Looking at its name, you might think that the Adidas RPT-02 SOL are SOLar-powered headphones. And while that’s not a wrong assumption, these cans can be charged with any light source, not just the sun, thanks to the unique light-harvesting material covering the top of the listening device.
To my great relief, the Adidas RPT-02 SOL is more than just workout headphones with a fancy charging method – they also perform well in the audio department. The cans provide a good fit, too, and have a number of other features that make them a worthy addition to T3’s best running headphones guide. Who knows, we might add them to our best headphones guide too.
In this Adidas RPT-02 SOL review, I’ll be going through the key features and specs of the headphones, including what’s new (compared to the RPT-01), how it fits, what’s the sound quality like, how effective the noise cancelling is, what’s the deal with the battery life and much more. Let’s get started.
Adidas RPT-02 SOL review – Price and availability
The Adidas RPT-02 SOL was announced on [DATE] and is available to buy now directly from Adidas Headphones US, Adidas Headphones UK and Adidas Headphones AU for a recommended retail price of £199.95/$229/AU$290. These are not the cheapest headphones, as you can probably tell, but there is a price to pay for being on the cutting edge of technological innovation.
The Adidas RPT-01 (links to Adidas Headphones) is much cheaper to buy – its RRP was less than half the price of the RPT-02 SOL's – and features a similar design and controls. Battery life is up to 40 hours, which is half as much as the RPT-02 SOL, but plenty long enough compared to other sports headphones.
Adidas RPT-02 SOL review – What’s new?
From a physical design point of view, the RPT-01 and the RPT-02 SOL look pretty similar. The main difference is the band that now features the Powerfoyle cells at the top and is now wider to allow for a larger surface area to collect light. The buttons and cans look and feel similar, and both headphones have an IPX4 water rating.
The Adidas RPT-02 SOL is heavier than its predecessor (RPT-02 SOL – 256g, RPT-01 –209g), but has Bluetooth 5.2, as opposed to the RPT-01's Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. Both feature a microphone, but the newer version also sports a native voice assistant feature (accessible via the action button).
Adidas RPT-02 SOL review – Ergonomics and fit
The Adidas RPT-02 SOL are headphones for exercise, and therefore their primary function is to provide a secure-enough fit for when you’re on the move, running, swinging kettlebells or shadow boxing. And, to my great relief, the cans are perfect for this purpose. The RPT-02 SOL has a tighter fit to ensure the headphones stay in place when they have to; I went for a few long runs in them, and not once did they fall off my head.
The cups are adjustable in length, but what makes the RPT-02 SOL really good for workouts is the fabric lining. It absorbs the moisture trapped between the ears and the speaker unit and helps evaporate it. Better still, the fabric parts of the headphones are removable and washable, which is great for longevity, as you won’t have to chuck the cans after they get sully saturated with salt and sweat.
On the other hand, given the tighter-than-usual fit, I wouldn’t recommend the Adidas RPT-02 SOL for all-day wear, especially if you wear glasses. The cups press against the ear firmly, and this also presses the arms of the glasses into your head. I could wear the RPT-02 SOL for around an hour or so when I had my glasses on before it got uncomfortable.
There is one button on each side (so two altogether); the one on the left is the Action button that triggers the light status indicator, although it's also programmable through the Adidas Headphones app to perform other tasks. On the right, you'll find the 5-way control knob, which manipulates the headphones and audio playback (On/off, Play/Pause, next track/previous track, pairing).
Adidas RPT-02 SOL review – Sound quality
I was surprised by how well the Adidas RPT-02 SOL sounded when I first tried them. I assumed the smaller cups sitting on top of your ears would provide less pronounced soundscapes, but I was wrong. The headphones provide clear, roomy sound all across the board, and especially in the mid-levels. Treble is also excellent, with maybe an ever so slight lack of performance in the bass department.
Sound output is also decent; I could listen to audiobooks and podcasts on the train without cranking the volume up to dangerous levels. Should you have the Adidas’ Headphones app installed on your phone, you can use the presets found in the improved sound based o what type of audio you’re listening to. I would’ve appreciated some sort of audio fine-tuning feature, such as the one used in certain Skullcandy headphones, the Jabra Elite 7 Active or the Beats Fit Pro, though.
