Dec 24, 2016
The Braven 105 Active Bluetooth Speaker is small. It’s meant to be though.
Ah, so let’s see if good things can come in small packages…
We received the orange unit to test (pardon… “sunset” per Braven parlance, with six more colors to pick from); it is indeed small, and quite portable, coming in at 3.8 x 3.8 x 1.3 inches and weighing 7 ounces. The entire surface supports its waterproof promise, with three rubber buttons on the circumference. It actually takes a little bit of doing to reach the rubber-sealed section that houses the micro-USB port, audio-jack and reset hole. This whole area is tidily hidden by the removable mounting plate attached to the unit by an elastic strap.
The retail box also has a micro-USB cable, mounting accessories and documentation; the unit boasts a rechargeable 800 mAh lithium ion battery, 8 hours play time and certified water resistance.
And how does it work in real life? Charging is an intuitive process, using a power source to the micro-USB slot via cable. Pairing is easy too, using the power button. It works as expected, in wireless fashion, to output audio from the Android devices we connected it to. The audio quality is surprisingly vibrant, especially when one considers its size. We didn’t quite get the advertised 8 hours of playback in testing, but it easily surpassed 6.
Portability is one aspect that allows this piece to shine. It’s great for bike rides, and works well as a miniature boom box.
My biggest whine is related to the back panel. The efficacy of the solution makes sense, but it is not that easy to make it to the back innards of the unit.
What it might lose in ease of access, it mostly makes up in portability and functionality. It’s size lends its potential use in any number of scenarios: with laptop, phone, heck…. as an Amazon Echo Dot output speaker… it works, and works well.
Fidelity-wise, it probably wouldn’t make a serious audiophile bow, but it does hold its own in its niche category.