Sol Republic Jax in-ear headphones review: They look cheap but sound good

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.2
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Sound quality: 7.0
  • Value: 8.0
Reviewed:
Updated:

The Good The Sol Republic Jax in-ear headphones deliver good sound for a relatively modest price. They also fit comfortably and have a tangle-resistant flat cord, and there's an Apple-friendly inline remote with microphone for making cell phone calls.

The Bad The Jax's simple, plastic design looks cheap.

The Bottom Line The $40 Sol Republic Jax in-ear headphones have the look of a bargain pair but sound as good as some headphones that cost twice as much.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

It used to be that to get a really decent-sounding set of earphones, you had to spend $75 or more. But these days, more and more in-ear headphones in the $20-to-$40 range -- and sometimes even lower -- sound surprisingly good.

Sol Republic's $39.99 Jax in-ear headphones fall into this category, offering strong bass along with good clarity in a lightweight pair of earphones that are comfortable to wear and come equipped with an inline remote and microphone.

The only downside to the Jax earphones is that they look -- and feel -- like they should cost $20. Not that they're unattractive, but the very simple plastic design has got a bit of a Fisher-Price kid's toy vibe to it.

Design and features
So there's no getting around it: these earphones look cheap. The tangle-resistant flat cord is good but the driver's housing comes across as very plasticky. Also, the build quality of the inline remote doesn't inspire a tremendous amount of confidence.

The driver housing has a simple, plastic design. Sarah Tew/CNET

The upside is that both the housing and remote are very lightweight, and I found the earphones comfortable to wear. They come with four different-size pairs of silicone eartips and the second-to-largest size -- the default -- offered a tight seal, which is essential to maximizing bass response.

The Jax headphones are Apple-certified, so the inline remote features won't fully work with many other smartphones, but the microphone should. It's worth mentioning that the remote/microphone combo is a little lower on the cord -- and thus, farther away from your mouth -- than usual. I didn't think those few inches made a meaningful difference, but some people may feel it's a little low. Of course, a lot of people end up raising the microphone closer to their mouth regardless of where the microphone is placed.

The flat cord is tangle-resistant. Sarah Tew/CNET

Aside from the inline remote/microphone, you don't get anything else in the way of extras. The earphones do not include a carrying case, and the cord terminates in a straight plug.

Performance
Sol Republic says that the Jax earphones have the i2 Sound Engine, whatever that is, and that it delivers "deep bass and high clarity."

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

Sol Republic Jax (White/Black)

Part Number: 1111-31 Released: Mar 20, 2013
Low Price: $33.12 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Mar 20, 2013
  • Color black
    white
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features answer/end/play/pause/next track button
    flat cable
    i2 Sound Engine
  • Type headset
  • Headphones Form Factor in-ear
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm 4-pole