Earlier this fall, I decided to spend some gift money on a pair of good in-ear headphones to use for exercise with my iPhone. I chose Sol Republic Relays in the Black/White color scheme. When you are wearing the Relays, they look very much like the Apple EarPods that come with the iPhone. But these headphones come with four different sets of Ear Tips that provide many semi-custom fit options.
Although the Apple EarPods were a significant improvement over the old iPhone headphones in terms of reliability, they have been badly received because they have unusual teardrop-shaped ear buds that don't fit everyone's ears by any stretch of the imagination.
The Sol Republic Relays, by contrast, have a low-profile design which the manufacturer calls FreeFlex Technology, consisting of a rubber ring surrounding the outside parts of each of the sound drivers.
The sound drivers allow you to mount any one of four different-sized ear tips to them for an almost-custom fit.
I use these Relays when I exercise and for all daily iPhone headphone use, other than podcasting and on-line meetings. I think their sound response is better than the Apple EarPods, and they definitely fit my ears more snugly.
The microphone / volume switch is rubberized and appears to be significantly more water/sweatproof than the EarPods. The only differences between the microphone / volume switch on the Relays and the EarPods other than the rubberization is that the microphone unit is black rather than white, and the Relays' microphone switch is located on the left headphone wire instead of the right one.
The proof of their utility and customizability is that I changed ear tips and gave made them work for Jimmy's appearance as the WXTU Weather Kid last week. Jimmy also got great use out of them, he could hear the radio show hosts well, and his voice came through loud and clear on the air.
The Sol Republic Relays debuted at $79.99, but are regularly available for around $60. They are definitely worth it if you are looking for an upgrade from your Apple EarPods that sound better all day long and work better for listening during workouts. I can't recommend them highly enough.
Although the Apple EarPods were a significant improvement over the old iPhone head phones