Sol Republic has made a name in not only function but implementing excellent design choices in their product. The previously reviewed Shadow wireless headphones, were the epitome of this, with a polarizing design and spectacular audio quality. Sol Republic would continue their dynamic craftsmanship with the Relay headphones, their latest ‘crossover’ headphones.
The Relay utilizes Sol Republic’s latest Free Flex technology. Free Flex promise freedom, reliability and durability in day to day work as well as intense, grueling workouts. For $80 dollars the Relay plays the market on the lower end, giving quality sports headphones for its lower end pricing, even with the advanced tech built in.
The Relay, at its price point is enticing. This is something the market lacks, an affordable but high quality headphone. The Shadow, while about $20 dollars more expensive ($99 MSRP) had quality you would expect from headphones twice as much and a build with superior durability. The same can be said for the Relay, while designed more eccentric, was as durable as you could come to expect from Sol Republic.
Usually, wireless headphones that utilize the behind the back wrap suffer from inconsistent ear seals and constant pull outs. Thankfully, the Relay does not suffer from this, as the multiple options of ear buds allow for a tight seal that keeps outside noise at bay. More importantly, during strenuous activities, workouts that require rapid movement didn’t eject the ear buds, allowing for stress-free workouts.
Sol Republic wires their headphones with impressive technology. Not only is a quick charging design in place here, you also have crisp, handset quality phone voice communication. Just as well, the headphones have two different modes, one for inside and one for outside. The outdoor mode allows for a bass boost to compensate for outside noises and low range that might be lost in outside noise.
As sports headphones, the Relay plays the part well. They are extremely durable, great to look at, light and quick to charge (a 10 minute charge will get you over an hour of listening time). All these are great but honestly, everything comes down to the sound. Realistically speaking, you will find better balanced headphones on the market but that doesn’t stop these from sounding pretty darn good.
Bass is quite rich here, with booming electronic beats in the latest rap albums and strong vocal articulation. One of the best test songs to listen to is Kanye West’s ‘Stronger‘. The beats boom with ferocity but never overwhelm the eardrums or harsh out the vocals. No, Kanye West is not Adele but his voice is crisp and incredibly clear.
As for Adele, the latest test (more relevant, I should say) comes with Adele’s ‘Hello‘. The key with this song is a tonal balance, to let Adele’s voice shine above the beat but also be marinated in it. Unlike some headphones (the first iteration of Beats Studio) the components don’t fight for standing but rather work in harmony, delivering clear, buttery vocals that we come to expect. This song performed admirably in the Shadow wireless headphones, here as well. The Shadow are a bit better here, with more punch to the beat but quality wise, the Relay is nearly matching.
Overall, Sol Republic brings more of the same and that is far from a bad thing. The tech is here with fast charging, quality voice call, outdoor/indoor modes and a lasting battery life. Not only that but the build is reliable, with ear buds that produce clear, precise sound. If you’re shopping for holiday headphones, you can’t go wrong with the Relays.