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(Pocket-lint) - Adidas has had a range of exercise-friendly audio products for a while now, but it's fairly rare for some genuinely interesting innovation to happen in its lineup.

That could be what the RPT-02 Sol represents, although we're not entirely certain that its solar-harvesting power coating actually makes enough of a difference to an actual normal user. Keep reading for our full review.

Our quick take

The RPT-02 Sol are a really solid pair of workout headphones that are tight-fitting and well-designed, and the inclusion of solar tech means that they could have basically unlimited battery life if you use them in the right conditions.

That's hugely impressive, and their solid sound profile means they're an all-round hit too. However, with a lighter build and 40-hour battery life for less than half the £199/$229 price of the RPT-02 Sol, you can get the standard RPT-01, and we think that undermines the new headphones quite heavily.

If you want the thrill of living on the frontier of battery technology, then by all means choose the newer model, but we suspect that Adidas' original on-ear headphones might still make more sense for more people.

Adidas RPT-02 Sol headphones review: Here comes the sun

Adidas RPT-02 Sol headphones

4.0 stars
For
  • Tight for exercise
  • Funky looks
  • Powerfoyle battery boost
Against
  • Perhaps too tight for casual listening
  • Same sound as RPT-01
  • Powerfoyle finish looks a bit odd

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Design

  • Fabric-coated earcups
  • Weighs 256g

The RPT-02 Sol has a very familiar look to it, and that's because it does indeed closely resemble the RPT-01, headphones that we tested from Adidas back in 2021, although the new version is some 50g heavier.

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The only really obvious change is to the headband, which is no longer fabric-coated like it was on the RPT-01 for reasons that will become pretty obvious, and doesn't have a rubber inner layer either.

Pocket-lint Adidas RPT-02 Sol headphones review: Here comes the sun photo 2

The earcups, though, are very similar, with a hard plastic shell that's covered by a woven fabric cover - it encloses the cushioning for a fairly low-key but nonetheless interesting look and feel.

Just like the RPT-01, we have mixed thoughts on how comfortable these earcups are - they're nice and soft, but clamp really quite tightly on your head. This is great for their intended purpose of running, where they're secure enough to stay in place, unlike many on-ear options.

However, when using the headphones for regular listening we consistently found them a little tight and uncomfortable, which isn't ideal. Depending on what you want them for, then, your mileage may vary.

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Back to the headband, and it not only looks a lot different from the RTP-01, but also contains the big change to the RTP-02, in the form of a Powerfoyle coating. This surface, which has also been used quite a bit by Urbanista, lets the RPT-02 Sol gather energy from light sources around you, ideally the sun.

This adds to its battery life to an impressive degree, but from a visual standpoint makes for a bit more of a generic look. The headband has a wide black lattice over the Powerfoyle section, which is crisscrossed by shiny lines, and while it's hardly going to offend anyone, we think it's less fun to look at (and marginally less comfortable) than the RPT-01's fabric band.

Sound performance

  • 40mm drivers
  • 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response

If the RPT-02 Sol looks a lot like the RPT-01, you can bet your bottom dollar it sounds similar, too - the sonic performance was almost identical in our testing.

This is a good thing, on balance. It means you can still expect nice, full sound with fairly balanced mids and highs, and enough bass to punch through even when you're on a run outdoors. We found that most genres fared pretty well, although there is a slight lack of delicacy at times that can mean you miss out on detail in more layered tracks.

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Because they're on-ear, you do miss out on some passive isolation, so the headphones don't fare all too well on a journey using the London Underground, for example, but that's a matter of their design. There's no active noise cancelling (ANC) to speak of here, either, which further limits things.

However, the volume can get loud enough to make the difference if you're in a clanking gym or running alongside a road, and overall we feel that the RPT-02 Sol won't disappoint anyone approaching these with at least some of their expectations managed.

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Finally, you can use Adidas' own app to customise your EQ if you want to change the balance of your sound a little, which is always useful if you do feel that anything needs tweaking.

Features

  • 80-hour battery life extended to "near-unlimited" in sunlight
  • Five-way control knob
  • Light-source checker

Where the RPT-02 Sol really differs from its predecessor is on the features front, with one huge addition around its battery life. Firstly, the basic battery life of the RPT-02 is actually really impressive on its own, standing at 80 hours or so.

Pocket-lint Adidas RPT-02 Sol headphones review: Here comes the sun photo 3

That means you can easily use them for a couple of weeks without needing to think about charging them.

This gets even more impressive, though, if you're leaving them out or using them in sunny or brightly-lit conditions, when the Powerfoyle in the headband makes battery life "close to unlimited" in Adidas' own carefully-chosen words.

It's as close as we've seen to a device you don't have to charge, then, and you can handily check how much light the headphones are harvesting by pressing a round button on the left earcup. A little dial interface on the headband lights up to let you know whether it's taking on low, medium or high energy.

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Pocket-lint Adidas RPT-02 Sol headphones review: Here comes the sun photo 5

Let's be clear - nearly unlimited battery life is a seriously cool step forward that feels like it could change how we use our tech if it becomes even more widespread and efficient. That said, the slight anxiety of wondering if a dull day or indoor use will mean you do run out means that you'll still occasionally charge the RPT-02 Sol, and that undermines its Powerfoyle tech a little.

If you're totally relaxed about the distant possibility of running out of power, though, this is like living in the future.

The headphones also have a control knob on the right earcup that lets you turn them on or off, skip tracks and adjust your volume - something that works well and is much preferred to any touch interface when you're sweaty from working out.

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To recap

The RPT-02 use some cool Powerfoyle tech, but we're not convinced they're enough of an upgrade on the RPT-01, for their price.

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Verity Burns.
Sections Adidas Headphones