Billed as the â€śmost talentedâ€ť speaker available, the Braven 650 is certainly a marvel to look at. But is it really as great as advertised?
As far as mini speakers go, the Braven 650 looks totally modern and sexy. The design and build quality just oozes a high standard thatâ€™s seldom seen among portable speakers. While most speakers are made up entirely of plastic, the Braven 650 is enclosed in a brushed aluminum casing that looks very much in sync with a MacBook Pro. Anyone who appreciates Appleâ€™s design aesthetics will totally dig the Braven 650â€™s minimalist design: simplicity and elegance at its finest.
Weâ€™ve tested a lot of speakers and, quite frankly, itâ€™ll take more than a pretty exterior to pique our interest. The spec sheet of the Braven 650 boasts a handful of features: the speakers have an output of 6w and can be connected to a source either via a 3.5mm audio plug or streamed wireless over Bluetooth. The Braven 650 is not only Bluetooth AVRCP compliant, but it is also one of an elite few of wireless speakers that has Â apTX technology which allows for the wireless streaming of high fidelity audio.
The Braven 650 has both input and output audioÂ ports and is capable of being daisy chained to other Braven speakers for a more robust sound experience. It can also be used as a speaker phone for your Bluetooth-enabled phone, and it also has a USB port which can be used as a power source to charge your mobile phone.
Admittedly, the feature list of the Braven 650 is quite impressive. But what really got to me was the inclusion of aptX drivers which could potentially make the Braven 650 one of the best sounding wireless speakers in the market.
I tested it with an iPhone 4S and the aptX capableÂ Samsung Galaxy SIII. I played the same music on both devices and the sound difference was very audible: the Braven 650 partnered with the Galaxy SIII produced more robust and clearer sounds compared to when the Braven 650 was paired with the iPhone 4S, the aptX drivers made a huge difference . Still, thatâ€™s not saying that the Braven 650 sounds crappy when paired with the iPhone; it sounds good and the audio quality produced rivals that of other large speakers, itâ€™s just that the Galaxy SIII makes for a more suitable partner (and yet another reason to choose the Galaxy SIII over the iPhone 4S).
The speaker phone functionality of the Braven 650 works like a charm. With my iPhone 4S connected to the Braven 650, all of my calls were coursed through the speaker and both incoming and outgoing sound was clearly transmitted.
When my iPhone 4Sâ€™ battery was down to 20 percent, I charged it using the Braven 650. It took roughly two hours to charge the 4S from 20 percent to 100 percent. Thankfully, the Braven 650 is equipped with a hefty 2,000 mAh battery which is enough to both power a smartphone and play music for a few hours. Using the Braven 650 purely as a music player, I was able to squeeze out around 18 hours of runtime.
The Braven 650 is actually the most expensive among the three Braven portable speakers. Thereâ€™s the Braven 600 (priced at Php 6,450) and the Braven 625s (priced at Php 7,450). The Braven 600 is essentially the Braven 650 minus the Bluetooth aptX capability and a smaller battery, while the Braven 625s is a shock resistant variant that comes with a USB powered flashlight and a water resistant bag. Weâ€™ll do a separate review of the Braven 625s as itâ€™s different enough from the 650 to warrant itâ€™s own review.
The Braven 650 is definitely one of the more advanced wireless speakers in the market today. Itâ€™s a great-sounding speaker is boosted by its compatibility with the aptX Bluetooth standard. It can be daisy-chained with other Braven speakers, can act as a speaker phone, can charge any device via its USB port and has a large enough battery to do all these. Its asking price of Php 8,450 may seem steep, but considering what it can do and how well it does it, I can say that itâ€™s definitely worth it.
All Digital Walker, Digital Hub, Beyond the Box outlets and Buzz (Robinsons Ermita)
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