TimeKettle WT2 Edge AI Translator Headphones Review

We’re sure that when Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek, the translation system they talked about, but we never saw, was just a plot device to avoid hearing foreign languages ​​and need subtitles.

But today, people expect the technology to exist and work, even if it is currently limited to interpreting the sounds made by other humans and the many languages ​​we speak around the world.

Asking a merchant how much something costs in their language and understanding the answer can be accomplished with most mobile phones.

The limitations of this software feature are that it expects only one person to speak, and a data service must connect the device to the servers where the translation takes place.

That’s fine for the occasional vacation, but what if you’re trying to broker a sales deal with a foreign store owner or establish a local franchise without needing to speak their native language?

Then you might well consider using something like the TimeKettle WT2 Edge AI Translator Headphones, offering purpose-built simultaneous translation between forty languages.

It’s not a cheap option, but is it worth the investment?

Price and availability

TimeKettle WT2 Edge AI Translator earphones directly from the manufacturers are $249.00 for the online translation version and $299 for the offline translation edition.

Those who want additional offline translations will need Fish Card Credits. 30 pieces of fish is $60 and 30 pieces comes with the WT2 Edge offline pack to get you started.

TimeKettle WT2 Edge AI Translator Headphones

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)


Before talking about the WT2 Edge Translator headphones, we need to discuss the products that came before them. The WT2 Plus and M2 are earlier designs that TimeKettle still sells, but the WT2 Edge replaces.

The WT2 Plus provided one-way simultaneous translation with large ear cups that included earmuffs for extended wear and had a lifespan of approximately five hours.

These were for translation only and are currently $179.

The M2 has further reduced the size of the Bluetooth earbuds, making them easier to carry and wear, going from the 10g of the WT2 Plus to just 5.4g per earbud. They also introduced dual beamforming microphones. The cost is an affordable $99, and these can be used for listening to music or answering phone calls in addition to their translation capabilities.

The arrival of the WT2 Edge in the next stage, matching the smaller weight of the M2, but allowing two-way simultaneous translation, adding directional voice recognition and intelligent noise reduction, but, and this is a headache, coming back to the original limitation of WT2 Plus that it cannot be used for music or for taking phone calls.

TimeKettle WT2 Edge AI Translator Headphones

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

According to TimeKettle, the selling point of this design is that it is the most sophisticated translation tool to date, promising greatly improved translation accuracy and speed. However, they are also the most expensive headphones they have made so far.

Out of the box, the first aspect of the WT2 Edge that struck us was its much smaller size than the WT2 Plus and M2 carrying cases. The box is almost as small as the one Apple provides for its AirPods, which is tiny.

This case not only protects the earbuds during transport, but also serves as a clever charger.

While the pods only last three hours from a charge, the case can recharge them three times with an internal battery. This extends the life to an effective 12 hours without the need to connect to a Type-C charger.

The charging time is 90 minutes, so it is not possible to get 12 consecutive hours out of it.

Design-wise, it’s a sleek design that’s not drastically different from expensive Bluetooth headphones in form. However, they are definitely not the same as Bluetooth headphones in terms of functionality.

TimeKettle WT2 Edge AI Translator Headphones

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)


Operation of the WT2 Edge hardware requires a mobile app available for Apple iOS and Google Android. It’s the same app regardless of TimeKettle hardware, and it works with the WT2, M2, WT2 Edge headphones and the Zero speaker.

When the app is running, it must be paired with the pods from within the app, as trying to connect them as conventional Bluetooth audio devices will not work.

We also noticed that they refuse to pair when sitting in the charging case, but pairing is quick if they’re out of the box or in your ears.

What is a bit peculiar about the application is that it will then allow you to select one of four modes, without ever having asked which languages ​​you intend to use it with.

By default, it sets one language to Chinese (Simplified) and the other to English. To switch this involves backtracking in the app to a submenu where you can select the two languages ​​to translate.

