Sol Republic’s Punk ($70) is a small, dirt/shock/water-resistant Bluetooth speaker that looks like a shortened version of the company’s prior Deck. According to Sol Republic, the square Punk gets up to 8 hours of battery life on a full charge with its included micro-USB to USB cable, and the speaker’s Bluetooth range stretches up to 60 feet away. A short 3.5mm stereo cable is included in the package, for use in Punk’s line-in or line-out ports. While Sol Republic claims the speaker comes in seven colors, so far we’ve only seen three available options online — black, blue, and red.
Punk is only one letter away from “puck,” and like many smaller speakers, Sol Republic’s offering does resemble a hockey puck — albeit a square puck. It’s about 3.5” across, and about 1.5” deep. A chrome Sol logo stands out on the grille of the rubberized speaker with volume controls, a play/pause button, a power button and a Bluetooth pairing button on one of the speaker’s sides. Bluetooth pairing is quick and painless. A flap on another side of the speaker reveals the micro-USB and line-in/line-out ports. On the bottom of the speaker is a threaded mount that makes Punk easy to attach to bike mounts, tripods, or other accessories.
Punk does get loud, though perhaps not quite as loud as Sol Republic wants users to believe. Compared to G-Project’s recently reviewed G-Drop, there’s less bass power, and Punk doesn’t get quite as loud, but there’s also less distortion at those higher volumes. Punk has adequate range for a small speaker, but it excels in the midrange. The sound is very clear, with vocals in many songs sounding particularly crisp. We also found that Punk does indeed live up to its 60-foot claim when it comes to Bluetooth range, as our connection didn’t drop at that distance, even through multiple walls.
Punk is limited by its size, but it does quite well with what it’s got, offering clear, steady midrange sound in a small package. Although you can palm the speaker, you also won’t be worried about dropping it or taking it outside, as it does feel tough — though Punk would work best in a small space. Punk’s battery life is very good, as well. The $70 price is very competitive, and Punk performs admirably when compared to other top speakers in the same price range. It earns our strong general recommendation.
Company and Price
Company: Sol Republic
Compatible: All Bluetooth-capable iPads, iPhones + iPods