Grado GT220 review: Audiophile True Wireless Bluetooth EarbudsGrado has a reputation for making high-quality headphones. These earbuds fit the bill. The sound quality was good for 24 hours, so don't be surprised if you get less.

Grado GT220

Grado GT220

We like this

  • Audiophile-quality sound quality that is rich and detailed

  • Battery life is excellent

  • Wireless charging bag Qi certified

  • Great fit and finish

  • Included is the aptX codec

The Things We Hate
  • There is no IP rating

  • Fitting is extremely tight

  • Finicky Bluetooth connectivity for special occasions

Grado's Bluetooth earbuds are Grado’s first venture into Bluetooth. They have impressive sound quality and a long battery life. However, there is not much else.

So that our reviewer could test them, we purchased the Grado GT220 headphones. Continue reading to see our complete product review.

Grado's GT220 headphones are perhaps one of the most under-appreciated in true wireless earbud space. Grado headphones are a great brand to look into if your a audio enthusiast and, more specifically, if they're true audiophiles. The Brooklyn-based company considers themselves an artisanal designer of headphone designs, but they are most well known for their wired headphones.

Brand's approach is hand-tuned and focuses on the drivers, and sometimes unique building materials. (Think: leather and wood in place of plastic). Although I have limited experience using Grado's wired headphones, I was intrigued to hear that the boutique maker was exploring wireless options with the GT220s. There is so much noise within this product category that an audiophile-friendly brand might be able to claim new markets. Although the GT220s look amazing on paper, they have their flaws. Here's my opinion after spending about a week with the pair.

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Design: Modern, elegant, but not too grado

It's not surprising that the GT220s have a completely uninventive design considering the industrial, utilitarian style of Grado over-ear headphones. With the Grado logo embossed on the top, the black bean-shaped case has a soft-touch shell made of super-matte plastic. They are a classic amoeba-shaped shape, with an indicator light at the top that shines through translucent Grado "G").

Grado GT220

You will find the part of your ear that extends into your ears as a narrow stem and tiny eartips. Although this has some consequences for the fit, it is my least favourite part of the earbuds. I'll address that later. Overall, the design here is premium. However, the eartips are not as elaborate as one would expect from such a small brand. These earbuds look great. However, the shapes of the buds mean that they will fit differently in each person's ears.

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Comfort: Tight and firm, but not too tight

Manufacturers continue to experiment with new eartip designs and ways of fitting wireless earbuds into the ear. Particularly, this product feature is subjective. Some people prefer to have a snug seal, while others may like more airflow. If the fit is too tight, they could fall out of your ears. This is why so many brands choose flexible wings to grab your ear, my preferred style.

There are several sizes of eartips, but the angle of driver stems and hyper-formed enclosure seal these buds really well into the ear canal.

Grados are a perfect fit for the tight seal camp. These are some of the most snugly fitting earbuds that I have ever used. There are several sizes available, but the driver stem angle and hyper-formed enclosure seal these earbuds very deeply in your ear canal. Although I was able to hear the sound clearly, I felt uncomfortable about wearing them for more than an hour. These buds will fit snugly if you prefer a tighter fit. But that is up to you. They are light at just 5g each and won't be too heavy from a weight standpoint.

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High quality and durability

Although I am disappointed there isn't any fun premium material used in the GT220s I don't think they are any lower quality than other premium earbuds. It's standard for this price range to use soft-touch plastic for both the charging case and the earbuds. Although this material was chosen to reduce weight, it is quite resilient and can be thrown around.

Both the case and buds don't get fingerprints easily. They can also be tossed into bags without any problems. An official IP rating would be helpful for water resistance. If you spend much time outdoors or in adverse weather conditions, it's a good idea to take extra precautions. Both the magnets used to close the case and those that hold the earbuds in place are strong. The case's tactile feel is also as good as many other alternatives.

Grado GT220

The professional's view on wireless sound quality

The 'Grado sound' is one of the main reasons why you would buy GT220s. This brand boasts over seven decades worth of audio experience. The result is truly remarkable headphone drivers. The theory here is that Grado has spent as much time finessing and tuning the drivers and response of these headphones as they have on their higher-end models—at least, that's what the marketing materials say. According to the spec sheet, the frequency range is 20Hz-20kHz. The 32-ohm rating, which is more than the average for headphones of this type, means that there will be ample coverage, decent power, and plenty of nuance.

This brand boasts over seven decades worth of audio experience. The result is truly remarkable headphone drivers.

This is just a paper description. These headphones sound great in reality. You will experience a superior sound quality when listening to truly excellent audiophile headphones. This is true whether the headphones are consumer models or professional-grade studio monitors. The GT220s have a pro-level quality sound. The GT220s have a decent low-end response, but it's not as loud as other earbuds.

The focus should be on the middle range, providing support and detail. If not properly treated, this section can become very muddy and is often the most vulnerable. The Grados let you hear all of your music.

This is not necessarily the desired outcome for every listener. It might feel too detailed if you have never heard this kind of detail. I have to admit that the spoken word sometimes felt a bit toocrispy and sparkly during podcasts. You can also get very solid passive noise isolation with this seal for music listening in louder places.