There are currently 40 different languages ​​and 93 accents, 20 of which are specifically for Spanish dialects. For these to be translated live, an internet connection is required, but offline translation is available for seven languages. More offline translations can be purchased for Fish Credits, each costing five Credits.

The four modes available through the app are Simul, Touch, Speaker, and Group Chat.

Simul mode, short for simultaneous, is designed so that you give an earpiece to the person you want to converse with. What’s most impressive about this solution is that it has no problem with people talking to each other, like we often do, and the conversation flows more smoothly.

For those who aren’t comfortable handing over expensive gear to complete strangers, speakerphone mode lets you keep the earpiece, reassigning the phone to output to the foreign speakerphone. The pods still function as microphones to pick up each side of the exchange, but there is no need to give anything to the other side.

TimeKettle WT2 Edge AI Translator Headphones

(Image credit: Timekettle Guangdong ICP)

Touch mode is a variant of Simul, which allows you to deactivate and reactivate the headphones by pressing on the side of them. Where this would work best is when you have a three-way conversation with another person who speaks the same language as you. Being able to not selectively translate everything that is said between you can be desirable and less confusing for the other foreign language speaker.

The final mode is Group Chat, a special feature designed for video conferencing scenarios where up to 30 people can come together for a meeting without needing them all to speak a common language.

Using this feature is as simple as creating a group and inviting others to join. Once the group is defined, the translations are automatically converted into text chat for those who just want to follow what is being said.

For businesses looking to invest in a pair of these devices for their entire workforce, this could be a remarkably powerful setup. However, depending on the technicality of the conversations, it may have its limitations in translating generally spoken words and not nuanced phrases and words from certain sectors.

In general, translation is quick and mostly accurate if you speak clearly, and the pods are reasonably comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Comfort is a personal experience, but since the product includes over-ear hooks and soft sleeves, the designers have tried to make them accessible to most people.

TimeKettle WT2 Edge AI Translator Headphones

(Image credit: Timekettle Guangdong ICP)

final verdict

The cost of these headphones is high, especially if you buy the offline edition with the 30 pieces of fish needed for additional offline translations.

In our tests, they made for a dynamic conversation without the jerky nature of some translation technologies. It’s human nature to talk to people, especially when you’ve guessed where their sentence is going, and the two-way nature of the WT2 Edge works well even with a significant amount of crosstalk.

Besides the price, we have two issues with these, and the first is the curious choice to regress the design to not function as a standard headset.

If you translate and receive a call, you are forced to take it on the phone rather than having a pause option to call, which could be very inconvenient.

TimeKettle’s explanation is as follows: “WT2 Edge is a professional voice translator and does not support functions such as listening to music and making phone calls”. This logic makes little sense since the TimeKettle M2s are wireless translation devices but can also be used as headphones, so why not the WT2 Edge?

There may be a perfectly credible technical reason why this limitation exists, but TimeKettle has chosen not to share it in its product’s FAQ.

Our second issue is that although the box is small and easy to carry, nothing is provided to hold all the other accessories like hooks, earmuffs and charging cable. Even if you don’t use the hooks and sleeves, there’s nowhere to store the charging cable. At this price, including a box that contains all of the non-cardboard solution wouldn’t seem like an unreasonable expectation.

Those points aside, as translation devices go, the WT2 Edge is awesome to use, as responding in seconds to a foreign speaker in their language makes the travel experience less stressful. What is missing are tools that would allow them to be used as a training aid for those learning a non-native language. Perhaps TimeKettle thinks encouraging others to speak multiple languages ​​isn’t in their business interest.

Overall, if these are $199 or ideally less, we recommend them more highly. But headphones that cost at least $249 and you can’t listen to music using them aren’t a bargain.

But on the flip side, these are the most impressive machine-translated headphones we’ve ever used and could easily be worth a whole lot more to anyone who regularly travels for work.