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The around the neck design, nearly perfected by LG has become a popular Bluetooth choice. However, despite LG’s Tone Bluetooth headphone design popularity, Sol Republic believes they have an improved design and better quality headphone in their new Bluetooth set, Shadow. So, do they?
The Shadow wireless is marketed as a water resistant headphone. It is important to note the difference between water resistant and water proof (the distinction could save you headphones). Here, the water resistant works well, blocking out sweat and drops of rain. This is the most durability these headphones should really ever see and as so, hold up. Perhaps the biggest selling point to the Shadow; its overall build and design.
The Shadow feels like a licorice in hand, limp and bendable. Conceptually speaking, the Shadow is two parts, the headphones you place in your ear and the actual device that wraps around your neck. In previous design entries, this wrap would be stiff, allowing little to no bend and be easily breakable. Not here, not with the design Sol Republic has instilled. The wrap is malleable, almost to a fault but it is hard to imagine someone breaking this.
Sol Republic advertises a respectable, market average 8 hours of battery life. Here, this feels about right, if not a bit conservative. Charge times are pretty quick but with bluetooth, it will burn your phone battery quickly. That being said, Shadow will appear on your phone screen with a battery indicator, much like your own phone device. This feature is handy if you are in a position of charge or not. Also, the wireless range of 30 feet, surprisingly, is quite on point. Quality does not differ at all in that 30 foot range.
As for the most important part of the headphones: the sound. When you start getting into the $100 dollar range in headphones, the market gets filled with premium headphones, some that dominate in quality(Sennheiser/Audio Technica) and some that dominate in name alone (Beats/Bose). Regardless, Sol Republic enters the market with their own strut, a balance between both worlds that works best for the user. These are not only attractive headphones but quality sounding ones as well.
Song test – Hello by Adele:
Perhaps the ultimate test of any headphone, how well can Adele sound? One of the more surprising things in regards to Adele, especially in this song, is that there is quite a bit going on beyond her vocals. When the chorus kicks up, something really special happens here. Not only is the beat quality here but her voice shines, brightly, as it should. Adele’s voice is ridiculously buttery and even after several plays, this song still warrants significant attention, even beyond her fantastic voice. This song alone warrants a purchase of these headphones.
Second song test – Strange Clouds by BoB/Lil Wayne
Admittedly, comparing Adele and BoB together is a bit unfair. Not only are the genres completely different but the talent as well. Regardless, the transition in music works well with testing the Shadow headphones as the spectrum is polar opposites. Strange Clouds is ridiculously upbeat, with bass firing off on all cylinders and the Shadow handles it effortlessly. However, at times, BoB’s vocals get drowned out by the beat but this might have more to do with sound mixing, than the actual headphones. Regardless, in terms of a pre-workout pump up song, you cannot go wrong with this song.
Finally, the other note worthy feature of the Shadow, is the excellent call quality. Conversations hold their native quality similar to the handset, with little tin sounding and feel smooth. While the feature isn’t something regularly used by audiophiles, it is something that requires significant note.
As a journeyman of headphones, these Sol Republic Shadow wireless headphones are quite fantastic. While not marketed as sports headphones, they can be used as such but lack buds that secure a strong fit. Regardless, the sound quality is pretty remarkable, a true sign that Bluetooth quality has almost reached a direct connection quality (but not quite yet). Those looking for a Bluetooth headphone upgrade, don’t look much farther than these.