Sol Republic has declared that these in-ear phones will fit securely and withstand the rigors of the gym and jogging
So, will these brightly styled earphones be able to keep up and, will you actually want to listen to what is coming out of them?
Read on to find out
Sol Republic Relays TL:DR Review
- Clear sound quality with strong bass
- Sweat and water resistant
- Good fit
- Inconsistency in treble and midrange
- No option to skip tracks or change volume on the single-button remote
- Design & Build - 7/107/10
- Comfort - 7/107/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
Sweatproof with a lively sound tuned to pumping gym music, these are great for the gym and cheap enough that you won’t worry about chucking them in your gym bag
Design & Build
These Sols come in really nice packaging belighing their relatively modest price. The earphones are stored to the side and slide out nicely, so for first impressions, these Sol’s score very well.
Sol have been advertizing them in a vivid lime green color. If you order them in this color they definitely stand out from the crowd, but that’s not to everybody’s taste. Luckily these Sol buds do also come in a more traditional black and blue too.
Sol Republic’s focus on the exercising crowd comes to the fore with the sweat resistance built into the earbuds – and believe me they can withstand moisture from really heavy sweating (my personal trainer is utterly evil!)
This means you don’t need to worry about them packing up on long runs or bike rides. OK, I wouldn’t run them under a shower or faucet, but it’s an impressive feature nonetheless, especially at this price.
Now onto Sol’s claim about them never falling out. The buds themselves use FreeFlex technology, which is basically a rubber wheel that latches onto your ear and offers a tighter fit than the buds alone can manage. I did find they were very stable and didn’t come out even when I was jumping around vigorously.
The buds are designed to sit flush in your ear, and I found they sat flat enough that they were easy to slip under my mountain bike helmet and John McEnroe style headband.
The L-shaped jack offers durability, and the cord has a clip so you can keep it secure when you’re on the move.
There’s also a single-button microphone and remote on the left cord, though it’s pretty simple in design. You can’t skip tracks with this basic remote, though there is a three-button version that offers more functions on the remote for just a few dollars more.
You receive no less than four earbud tips with the package, so you should not have too much trouble find one to fit your ears. I am not quite sure why Sol decided to give you an extra tip size as the FreeFlex technology is actually pretty good. I put in a few different size tips and they all stayed pretty secure, even when they didn’t fit perfectly in my ears, so good work by the boffins at Sol for that!
Other than the obvious, the water resistance provided an added comfort benefit too, as the water and sweat does not collect inside the buds as readily. You won’t find yourself pulling them out to give them a wipe down too often.
Personally, I like a longer cord as I am 6’2 and this one stretches to 1.3 meters, so I didn’t find it pulled on my phone when I had it in my pocket. Cord bunching and bouncing aren’t problems either thanks to the clip, which keeps any excess cable under control nicely.
Free flex ring is the primary component of the ear bud that can easily fit over the ears and doesn’t seem to be a burden even while performing other tasks.
With so much focus on comfort and fit, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Relays would fall down when it comes to sound quality. However, that’s not the case.
They deliver a clear and articulate sound with a wide soundstage. I tried several different tracks in different genres and found they handled it all pretty well.
They do struggle a little with mid-high frequencies, which can sound a little harsh. It’s not a huge issue, but you’ll notice some vocals can sound a little hard, especially as they trail off. The midranges also aren’t as powerful as you may like, being a little overrun by the top and bottom end at times.
The do deliver a solid low end with a strong, thumping bass, with a good degree of control. This gives bass-heavy songs have a bit of added punch, which is perfect for the typical gym playlist.
However, while the bass in more subtle pieces does not become too intrusive, it is a touch heavier than is perhaps ideal. For most people though, this will not be an issue and in the more lively numbers, they give a boost to what’s already in the song. I found them just about right for the type of tracks most people have on their gym playlist
So, the Relays are a slightly mixed bag when it comes to sound. The strong bass works well for the sort of music most people listen to while exercising, which is why it gets emphasis here. You’ll enjoy a rich soundstage when you’re just listening to music too, though there’s a touch of harshness that sensitive ears will pick up.
Sol Republic’s Relays Sport headphones have an exercise-centric design, with the sweat-resistant buds emphasizing the focus on active wear. The FreeFlex technology adds a little extra tightness to the earbuds, so you shouldn’t find the fit to be a problem. The buds also sit flush against your ears, which blocks out external noises and keeps them stable.
The sound quality emphasizes punchy, powerful bass, but that’s not to say you don’t get a good overall package. The treble and midrange aren’t amazing, but the restraint shown in the bass balances that out. You won’t end up frustrated due to the headphones pounding out basslines on tracks that feature softer instruments.
Sol Republic has succeeded in creating an entry-level set of active headphones that offer good sound quality, and the strong design needed to keep pace with heavy workouts and this is why we awarded them the best gym earphones under $30