The Braven 710 is a new entry in the over crowded product category that is portable bluetooth speakers. When you see a couple of press releases a week about bluetooth speakers it’s hard to broach the topic with any degree of enthusiam. However my first impression of the Braven 710 out of the box was “that’s gorgeous.” A perfect companion stylistically for a MacBook, the sleek aluminium housing does a lot to set a good first impression. Pressing the massive rubber on button helps solidify this impression with an amazingly resonant hum. Most Bluetooth speakers in this range make a noise when you switch them on – the 710 makes a statement.

The custom drivers inside the 710 make for a clear yet powerful sound for its size. It’s definitely a desktop or polite dinner party speaker (a Hugh Dennis if you will), rather than something you’d use to power a rave. But sitting on my desk at the foot of my iMac as it is now, it feels perfect. The rubberised sealing around the sides make the 710 more water resistant and I splashed the device a little without freaking out. It’s not quite ready to be dunked in the toilet … but why would you do that.

Braven 710

But man does not live on high quality audio alone and Braven have packed the 710 with a whole raft of interesting extras. As you’ve come to expect by now, the 710 has a noise cancelling speakerphone and can be used to make conference calls. The 710 also charges USB devices – handy for a last minute bit of juice, but the fairly small battery means that it’s a good emergency provision, rather that a steady source of power.

Getting up and running is as simple as you’d expect. Braven have added NFC if your phone swings that way and supports Bluetooth and apt-X streaming. Cleverly you can use the 710 as a Bluetooth bridge – connecting a regular hifi you can beam music across, which is useful if you have an older system. You can also pair speakers, which is handy if you had a friend with one, but not something I would see you buying an extra set for.

A great looking, sounding and feeling speaker with a raft of decent added extras.

The Braven 710 is out now from Braven.