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Sol Republic Relays in-ear headphones review

Announced during CES earlier this month, the Sol Republic Relays are the company’s first entry into the market for headphones geared towards active people. The manufacturer boasts that the headset is the first of its kind to handle casual and sports duties with equal aplomb.

Sol Republic’s claim to have created an ultra-compact, water resistant, and perfectly fitting headset in the Relays sounds almost too good to be true. After all, it is no secret that headphones designed with sports in mind often look downright ungainly. Read on to find out if the company delivers on its promises.

Retail Package

The Sol Republic Relays come in an attractive-looking, well-appointed retail package. Inside the box, you will find a soft carrying case and replacement ear tips in various sizes. Typically for a Sol Republic product, a couple of stickers with the company’s logo are also present.


The retail package has you covered

An optional clip comes installed on the headset, thus covering all the bases as far as additional accessories go. There is nothing missing out of the box.

Design and build quality

Considering the tiny footprint of the Sol Republic Relays, there isn’t much room for design elements. Save for the Sol Republic logo and the FreeFlex ring around the earbuds no other details stand out.


Sol Republic Relays live photos

To make the Relays stand out, Sol Republic offers them in a variety of colors. They vary from a massively understated black (like the unit I tested), through light blue, all the way to high-contrast color combos like black/white and lemon/lime. All black aside, every color scheme adds its own dash of visual character to the small headset.

The four color schemes are available only for the three-button, iOS friendly version of the headset. The one-button version of the Relays for Android and Windows Phone devices is available only in black for the time being.

Build quality is good. The earbuds, the L-shaped 3.5mm plug, and the remote control of the Sol Republic Relays are made of high-quality plastic, while their cable, despite being thin, features a solid-feeling coating.

In addition to the sturdy materials used in their making, the Sol Republic Relays are water and sweat resistant. Overall, the headphones are well prepared to handle the rigors of even the busiest lifestyle. In case any mishaps do happen, Sol Republic backs its creation with a year-long warranty and lifetime replacement for its ear tips.

Ergonomics

The Sol Republic Relays rank easily among the most comfortable in-ear headphones I have tested out. The headset is very light thanks to its all-plastic build, so prolonged use is not going to be an issue. Its cable is tangle-free, despite its slim nature.

The patent-pending FreeFlex ring around earbuds is the main reason behind their comfort and ability to not fall out. True to its name, the ring snuggly adjusts itself according to the user’s ear for seamless, secure fit.

The single-button remote control on the model I tested out is easy to work with.

Sound

As always, Sol Republic is coy about the exact technical specs of the Relays. All we know is that the headphones feature the I5 sound engine. The latter sits only below the I6 unit of the Sol Republic Amps HD – the company’s flagship in-ear model.

The sound experience which the Relays offer is good considering their price range and dual nature. In line with the rest of the Sol Republic range, the Relays are tuned with lows and highs in mind. In short, the headphones will do a stellar job in playing today’s chart-topping music.

When listening to tracks focused on vocals and instrumentals, the headset had a difficult time in bringing all the mid-range tones to life. This should not surprise anyone however, as the Sol Republic headset is priced well below $100. It performs in line with similarly priced headphones – a good thing considering its multi-talented nature.

The sound quality of the phone calls is good. I found nothing to frown at on this instance.

Final word

The Sol Republic Relays impress with versatility and ergonomics in a compact, solid-feeling package. The headphones handle active and casual wear equally well, thus saving users the trouble of picking up a dedicated headset for use in the gym.

Sound quality like I mentioned above, is in line with similarly priced offerings. The sonic experience is pleasant, though not overwhelmingly rich in detail. Still, the Relays will easily outdo the bundled headphones on just about every smartphone available at the moment.

The Sol Republic Relays are priced at $79.99 in the company’s own online store. You can check them out over here.

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