Braven 600 Review – Wireless portable speakersPosted 3:33 pm on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 by Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian
High quality portable audio has always been something of a compromising issue for me. While many choices exist on the market, few can deliver on promises. But who can blame them? It is extremely difficult to create high quality small speakers for an affordable price. Speaker size directly affects the highs, lows, and maximum volume of the audio.
So what are the main features we look for in portable audio?
- Sound Quality
- Battery Life
First let me just say that this perfect combination does NOT exist, and searching for it will have about the same results as Ponce De Leon. With all technology there needs to be some sort of sacrifice, but we’ve found the closest thing to the fountain of youth.
The Braven 600 and 650 series speakers are currently as good as it gets. Simple as that folks. This is the Lost Ark of portable audio.
Size and Packaging
Sleek, sexy and highly underestimated, Braven has done a great job with the presentation of the 600 and 650 series. Wrapped in high-grade aluminum with a tactile finish, the 600 series weighs about 12.6 oz and measures 6.25 x 2.5 x 1.75 (W x H x D- in inches). This gives it the portability to fit in the side of a backpack pocket, while not feeling like it belongs on the playground.
The speaker runs on Bluetooth 3.0 profile. The Braven 650 also adds the apt-X compression codec which many audiophiles will highly appreciate. The Braven 600 runs two 1.5-inch speakers on the front of the speaker with two “passive subwoofers” blasting from the back of the speaker. Passive drivers on the rear enhance bass by moving sympathetically in a similar motion with the active speakers on the front. The speakers are driven by a 3 watt-per-channel digital amplifier. The Braven 600 also offers aux in and out. Meaning the user can bypass the bluetooth connectivity for even higher quality with a 3.5mm Audio cable (provided in box) or use the speaker as an outsource for even higher performance. Also as seen in the image above are volume controls, battery life monitor, bluetooth controls, charging (out) USB port and charging (in) microUSB port. Simple, user friendly and highly efficient.
Highly underestimated. The Braven 600′s size does it no justice. We were shocked at just how loud these puppies can get, delivering top end, open and clear upper midrange similar to speakers 3 times its size. While I will state that the bass and low end is considerably weak, I will admit that this is the most formidable attempt witnessed in the history of portable audio. Just holding the speaker up at full audio you can feel vibrations and the struggle to provide bass. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting ball-trembling bass from these, since it is nearly impossible to do with portable audio (Not enough air can be moved for that effect without size sacrifice).
Bluetooth 3.0 and Aux. While the bluetooth has a few hiccups here and there, the quality is truly superb with phones. The only issue I had was that the quality was drastically lowered when connected via bluetooth to my laptop, and several others. Works well with Apple, Android, and Windows-based phones. The Braven 600 can also be used as a speakerphone with a built-in microphone (which we were unable to find).
Braven claims about 20 hours of playtime with 12 hours of play-and-charge for the 600 series speaker. This is wrong. While camping I received close to 25 hours of playtime, and on another date close to 16 hours of play-and-charge. This has to be the most impressive feature that I have seen in a speaker. One tip to save battery life is to connect your phone/device through the AUX port, you see increased battery life for both charging and passive playtime. Bluetooth playtime is roughly about 18-20 hours with 12-13 hours of play-and-charge. All of this of course depends on how high you set the volume.
Affordability and Conclusion
Priced at $149.99 at Amazon.com, it isn’t cheap. With its bigger brother, the 650 running at $189.99.
Creating a product that incorporates all but one of the desired features of portable audio is no easy task. The Braven 600 is a silver lining in this world. Small sturdy design, with clean sound, amazing battery life, and compatible with almost any audio device be it bluetooth or aux. Aside from the price (which by the way is highly competitive with similar brands), this product is ideal for anyone that enjoys ear-free bluetooth audio outdoor, indoor or on the road.
Final Grade: A -
Adam “kharakov” Kharat is part nerd, part geek, and full awesome. With deadly writing skills and the sleeping habits of a jackrabbit, late night gaming sessions are all but mandatory.