Batteries are the curse of every device not permanently tethered to a power cord, but wireless earbuds manage to eke out a decent amount of playback time through the use of charging cases — a minor inconvenience but an acceptable compromise. The new Relods buds manage to boost their battery life even further by including a second set of easily swappable batteries in their case.
True wireless earbuds have been around since 2015, but arguably it was Apple that made the devices popular with consumers thanks to the AirPods, which came in a compact charging case that was easy to pocket while still providing a usable amount of battery life to get users through their days. There are now countless alternatives to the AirPods, including decent wireless earbuds that can be had for as cheap as $US25 (A$34), or pricier options that promise an impressive 42 hours of playtime when paired with a charging case. The Relods make an even grander claim when it comes to battery life, without looking significantly bulkier than other options already available.
The Relods appear to deliver all the premium features we’ve come to expect from a good pair of wireless earbuds today, including active noise cancellation, support for the AAC and aptX audio codecs, a pair of microphones on each bud for clear phone calls with minimal ambient sounds, Google Fast Pair, wireless charging, and IP55 water and sweat resistance. There’s no mention of what size driver the Relods are using, which seems like a questionable omission given earbuds are all about the sound.
What sets the Relods apart from all the competition is that the battery on each bud is easily removable because it’s held in place with a strong magnet. Swapping a pair of dead batteries with the freshly charged pair in the charging case is trivial, and each set promises around nine hours of use with ANC turned on, so when you add it all up, including the battery in the case, you should be able to get an impressive 60 hours of use before needing to find a power source. The trick also solves the problem that most wireless earbuds lose the ability to recharge after a few years. Instead of discarding the Relods completely when that happens, users can simply replace the batteries themselves.
It’s a clever design and an idea that almost sounds too good to be true, but there is one small catch: You can’t actually buy the Relods just yet. They’re only being made available through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign looking to raise a modest $US5,000 (A$6,806) through the platform. As a result, the cheapest way to pre-order a pair is with a ”Super Early Bird” pledge of $US59 (A$81), while the regular MSRP is expected to be closer to $US110 (A$150). Delivery is expected in February of 2022, but given even the largest companies in the world are struggling to secure chips and get product delivered, you’ll want to keep your expectations of an on-time delivery in check.