We met with Braven at CES 2013 (check out the post) and had a chance to see their new speakers. We watched as the Braven BRV-1 went for a swim and checked out the budget-priced Braven 570. Now we’ve got out hands on the Braven 570 for a hands-on review. Before we jump in though take a look at the BRV-1.
If you’ve used one of Braven’s speakers or checked out our head-to-head match between the Braven 600 and the JawBone JamBox (read the post) you are already familiar with the design of the Braven 570. It is a rectangular speaker with a grill on both the front and back and the Braven name and model number in the lower right corner.
Inside the box you’ll find the Braven 570 speaker, a 3.5mm to 3.5 mm audio jack for times when you don’t want to go wireless and a USB to microUSB cable for charging the speaker. Unlike the pricier Braven 600 the Braven 570 doesn’t include a carrying bag. Honestly I get the need to cut corners on the “budget” Braven 570 speaker but this is a stupid place to do it. The bag costs pennies and, considering the Braven 570 is intended to be taken on the road with you a carrying bag is a necessity. It is an odd choice indeed.
Another place Braven saved money was in the actual speaker housing. Unlike the Braven 600 the Braven 570 is made from “impact-resistant polymer”. In other words, the housing of the Braven 600 is durable aluminum while the housing of the Braven 570 is… plastic. It looks and feels just as solid as the Braven 600 and it even comes in six different colors.
Clearly Braven is going after a more youthful market with the Braven 570!
The Braven 570 is just 6.25″ x 2.5″ x 1.75″ and weighs just 11 oz. It is small, light and solid. For comparison, the Braven 600 is the same size but weighs one extra ounce. Obviously you won’t really notice the difference. The speakers puts out the same 6 watts of sound the Braven 600 offers but gets just 10 hours of playback as opposed to the Braven 600’s 12 hours. Like the Braven 600, the Braven 570 has a noise canceling microphone and offers the ability to charge your smartphone off its 1200 mAh internal battery. The ability to use the speakers battery to charge other devices is a nice addition and lets Braven’s speakers stand out a bit in an ever-more crowded market.
The left side of the speaker has a button to display the amount of charge left in the battery. Below that is a 3.5mm jack that allows you to daisy-chain multiple speakers. The USB port at the bottom is for charging your smartphone or media device.
The right side offers the physical on/off switch. Below that is the microUSB charging port and, at the bottom is a 3.5mm jack for creating wired connections to media players. Left of that is the call button and the volume up and down buttons and a 3.5mm audio jack for wired connections. I don’t love the fact that the call button is on the side of the speaker rather than the top nor the fact that it is bunched with a number of other buttons that look and feel the same.
I’ve mentioned the Braven 600 numerous times and thought it would be worthwhile looking at the speakers and their specs side-by-side.
Clearly they look the same and have specs that are close but not exactly the same. This should not be a surprise considering the fact that the Braven 600 is just $30 more. The real question is… how does the Braven 570 sound? The answer is… good enough. The sound is about as decent as you can expect from a speaker this small and inexpensive. I did a blind sound test of the Braven 570 and 600 and Elana and I both thought they sounded the same.
So can I recommend the Braven 570? Yes… and no. If you want a small, portable speaker that doubles as a speakerphone and can serve as an external battery the Braven 570 is a good option. If you need something that is a bit more durable and want that extra bit of charge (200mAh more) you might want to opt for the Braven 600. If, however, you don’t feel you need the ability to have a speaker that doubles as an external battery you might want to take a look at the JBL Flip. (Read our review.) Sure, it only gets 5 hours of playback time but it is about $100 here in our Amazon Affiliate Store and it sounds great for such a small speaker. Or you might want to check out the Jabra SOLEMATE. (Read our review.) It retails for $200 but is on sale here in our Amazon Affiliate Store for under $130. You can order your Braven 570 here on Amazon.
What I Like: Small; Colorful; Doubles as an external battery; Doubles as a speakerphone
What Needs Improvement: Plastic is less durable than the aluminum used in the Braven 600; Button position is far from ideal; Less runtime than the Braven 600; Sound is… “fine”
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample