by Brent Dirks
September 27, 2012
While we’ve taken a look at more than a few wireless Bluetooth speakers here at AppAdvice, they have all been decidedly designed for indoor use. But the Braven 625s is different. Measuring in at 6.3 inches long, 2.5 inches wide and 1.8 inches deep, the diminutive speaker weighs a little less than 11 ounces. But don’t let the small size confuse you – the 625s packs a big sonic punch. I’ve used the speaker extensively with both the new iPad and recently released iPhone 5 for a number of tasks like listening to music, playing games, and watching videos. With two custom audio drivers, the system has a total output of 6w. Sound both indoors and outdoors was rich, crisp, and natural – almost on par with my favorite Bluetooth speaker at the moment, the Sound Kick from Soundfreaq. And that’s pretty amazing considering the 625s is barely half of the Sound Kick’s size. The speaker’s design is also unique. Wrapped in a shock-absorbing exterior, it feels like it could withstand a few accidental drops. Braven did a nice job with the included extras. My favorite is the water-resistant dry bag that holds the speaker and accessories. While it definitely isn’t waterproof, the bag should definitely be able to handle some water splashes or a light rain storm. Another fun addition is a flashlight that plugs into the included USB port. The light won't exactly help you land airplanes, but it would be a big help in an emergency or in times where you need a little extra illumination. Also included is a 40-inch USB to micro USB cable, power adapter, and 3.5mm audio cable that allows users to daisy chain speakers together for bigger sound. While it doesn’t have any audio cues like the recently reviewed ShoqBox SB7300 from Philips, you can easily skip tracks and pause music by pressing a button on the speaker. Even so, it wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience as the buttons were very tiny and a little hard to push. There is also a convenient battery check button on the 625s A white light indicates the speaker is charged from 100 to 50 percent. A blue light means a 10 to 50 percent charge, and a red light means it’s time to recharge. Using Bluetooth 3.0, your device can be up to 33 feet away from the speaker. The 1,700 mAH battery is rated at around 16 hours of use, and I got an hour or two less than that in my testing. As a nice touch, the system can also be used to charge USB devices like the iPhone, which definitely helps when you’re away from an outlet. The 625s can also double as a full-fledged speakerphone. A dedicated phone button on the speaker automatically answers calls, but the microphone was pretty average. Callers told me I was coming in loud and clear even though it sounded like I was on a speakerphone. If you’re looking for a rugged Bluetooth speaker that can handle the elements, I can highly recommend the Braven 625s. Even though there are a few downsides, the sound quality is very strong for such a tiny speaker, and extras help make it a great value for any outdoor enthusiast. You can find the Braven 625s for $179.99 on Amazon. It is available in two different color combinations.