Braven 625s wireless speaker makes your music sound great
By JIM ROSSMAN Staff Writer
Published: 12 July 2012 10:58 PM
So while I wasn’t looking, a whole new gadget genre appeared — portable, battery-powered Bluetooth speakers.
I have to admit that I remember reading about several as they were introduced and thinking to myself I really couldn’t see the use.
But I was wrong.
I’ve been reviewing the Braven 625s wireless speaker, and I’m amazed at how much I used it during the last few weeks.
Sometimes, when I’m reviewing a gadget, I’ll play with it for a few hours and write it up.
With the Braven 625s ($179.99, www.braven.com), I found myself reaching for it when my wife and I went to the pool each day during the July 4 holiday week.
It’s a small, yet powerful speaker that connects by Bluetooth to your computer, smartphone or tablet.
Don’t let the small size fool you — the 625s has plenty of volume, and I was really surprised at how rich the sound was from its two 3-watt extended-range drivers.
It’s the perfect companion for poolside or for your next backyard barbecue.
The 625s has a 1700 mAh battery for up to 16 hours of music playback.
The Braven 625s has a few more tricks up its sleeve.
The battery can charge your smartphone, even while it’s playing your music.
A standard USB port on the unit’s left side can charge your other portable devices.
If the 625s has a full charge, it can charge your iPhone to about 90 percent, but there won’t be much juice left to play music.
Alas, the battery will not charge an iPad, which needs 2 amps to charge. The Braven can only give 1.1 amps through its USB port for charging.
The 625s is the ruggedized member of the Braven family. There is a rubber casing on all but the front and back sides that feels quite sturdy. The front and back are covered in perforated aluminum.
The unit isn’t waterproof, but Braven does include a “dry bag” for splash protection at the pool.
To make it even more “outdoor worthy,” Braven also includes a small flashlight that plugs into the USB port. It’s not the greatest or brightest flashlight, but I could see it being handy for finding your keys in a dark beach bag.
The 625s has audio-in and audio-out ports, which work for connecting non-Bluetooth music sources and for daisy-chaining more than one Braven speaker together for more sound.
The 625s can be used as a Bluetooth speaker for your phone. You can make and receive phone calls using the speakers and the unit’s built-in microphone.
One small complaint: The battery level is checked by pressing a button and looking at a small LED light that glows a different color depending on the level of charge.
The light shines white if you have at least 50 percent battery power left, blue if you have between 10 percent and 50 percent charge and red for less than 10 percent.
I wish there were more steps in the battery level meter. Having the same light show for 49 percent or 11 percent is not helpful.
Pros: Great sound, small and easy to carry, charges your phone.
Cons: Battery level monitor is less than helpful.
Bottom line: This is a gadget I would reach for regularly.