Ending the Smartphone Age Debate with Relay, the Smartphone Alternative

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This post is sponsored by Relay.  We received a sample of the product in order to facilitate the review.  No compensation was received.

We have been test driving the brand new smartphone alternative, Relay by Republic Wireless.  Check out our real life experience using these devices in our Relay review below.

Relay Device Red

Relay by Republic Review

The smartphone debate.

Sooner or later, most families face a similar debate: at what age do we let our kids have a cell phone?  Take that debate a step further and ask yourself at what age do you think your child is ready for a smartphone.  Of course, along with a smartphone comes all of the ramifications of letting your child use apps and social media, which no doubt opens up a whole new can of worms. With a 5 year old and a 10 year old in our home, we have certainly been asked over and over again by our oldest when she can have a phone.

The older she gets and the more activities she participates in that keep her away from home (and many times us) for hours at a time, the more often she asks when she can get a phone.

I know that a phone is inevitable and pretty much an eventuality.  That being said, we’re just not quite ready to make that leap, for a variety of reasons. And Landon isn’t anywhere NEAR being old enough for a phone, so it was time to look for an alternative.

We have been using the Relay devices (we have two) for the last couple of months and the kids LOVE then!

Here is a quick rundown of what they are and how they work:

  • Relays are powered by Republic Wireless and they work over 4G LTE and Wi-Fi
  • They have unlimited range and work everywhere a phone does
  • Using the Relay is incredibly simple – you press the button, talk, release the button
  • Your Relays can talk to each other and they can also talk to the Relay app if you download that to parents’ phones
  • Relay doubles as a GPS tracker so you can pull up your child’s location on the Relay app
  • Service is currently $6.99 per device each month

Here are the things we enjoy about Relay Devices:

  • Easy.  So easy to use.  Simple enough that the 5 year old can hold a conversation with me from camp when I’m at home.
  • Good audio quality
  • Durable and water resistant
  • Comfy to hold
  • Small enough to fit in a pocket
  • Fun!  The kids love using them to communicate with me or with each other.
  • Peace of mind – So nice to know that the kids have a way to get in touch with me if they need me or even just miss me and want to say a quick “hello!”

Lily was working on a movie project in August and she had a lot of fun being able to chat with me while on set (Bob drove her that day).  Are you following her on Instagram?  It’s run by her manager.  Oh yeah, that’s me.  LOL

Lily on Set

Landon loved being able to say hi to me during pony camp.  He would randomly pop in to ask how my day was going or to tell me how much he liked the lunch that I packed for him.  It made him feel super cool to carry a communication device, but it was rugged enough to handle Landon in the great outdoors!

Landon at Camp

What we would love to see Relay add to their service/capability in the future:

  • Voicemail/Voice Messaging – Relay works just like a 2-way radio.  Communication is instant and not stored.  If you try to talk to someone on your Relay channel and they are not currently on the channel, you have to try again later.  It would be awesome if you could leave a voice memo of some sort for the person you were trying to reach.
  • Expanded Cell Coverage – We live in the Philadelphia suburbs in a spot known for spotty cell phone coverage.  Our house seemed to be the only location that we were unable to get consistent cellular connectivity on the Relays.  The nice thing is that Relays can also connect to Wi-Fi.  So when the Relays are at home, they tend to run off the Wi-Fi.  When the kids take them out, the Relays switch to cellular and they are good to go.
  • More precise GPS locations – 90% of the time the GPS tracker on the Relay is spot on with the current locations.  A few times the GPS seemed to be just slightly off and showed a location that is actually a few streets away from current location.  Not a big deal if I truly know where my kiddo is, but if she was biking through a neighborhood or on the move in a similar manner, I would want to be able to pinpoint her exact location at any given time.


We really like the Relay by Republic!  The learning curve was practically non-existent, meaning kids and adults alike have been able to pick them up and use them right away with ease. These devices are still really new, so we are looking forward to all of the additional features that the manufacturer is working on for future updates.

If you are on the fence about a cell phone for your young child and you really want them to be able to communicate with you WITHOUT opening the pandora’s box that is social media, I urge you to check out the Relay by Republic and give it a try!

Relay by Republic Review


Relay the Smartphone Alternative

2 thoughts on “Ending the Smartphone Age Debate with Relay, the Smartphone Alternative

  1. We like the gizmo watch by Verizon. GPS tracking and our son is able to call and text designated numbers we enter on the app. I also love that it’s a watch so more difficult to lose! Our 12 year old has a lot more freedom around the neighborhood when he wears his gizmo watch. It’s also great for our skiing family too as we can find him on the slopes!

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