I previously looked at the Jawbone Jambox and was quite pleased with the speaker quality and functionality. The PR folks for Braven reached out to me with an opportunity to check out the new Braven 650 and at first I didn't consider it since it seemed to be a Jambox copy. After recently checking out some larger speakers I figured I should take a look and see if there is another option out there for consumers and boy am I glad I did.
The Braven 650 turned out to be a fantastic wireless speaker solution that I highly recommend you consider. In addition to the Bluetooth speaker capability (with APT-X technology) you can use it as a speakerphone, daisy chain it to multiple speakers, and even use it to charge up your smartphone in a pinch. Check out some photos of the speaker in my image gallery and watch the video below to see if you hear the difference in audio performance.
|Image Gallery: Check out several photos of the Braven 650 Bluetooth speaker.|
The speaker is encased in aluminum and feels extremely durable. The edges are all rounded off so it has great aesthetics too. There are two rubber feet on the bottom to keep it in place on the table as well. It is quite light and easy to pick up and take with you.
The Braven 650 is just a hair larger and heavier than the original Jawbone Jambox, but is still extremely portable. It has double the rated battery life of the Jambox at 20 hours of continuous play.
The right side contains six buttons and ports. Starting with the top left and going clockwise we have the call button (answer/hang up/mute/Bluetooth pairing/music pause), power switch, volume up/music skip track button, microUSB port for charging the speaker, volume down/music previous track button, and 3.5mm audio in port. There is also a Bluetooth status/power indicator LED light next to the call button.
On the left side you will find three buttons and ports. The top one is the battery capacity check button, then we have the 3.5mm audio out port, and finally the full USB port to charge up other devices. There is a small battery capacity indicator LED above the check button too.
The Braven logo appears on the top and the device looks great in silver and black.
The Braven 650 was unable to charge my iPad 3, but I primarily stuck with smartphone and that worked well. If you use the 3.5mm audio line-in method to connect the external charging capability is disengaged. I primarily only used it to top off my smartphones and always connected via Bluetooth. Keep in mind that 75% to 90% of the 2000 mAh battery is available to charge other devices (generally one+ charges of a smartphone), but this will significantly reduce the ability to use the speaker for music and calls.
I couldn't believe how good the Braven 650 sounded and IMHO it easily beat the Jambox. My wife came in to the office while I was testing and immediately told me to buy one since it was the best portable speaker she has ever heard. I will be taking it along on our upcoming vacation to provide music in the hotel room and cruise ship too. I have to admit that playing Battleship on my Nokia Lumia 900 was made MUCH better thanks to the Braven 650!
While the new Big Jambox has media control buttons on it the original small Jambox does not. The Braven 650 lets you control your audio with long presses on the volume buttons and single presses on the call button so that makes it even more useful IMHO.
The Live Audio on the Jambox is great, but the sweet spot is small on the original Jambox and I did not experience it that much. The Big Jambox has a larger and more engaging sweet spot, but that is $100 more than the Brazen and really not comparable in terms of price or size.