless don’t have the superlative sound quality of something like the Final E5000, which just compels you to have it. Without that, their price starts to feel unjustifiable in the modern world of true wireless convenience at the same or lower price, alongside better and cheaper neckbuds from OnePlus and Huawei at the $99 mark.