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Adidas’ workout headphones sound almost as stylish as they look

They're made by the same company behind Urbanears and Marshall.
Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
September 6, 2019
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Daniel Cooper / Engadget

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I'll admit that when I saw Adidas' latest headphones, I expected them to be stylish but unsatisfying, the brand covering for any flaws in the hardware itself. And then I spent five minutes wearing a pair of the RPT-01 on-ear wireless headphones while flicking through my own Spotify selection. I went from hardened cynic to wondering if I can somehow tactically break my current pair to justify an upgrade. Plus, I've suddenly gotten an urge to throw out all of my shoes and buy five pairs of Primeknit sneakers.

My initial snobbery was because I hadn't realized that the cans were actually made by Zound, the Swedish company behind Urbanears and Marshall's consumer audio gear. The sound on these particular cans was wonderfully clear, and it's obvious that Zound hasn't simply thrown in lots of bass to disguise bad engineering. Instead, the mids and highs have had just much attention. And those earcups -- in the vein of Adidas' Primeknit style -- are comfortable enough to have squeezing both sides of your head.

Adidas Zound

They're also surprisingly sturdy, and can be bent and twisted in all number of ways, making them a decent option for throwing in a bag without fuss. I was also impressed by the stubby little four-way joystick that sits behind the right ear cup, which controls playback and volume. It's more reliable, and satisfying, than some of the swipe controllers I've struggled with recently.

The Adidas RPT-01 is rated for 40 hours of wireless playback and has removable, washable knitted earcup covers (ideal if you're wearing them to the gym). It's IPX4 rated for sweat-proofing and, with the app, can use custom shortcuts. It, alongside its in-ear partner, will hit store shelves for $169 / £140.

Catch up on all the latest news from IFA 2019 here!

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