Monday, November 10, 2014

Sol Republic RELAYS Product Review

Sol Republic RELAYS

For the record, I take my headphones very seriously. I've tried them all (Bose, Sennheiser, Sony, V-MODA and dozens more.) Before I put on a pair of Sol Republic RELAYS, I was married to JVC's HA-EBR80s, a reliable, straightforward option that costs less than 15 bucks on Amazon. So much so, I bought five extra pairs (just in case.) Well, Christmas is coming; and odds are, those extra headphones are headed for five different stockings. Why the change of heart? RELAYS, RELAYS, RELAYS.

RELAYS are the first headphones that stay put inside my ears without an awkward (and unsightly) hook. I've worn them on Amtrak, Metro, and even at work (shhh, don't tell) and they've only popped out twice in almost two weeks. I wore them running, and was surprised to find they stayed in... at least at a slower pace, which I seem to run at a lot more nowadays. Truth is, I love 'em. They fit perfectly in the lower part of my ear, just small enough to not slip around when I move my head. When I first saw them, I was worried they might be too small; but as it turns out, that's exactly what I needed.

The cord is long enough to reach comfortably into my front jean pocket, where I usually keep my iPhone; and so far, doesn't seem to tangle. As for sound, you can count on loads of bass with zero distortion (even at its highest volume, which is plenty loud.) My usual standbys (Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon and U2's Achtung Baby) passed with flying colors, as did Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail (see, I'm not that old.) It's also Apple-friendly, which means you can answer phone calls, play/pause, control volume and skip tracks (something my JVCs couldn't do.) Phone calls were crystal clear, and I had no complaints (yes, I asked) when it came to understanding me. Speaking of, the mic's on the right side, and rests right around your jawline. I still hold the mic close to my mouth (out of habit) but it works fine without doing so. Old habits die hard.

Aesthetically, you can't ask for more: The Sol Republic logo screams cool, and there's no confusing them with standard issue Apple EarPods. Perhaps the only problem is that they're so light, I may forget I'm wearing them. Once again, it requires some getting used to. They come with a slim carrying pouch, and sport a handy clip that attaches easily to a shirt pocket. One size doesn't fit all; but there are four different ear-tips to help you find your perfect fit. They're also advertised as sweat and water resistant; but so far, I haven't had a chance to test it (told you I run slow.)

At $79.99 a pair, I don't think I can afford to keep five extras; but I already placed an order for a back-up (in Fluoro Red.) Sometimes you have to go bold, right? Let's see how long I can resist opening them.

Bottom line: So far, so great. If they continue to stay nestled in my ears, and don't cut out on one side in a few months, this love affair may last forever. I'm not too picky when it comes to sound; but I'm truly impressed with the bass/overall sound. Even Howard Stern sounds a little crisper now. You won't find a better pair of headphones under $100; and I had a pretty girl tell me they looked "cool" the other day. Enough said.

Grade: A-