Article by Jeff Valliere
adidas FWD-01 Sport In-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones ($150)
16 hours battery life
23 grams spec. (26 grams on my scale)
$150. $49 on sale US site. and available now
Introduction, Design and Specs:
These headphones came as a bit of a surprise to me. First, I was unaware that adidas was even selling headphones, manufactured by Zound industries in Stockholm, Sweden and marketed under the adidas brand name,. The FWD-01 is a top quality wireless bluetooth headset. While not truly wireless, the FWD-01 uses a soft and pliable cord (much like a nice woven shoe lace) that connects the two earbuds. I actually prefer this to true wireless, as there is less likelihood of me losing them on the trail or in a pocket. The ear buds are slightly large, but not overly so, are not heavy and do not get in the way. The FWD-01 provides 16 hours of battery life, are extremely comfortable, are easy to dial in the fit, have fantastic, customizable sound with the controls easy to use out of the box and customizable if you prefer.
Another clever feature is that the earbuds are magnetized, so you can hang them around your neck when not in use and not worry about them sliding off.
The FWD-01 comes with four different size silicone ear tips and ear wings, so you can mix and match to perfectly fit the size of your ear. I rarely ever do this and simply adapt to however headphones arrive in the box (I guess my ear is pretty average), but experimented by going down a size and found that these headphones were even more comfortable for me and still stayed securely locked in my ear. Fit remains secure while running and even when running fast, technical downhills that require a lot of leaping and dynamic movement, I have never felt the need to hold them in, nor have had one accidentally fall out.
The control buttons are located on the connecting cord and out of the box, the right 3 buttons control power, volume, pause, skip and the left button controls voice assistant. After just a quick look at the manual, I easily memorized the function of each button. Within the app, you can also customize the operation of the buttons, but I personally have not felt the need to do this as the default settings work perfectly for me.
Battery and charging:
adidas lists 16 hours of battery life, and while difficult to actually quantify, I believe battery life to be very close to this estimate. I wear them for hours per day (running, walking, using them for phone calls, house/yard chores) and seem to go for days before I remember to recharge them. You can also see a battery percentage within the app, but I rarely remember to look there for status updates (I just never need to really given the battery life, but it is a nice feature regardless). Charging is easy, simply plug in the USB-C cable provided (though very short).
The sound quality of the FWD-01 is excellent, with a deep range of sound, full, clean rich bass and can easily be customized within the app.
Conclusions: The FWD-01 is a new favorite for me, as I appreciate the great sound, quality, ease of use, long battery life and that they are less isolating from my surroundings on the run than other wireless Bluetooth headsets that I have used. I use them daily for running, walking, phone calls, working in the yard and around the house and even for watching TV at night when the kids are in bed. I highly recommend them!
Jeff Valliere runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's.
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