Portable Bluetooth speakers are the new cool thing in sound technology. With just about every device that you might be playing music over now having Bluetooth capability, it is these speakers that offer an easy and convenient way on turning your phone, tablet, or Vita game console into a sound system on the go (sadly Nintendo’s 3DS does not feature Bluetooth).
With the technology at the point now where you can get amazing sound for a cheap price, vendors are now competing by adding a range of different features to offer the all-important “value add” to the consumer. Braven has always provided quality speakers at the premium end of the price range, but how was it going to handle budget purchases?
As it turns out, really well. the Braven 705 is an entry level product and it does sound like one, but it offers such a depth of features and the sound quality is enough that it is a very easy stocking filler.
Firstly, though, the style. Braven products have always had a slick, minimalist presentation, and the 705 is no different in this regard. It’s almost devoid of embellishments beyond a classic, classy logo on the top, but where it does differ is that it comes in a host of different colours. It’s a simple way to personalise the product, but it works – these colours are easy on the eyes and both discrete and fashionable. Whether you’re a fan of bright yellows and blues, or chic white, this speaker will fit in with the decor of your lounge room, bedroom, or wherever else you choose to stick it.
As with other Braven products, the 705 promises that it is robust and ready to travel. It’s not waterproof, but it’ll happily take a couple of splashes, and it’s okay with the occasional in-use drop that any product that is designed to be ported around should be able to handle. A thick rubber flap protects the more sensitive USB and charging port, but disappointingly this flap isn’t attached to the device – it pulls completely off. I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few of these flaps go missing if people travel around with them, and when that happens the device is not only not as attractive as it once was, but it loses its semi-rugged credentials.
It’s also worth nothing that it is so very light to carry around. Some portable speakers still sit on the heavy end of the spectrum, but the 705 can be tossed in a backpack or suitcase without giving an airline an excuse to triple your fare for excess baggage weight.
Still, on to the features! This little device has it all. In addition to playing music over Bluetooth, you can chain two 705s together for a surround sound experience, and it also acts as a backup battery for your devices should you want it to. On a full charge, I was able to take this out and about for a day, recharge my phone battery, and use it for a couple of hours and it still had juice to spare. It also acts as a speakerphone if you have it paired to your iPhone or Android smartphone, giving you a hands free kit with decent sound when driving about.
In terms of the sound quality, the 705 performs well when subjected to my very scientific Miku test. For this test I pair the speaker up with my Vita and try and play Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f 2nd on the “Extreme” difficulty setting. If it’s a good speaker I’ll feel surrounded by and immersed within the music, understand the lyrics (remembering that they’re in Japanese and my understanding of Japanese is anything but perfect, and that I am concentrating on the game), and not have the speaker mess up on a technical level, given that the Extreme difficulty on the Vita will slaughter you if the speaker cuts out or goes wonky for even a fraction of a second.
The reason this test is such a good one to run a speaker through is because Miku games cover a very wide range of genres, from the nearly operatic through to rock, bubblegum pop and soulful ballads. The 705 is clearly an entry level speaker; some of the vocals were muffled and some of the bassier tracks lacked impact, but the treble notes were crystal clear, and tested side by side the Braven 705 does do sound better than other entry level speakers, such as the Dell AD211 portable speaker.
But really it is both the sense of style and the feature set that make the 705 worth an investigation. For its cheap asking price it is so easy to simply buy yourself two, get them talking, and then have a decent surround experience for on the go. Be that for rocking out at picnics, setting up a mini theatre experience for movies on your iPad away from the TV, or simply to turn your Vita into a portable Miku concert, you can’t really go wrong here. As I said at the start, given the time of year this is, this is the perfect stocking filler.
– Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld