adidas recently introduced a new wireless headphone model together with Zound Industries. It’s the adidas RPT-02 SOL, which comes with the ability to charge itself using solar technology. I had the opportunity to try it out and would like to share my impressions with you.
Let’s start with the packaging, which is made of cardboard as usual and houses the headphones, a quick start guide and a small guarantee booklet. There is no USB-C charging cable in it, after all they want to get you to charge with solar 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 one from adidas for just under 9 euros.
The headphones are made of a material mix of plastic, metal and fabric and thus weigh 256 grams. Not the lightest, but there are definitely 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 to using plastic from the oceans for clothing, shoes and co. quite early on. Personally, I think it’s good that a lot more companies should do this, even if it might end up making the product a little more expensive. Of course, the question is always how much marketing is ultimately behind it.
Overall, however, the headphones feel good and valuable and I personally find the fabric on the ear cups and the headband to be pleasant. It’s not too hard, but not too soft either, and the fabric components are all washable. After all, they are sports headphones that also get a lot of sweat. The IPX4 certification helps here.
The special feature of the headphones is hidden in the headband. The solar technology from the Swedish supplier Exeger, which goes by the name of Powerfoyle, was used there. The headphones can thus convert incident artificial and natural light into electricity and thus charge the headphones. A light display helps you to put the headphones in the “best” light. These are a couple of LED rings in the headband that can display the status via a button. If only a few rings light up, then it’s too little light, if all of them light up, then it’s perfect.
The charge is even shown to you in real time in the app, but more on that in a moment. The button that triggers the LED display can also be assigned other actions. For example, the respective language assistant is called up with a double tap and Spotify, for example, with a triple tap. Unfortunately, you cannot select any service other than Spotify.
There is also a 5-way button on the other earpiece, which you can use to control music playback, accept/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 particularly important to me as a glasses 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 sit relatively comfortably and have good pressure on the ears so that they do not slip even with vigorous movements during sports. I wore the headset in the home office for 8 hours and my ears didn’t mind. The soft ear pads allow, among other things, this wearing comfort.
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 in really good light for 2 hours and charged from 54 percent to 57 percent…
You often have the problem that the headphones consume more than they can charge. So you have to have really good light in order not to lose battery charge while listening to music. However, the headphones also charge when they are switched off. So if you always have it by the window anyway, you can be almost certain that the battery will not run out.
In general, the headphones are a real battery monster. You should be able to get 80 hours of charge out of the headphones if you don’t charge them at all. This is very decent, but it is also due to the fact that there is no active noise suppression, for example.
You can also use the adidas headphones app with the headphones. With it you can update the firmware, have access to an equalizer and the music control and, above all, see the current consumption or the current charging of the headphones. It is quite interesting to see how many mA are charged by the sun. You also have a history that the app can also pull from times without connection.
And how do 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 carpet of sound, which, however, rather drowns out the mids that are not quite as clear, rather than carrying them. Highs are clean and clearer than the mids. You can’t do much with the equalizer either.
Get Lucky (Daftpunk):
Here, too, the basses are too present in my opinion. The vocals have a dull shimmer that clouds the clarity. However, as soon as the bass stops, the sound is clear. Here, too, I tried to help with the EQ, it helps a little. However, if you listen to a lot of mixed music, you will hardly jump into the app all the time and follow the sound pattern.
Hypa Hypa (Electric Call Boy):
Demanding track with many facets. What you notice here is that it really matters a lot how the tracks you hear are mixed. The basses are less pronounced and the headphones cut a good figure in and of themselves. Both mids and highs are then also 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 chose Grieg on purpose, because here you can easily understand the increase and the sequential build-up. Here, too, it can be observed that all instruments can be heard well, as long as the deep winds and the timpani are not yet at work. Towards the end, the picture quickly blurs again and precision is lost.
In summary, one can say that the adidas model is logically not for audiophiles, nor is it intended for that. They are sports headphones that don’t cut a bad figure in terms of sound, but still have room for improvement. Of course, one can ask how much you pay attention to music when you’re in the process of lifting weights or struggling with a run.
So what can be said in conclusion? adidas has built good headphones for sports that are flexible and comfortable to wear. The sound is based on the typically modern demand “I need bass”, but can be adjusted a little to your own needs via the equalizer. There’s certainly room for improvement, but for the sports scenario that’s pretty decent.
The good battery life paired with the always available charging option can be a big plus. The only questions everyone has to answer are: “Do I want to wear over-ear headphones when I exercise (I’m a fan of the Beats Fit Pro)?” and “Are the headphones without ANC worth 229 euros to me?”. If you can answer both with “yes”, then you certainly won’t do anything wrong with the headphones.
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