Braven makes some of the most sturdy Bluetooth speakers I've tested, but it's the sound quality that makes them one of my favorite brands for portable listening. The new Braven 805 (US$199.99) is billed as a "HD" wireless speaker, implying that the sound quality is pretty darned good. Read on for a review of this speaker, then enter for a chance to win one from Apple World Today and Braven.
- Dimensions: 9.5 x 2.8 x 4 inches (24.13 x 7.1 x 10.2 cm)
- Weight: 2.8 lbs. (1.27 kg)
- Supported Bluetooth profiles: IOPT/HFP 1.5, A2DP1.0, AVRCP1.4, GAVDP1.0, HSP1.2
- Audio: 2 high-sensitivity drivers, 2 passive radiators, built-in microphone/speakerphone, SRS WOW HD bass-enhanced music setting (two 10-watt drivers)
- Power: 4400 mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery, 18 hour playtime
Braven's speakers all follow a rather plain design meme: they're aluminum "bricks" riddled with a grid of holes to let the sound out. Buttons are placed on top for control -- in this case, there are five -- a power switch, a speakerphone button, play/pause, volume down/rewind, volume up/fast forward. One end has various ports, which for the 805 include a USB out for powering other devices, an aux port, and a connector for the AC adapter.
The 805 makes up for the plain design by coming in a variety of bright colors. While our review item came in basic black, the speaker also comes in magenta, yellow, gray, green, orange, red, white and cyan.
One very nice feature of the Braven 805 is its ability to be paired with another speaker -- another 805, an 850 or an 855S -- for true stereo sound with each speaker playing one channel.
Having listened to a number of Braven's speakers over the years, I was prepared to hear sound that was pretty darned good but not perfect. But I have to say that the sound quality of the Braven 805 is better than many of the company's other speakers. If I have one complaint, it's that the 805 puts a bit of emphasis on bass enhancement to the detriment of the high end. In some situations that can result in a bit "muddy" sound depending on the specific recording.
The 805 did a pretty good job reproducing high-quality mastered/remastered albums; everything from Stan Getz jazz to Daft Punk, crisp and clear even on the high end. Some indie recordings I have that may have been overdubbed just a few too many times really didn't sound all that great. As with all reviews of sound reproduction equipment, your mileage may vary depending on your particular hearing.
One final note: the 805 also acts as a capable external battery pack, so if you're not planning on using all that battery capacity to play music into the wee hours of the morning, it can recharge your iPhone.
The Braven 805 adds another speaker to the company's growing line, With the ability to pair with another speaker for true stereo sound, two very capable 10-watt drivers, and Braven's excellent build quality, this is a Bluetooth speaker that should keep you happy for years to come.
Apple World Today Rating (out of five stars): ★★★★
We'd like for one of our readers to get this speaker. Rules for the giveaway are as follows:
- Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older. Sorry, international readers; at this time we cannot ship items out of the country.
- To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button. The entry must be made before February 24, 2015 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time.
- You may enter only once.
- One winner will be selected in a random draw and will receive a Braven 805 Bluetooth speaker valued at $199.99
- Entrant names and email addresses will be placed on an Apple World Today mailing list. You may receive a future mailing from us, at which time you can unsubscribe from the list.