Listening to a portable radio in the bath is always an alluring idea, until we check what’s being broadcast. Similarly, a visit to the park or the beach might be enhanced by the addition of some select tunes, but do we want our CD collection there too? Thanks to devices like the Braven 805, this is not a predicament we find ourselves in now; music stored on our smartphones or other Bluetooth-enabled devices can be enjoyed via this excellent Bluetooth speaker wherever we go.
- Bluetooth for convenience
- Auxiliary input for non-bluetooth devices
- Inbuilt Microphone/speaker useful for calls
- Can charge other devices via USB
- Could do with a handle or handgrip
- Relatively heavy
Design and Appearance
The appearance of the Braven 805 is relatively normal for a device like this, being a standard rectangular form reminiscent of portable radios and tape players from the past 30 years or so, albeit with no handle as such. To sum up the design, the word ‘sporty’ is probably pretty close. There are no fragile metal wire speaker grilles or textile-covered parts to be careful of; it’s mostly composed of one piece of plastic which has grille holes formed on front and back. It seems to hark back to yellow Sony Walkmans of the late 80s.
The speaker has a type-A USB socket so anything requiring a charge via USB can be connected if it needs a battery boost, plus there’s a 3.5mm stereo auxiliary input so any non-Bluetooth playback device can be connected directly to the Braven 805 with an audio cable. A battery level indicator on the side displays the power available in the unit’s battery.
Durability and Build Quality
The weight of the unit is on the high side at 2.8 lb (or 1.25 Kg), but the user wants to be dancing around to the music more than the speaker; rest assured the Braven 805 remains rooted to the spot. There’s nothing in the build of the unit which gives the impression of fragility; indeed we’ve known of more delicate kerbstones.
Suitability for intended application
Technically, Braven have another model specifically for outdoors but this one is quite suitable if kept dry. It’s probably happier around the house for extended periods and will fill any room with the music of your choice.
There’s a microphone installed in the Braven 805, so if a call comes through the speaker can be used as a mic/speaker for the call. You’d better just check who’s calling first if you have an audience however! Controls on the top of the unit can be used to change track as well as alter volume and answer calls.
The lack of a handle does preclude it from being carried in the way a ghetto blaster might have been transported around the ‘hood’, but it will easily go in a bag or glove box if being taken outside or on a journey. It’s weighty but easy to grab in one hand and move around the house.
The sound is very good indeed; there’s an enhanced-bass setting called ‘SRS WOW HD’ which tightens up the audio as well as giving a bass a solid bump and there’s oodles of power. The unit was taken into the carpark here and placed on the ground in an open space, as audio from the speakers of portable music players tends to get swallowed up outdoors, but the Braven 805 was up to the job. Workers within the nearby industrial estate put down their hammers and threw concerned-looking glances our way so this worthy experiment was swiftly ended.
Another feature of the Braven 805 is that it can go together with a second 805 (other Braven models too) in order to produce a stereo presentation. A pair which might be used for mono playback with one upstairs and one downstairs during the week might be united at weekends for a stereo soirée.