The Adidas RPD-01 offer great fit and tick all the right boxes expected of an affordable set of wireless gym earbuds, but they offer distinctly average audio quality.
- Gym ready fit
- Robust build quality
- Decent battery life
- Band design is problematic for some exercises
- Middling sound quality
- Review Price: £84.99
- Sweat and water resistant (IPX4)
- 4 x wingtip earbuds
- Customisable action button
- 12h playtime
- USB-C and Bluetooth 5.0 compatible
The Adidas RPD-01 are the in-ear version of the RPT-01 over-ear sports headphones.
They’re an affordable pair of wireless earbuds targeted at avid runners and gym goers, and though I still think neckband headphones are a little retro in today’s world; from a fit and design perspective they tick the right boxes expected of a gym set.
The only downside is that, like their over ear siblings, sound quality is distinctly average, even compared to competing sets at this price.
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Adidas RPD-01 — A gym-ready fit
The RPD-01 has the same neckband design as the more expensive Adidas FWD-01 I reviewed last year. But this is where the similarities end.
They don’t have the sweat resistant cloth finish of the FWD-01 and have significantly smaller ear casings. This is because the USB-C charge port is housed in the RPD-01’s right-hand three button remote, rather than the bud. The left second battery pack houses the earbud’s mic and a fourth programmable control button.
Though the basic rubber finish isn’t as characterful, the RPD-01 otherwise ticks all the right boxes when it comes to fit and build quality expected from a set of sports headphones. They feature an IPX4 water and sweat resistance rating, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and come with a decent enough selection of wing-tip options to get a solid, gym-ready seal.
The neckband design also ensures they won’t go flying into the distance if one of the buds does dislodge mid workout. The only downside is that, like the RPD-01’s design, it does feel a little distracting to begin with if you’re coming from a pair of true-wireless, like the stellar Jaybird Vista, which remain my personal sports buds form factor of choice.
The rear cable is also on occasion troublesome, especially, when doing animated workouts like working a bag as, unlike the Jaybird Tarah there isn’t a way to tighten the fit. This means the cable can uncomfortably rub your neck and jump around mid-workout breaking your concentration and flow.
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They make up for this by offering stellar battery life and build quality, however. During testing they easily survived an accidental London downpour mid-run and an unexpected encounter with a freeweight damage free.
The quoted 12-hour battery life also rang true with the RPD-01 offering around a week-and-a-half’s worth of workouts before a top up.
I’m also a big fan of the programmable action key, which can be set to launch your digital assistant of choice or do nifty things like start playing a specific Spotify playlists. The only issue with the latter is that the mic is prone to picking up background noise, which is an issue when using it in a noisy gym, or city running.
Adidas RPD-01 performance — Fine for casual, non-discerning listeners
The RPD-01 offers similar sound quality to their over-ear sibling, the RPT-01. The audio will be fine for casual, non-discerning listeners and they are solid performers considering their price. I’d put them on a par, if not above the Jaybird Tarah when it comes to audio quality. But music fans will be better off investing in a set, like the Jaybird Vista or Jabra Elite 75T, though the latter are significantly more expensive.
Tonal balance is good enough for the money with no one part of the sound completely overshadowing the other. Unlike many competing sets this price they also don’t fall into the trap of overpushing the low end. Unlike many early Beats set basslines are suitably controlled and taught to ensure they never completely over shadow more subtle parts, even complex layered classical arrangements. Highs are also reasonably controlled with sibilance never rearing its ugly head until I turned them up to uncomfortable volumes.
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But dynamism is distinctly lacking and they can lack the oomph you want mid-work out even when listening to attacking rock music or intense post-rock crescendo arrangements. Jazz piano doesn’t sparkle quite the way it does on more expensive sets either. Though, being fair, again you won’t do better without spending more and I personally would take Adidas’ controlled approach over most affordable sets’ flabby low end any day.
The Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity means connection stability is solid, and I never noticed any dropouts running around London. Though due to the current climate I didn’t get a chance to test them in any truly busy signal areas, like Waterloo station, where I usually put wireless sets through their paces.
The only other obvious omission is ANC (active noise cancellation). Though on a set this price that’s to be expected and I’d be more surprised if the RPD-01 had the tech.
Should you buy the Adidas RPD-01?
If you’re on a strict budget and want a reliable set of running headphones, you could do a lot worse than the Adidas RPD-01. They offer a rock solid fit, decent battery life and come with a wallet friendly £80 price tag. Though, like a number of true wireless and in-ears at this price, audio quality isn’t stellar but good enough for casual listeners.
More serious music fans, or people looking for a completely cable free true wireless gym set will be better paying a little more for a more accomplished set, like the Jaybird Vista.
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