TUAW has reviewed Braven's amazing line of Bluetooth speakers before, and we've always been impressed with the construction and capabilities of the line. Many of the speakers do double duty as external batteries for your favorite iOS device, and the sound quality is among the best we've heard from almost any Bluetooth speakers. Braven recently released the newest member of the family, the Braven 710 (US$169.99), which offers not only all of the features of the other speakers but something new -- the ability to link two Braven 710s together wirelessly with one acting as the left speaker and the other as the right speaker in a stereo speaker pair.
The Braven 710 speaker can play for up to 12 hours on a single charge, or act as a power source for your iPhone or iPad. It's IPX5 certified as water-resistant and splash-proof, so locating one near a hot tub or sink shouldn't be cause for concern. The 710 is a compact 6.25 x 2.6 x 1.8 inches (15.85 x 6.7 x 4.6 cm), and weighs just 13.6 ounces (385.6 grams). That weight figure is actually quite good considering that the speaker is machined from aluminum and also contains a 1400 mAh battery pack.The anodized aluminum exterior comes in three colors -- royal blue, graphite and silver.
But the biggest difference with this model is that ability to use two Braven 710 speakers as a stereo pair using a trademarked capability called TrueWireless. I've always found the sound of Braven speakers to be quite good, so making a pair of them act as the left and right speakers of a set is downright amazing. Of course, that's $340 for a pair of wireless speakers that aren't exactly audiophile quality, but they do make an attractive, small, and portable set of speakers.
Setup of the speakers is, like previous Braven devices, easy. One end of a speaker has four buttons on it for power, play, volume up, and volume down. The other end is the "busy" end, with a USB out port, a micro-USB charging port, aux out and in audio ports (if you wish to connect devices or speakers via traditional cables), a battery test button, a reset button and a row of LEDs for checking the available charge. In case you're wondering how the Braven 710 maintains the IPX5 water-resistance rating when it has the various ports, there's a removable end cap to keep things dry.
I was quite impressed with the stereo separation provided when I connected the pair through TrueWireless. I'm still not impressed with the sound quality when using the Braven 710 speakers as a speakerphone. Call recipients still tell me the sound is somewhat tinny and remote sounding, which tells me that the company has some work to do on adding a decent microphone to the mix.
With the addition of TrueWireless linking to the speakers, Braven has created a way to get impressive sound out of a linked pair of Braven 710s. While not the least expensive Bluetooth speakers on the market, the Braven 710s boast excellent construction, water resistance, and very good sound fidelity.
Unique TrueWireless capability makes wireless pairing of a set of Braven 710 speakers easy and provides excellent stereo separation
Aluminum construction makes for a sturdy Bluetooth speaker that should last for years
Internal 1400 mAh battery can be used to charge your favorite iPhone or iPad
Large, well-placed buttons on one end make adjusting volume, starting/pausing play, and powering the speaker on and off a piece of cake
Voice quality isn't that good according to those on the other end of speakerphone calls through the Braven 710
Who are they for?
Anyone who wants a portable pair of truly wireless speakers that can put up with a lot of abuse and still keep pounding out the tunes
Two speakers make for twice the fun! We'll be giving each of our two review speakers away to a separate giveaway winner -- perhaps the two of you can get together to try out the TrueWireless capability!
Here are the rules for the giveaway:
Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
The entry must be made before November 19, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
You may enter only once.
Two winners will be selected and each will receive a Braven 710 Bluetooth speaker valued at $169.99