As I’m sure most of you were too, I was so excited for Rio 2016. But I was even more excited when Panasonic, the official partner to the British Olympic Association, very generously sent me a pair of their latest headphones; WINGS RP-BTS50 (along with a gorgeous rose-gold iPod Nano!) to review. I’m already a fan of their products (all of my Instagram photos and videos are shot using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-3X7) and so I couldn’t wait to give these a go.
First things first, let me tell you a bit about what makes these headphones so great. The WINGS work using Bluetooth, which means they’re wireless, so no dangling, tangled wires will get in the way of your workout. I wore leggings with a little zip pocket that I could fit the slim and light Nano into, and it was very straightforward to connect this to the headphones via Bluetooth. Alternatively if you’re working out in the gym or in a fixed spot you could leave the iPod nearby or on the side as the range seems to be quite good. The WINGS also come in a neat compact carrying case, which is big enough to fit everything (the headphones, the charger lead and the iPod Nano) into, but small enough to be extremely light and convenient.
The headphones have flashing blue edge-lit LEDs and a volume control bar which work well but, although I didn’t really need to, it can be hard to change the volume while running as the button is located behind your neck. In terms of battery life, I can give top marks. The headphones come with a USB cord which you can plug into a laptop to charge, and the best thing is you only need to charge them for 15 minutes in order to get a 70 minute playback (6hrs for a full charge). (However I didn’t check this playback time because I felt that a 70 minute run or workout would most likely destroy me).
Although I like the design, the earbuds are relatively chunky and I struggled a bit with getting the headphones to stay in at first. However, after fiddling about with them a bit they now fit comfortably and stay in fine, so perhaps it was just a case of my ears getting used to them. The headphones also have a flexible clip which you can mould to wrap around your ear, as well as 3 sets of different-sized earpieces to choose from. I swapped the earbuds for a smaller size which helped them to sit more comfortably in my ears.
I decided to try wearing the headphones for different activities, including running on a treadmill, running on a mixture of concrete and grass and for a weightlifting and bodyweight HIIT workout. This way I was able to compare their performance for each activity and hopefully give you a more comprehensive and detailed review.
1.) Running on a treadmill:
I rarely run on the treadmill, preferring the outdoors, but I decided to give this a go. Although I’m not used to wireless headphones and I worried that the headphones would fall out of my ears, the headphones did stay in for the full time that I ran for. The sound quality was fantastic initially, but I did find that the signal would buffer very occasionally. I do think that this had something to do with the harder surface and noise of the treadmill compared with grass, as the sound quality was much better on a softer surface. The headphones are also water resistant which is a very good thing because I did find my ears getting quite sweaty (sorry about this detail!) around the earbuds.
2.) Running on a mixture of concrete and grass:
Again, the water-resistant property of this design is great because, call me weird, but I actually enjoy running in the rain. I find it really refreshing and no-one else is about (except for other a few other weirdos) and so these are perfect for running outdoors in English weather. I found that the sound quality was better on grass and even on concrete rather than on the treadmill, and there was minimum buffering during my run.
3.) Weightlighting and bodyweight workout:
The WINGS were great during a HIIT workout. I left the Nano on the side and the sound clarity was perfect; no buffering. They also stayed in during high-impact exercises such as burpees and whilst using kettlebells.
Overall I thought that the headphones were great, with the only minor issue that I experienced being the initial ear-fit. I found that they worked better on softer surfaces such as grass but also on pavement, rather than on a treadmill, and they were good during less vigorous movements too, such as weightlifting. The sound quality is brilliant provided the Bluetooth signal is also great, and the wireless design makes working out a lot easier as there’s nothing to get in the way. Click here to find out more about WINGS RP-BTS50.
I’m very grateful to Panasonic for the opportunity to review these headphones and I can’t wait to carry on using them for my training.
Photo credit (with the exception of a few) goes to my talented dad.
Note: These products were supplied to me for free but this review and my opinions are entirely honest.