Braven 710 Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review
Dimensions: 6.25" x 2.6" x 1.8"
Anodized Aluminum Exterior
IPX5 Water Resistance Certified
Built In Microphone & Speakerphone
12 hour playtime
Bluetooth has become as synonymous with portability as it has with wireless streaming. When someone tells you they just bought a Bluetooth device, you usually expect them to pull it out of their pocket or backpack. However, the Braven 710 isn't your average portable Bluetooth speaker; this is one with an extra helping of attitude, not to mention a pretty nice box. Just a tad smaller than a brick, but just as solid, the 710 is wrapped in aircraft grade aluminum. The 710 also boasts IPX5 certification, meaning it’s a water-resistant and splash-proof design. Does this mean you can take it in the shower with you (if you’re into that sort of thing)? Probably…maybe. However, we wouldn’t advise taking the Braven into the tub with you for a bath.
Braven 710 Portable Bluetooth Speaker Video Review
Like other Bluetooth speakers of late, the 710 can be paired by NFC; tap your phone to the bottom of the NFC landing pad, it'll connect automagically, and you'll be up and running in a few seconds. The Bluetooth connection also supports the AptX protocol, theoretically allowing for full CD quality sound. The Braven brags 12+ hours of continuous playback thanks to the internal lithium ion battery. There’s also a neat trick up the 710’s sleeve: it’s possible to daisy chain a pair of these speakers together for true stereo playback as opposed to dual mono. What’s better, this can be accomplished via Braven’s TruWireless system as well as a standard 3.5mm cable.
Behind the rubber cover, which you'll want to keep in place during your shower with the Braven, you'll find a battery indicator, as well as a handful of connections. Connectivity includes 3.5mm inputs and outputs, as well as a mini-USB input for charging the device and a full sized USB output for charging portable devices. Going back to the cover, it does fit pretty tightly, though it could be a bit better in our estimation. The other side has all the controls you need, including power, play/pause, and volume. The controls are covered in rubber which makes them a bit difficult to use, but it gets the job done. There is also a built in microphone for answering calls without touching your phone (just in case you don't like touching your phone), and you can control your playlist with the volume buttons.
The I/O end of the Braven 710 with the protective cap removed.
In the end however, the big question is how the Braven sounds. The front sports two small drivers, while the rear boasts a rear firing oval shaped passive radiator. Now given the form factor, you have to expect that sound quality isn't going to be on par with a conventional stereo setup. While we found the Braven to sound passable given the size, we weren't blown away by what we heard. Of course, output was another matter: at max volume, it was getting loud enough to fill a large room (or blow the windows out of a shower), and even causing the enclosure to flex.
So what does your money get you? $170 gets you a useful mix of portability, sound quality, the ability to charge your phone, durability (as Andrew shows in our video), and the potential for pass through mode to act as a Bluetooth receiver for your main system. The ability to daisy chain is pretty neat as well, and the ability to deliver true stereo sound gives it a leg up on many comparable designs. Of course it’s also fair to say that the Braven 710 isn’t going to replace your stereo system any time soon; it’s decent as a portable speaker, and given the size, you can’t really expect much more. Sound off on our forums: do you want one (or two) of these bad boys for music on the go?
Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.