The focus should be on the middle range, providing support and detail. If not properly treated, this section can become very muddy and is often the most vulnerable. The Grados let you hear all of your music.

Once you become used to the sound profile it is difficult to return to a bassier or muddier pair. This I believe to be a major positive. This is not the earbuds for you if your preference is for a more powerful sound.

Battery life: A second impressive feature

While Grado hasn't put quite the spread of features you'll find on other premium headphones—they cherry-picked the few things that I think are most important. This is the principle behind battery life. The GT220s will provide 6 hours of music on a single charge (although I feel like it was closer to 4 hours or 5 in my testing), and the battery case gives you more than 30 hours of additional playback. Grado is playing alongside the top headphones in the industry, and these numbers can only be matched by premium headphones.

The GT220s will provide 6 hours worth of audio on a single charge (though my testing indicated that I got closer to 4 hours or 5 hours). However, the battery case can give you more than 30 hours of additional playback.

The the Grados charger is an additional bonus to this long-lasting battery. The headphones can be fully charged in less than 2 hours using the USB-C port. The earbuds don't have a front-loaded quick charger, so make sure to charge them up ahead of time. Grado also included Qi-certified wireless technology in the case. This wireless charging capability was not available in any other headphones. Grado is the first company to offer it. The case is light enough to carry all of the power without feeling heavy.

There are many good things about Connectivity and Codecs, but there are some quirks to be found in the real world.

Grado once again has their eyes on the specifications for premium earbuds, and made sure that they are in line with the cost. Bluetooth 5.0 should offer a range of just under 30 feet and good connectivity. Additionally, Bluetooth 5.0 supports the AAC/SBC lossier codecs that are standard on all Bluetooth headphones. There's also an impressive aptX compression format.

Qualcomm developed this codec to allow headphones to receive Bluetooth audio. It compresses the audio files in a way that does not degrade them as severely as other codecs. It's important to have an audiophile product from Grado. This codec will likely give users of GT220s a rich library of audio with high quality that is not affected by other codecs.

Grado GT220

The connectivity is not perfect, as are some aspects of the earbuds. First, I want to point out that my first set of GT220s from Grado didn't work properly. The left earbud remained stuck in pre-pairing mode and wouldn't respond even after a factory reset. They were quickly replaced by the retailer that I purchased them. The next set worked perfectly right out of the box. Although it is difficult to criticize a manufacturer when things are so easily resolved, I believe this important information should be noted.

Even more frustrating was the difficulty I had in getting my earbuds to pair with my second device. It's a result of finicky touch control (my last complaint about these earbuds). While you can fix the problem by unpairing your headphones from your Bluetooth menu, it's not ideal if your earbuds need to be associated with more sources such as your smartphone and laptop.

The Controls and Additionals are a nice idea, but they're not always the best.

Control functionality is the final piece. The touch control functionality on each earbud should allow you to adjust volume, skip tracks and answer phone calls. These controls were not as responsive as they should have been. The one I wanted to access (putting headphones in pairing mode using a touch panel held when the headphones are removed) did not work every single time. It's not a big deal as I control most of my music and phone calls through my smartphone. This is not a problem for people who prefer on-board control.

Grado GT220

A companion app is another thing missing from these earbuds. A few years back, it would have been difficult to blame a manufacturer for not providing a companion app. A simple piece of software, especially at the current price, would have made the GT220s better. Grado likely intended this. Grado's likely confidence in the EQ response of their earbuds and tuning them correctly right out of the package led to the assumption that an app for EQ control was redundant. There could be some significant improvements with some software.

Prices: This is a mid-to high tier

The $250 price tag for Grados headphones is reasonable considering that audiophile earbuds can often go well over $300. These aren't cheap earbuds but Grado did show some restraint. You are really only paying for brand recognition and audio expertise. Sure, there are some nice extras like wireless charging and aptX codec support, but you aren't getting an app, nor are you getting active noise cancellation—both features you'd find in similarly priced products from brands like Bose, Sony, and Apple.

Grado GT220

Grado GT220 vs. Sennheiser Momentum 2

Grado is not an easy brand to compare. Grados are comparable in sound quality to Sennheiser's flagship Momentum earbuds. While the GT220s have active noise cancellation, the second-generation Momentums are more compact and offer a longer battery life. You can get both for about the same price. Brand affinity, however, will push you to one side or the other.

These are the 8 best wireless earbuds for great sound in 2022

Final Verdict

High-quality earbuds that sound great without any bells or whistles.

It is obvious that the Grado GT220 headphones place professional audio tuning at the heart of this offering. You will be delighted with your $250 investment. You'll also get excellent battery life and wireless charging. However, you won't get the most user-friendly buds or active noise cancelling.


  • Product name GT220
  • Grado Product Brand
  • UPC: 850929008560
  • Prices starting at $259.00
  • September 2020 Release Date
  • Weight 0.2 oz.
  • Dimensions of the product: 5.7x4.3x2 in.
  • Color Black
  • Battery life 6 hours for earbuds, 36 hours with battery case
  • Wired and wireless wireless
  • Wireless range 30 feet
  • 1-year warranty
  • Audio Codecs SBC, AAC, aptX

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