Skip to main content

This may be the perfect wireless headphone design (for now)

This may be the perfect wireless headphone design (for now)

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Sol Republic claims that its new Relays Sports Wireless headphones have fixed Bluetooth earbuds, and I think it might be right.

there are three approaches to wireless headphones and they all have problems

The way I see it, there are three different approaches to wireless headphones right now, and they all have problems with our current level of technology:

  • The connected earbud approach, as seen in things like the Jaybirds X2, where two oversized earbuds contain all the hardware and battery components
  • Truly wireless headphones, like Bragi Dash or Apple AirPods, which are even more affected by weight and battery life issues from cramming all the hardware into the individual buds
  • The neckbud approach, which offsets the tech to the band but look ridiculous

The Relays Sports Wireless take a slightly different approach somewhere in between all these by placing the battery and electronics in two pods on the connecting wire where your neck can support them, instead of on a bulky neckband or inside oversized earbuds. And sure, if one day we have truly wireless earbuds with a great form factor, good battery life, and no connectivity issues, obviously that would be ideal, but the technology just isn't there yet.

truly wireless earbuds obviously would be ideal, but the technology just isn't there yet

Sol Republic’s approach leaves you with a pair of normal-sized earbuds that look like a regular pair of headphones, without the concerns of the limited battery life or weight as limited by trying to squeeze everything in the buds themselves. Also, there's the added security for people like me who lose things without some form of tether for when they inevitably drop them.

Spec-wise, Sol Republic claims up to eight hours of playback; water and sweat resistance; and quick charging for an hour of music off of 10 minutes of charging. The Relays Sports Wireless are available now for $79.99 and come in your choice of light blue, green, or black.