We are a family of 4 with two young kids, 1 and 3 years old. We bought this Relay for two reasons. First, we wanted to evaluate if it could replace my cell phone and service plan. I do not use data and rarely use my phone to call or text, and only contact my wife when I do. I figured the Relay would be the cheapest alternative to a cell phone plan that could keep my wife and I in contact.
We initially found the functionality to be sub-optimal for our use case. Because my wife uses the app on her phone to communicate to me, this is not truly “push-to-talk”; the lag time from when I first send a channel alert to when my wife receives it, opens the app, and can communicate with me is no different than a traditional phone call.
Also, having to hold down the small, difficult-to-distinguish volume button for 2 seconds was annoying. It wasn’t practicable when on the move (e.g., while riding my bike). I was hoping I could press the large-and-hard-to-miss center button, speak, and have that message “relayed” to my wife. Ideally, it would be sent as a voicemail and stored on my wife’s phone (but the new push notifications should be a great alternative; I’m eager to try them out after we update the app).
This is not tractable when kids are talking back and forth on the channel for extended periods (no one wants 98 irrelevant voicemails/notifications on their phone). That gets at our second reason for getting the Relay: we wanted to test drive it’s utility for our kids in the future. Now that multiple channels are being implemented things can get much better. I am impressed with the Relay Team’s ability to pivot and implement this so quickly after launch.
Given the initial issues associated with our family’s use-case, we were ready to throw in the towel and return the Relay. Customer Service was exceptional. They wanted genuine dialogue about our complaints, and acted on them. They refunded the cost of the Relay and let us keep it to keep testing it.
Subsequently my Relay demonstrated pronounced battery life issues, lasting only 3 or 4 hours. I opened a help ticket and was told to turn of 4G LTE. This was disappointing, to sacrifice reception for batter life. The Relay continued to degenerate, and eventually would no long turn on. I returned the broken one and they shipped me a new one, free of charge. That Relay has had its 4G LTE on all the time, and it lasts ~36 hours. Aggravating problem solved!
I thought I was shouting into an empty void, but it turns out there were real people in it who heard me and acted on it. It’s almost like Relay (and Republic Wireless) is not Verizon…
Thanks for treating me like a person, Relay.