Urge Basics Soundbrick Bluetooth speaker review: A simple but solid wireless speaker

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Urge Basics Soundbrick (white)

(Part #: UG-SNDBRCKWHT) Released: Mar 7, 2013
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The modestly priced Urge Basics Soundbrick has a simple, attractive design and a decent feature set that includes a built-in microphone for speakerphone calls. It also offers a little more bass than many speakers in this price class.

The Bad Flashing blue light on front of speaker will annoy some people; the speaker has some bass but it still sounds comparatively thin.

The Bottom Line While it doesn't do much to distinguish itself from the competition, the Urge Basics Soundbrick is a decent enough wireless Bluetooth speaker that has an attractively understated design and a built-in speakerphone.

6.8 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Sound quality 6.0
  • Value 7.0

If you go on Amazon looking for wireless Bluetooth speakers, you'll come across many from companies you've never heard of. The Urge Basics Soundbrick, which retails for around $60, is one such speaker.

Like a lot of these products, it's got a somewhat generic design, but I liked its simple understated look. It keeps things simple with three buttons on top (volume up/down and a pause/play button that doubles as a call answer/button for the integrated speakerphone), and you'll find a power switch around back along with a Micro-USB port for charging the built-in rechargeable battery, and both a line input and output.

That line output will allow you to string a couple of speakers together for somewhat bigger sound or connect the speaker to a larger stereo or home-theater system and use the Soundbrick as a wireless transceiver to stream music from your smartphone or other Bluetooth-enabled device to larger speakers.

The speaker seems pretty well built and weighs in at 0.74 pound. It's almost exactly the same width and height as the Jawbone Jambox but it's got a bit more depth -- the speaker measure 6.0 x 2.2 x 2.2 inches (HWD). Inside there are two drivers, so this is ostensibly a stereo speaker (2 x 1.5W), though the drivers are so close together you get little to no stereo separation. Battery life is rated at 8 hours, which is about average for these types of inexpensive small Bluetooth speakers.

The Urge Basics Soundbrick, which comes in multiple colors, has a simple, understated design. Sarah Tew/CNET

My only serious gripe about the design is the blue light on the front of the speaker. It goes on when the speaker goes on (along with a short beep) but then pulsates after you've paired the speaker with your smartphone (or other device). Some people won't mind that flashing light, but others will find it really annoying. Ideally, of course, you should be able to turn it off.

There's a Micro-USB port for charging along with an audio input and output. Sarah Tew/CNET

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