Published on May 9th, 2014 | by Greg0
iLuv Syren Pro: Outdoor-Friendly, Rechargeable Wireless Speaker
The issue with many Bluetooth speakers is that they can’t go outdoors. And many outdoors systems- like the pair we checked out yesterday- aren’t really wireless, and they don’t offer internal rechargeable batteries. For Airplay addicts, we’ve seen some small options, an interesting twist on the equation. But Sonos doesn’t really offer a solid outdoors option yet, so for the most part, you’re left with either Bluetooth or custom solutions like the Soundcast Melody. Rarely can Bluetooth handle stereo though, so you’re typically stuck with a single speaker, which can be a bit quiet outside and lacks that nice surround sound for a party.
Enter iLuv’s Syren Pro, an individually-sold speaker that can actually be switched into stereo mode if you buy a pair. Splash-proof, they offer a four-hour battery life, and come with a wall plug so you can leave them with AC power if you want or need. Unlike many of the outdoors Bluetooth speakers that we’ve seen, these are built for more than personal use, meaning they are bigger and bulkier but put out more sound. Rubber feet help keep the unit steady and lessen vibrations, as well as raise your speaker slightly above the ground. Perfect for a picnic or small gathering, the Syren Pro is pretty easy to carry around and we loved the controls. There are individual buttons for reverse, play/pause, track forward, volume up/down and for power.
Many systems make a cardinal error of leaving out playback controls, or requiring a remote. Here, they are all present and accounted for on the unit itself, and they felt nice to the touch, slightly raised if a bit visually indistinct since they are barely visible against the body. The sleek look and feel overall back up the name, which is actually an acronym- it stands for Innovative Lifestyle Unquestionable Value! UV-resistant, the color shouldn’t fade over time, and there are some surprising voice prompts as well. The body features an unusual cone in a wedge-shaped hole, which is the bass radiator. And inside you’ll find a single 3” driver, pretty small for a unit this size. And the Syren Pro weighs in at under four pounds, making it fairly portable but offering a bit less oomph than we normally see in an outdoors speaker. The lows, though, were pretty deep and firm, even if the highs felt anemic especially at louder volumes and some distortion/fuzziness was audible. Overall, the audio quality was fine- a bit flat, but perfectly solid for a unit in this price range, and competitive with most other outdoor-capable models.
Pretty, fun, and well-built with decent battery life, the only weak spot is the middle-of-the-road audio performance. The Syren Pro is available in two colors, black and white (as tested), and they have nice grey details. Available now, online and in stores, expect to spend around $150.