Hands on with Relays, Sol Republic's versatile 'crossover' headphone

/ Updated: January 6, 2014 5:50 PM PST
The $79.99 Relays are only available in black at launch but will come in other colors starting in February. David Carnoy/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Sol Republic has released a new headphone at CES that's got a creative marketing twist behind it. You see, the company is billing it as a "crossover" headphone and says there's no other headphone like it.

I'm not sure that's quite true, but the concept here is that the Relays is an in-ear headphone that "takes you seamlessly through your day, whether you’re running to catch a train or training for a run." It's got the fit of a sport headphone but also a fairly minimalist, clean design, which, I guess, makes it suitable for office use as well. And other stuff.

Close up of the FlexFit stabilizer ring. It's made of firm yet soft silicone rubber. Sol Republic

Whatever. I've been using them for the last for days and they're not all that different from a lot of other in-ear headphones with winged or ringed stabilizers (Sol Republic calls its stabilizer ring the FreeFlex), but I do like them. They're lightweight, comfortable and fit very securely in your ear (they come with 4 different sized silicon ear tips), and they sound decent, featuring Sol Republic's signature meaty but not overwhelming bloated bass.

They're also sweat-resistant and the review sample I got has an integrated one-button remote with microphone for cell-phone calls (you'll soon be able to get one with a three-button remote).

The Relays will cost you $79.99, which is more expensive than the company's Jax in-ear headphones ($39.99). But I did like the fit of the Relays better (I've yet to compare them to the Jax from a sound standpoint, but my initial impression is that they aren't too far off from one another).

A black version is shipping now and in February the Relays will be available in multiple colors.

The headphones are sweat resistant and come with a nice little carrying pouch. David Carnoy/CNET

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Where to Buy See all prices

Sol Republic Relays (1- Button, Black)

Part Number: 1132-31 Released: Jan. 6, 2014
MSRP: $79.99 Low Price: $79.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jan. 6, 2014
  • Color black
  • Additional Features sweat resistant
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm 4-pole