Klipsch R5 Wireless In-Ear - Review

December 14, 2018

Indianapolis-based Klipsch is making it a point to embrace wireless with increased fervor. The new R5 Wireless In-Ear represents an initial effort to step into the wireless sports audio domain that other sports-oriented audio brands like Jaybird have a foothold in. Let's check out what this Klipsch unit offers.


Credit: Klipsch

Type - Wireless In-Ears
Price - GBP 115 / SGD 199

As we've tested previous wireless efforts from Klipsch like the R6 In-Ear Bluetooth, this new unit comes as a welcome addition to Klipsch's portable audio lineup.


Pros (+): Great bass and treble balance; Decent battery life; Good ambient sound blockage.
Cons (-): Insufficient instruction on how to use over-the-ears mode and ear wing usage. 

Unboxing
The plastic blister shell, lying smack in the middle of a solid cardboard box frame, opens upward once you peel off the sticker tab at the bottom. 


Spilling out the packaging contents, you get:
  • Klipsch R5 Wireless In-Ear buds
  • Charging Cable (micro-USB)
  • Comply Foam Comfort Tips - Ts-100 (M)
  • Silicon Tips (S / M / L)
  • 1 x Ear Wings 
  • 2 x Cord Management Clips
  • Carrying Pouch
  • Quick Start Guide

Design
The Klipsch R5 Wireless In-Ear is very light weight, which explains the two plastic protrusions flanking the left and right sides of the cables. Their purpose is to hold down the cable around your neck as stabilizers to prevent it from falling off, similar to the Beats X


For a Klipsch, it's a first to wear the buds either in over-the-ears or under-the-ears mode, similar to the Jaybird X3 Wireless. In under-the-ears, it would have been more ideal the stabilizers were distanced further away from the eartips 'cos they basically dangle in the air between your neck and ears. 

Credit: Klispch

The two cord management clips thrown in can be used to your liking - I chose to put it to one side while commuting and added one to fasten the cord when running.

Ok, let's take a break and have a look at a vid on what it offers:


Features
The R5 Wireless is sweat-proof and IPX4 rated (meaning sweat, moisture and rain resistant). How do we prove that? A simple jog would suffice so after putting it through the paces, well, surprise surprise, it works! Do note rain resistance does not mean that you should dunk it in the water so don't attempt this :)

Pairing over Bluetooth (4.2) is a simple task. Just hold the center button until the LED flashes blue (the guide has simplifies the understanding through charts), select 'Klipsch R5 Wireless' from your mobile device and you're connected. 
Credit: Klipsch

Did we mention there were ear wings? If we didn't, well there are. And they are fitted in a different manner from what we're used to. Usually, wing tips are angled upwards. For these, they are actually meant to be angled down with the tip facing backwards. When to use these? When in the gym, jogging, etc.


The in-line remote lying on the right side contains controls to play / take calls, adjust the volume and skip tracks. You get the LED indicator smack above the volume buttons and the charging point flanked at the side.

Performance
Sound quality - 
Using Comply Foam tips, Justin Bieber x BloodPop's Friends head thumping bass through the 5mm drivers is very apparent. Vocals may not be overly crisp but comes across clearly, a negligible point when you consider the target user would likely be joggers where there is plenty of ambient sound. 


Credit: Klipsch

The default silicon tips (M) suited my just fine when commuting. However, if you're out jogging, there's only one logical choice out of the full range of eartips provided - the Comply Foam, which fit assuringly well. If you want to dive into technicalities, Klipsch provided Comply Foam Comfort tips out of the 3 selections available (the others being Isolation and Sport tips) which really feel snugly into the ears. 

(To understand more on Comply Foam Isolation, Sport and Comfort tips, do read our guide on how to use Comply Foam.)


The Klipsch R5 Wireless In-Ear claims an 8 hour battery life on a full charge on the inbuilt 110mAh rated battery. This is quite in line with sports wireless buds like the UA Headphones Wireless (8 hours) and the Jaybird X3 Wireless (8 hours). 


Overall
The Klipsch R5 Wireless In-Ear marks a decent effort in entering the increasingly crowded sports portable audio fray. It doesn't offer the bells and whistles of app support nor does it angle itself as a smart device. However, stripping it to what it offers - it lays on the table solid signature Klipsch sound quality, no less and in a wireless package, making this a great companion for your jogging routine.


Credit to TC Acoustic for an evaluation unit


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