Video review and overview
Braven like to refer to themselves as the GoPro of the portable speaker market and they do make lots of wireless speakers that nearly all have some form of ruggedness. Here I’m looking at the Braven 705 wireless speaker (£89 RRP) which is part of their “design” range (they also do an “outdoor” range), but this speaker is still splash proof to IPX5 and feels pretty solid.
Take a look at my complete video review of the speaker above, where I go through its features and compare the sound to an XMI X-Mini II capsule speaker (£20) and a SONOS PLAY:1 WiFi (£169 RRP) smart speaker.
First impressions of the speaker are good. The packaging is well designed and out of the box the speaker feels solid in your hand. It’s encased in a hard plastic but it looks like it’ll take some abuse. It comes with a micro USB charging cable but no wall charger. So you’ll need to charge off your laptop or another wall charger.
It has a fairly minimalist design which I like, with just a microphone above the logo on the top for the speakerphone function, and a wrap-around grille front and back. The speakers face forward so you need to place it so you can read Braven the right way up.
Large, tactile, rubbery buttons take up one side for power, play & pause, vol+ and vol-. A long press of the power button turns the device on. And a long press of the play button starts Bluetooth pairing, which is a very simple process. There’s no pairing code (with an iPhone at least) – just activate pairing on the speaker and tap on the device in your Bluetooth settings. A reassuring beep conforms the pairing. You only need to do this once – it’ll then pair automatically within a few seconds of turning the speaker on from then on.
A long press of the vol+ and vol- skips forward and back one track respectively. The opposite side of the speaker has a rubber dust cover that gives the device its IPX5 rating. Removing this you have a generous selection of ports, and a button to check battery life with 5 LEDs that can light up (20% charge for each light).
Then you have an aux in for connecting devices that doesn’t have Bluetooth, but no required 3.5mm cable is provided. These aren’t expensive, but most speakers at this price point include one. A wired connection is also good for saving battery life if you have no source of power. Still, it’s a wireless speaker so it’s not a big deal.
There’s also an aux out connection for daisy chaining speakers together. This can be to any speaker, not necessarily a Braven. I tried it to a Braven BRV-1 and also to the little X-mini used in the video. It worked fine for a bigger sound, but it’s not stereo sadly. You can connect the 705 to another 705, 710, 770 or lux for wireless stereo but I couldn’t test this. The instructions indicate this may be a little tricky to do, but I’ll give it a try if I get hold of another speaker.
Below the aux ports there’s a full size USB port for charging other gadgets up to a maximum of 1A – so your smartphones and such like, but not tablets. The battery capacity is 1400mAh so considering the battery on an iPhone is over 1800mAh, this is more for emergency and top up use, but still handy.
Finally there’s a micro USB port for charging which is always nice to see since it’s pretty ubiquitous now. So even if you don’t have the supplied cable handy, it’s more than likely you’ll find someone who does!
The sound quality is really very good, which considering the size of the speaker, is all the more impressive. The speaker has a good range and even manages some bass – enough to bounce it along the table with certain tracks! There is little distortion even at full volume. And full volume has enough sound to fill a medium sized room. Compared to the X-mini, the Braven has a far bigger sound, which is hardly surprising. At the other extreme I compared it to the SONOS PLAY:1 which is unfair since it’s twice the price and mains powered. But I’d be quite happy to use the Braven for what it’s intended for – away from mains power. It’s the perfect companion for travel, in the garden, your shed or camping.
- Good sound for its size
- Perfect balance between size and portability
- Aux in for connecting to devices without Bluetooth or to save battery
- Aux out to connect to another speaker
- Connect 2 speakers for stereo sound wirelessly (705, 770 or LUX only). Not tested but nice feature if your friend has one
- 1400mAh portable power bank to charge your gadgets in emergency
- Water resistant to IPX5 (splash proof)
- Good quality construction
- 12 hour play time (not tested)
- Standard micro USB charging port – very convenient
- Speakerphone function
- Available in lots of colours!
- Only comes with USB charging cable. No wall charger or 3.5mm cable
- Only 1400mAh means you couldn’t rely on the speaker to fully charge even newer smartphones – but could certainly top them up
- You’d really need two speakers for bigger rooms. But that’s always the trade off when it comes to size
I’ve tried many Bluetooth speakers and I think the Braven 705 is a nice balance between size, sound quality and price. It’s perhaps a little on the expensive size (at RRP), but I think the extra features and build quality mostly justify the price. And if you can get it cheaper, then it’s a bargain! I’d certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a portable wireless speaker for under £100.
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