CNET First Look
Sol Republic Shadow Wireless: New neckband-style Bluetooth headphone sounds better than the competitionThis $99 wireless in-ear headphone conforms to your neck with a bendable collar and offers strong sound for the price.
Hi I'm David Carnoy and this is Sol Republic Shadow Wireless, a Bluetooth headphone that costs $100 and comes in two colors at launch, the black you see here and rich grey. LG made this around the neck design popular with its line of tone headphones and now Sol Republic has improved on that design with what it calls the first in ear wireless headphone. To feature a NASA inspired biomorphic design. It's water resistant and you can use it at the gym, but it's not being marketed as a sports headphone and I wouldn't try to run with it because the ear pieces will probably slip out. This headphone does seem sturdier than LG's Tone headphones and I found it more comfortable to wear. The earpieces fit well and the bendable nature of the collar conforms nicely to the contour of your neck which is I guess what Solar Public means by biomorphic design. Battery life is rated at a decent eight hours and the headphone's equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and app x support. AptX is supposed to make bluetooth streaming sound better with devices that support it, but it's questionable how much of a difference it really makes. The headphones can connect to two devices at once so you can switch back and forth between them, and there's a three button remote and microphone integrated into the collar on the right side. Wireless range is 30 feet, or around ten meters. I thought the sound quality was quite good for Bluetooth headphones. I put it up against LG's Tone HBS800, which lists for $100, but costs around $65 online. The Shadow Wireless offered fuller, more detailed sound with deeper, better defined bass. It clearly sounded better. This year other manufacturers such as JBL are said to ship products similar in style to this headphone, so I expect it will have plenty of competition going forward. That said, the Shadow Wireless is one of the better products Soul Republic has put out for the money, and it's a good value at $100. Look for it to arrive in stores late this Spring and be available in other colors later this year. I'm David Carnoy. That's the Sol Republic Shadow Wireless. Thanks for watching.