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July 16, 2018

Relay is an LTE walkie-talkie for kids (and for MrMobile)

by John_A

In a world of smartphones that do everything, it’s refreshing to try a gadget that does … one thing. Relay is an LTE walkie-talkie from Republic Wireless designed to keep your kids in contact with you (and each other) without forcing them into the same crippling smartphone addiction that’s slowly sucking the life from all of us grown-ups. You may remember it from the excellent hands-on piece that Russell Holly published not too long ago, wherein he proclaimed it “a fantastic take on a kid-friendly ‘phone’.”

Given Russell’s status as an actual father, you might expect his word to be the final one on the matter. But that would require you to forget about my unhealthy obsession with walkie-talkies in all their forms. Step aside, Russell; it’s time for pretend-dad MrMobile to take a crack at these things! Join me as I put Relay through the ins and outs of a typical week, musing on the difficulties of making push-to-talk over cellular function properly, and dropping references to 90s gems like Crimson Tide and the YakBak in the process. Click on through to MrMobile’s Relay review above, and be sure to stay tuned for Android Central’s followup coverage in the months ahead!

Note: Before my Relay review was published I received feedback from Republic about the difficulties I faced with my review devices (detailed in the video above), and I share it below so potential buyers have the full picture:

“Our latest software build is 1.2 (112) which has some improvements to the resiliency of LTE on CDMA […] We’ve had a small % of customers needing a SIM swap but it has helped almost all of them. The swap is simple [from] a customer perspective, just remove existing SIM and insert new SIM and reboot. We have some algorithms that help us evaluate coverage both based on the vector data we get from the carriers and on real customer experience (eg. if a customer in the same area has requested a swap previously). These data drive future considerations for the coverage we give customers.”

You can also track the current sentiment from Relay walkie-talkie owners in Republic’s forums here.

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