Adidas RPD-01 full review
Adidas has been dipping its toe into the premium headphone market recently, but let’s be honest, not everyone has £100/$100+ to spend on a pair of earbuds for listening to music during workouts – and Adidas knew it too. That’s where the Adidas RPD-01 in-ear neckbuds come into play; they offer the same great audio performance and long battery life as the more premium earbuds in Adidas’ collection, but at a sub-£70/$70 price tag.
The question is, has Adidas achieved the aim? After using the RPD-01s to listen to music and podcasts during weeks of 5K training, here’s what I think.
Design and fit
While true wireless earbuds are all the rage at the moment, Adidas went down a slightly different route with the RPD-01s. The budget in-ears sport a ‘neckbud’ design, consisting of a lightweight band that rests on your neck handles battery and connectivity, and connect to the earbuds via a wire.
It’s not a totally wire-free experience, but it’s the next best thing, and there are benefits to the design. As well as allowing the earbuds to be smaller and focused only on audio performance, it allows you to take the earbuds out and let them dangle on your chest, secured by magnets – no need to put them in a carry case. I like the look, but it’s very much a personal thing.
Whether you’re or not you’re a fan of the overall neckbud design, there is one aspect that Adidas has well and truly nailed with the. RPD-01s: the fit. Fit is important with all in-ear buds, as well-fitting buds not only improve audio quality but help with passive noise isolation, but they’re especially important with fitness-focused buds – the last thing you want is to have to keep repositioning the buds while running a 5K.
That’s achieved by the combination of small lightweight buds, swappable eartips and swappable earwings that help keep the buds securely in place no matter how much you’re moving around. It’s an area Adidas consistently excels in, with a similarly secure fit on offer from the more expensive FWD-01 earbuds. With four sets of earbuds and eartips in the box, it’s worth spending the time to find the ideal combination for your ear shape.
When it comes to media controls, Adidas decided to add the controls to the neckband. There are buttons to adjust volume and playback on-the-fly, but I must admit they always take me a second to locate, and I can’t help but think that in-line controls might’ve been a better option.
Still, if you use an Apple Watch or any other wearable that allows for media controls, it shouldn’t be a huge issue.
Overall, the RPD-01 buds are a well-fitting pair of neckbuds, sporting vibrant colour options including Light Grey, Night Grey and Green Tint that should complement your workout apparel.
Like the rest of Adidas’ exercised-focused earbud collection, the Adidas RPD-01s sport Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. As you might expect, there’s a strong, reliable connection on offer, although you might notice the occasional interruption in particularly busy signal areas. Still, it didn’t present an issue when on a quiet jog on the backstreets of London, and that’s likely where the buds will be used most often. There are also built-in mics, allowing you to take (hopefully short) calls when exercising.
More importantly, the audio performance on offer from the 6mm neodymium drivers is impressive, with booming bass that helps help keep you motivated and moving through intense workouts. It’s suited well to Dubstep, Hip-Hop and other energetic, bassy music, but don’t let that trick you into thinking it can’t handle more mellow, instrument-driven tracks.
There’s a notably clean top-end and a warm mid-range perfectly suited to more acoustic, vocal-led tracks, and the wide soundscape on offer means it’s an immersive experience no matter what you’re listening to. And, if you want to tailor the output depending on the genre of music you’re into, you’ve got the option of browsing from a range of preset EQs via the Adidas Headphones app for iOS and Android.
The audio really is of exceptional quality, especially for a sub-£70/$70 pair of in-ear headphones.
There’s also great battery life on offer, with Adidas’ claim of 12 hours being on the money in my experience. That’s long enough for the most intense workouts and even maybe a marathon, ideal for the more fitness-focused among us.
The fast-charge technology on offer will provide over three hours of use from a 15-minute charge, perfect for those quick top-ups once the headphones do eventually run out of juice. A full charge will take around two hours, and it’s connected via a USB-C port located on the underneath of the neckband.
It’s not quite the 16-hour battery life and 0-60% in 45 minutes charging capabilities of the premium FWD-01 buds, but with a £60 premium compared to the RPD-01s, it’s a pill I’m betting a lot of people will be willing to swallow.
The Adidas RPD-01 in-ear neckbuds initially launched at £79.99/$99.99 in August 2020, but the price has already dropped to £69.99/$69.99 at Adidas and Currys in the UK and Amazon in the US, making the buds an even more tempting option for those looking for a great-sounding budget-focused pair of earbuds that’ll stay securely in place during intense workouts.
If you’re looking for an all-round solid pair neckbuds that’ll stay put during runs and other intense forms of exercise, look no further than the Adidas RPD-01 in-ear headphones. The earbuds fit impressively well thanks to a combination of eartips and earwings, there’s impressive audio performance – particularly in the bass department – and at 12 hours, the battery life is long enough to get you through even the longest workouts.
Plus, at £69.99/$69.99, they’re great value for money too.
Adidas RPD-01: Specs
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 12-hour battery life
- Fast-charge functionality (3hrs use in 15 minutes)
- 6nm Neodymium drivers
- 20Hz - 20kHz frequency response
- Built-in media controls
- Customisable action button
- Compatible with Adidas Headphones app for iOS and Android
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