The market for Bluetooth-enabled portable speakers is booming, with a slew of manufacturers competing for the hearts and wallets of music lovers. One of the most active players is Braven, a Utah-based manufacturer that distinguished itself through its range of outdoors-ready portable speakers.
Today, we bring you our review of the Braven 625s, a feisty little speaker that promises to rock your world, wherever you are, all while acting as a power bank and a flashlight (yes, you read that right.)
The Braven 625s looks made to resist just about everything you can throw at it, which is an absolute must for a device that is targeted at the most outdoorsy among us. Because what can be better than to listen to your favorite tunes while out hiking?
As you can see in the video review below, the unit is wrapped in sturdy rubber, with the speakers themselves safely tucked behind two grills of stainless steel. We didn’t put it to the test, but we are pretty confident that the Braven 625s will withstand common drops and bumps without nary a scratch.
In case you wondered, the solid case is the main difference between the 625s and the cheaper 600 series, which is labeled as an ultraportable. Speaking of portability, the 625s weighs in at 11.6 ounces (about 330g), so you won’t feel it as a burden during your hikes.
Braven packed many little functions in the 625s, ranging from the obvious to the, well, odd. Starting with the connectivity, the speaker supports Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP 1.2 for seamless audio playback. If you’re device doesn’t support Bluetooth, the workaround is the 3.5mm jack which lets you connect just about any gizmo that can play music (a 24” 3.5mm audio cable is included in the box).
The 625s features a mini-USB slot for charging, and a USB to mini-USB out that lets you connect and charge your phone. The ability to double as a power bank is one of the things we liked the most about the Braven 625s. Especially while on the go, it can prove a lifesaver. Braven claims that the 625s can function for up to 16 hours on a single charge (the battery is rated at 1700 mAh), and that it can charge up an ‘iPhone to full’.
Another cool trick that the 625s can perform is work as a hands free device, thanks to the incorporated microphone.
Finally, Braven bundled a neat, if weird little accessory with the 625s – a mini flashlight. Just plug the gizmo in the USB slot and you get yourself a torchlight, for those moments when you have to listen to music and light up your way.
Overall, we are impressed with the features that the Braven 625s is packing, which greatly expand its usefulness.
A great thing about the Braven 625s Bluetooth speaker is how easy you can start using them. Just power it up, hold the dedicated Bluetooth button, and take it over from your phone. In the video below, you can see that Clay only needs seconds to get the device to play his favorite tunes.
The music plays back seamlessly regardless if you are within inches of the speakers or several feet away. Braven advertises a working distance of 33 feet, although obstacles such as walls will reduce its range.
And, if for some reason, you can’t or won’t use your phone, you can simply hold the up or down buttons to navigate through your playlist.
Onto the most important feature of a speaker system, the sound, we can say that we are satisfied with the performance of the Braven 625s. For a speaker that is so small, the 625s manages to fill out an average-sized room. Yes, it’s not as loud as a full-size system, but for most users, the 625s will suffice.
The bass is pretty good, and the mids and highs are nice as well. It’s safe to say that you will want to use the Braven 625s instead of your regular device, be it a smartphone, an iPod, a tablet, or even a larger device such as a TV.
The Braven 625s goes for about $180, which is slightly less than what the Jawbone Jambox costs, but still not something that we would call cheap. So, is it worth it?
Well, if you consider the speaker function alone, we would be tempted to say that the 625s is too pricey. But truth is that the Braven 625s is more than meets the eye – it doubles as a hands free device (great for conference calls) and a portable power bank. Everything is packed in a high-quality build, and the sound is great. Bottom line, we think it’s worth it.
Did you try the Braven 625s or other portable speakers? What’s your take on them?