adidas recently launched a new model of wireless headphones together with Zound Industries. It’s the adidas RPT-02 SOL, which comes with the ability to recharge itself using solar technology. I had the chance to try it out and would like to share my impressions with you.
Let’s start with the packaging, which as usual is made of cardboard and contains the headphones, a quick start guide and a small warranty booklet. There is no USB-C charging cable in it, after all they want to let you charge with solar energy and reduce the ecological footprint of the product. Most people will have a USB-C cable at home anyway, but if you want you can order it from adidas for just under 9 euros.
The headphones are made of a material mix of plastic, metal and fabric and therefore weigh 256 grams. Not the lightest, but there are certainly heavier models. adidas itself states that 51 percent of the product is made of plastic, which consists of 87 percent recycled PC ABS and recycled nylon. adidas switched early on to using plastic from the oceans for clothing, shoes and the like. Personally, I think it’s good that many more companies would do this, even if it might make the product a bit more expensive. The question, of course, is always how much marketing is ultimately behind it.
Overall, though, the headphones feel good and valuable and I personally like the fabric on the ear cups and headband. It’s not too hard, but not too soft, and the fabric parts are all washable. After all, they are sports headphones that also sweat a lot. The IPX4 certification helps with this.
The special feature of the headphones is hidden in the headband. There, solar technology from the Swedish supplier Exeger, called Powerfoyle, was used. For example, the headphones can convert incident artificial and natural light into electricity and thus charge the headphones. A light display helps you put the headphones in the “best” light. These are a pair of LED rings in the headband that can display the status via a button. If only a few rings light up, it’s too little light, if they all light up, then it’s perfect.
The charge is even shown to you in real time in the app, but more about that later. Other actions can also be assigned to the button that activates the LED display. For example, the relevant language assistant is called up with a double tap and Spotify, for example, with a triple tap. Unfortunately, you cannot select a service other than Spotify.
There is also a 5-way button on the other earcup, which allows you to control music playback, answer/reject calls or adjust the volume. It is very easy to find blind and intuitive to use. There is nothing to criticize here.
Let’s talk about wearing comfort, which is especially important to me as a spectacle wearer. If headphones have too much contact pressure, the glasses quickly become uncomfortable on the ears. This is not the case with adidas. In my opinion, they are relatively comfortable and have good pressure on the ears, so that they do not slip even with vigorous movements during exercise. I wore the headset in the home office for 8 hours and my ears didn’t mind. The soft ear cushions ensure this wearing comfort, among other things.
Before we get to the sound, let me answer the question of all questions. Does light charging work? Here I have to say that light really matters. The headphones sat behind the window for 2 hours in really good light and charged from 54 percent to 57 percent…
You often have the problem that the headphones consume more than they can charge. So you really need to have good light so as not to lose the battery while listening to music. However, the headphones also charge when turned off. So if you always have it by the window, you are almost certain that the battery will not run out.
Overall, the headphones are a real battery monster. You should be able to get 80 hours out of the headphones if you don’t charge them at all. That is very neat, but that is also because there is no active noise reduction, for example.
You can also use the adidas Headphones app with the headphones. It allows you to update the firmware, access an equalizer and music controls and most importantly see the current consumption or charging of the headphones. It is quite interesting to see how many mA is charged by the sun. You also have a history that the app can retrieve from times without connection as well.
And how does the adidas RPT-02 SOL actually sound? Let me explain that with a few examples.
Now we are free (Gladiator):
The basses produce a pleasant soundscape, which, however, drowns out the mids that are not so clear, instead of carrying them. The highs are clean and clearer than the mids. You can’t do much with the equalizer either.
Get lucky (Daftpunk):
Also here the basses are too present in my opinion. The vocals have a dull sheen that obscures the clarity. However, once the bass stops, the sound is clear. Also here I tried to help with the EQ, it helps a bit. However, if you listen to a lot of mixed music, you hardly jump into the app all the time and follow the sound pattern.
Hypa Hypa (Electric Call Boy):
Demanding course with many facets. What you notice here is that it really matters how the songs you hear are mixed. The basses are less pronounced and the headphones cut a good figure on their own. Both mids and highs are therefore present and the model presents itself with a more balanced sound.
Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op.46:4 In the Hall of the Mountain King:
Classic, something completely different. This is where precision and differentiation of the instruments come into play. I deliberately chose Grieg, because here you can easily understand the increase and the successive build-up. Here too it can be seen that all instruments can be heard well, as long as the deep wind and the timpani are not yet at work. Towards the end, the image quickly becomes blurry again and the precision is lost.
In summary, it can be said that the adidas model is logically not for audiophiles, nor is it intended for that. They are sports headphones that do not cut a bad figure in terms of sound, but can still be improved. Of course, you may wonder how much attention you pay to music when you’re lifting weights or having trouble running.
So what can finally be said? adidas has built good headphones for sports that are flexible and comfortable to wear. The sound is based on the typical modern requirement “I need bass”, but can be adjusted a bit to your own liking via the equalizer. There’s definitely room for improvement, but for the sports scenario, that’s pretty decent.
The good battery life combined with the always available charging option can be a big plus. The only questions everyone needs to answer are: “Do I want to wear over-ear headphones while exercising (I’m a fan of the Beats Fit Pro)?” and “Are the headphones without ANC worth $229 to me?” . If you can answer “yes” to both, then you’re definitely not doing anything wrong with the headphones.
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