SOL REPUBLIC Amps Air Review: Long Over Due, but Worth the Wait?

By - May 2017

This review is long overdue and I’ve been waiting to try these since I first heard about them back late last year. The Amps Air were released in September 2016, but Sol Republic has just been through a few changes as well, so we got a little delayed with these. But they are here now and I’ve put it through its paces! I will say I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, once Bluetooth headphones became almost a standard way people use headphones (well for the most part); I’ve been waiting for the moment when earbuds would go truly wireless. No connecting string, no neck-band, and truly wireless pieces that connected to each other and to your device. Many people will see what Apple has done and think anyone else is copying, but there have been companies working on this in parallel and now one of our favorite brands SOL REPUBLIC has theirs.

SOL REPUBLIC Amps Air
Coming in a couple of colors (Rose Gold, Deep Blue, and Rich Teal) the Amps Air from first glance is very futuristic and good-looking. The Amps Airs seem incredible small, and rightfully so I would recommend keeping track of them if you don’t want to lose them. They also come in a carrying case that not only doubles as a charger for the earbuds, but can also be used to charge other USB devices (a nice touch SOL REPUBLIC).

Some Setup Hiccups & Comfortability Issues…

Setting them up is pretty easy for the most part. When you take them out of the case they will turn on and connect to each other first and then be ready to be paired to your device as you would most Bluetooth devices. With the Amps Airs you can use them both together in stereo mode or you can use one solo in Mono mode. Since this is the case, if you look in your Bluetooth settings you may see two connections Amps Air (together) and Amps Mono (solo). The Air connection works best, as I’ve had issues trying to get the Mono connection working properly to the point that I didn’t bother with it. However once you are up and running, using them has been interesting.

SOL REPUBLIC Amps Air In Ear And now here lies the problem. When you are wearing the Amps Airs, I felt very much like this is some future tech I’ve seen on Sci Fi TV shows or movies. If you are looking at me from directly in front of me, you may not even realize I have earbuds in my ears. This could lead you to believe I was maybe a little crazy, I like to think of it as if I as close to directly in my head as this time allows. Depending on the angle you notice I have something in my ears and I dig that. However when I watch those characters on the TV shows and movies have this future tech in, you rarely see them show signs of discomfort. This is however very much how I feel when using the Amps Air! I don’t know if it is the size of them or the weight that rest on my ear which causes the discomfort. This is increased even more if you have to push the button to pause/play music, activate voice assistants (requires two presses), or to answer a call. I wish the push was more of a tap like you would on a touchscreen, as having to physically push the button only future pushes the ear bud into your ear cause more discomfort.

But That Sound Though…

While this discomfort is definitely there and will limit how long you wear the Amps Air at any one time, this contrasts with the Amps Air in my opinion sound really good! Don’t get me wrong you’ll need to find just the right seal in your ears, but once you do the sound is better than I thought they would be. I’m sure if you are a complete audiophile these aren’t going to be the ear buds you go for, but I have simpler taste. I need some good (above average) sound and really good bass that makes me feel the rumble without distortion. To my surprise the Amps Air had both. Especially the bass! When I did a test with Kendrick Lamar’s DNA song, the minute the bass hit the rumble I felt in my ears was quite unexpected! I was pleasantly surprised and quite seal the fact that DNA is now one of my favorite songs on his album now.

SOL REPUBLIC Amps Air In Ear Side
The Amps Airs look good, feel not as comfortable (though as I have worn them more I’ve been able to wear them for longer periods) as hoped, but with some really decent sound coming out of the pair. But are they worth $179.99 (Best Buy pricing)? That is a very good question. With a battery time of only 3 hours, you’ll get through your workout or a commute to/from work; and with a charging case that can boost your real time before needing full charging to 45 hours….maybe. Yes maybe. I do like the Amps Air, and I’ve been waiting for a device like this for a while. But I think if the price point was maybe $129 or $149 it be a better sale. So while it pains me to say so, I would say hold off on these unless they go on sale or someone gets them for you as a gift.

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Jason Anderson is the Publisher & Editor At Large of G Style Magazine. A known gadget head and lover of all things digital. Some of his favorite movies include Hackers, The Net, The Matrix (1, 2, & 3), and Transformers.....see a trend here lol.