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First Look: Panasonic Wings

I’m not a fan of earbud headphones; they always fall out and ones I’ve used in the past delivered tinny sound that was more likely to be heard by the person next to me. They also become a tangled mess in my pocket. That’s why wireless sports headphones are a godsend and Panasonic’s new Wings are this type of beast.

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Each earpiece is 3cm long with a flexible arm that curls back up over your ear. They were surprisingly comfortable and very stable. The Wings stayed in place as I ran, walked and even when I shook my head to try and dislodge them. This is because the arms, or “clips”, are completely adjustable. So adjustable, in fact, you can twist them all the way around.

What makes me wary is that the cable joining the two earpieces runs through these clips. In general, the more things move, the more likely they are to break. So the more often you bend the clips, the more stress you’ll put on the cable, which could cause breakages.

The sound isn’t great, especially for music that needs plenty of bass. Its lack of bass made music sound tinny. I found rock music sounded better than hip hop, funk or pop music.

The Bluetooth worked well and was intuitive to set up. The Wings integrated with my smartphone’s functions with no problems. The controls, which are built into the cable, were difficult to use due to the short length of cable between the controls and the earpiece, and differentiating between buttons using touch only was hard.

When you factor in that the Wings are waterproof (IPX5, which means they can be washed under a tap or shower, but don’t swim with them), you should consider them if you do lots of exercise — but don’t expect amazing sound.

Essential specs

Panasonic Wings Bluetooth Sport Headphones RP-BTS50E

  • $250
  • 12mm driver
  • Waterproof (IPX5)
  • Battery life: approx. 6 hours
  • Integrated microphone