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Braven 650 review - Performance and Verdict

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


Braven 650 - Performance

As with any Bluetooth speaker, the Braven 650 is a cinch to setup, with a long hold of the phone button setting the Bluetooth into connection mode and the usual ‘0000’ code finalising the connection. Once connected the speaker will take-over calling duties with its noise-cancelling microphone.

We were impressed by the quality of calls. Obviously the speaker far outperforms that of a phone while the microphone did a good job of picking up our voice and scrubbing out background noise.

But of course the most crucial thing is how the Braven sounds when playing music, and the answer is pretty good. Although only totalling 6W of output, the two drivers pump out surprisingly loud audio that will easily be enough to keep you bopping in a hotel room or bedroom. There’s also a good impression of bass that gives raucous tracks a reasonable amount of oomph.

Braven 650 9

As ever, the Pasce minirig still stands head and shoulders above all other portable speakers for sheer power and bass extension but for this style of stereo, Bluetooth speaker the Braven 650 is at least on par with its peers.

Audio quality is good too thanks to the use of the higher quality Aptx Bluetooth codec. Although you’re unlikely to notice the extra fidelity through the speaker itself, it’s of benefit when using the audio output.

Braven 650 5

One of the major advantages of these types of Bluetooth speaker compared to mono portable speakers or those devices that stick to other surfaces and turn them into speakers, is that you get a proper stereo presentation. This, combined with their compact shape, makes them a great audio upgrade for watching a movie on a laptop, as well as simply blasting out some tunes.

Braven 650 - Battery Life

Braven’s claims of 20hours battery life seemed well founded in our experience and, crucially, the battery remains charged for long periods between use so you can just pick it up and go even if you haven’t touched it for weeks. You’ll only get one full recharge of your phone out of the Braven 650 but that’s easily enough to make this a really useful double-duty accessory.

Braven 650 - Value

The biggest thorn in the side of the Braven 650 is its price. Costing a whopping £159, it’s nearly twice the price of the Jawbone Jambox and a good £40 more than the Jabra Solemate. But, neither of these offers the phone recharging and audio output abilities of the Braven, and only have half the battery life. What’s more, if your budget simply can’t stretch that far, Braven also offers the cheaper Braven 600 and 570, which offer similar features just with less battery life.


The Braven 650 is expensive but then it also offers the most comprehensive set of features we’ve seen on a Bluetooth portable speaker. It has double the battery life of most competitors, audio output and the ability to charge your phone, all of which are genuinely useful additions. Add in sound quality that is easily enough for most travel purposes and you can colour us impressed. As ever, if you’re just after no frills powerful, portable audio the Pasce Minirig is your best bet, but for a great all-round travel accessory, the Braven 650 looks like a good buy.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Usability 9
  • Value 8


February 12, 2013, 11:24 am

Does the iPhone iOS suport A2P-X?

Gordon Kelly

February 12, 2013, 3:31 pm

There is no such thing as A2P-X, there is A2DP (a bass response enhancing Bluetooth profile) and APT-X (a licensable codec for Bluetooth which substantially improves all round audio quality). iPhones support the former, but not the latter.

Interestingly Macs support both as do most midrange Android phones and above, so it would see a strategic decision from Apple not to include it in the iPhone (it can be done via a software update) - mostly likely to protect the AirPlay market.

AirPlay is lossless and therefore of higher standard than AptX, but as AirPlay performance causes a delay of 3-5 seconds, is far more expensive to licence and exclusive to Apple it could justifiably be concerned AptX would be 'good enough' that speaker makers would no longer be interested in paying the premiums it charges for AirPlay.

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