I’ve been through about half a dozen portable speakers in the past year and I keep coming back to the Braven 650. For such a small speaker it really cranks out the sound and does a reasonable job with the bass.
I like the shape, size, and weight of the speaker and find that it easily fits in any of my bags from my daily carry to an overstuffed travel backpack. On paper, the features of this speaker aren’t anything special, but in reality they combine to make the best portable speaker I’ve found yet.
The body is made of anodized aluminum and weighs about 12 ounces. The anodizing hardens the surface of the aluminum, but it can still be abraded or scratched. So far mine shows a little wear, but nothing that detracts from its appearance or funciton.
Power is provided by an internal battery that is also capable of charging any USB device. Battery life will be reduced, but not significantly. While charging my Galaxy Note 2 I can get about 4 or 5 hours of music. Without charging, the battery is good for 8 or more hours depending on volume.
Sound is great for the size. As expected the bass isn’t a punchy as a good pair of stereo speakers or my V-Moda headphones, but it does well enough. Speaker placement has a big effect on sound so consider setting it on a solid surface, near but not touching, a wall. It’s more than capable of filling my garage with sound and even competes nicely with the quieter tools like the drill press and orbital sander.
I use two or three Bluetooth audio devices every day. The Braven and my car stereo are the only ones that connect automatically with my phone when they are powered on. Most of the others have required that I manually connect using the phone’s Bluetooth settings. I haven’t delved into why that is, so it could be partly my phones fault, but I paired all the devices in the same manner and haven’t messed with settings.
The price may seem a bit steep, but I think it’s definitely worth it. The Braven 650 is available on Amazon for about $160. If you’re on a budget, the polymer bodies Braven 570 and 600 are available for $100 or less.