Intuitive sports earbuds with long battery life

Adidas recently launched its line of sports wireless headphones here with the over-ear RPT-01 and the in-ear FWD-01.

We tested the FWD-01 to see if it is the perfect pair of sports headphones for workouts.

Available in a black and dark grey colour scheme, the FWD-01 earbuds have a unique design with a knitted tangle-free cord, which looks like a shoelace, connecting the earbuds - a tribute to Adidas' roots in running shoes.

Each earbud looks like a pentagon-shaped pebble with a rough texture and the Adidas logo. They look bulky when worn - not exactly a fashion statement.

Conveniently, the earbuds can be magnetically attached for users to wear the headphones like a necklace. Doing so also automatically pauses music playback.

Each earbud comes with a silicone ear-tip and ear-wing to ensure it fits snugly in the ear. Four pairs of differently sized ear-tips and ear-wings are provided, but only the largest size fits my ears.

Near the right earbud is a three-button inline remote for music playback and volume control, while an action button is sited near the left earbud. By default, pressing this button activates the connected smartphone's voice assistant.

To turn on the FWD-01, press the middle button of the inline remote for two seconds. Hold it for four seconds to start the pairing process. Pressing the upper button increases the volume, while pressing the lower button decreases it.

I find these physical buttons much more intuitive to use during workouts compared with the touch controls of some headphones.

I recommend downloading the Adidas Headphones app to get more out of the FWD-01. This app allows users to change preset equaliser settings, such as Rock or Hip-hop, to customised ones so they can be tweaked further.

You can also customise the action button - for instance, you can set it to activate your favourite Spotify playlist by double-pressing.

Music quality is decent for a pair of sports-centric headphones. In the FWD-01's default Adidas equaliser setting, the audio output is balanced. The vocals are defined and the bass is not too overbearing. The highs are distinct and sharp.

  • FOR

    • Knitted tangle-free cord

    • USB-C charging

    • Long battery life

    • Intuitive physical buttons

  • AGAINST

    • Bulky

    • Low water-resistance rating

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $249

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.0

    WEIGHT: 25g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3.5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5

    OVERALL: 3.5/5

Changing to the Rock equaliser setting and playing songs by Hong Kong rock band Beyond, the vocals sounded muffled, with the bass lacking oomph but the electric guitar highs sounding sharper. For most music, I think the default setting is probably the best.

With these headphones, you will be able to hear ambient noise while jogging, but this enables you to stay aware of your surroundings and keeps you safe.

The downside is that the FWD-01's water-resistance rating is only IPX4. In other words, the earbuds are only sweat-resistant, so do not wear them in the shower.

However, I like that they support USB-C charging, instead of needing a proprietary charging cable.

The FWD-01's very long battery life rating of 16 hours of playback on a full charge was also proven to be accurate in my testing.

This article contains affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2020, with the headline 'Intuitive sports earbuds with long battery life'. Subscribe