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BRAVEN 600 Bluetooth speaker: Stylish, powerful, and it could be yours

Today is the day that BRAVEN's new SIX series of Bluetooth speakers hits the market, and in case you're curious about this new noisemaker, we've got a full review for you right here. Be sure to stick around until the end of the post, because you can enter to win a new BRAVEN 600 (US$149.99) of your very own.

Design

The BRAVEN 600 is a multitasker. Not only is it a Bluetooth wireless speaker that can be daisy-chained to other members of the SIX series, but it has a built-in 1400 mAh battery pack for charging up your iPhone when it's running low. It's also a speakerphone, and it packs all of this functionality into a nice-looking anodized aluminum case.

That case can come in either mountain ash (kind of a nice silvery tone) or bright Moab red. On one end of the case is a USB port for powering your favorite electronic device, an audio out port, and a battery check button. At the other end is an audio in port (used in conjunction with the output port for daisy-chaining), a micro-USB port for charging the BRAVEN 600, and buttons for turning the volume up or down, enabling the speakerphone capability, and turning the speaker on and off.

All of this is packaged into a clear plexiglas box with amazing shelf appeal. Inside that box is a charging cable, an AC adapter the size of the one that comes with the iPhone, and a daisy-chaining cable. Charging the BRAVEN 600 takes about four hours.

Functionality

Pairing the BRAVEN 600 with an iPhone is an easy process; you simply slide a toggle up to turn Bluetooth on, after which the speaker emits a rather impressive synthesized tone to get your attention (there's another tone indicating that Bluetooth has been turned off). Next, you press and hold the speakerphone button for five seconds. The BRAVEN 600 appears on the iPhone's list of Bluetooth devices, and you tap the device name to pair the two. The BRAVEN 600 also appears on the list of AirPlay devices. As expected, this Bluetooth device works well when paired with a Mac. It appears as both audio output and input devices.

After that, it's time enjoy your music, and you will enjoy it thoroughly. As opposed to many of the Bluetooth speakers I've tested over the year, the BRAVEN 600 actually sounds like an audiophile-quality speaker. There's a lot of depth to the sound from this device; the bass really kicks, yet treble tones don't get lost in the process. I listened to a variety of tunes from my iPhone, and all sounded great.

On the other hand, I wasn't as impressed with the speakerphone capability. According to my fellow TUAW blogger Erica Sadun, it sounded like I was talking with a bagful of cotton balls in my mouth. That was what she sounded like to me as well -- the iPhone's built-in speaker phone provides much better sound quality for phone calls. I also wasn't too happy with the BRAVEN 600's abrupt handling of the call. Many Bluetooth systems I've tested, both for cars and home, do a nice job of fading out of music that is playing when a phone call comes in. With this speaker, there was just an abrupt jump to the ringtone.

As I only had one BRAVEN 600 to play with, I wasn't able to test the daisy-chaining capability. However, I think it would be incredible to listen to music from a pair (or more) of these speakers. I liked the fact that I could press and hold the volume buttons on the speaker to have them act as previous / next buttons when shuffling through music or playing a playlist.

Conclusion

BRAVEN's new SIX series of Bluetooth speakers looks like it will be a winner. The BRAVEN 600 is joined by the 625S (shock-resistant, has a built-in LED flashlight, made for outdoor use) and the 650 ($189.99, more capable than the 600). I'm actually sad that I have to give this away to a TUAW reader, but it's a product that I would happily spend $150 on.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality and design
  • Music / movie sound quality is impressive
  • Built-in battery pack can charge mobile devices
  • Speakers can be daisy-chained for even more volume
  • Easy Bluetooth pairing process; no pairing code required

Cons

  • Speakerphone capability is sub-par

Who is it for?

  • Anyone who wants excellent music sound quality from a portable Bluetooth speaker.

Giveaway

And now it's time to give TUAW readers an opportunity to win a BRAVEN 600. To enter, fill out the form below completely and if you're the winner, we'll notify you via email.

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before June 17, 2012 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected and will receive a BRAVEN 600 Bluetooth speaker valued at US$149.99
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.