RHA TrueControl earphone review: The best ANC we’ve heard in earbuds

WHILE active noise cancellation used to be the preserve of larger headphones, the technology is increasingly being included in earbuds these days.

We review the RHA TrueControl earphones to see how well the technology works.

Pros

  • Good sound
  • Great active noise cancellation 
  • Excellent touch controls

Cons

  • Not the most comfortable
  • Battery drains when not in use
  • Fiddly case

RHA TrueControl: Quick summary

  • RHA TrueControl headphones, £249.95 at RHA – buy here

These earbuds are a bit of a mixed bag. While the sound and active noise cancellation are both great, they’re a large unit that some will struggle to fit into their ears and the battery draining while not in use isn't ideal.

If they fit your ears properly, they’re right up there with the best wireless earbuds you can buy but we’d guess the design might put some people off. You’re hoping for perfection with earbuds that cost over £200 and these don't quite reach those heights.

RHA TrueControl earphone review

  • RHA TrueControl headphones, £249.95 at RHA – buy here

Removing the RHA TrueControls from their (fiddly) case, the first thing we noticed about them is their size. While most tech companies are obsessed with making ever-smaller earphones, the TrueControls are noticeably larger than rival offerings.

We can see the logic behind the decision as evidently there was a lot of tech to pack into the units, and the size aims to provide a snug, un-moveable fit in your ears.

While the TrueControls did stay put during testing (whether we were sat at our desk or out on a run, they wouldn't budge) they never felt truly comfortable. Maybe we’ve just got small ears, but unlike a lot of Bluetooth headphones that we put in and immediately forget about, we were always aware of the TrueControls squeezed into our ear canals.

That’s a shame really, because the TrueControls, like most of the products from RHA, sound great. They’ve got a really clear balanced sound that works well for music and podcasts alike. Bass junkies might not get their fix, but we could have listened to the noise these things put out all day. That’s a possibility too, as you get five hours in the earbuds with another 15 hours to be squeezed out of the charging case.

We haven’t even mentioned the TrueControls’ party piece: the active noise cancellation. We’ve been pretty underwhelmed by ANC in earbuds in the past, but the tech packed into the TrueControls is really impressive. It does a great job of drowning out background noise, whether you’re trying to focus at your desk or you want to immerse yourself in a podcast while you’re out walking. These will be a godsend the next time we find ourselves commuting on a train.

The ANC synced up really well with the brilliant touch controls, which certainly aren’t a given in wireless earbuds. When we were using the TrueControls for running, we could easily switch between ANC and the microphones that amplify exterior noise, which is a nice option to have when your run emcompasses a mix of busy roads, quiet footpaths and crowded cycle paths. The option to quickly change the amount of background noise you receive was really useful and meant we were always aware of bikes creeping up behind us.

However, we weren’t able to use the TrueControls for running as often as we would have liked. That’s because the earbuds drain battery in between uses, which meant that, on a couple of occassions, we found them totally flat when we were gearing up to leave the house.

Now, if you owned these earbuds, you’d probably just remember to put them on charge when you were done (something that's even easier thanks to their wireless charging capability). And, in reality, you'd still only have to charge these once a week or so. But it wasn’t something we were used to having to do, which meant the TrueControls were left in the house on a couple of runs.

This isn’t a total dealbreaker for us, especially since the TrueControls do have fast charge technology, but it’s the sort of kink you’d hope would be ironed out of earbuds that cost over £200.

RHA TrueControl earbuds: The verdict

  • RHA TrueControl headphones, £249.95 at RHA – buy here

We’re not 100 per cent sure what to make of the TrueControl earbuds. We love a lot of their features, and if they came in a smaller package that fitted into our ears a bit easier, they would be hands down our favourite earphones (although we’d still find the battery drain annoying).

Upwards of £200 is a lot to spend on any pair of earbuds, but we think the TrueControls, with the clever technology they contain are worth it, just so long as they fit your ears.

Looking for something cheaper? Check out our review of the Sennheiser CX 400BT wireless earbuds.

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