Review: Braven 600 bluetooth wireless speaker
December 3, 2012 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
The parade of portable wireless speakers aimed at mobile device users continues as we head into 2013, and this one comes from a lesser known company. Braven offers the 600, a round-edge rectangular unit with a brushed metal outer shell which comes in red or gray. The latter looks like it could fit right in with Apple’s array of brushed metal products. With the majority of such products in the $49 to $99 range, the Braven 600 pushes the popular pricing boundaries a bit, but does so with a couple nice tricks up its sleeve.
One is that it eschews the somewhat standard five hour battery life of most $99 units in favor of an impressive twelve hours. I’ve seen vendors come and go who marketed the battery life of their audio products based on improbably low volumes or other tricks, but my tests showed that Braven is indeed being accurate when it says twelve hours. In fact there’s enough juice in the 600 that it includes a USB port for recharging your mobile device while its audio is wirelessly streaming through the speaker. Using any kind of cabling with a bluetooth product would normally defeat the point, but if your iPhone’s battery is dying, then it’s a great fallback.
The 600 unit itself is about medium sized as far as these products go, standing two and a half inches tall, less than two inches deep, and about six inches wide. That allows room for some powerful speakers inside. From up close, the treble and bass are crisp and potent. Even at loud volumes from across the room, the audio fidelity is still plenty respectable.
The catch is that I’ve heard audio roughly this good from the very best of the $99 bluetooth speakers. So you’re essentially paying fifty dollars more for the longer battery and the USB charging port. If twelve hour battery life important to you, then the Braven 600 is a great product and give it a full five star rating. But if the usual five hour battery life is plenty for you, then this product is overpriced and you should look elsewhere.
Price: $149 • braven.com