Adidas RPT-02 SOL review – Noise cancelling
One thing that helps keep volume levels down is the excellent passive noise cancellation (PNC) the Adidas RPT-02 SOL provides. The headphones haven’t got active noise cancelling (ANC), but considering how good the PNC is, it might have been a bit of an overkill to include ANC. Not to mention, ANC muddles the sound of the cans, so you get less ‘natural’ sound. Not trying to pretend the Adidas RPT-02 SOL are audiophile headphones, but they sound better with PNC than with ANC.
Adidas RPT-02 SOL review – Battery life and charging
One of the biggest USPs of the Adidas RPT-02 SOL is its battery life. On paper, the headphones can function for up to 80 hours without light-charging them and indefinitely if they are exposed to enough lumen. Based on my experience, the RPT-02 SOL indeed has an insanely long battery life, especially considering that these are Bluetooth headphones. That said, there are no energy-hungry features on board (e.g. ANC), and the size of the RPT-02 SOL allows for a larger space for battery, so it’s not all that surprising that the cans have such good battery life.
As for light charging, it works, but only if the light source is pretty bright. In theory, any light can charge the RPT-02 SOL; but even now, at the time of writing, sitting by the window on the train on a bright but overcast day, the Powerfoyle light cells refuse to charge the battery. Sitting under a desk lamp doesn’t help either – you have to go and get some sunlight if you’re planning on charging the headphones with light.
You can keep track of your energy use in the Adidas Headphones app in real time, so that’s good. If you find looking at the stats too stressful, you can change the graph to a simplified view, in which case you’ll be spared from crunching numbers while looking at the app.
Adidas RPT-02 SOL review – Workout performance
I took the Adidas RPT-02 SOL on many runs, and I also did a few workouts in them. As mentioned above, the fit of the cans is tailor-made for exercising – excellent news when reviewing workout headphones. The snug fit of the headphones will provide just the right amount of compression to keep them on your head, but not too much so you’d want to take them off five minutes into the workout.
Some runners might find the passive noise cancelling (PNC) too isolating, though, especially if you run in traffic or you need to pay attention to announcements. There is no ambient mode on the RPT-02 SOL, and you can’t adjust the sound level entering your ears – it is what it is; you have to deal with it.
I usually look both ways, even on one-way streets, and you can’t hear electric cars or scooters anyway, so I don’t mind using the Adidas RPT-02 SOL for outdoor workouts. But if you feel more comfortable being aware of your surroundings, try bone-conduction headphones instead.
Adidas RPT-02 SOL review – Verdict
The Adidas RPT-02 SOL delivers an experience you'd expect from similarly priced premium headphones: they sound good, have long battery life and have the perfect fit for workouts.
The on-ear design provides excellent passive noise cancellation, maybe a bit too excellent for those who like to hear people and traffic around them. A small price to pay for better sound quality; not to mention, you can always turn the volume down to hear your surrounding better.
The sporty-fit is amazing for runs and workouts but not ideal for all-day wear, something you'll soon find out after putting the headphones on. People with glasses will feel the pressure even sooner than others, so if you're looking for a pair of cans to put in the office and hammer away on the keyboard all day, look elsewhere.
The light charging works okay, especially if you don't expect your small desk lamp to fully charge the headphones in five minutes. You'll need proper sunlight for the Powerfoyle cells to work correctly, although it's not impossible to top the otherwise crazy-long battery life up using other light sources than the blazing orb of helium in the centre of our solar system.
All in all, an exciting piece of new tech that will delight its users who'll need to pay top dollar to acquire them. But if you're into running, you should get the Adidas RPT-02 SOL rather than the Sony WH-1000XM4, really.
Adidas RPT-02 SOL review – Also consider
If you're looking for a smaller yet equally as robust pair of buds for exercise, look no further than the Jaybird Vista 2. These true wireless headphones are some of the toughest buds I've seen in a while, thanks to their IP68 rating, which makes them extremely durable and long-lasting. Battery life is on par with other premium workout buds. They also have ANC and SurroundSound!
If you're an Apple phone user, you should try the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They are an excellent pair of running headphones which also happen to provide a musical true wireless buds expereince.
Finally, for those who need to know what's going on around them, the Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones are probably a better option than the RPT-02 SOL. This flexible, durable and comfortable open-ear headset has an eight-hour battery, a quick-charge option and excellent sound quality ideal for running, the gym and even the office.