SOL Republic Jax.

Surprisingly great sound comes from the​se $39 earbuds

I tend to look at the bundling of accessories with smartphones as unnecessary up-sells — particularly earbuds. More often than not they're uncomfortable or just sound horrible, cheap throwaways, really.

With the SOL Republic Jax earbuds that are being sold alongside Motorola's new fare (that'd be the Moto X and Moto G), I was proved wrong. Motorola slipped us a pair of the $39 1-button Jax earbuds in a holiday greeting in December, and I took them along for the ride at CES last week. (Yeah, I was a little late in picking up my mail.)

I don't test earbuds for a living, but for under $50, these are a great buy.

SOL Republic Jax.SOL Republic Jax.

I usually carry two sets of earbuds with me when I travel — my trusty Bose MIE2i (around $100) for everyday use, and my Shure 425s. The latter are embarrassingly expensive (about $300) but are better for blocking noise on long flights. (And loud pressrooms.) If I didn't already have the Bose, I'd save myself $60 and go with the SOL Republic Jax.

The earbuds fit snugly in your ear canal, with the rubber tips filling the void nicely and blocking out a surprisingly decent amount of background noise. I wasn't expecting much in the way of sound quality. But there I was surprised once again. Where does all that bass come from? The highs aren't tinny! This is not what I expected $39 earbuds to sound like.

Left and right markings are found on the cable just short of the earbuds themselves (they're hard to find in the dark, though, and the wire is flat. SOL promises a tangle-free experience from the more than 4-foot cable, but I managed to muck things up a few times. Not a huge deal, though. The single-button experience is simple enough — press once to play/pause music or mute a call.

And you've got a bevy of colors to pick from. The SOL Republic Jax earbuds are available from Amazon or directly from Motorola.


Reader comments

In praise of SOL Republic's Jax earbuds


I picked up a pair when they did their 30% off sale and I agree they are a great buy.

Posted via Android Central App

Perhaps mine need to break in more. I'm not all that impressed with the sound quality, as the mids are too heavy and the highs do sound tinny to me. Trying to like them as much as you do, Phil.

I've moved onto bluetooth headphones already. I just kept losing/breaking my headphones too often. I've had the same set of bluetooth one for a year and I haven't lost them yet or broken them. They are bigger, but nowhere as big as Beats headphones.

I came really close to picking up a set of these this weekend, as I got a $25 credit from Motorola for ordering my Moto X three days after the Chromecast promo started. The other reviews were not nearly as kind, though, and most said they felt really cheap. Any comment on the overall build quality?

".....and my Shure 425s. The latter are embarrassingly expensive (about $300)"

I don't have the Shure 425s, but I too have a pair that is embarrassingly expensive.

I agree with you, Phil. I like these SOL earbuds very much. Coupled with the Moto X, they sound really good.

Great sound and fit, but I expected better mic (complains whenever I'm in the truck). The other downside is lack of volume and track control. I'm saying this because of the original price- $40 + ship and tax, for which you can get anything from Scosche to Apple covering all of the above. Looks and feels cheap too. Just bc of the sound barely 7 out of 10.

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You can skip tracks by double pressing the middle button. Triple pressing should go backwards, but doesn't work for me. Also, holding the button activates touchless controls or the voice command window.

The right angled jack seems like bad design. If I have the device in my pocket the cable will get all bend and in some cases that degrades the cable over time.

I thought the same but once I started using them I loved it. It depends how you use them. When the phone is in the pocket I keep it upside down so when I pull it out I don't have to flip it in hand. That way this design works better because it bends around the phone. It's even better when I lay it flat in the car or truck.

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I'm not really a fan of earbuds due to the way they fit in my ear (i.e., not at all), but I wouldn't mind giving these a try.

Picked these (3 button) up from BB several month's ago. Great sound and fit comfortably. Sadly, I took them out of my ears over the weekend after listening to music and one of the drivers came right out of the housing. Last pair of SOL's I buy.

Posted on LG G2 via Android Central App

Everyone click on the link to Amazon so you can buy these substandard headphones, and AC can get their sales commission.

I'll never understand how people can wear this type of earphone that requires jamming foreign objects into one's ear canals.

Does anybody want to compare them to the Sennheiser CX 300-II, which were the standard for sub $40 ear buds for a while? Better/worse?

Worth the money compared to the free earbuds that came with my HTC One? I've been very pleased with them, but looking for a little but if an upgrade.

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you must have gotten a bad pair with your One. My Beats sound great! I have Motorola and LG blue tooth head phone/ear buds respectively, and jbud 2, and jbud 4 wired ear buds and my beats are far better than any of them.

The Amazon reviews are not nearly as kind as Phil. Lots of people complaining that they break within the first month. I have a $10 pair of Phillips that have been around a year, so that's unacceptable.

The buyers reviews I have read online have been quite mixed. I love my Klipsch S4's but I am looking for another set.

Posted via Android Central App using this sexy LG G2

I was tempted to buy these when I got my moto x but instead I bought klipsch s4ii, which sound good.

I was happy with mine until they broke in the first month. To Motorola's credit, they took them back and gave me a refund. I got a pair of the Klipsch mentioned here, love them!

Love it. I have some Sol Republic Tracks (M4DE version with the Motoroal band). They're great too.

Picked these up with a Moto X and not impressed with the sound quality. On the bright side they have a mic so they'll get some use.

Posted via Android Central App

Yep, that's my assessment, too. Moto sent me mine for free, so I can't complain about the cost.

I have Sol republic headphones (on ear), Tracks HD and they are great.
So much better then beats.

Edit: I Posted as a separate comment. Sorry.

Posted from my Nexus 7(2013).

Since I use headphones on the gym, wired headphones became an annoyance. I searched for some quality wireless bluetooth headphones and came across Jay Bird and have never looked back. The sound is excrement but the freedom of movement is the real bonus. They also use waterproofing tech which also helps in the sweat department. Hard to go back to wired headphones.

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i think that's exactly what that person meant - they sound like crap, but freedom of movement is great.

Why do android phones have such limited volume levels? Since my first Mitorola Droid - to my current N4 and N7, compared to my Mini Retina and other products I have had, the volume is never quite as impressive. It's sufficient, but sometimes you want to turn it up just a bit. Picking up the Moto X in a Patriots theme, with blue SÖL earbuds for the gym.

I highly recommend jbuds (from jlabaudio) for budget ear buds. I have the jbud 2 and jbud 4 and the both sound good (4 better than 2). I paid $19 for the 2's and $40 for the 4's.

Damn you Phil... I was perfectly happy with my headphones I got a week ago for 13 bucks from a wirecutter article about the best under 50 bucks. Then I read about these gems and that they have a "no tangle" cord. Went and picked them up in Black from the Verizon store, paid 29 with my corporate discount.

But really, thanks for the great information Phil!