I love music. I rarely am anywhere sat in silence, and so a portable speaker is can be found on my kit list whatever I might be packing for. I’ve had all kinds of portable speaks in the past, I’ve reviewed a few of them here on Splodz Blogz, and today I’m presenting my thoughts on the Braven 405, an active style speaker with a rugged look and waterproof casing.
Braven 405 Specification
The Braven 405 is small, but not as small as they come. It’s 15cm wide, 9-ish cm tall, and 3cm thick. It weighs 292g so it’s got some weight to it (good speakers always do), but it’s not unduly heavy if you’re carrying it in your backpack. It’s available in nine colours, mine is the blue – I love how bright and cheerful it is.
Importantly, the speaker has an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it can deal with up to 10m of water for up to 30 minutes, so it is great for using outdoors or in the bathroom. The battery is said to provide 24 hours of wireless playtime via the rechargeable internal battery. There is a USB port so you can charge your phone or other device, although don’t expect that to be quick as it’s only 1A, but it’ll do the job if you need backup power. There’s a kickstand on the back so you can point the business end of the speaker where you want the sound to be best. There is also a built-in microphone so you can use it as a hands free speaker phone if you want to.
The Braven 405 is powered by a 2100mAh battery, which you charge via the provided micro USB cable. The socket, along with the USB and socket and aux socket for if you don’t want to/can’t use Bluetooth, is housed under a rubber cap that covers most of one side of the speaker. There’s a system reset button, which came in handy when I was trying to pair my phone with the speaker, and a battery life button. The other side of the speaker has large power/standby button, play/pause, volume up and volume down buttons – super simple and very easy to use.
The Braven 405 In Use
Over the last couple of months this speaker has proved its worth greatly as I’ve been living in a hotel in the week. I’ve streamed various radio stations, podcasts and music from my phone in the mornings and evenings, helping me relax and make the room feel a little more like home. It really is the simple things.
It took me forever to persuade the speaker to pair with my phone, which involved having to reset the speaker to get it to start again a number of times, and then the same trouble again to get it so pair with my other half’s phone. This was super annoying at the time, as I was in a rush to go out and I wanted to take it with me to use! But thankfully now that the speaker is paired it seems to work straight away each time I switch it on.
The most important bit is, of course, the speaker itself. This solid and robust looking device does well on the sound front. Podcasts and audio books are clear, even when you’re listening in the bath(!). And music sounds good enough; it works fine for vocal stuff, but performs better on classical thanks to the bright tone you get from the technology inside the case. It’s not as good a full surround system by any stretch of the imagination, and if you spend more you’ll get better, but of the portable speakers I have tried to date, this offers great balance and volume for the size and price.
I found that if I turned the volume on a particularly bass heavy track all the way up, the speaker (completely predictably) offers some distortion, and slides itself across smooth surfaces due to the vibrations. But turn it down a couple of notches, which is still plenty to fill a room with sound. When using this outside, as the rugged construction means it’s great for a camping trip, I found the sound didn’t travel too far; I tried not to resort to turning it all the way up to avoid that distortion, but sometimes you can’t resist.
Braven claim this thing has a 24-hour battery life, and I actually wouldn’t argue with that although I haven’t strictly speaking put it to the test. I’ve been using it to play music and podcasts a whole load over the last month, and so far have charged it just the once. Of course, if you are also using this as your portable battery for your phone, it’s not going to last 24 hours… but if you’re just playing music then you could quite happily go away for a couple of nights and not take the charger with you.
The Braven 405 has found its way into my travel bag permanently, which can only mean that I like it. If you are after a rugged style portable speaker for your phone or other device, the Braven 405 really is an excellent choice, especially for the price. The waterproofing means it’s great for indoors and outdoors, and the superb battery life means it’s a very good option when camping. The all-important sound quality is more than reasonable.