Braven BRV-1 Wireless Speaker
Just a couple of years ago, a great sounding portable Bluetooth speaker was a cutting edge
product. Now, they are seemingly a dime a dozen. With increasingly better sound quality
and dropping prices, there’s tons of alternatives in this hyper-competitive space. It is
easy to see why consumers are lusting after these products. Who wants to listen to earbuds
when hanging with a group of friends at a festival in a tent, on a road trip, in a hotel
room, at the beach or anywhere else where mobile tunes are needed? Nobody is the answer.
Yet, at the same time, who wants to bring a bulky, expensive or fragile audio solution to
these types of environments when a rough-and-tumble solution is warranted? Again, nobody.
There’s very few, if any, solutions that fit the bill of affordable, portable, waterproof,
shock-resistant and packs-a-punch Bluetooth speakers. The Braven BRV-1 is one that
fits the bill.
Design and Overview
I’ve reviewed and listened to a ton of Bluetooth speakers. The Braven BRV-1 is without
question the most rugged, durable and seemingly indestructible one that I’ve used. The
thick rubberized casing coupled with the sturdy, chunky buttons and massive waterproof cap
that screws onto and protects the inputs, connections and ports just screams that it is
able to withstand just about anything. I saw a video of the BRV-1 successfully standing
up to being run over by a car. Despite my desire to whip this product with all of my might
against a concrete wall to test durability, I haven’t yet, but there’s zero question in my
mind that it would withstand it.
The speaker is water resistant and offers jumbo playback control buttons on the top for
easy control. On the back, and under the waterproof screw-on cap that reminds me of a
small jelly jar, are a line-in port when using non-Bluetooth devices, a charging port so
you can charge other USB devices, a USB port to charge the speaker and five LED lights to
check the battery life.
At 4.75” x 3.25” x 2.25” the speaker is ultra portable and practically fits in your back
pocket and easily fits in your backpack, glove compartment or beach bag. (It’s just 12
ounces too, so it will not weigh you down). An included lanyard loop with connection point
and LED indicator light under the front speaker grill are nice touches as well. Jumbo,
rubberized no-skid feet allow for easy placement just about anywhere you want.
Battery Life, Charging & Wireless Features
Battery life is pretty decent for a portable speaker like this. Braven advertises 12 hours
which is about right. I played music at moderate to moderate-high volumes and was happily
still streaming at 14 hours. Charging is real quick and you can use the speaker while
charging. There’s a standard USB port on back so that you can use the 1400 mAh battery to
charge up your cellphone or other similar device. That may be a handy feature to have when
camping, away from civilization where you’d want a waterproof speaker, but of course the
more battery you suck out to charge other devices means less music. (Once the speaker has
20% battery left it will not even let you charge other devices anymore).
Bluetooth pairing, as one expects now, is painless and easy and has a solid connection
with very good range. The device comes with a built in microphone that you can also use as
a speakerphone which is convenient.
Sound & Volume
Overall the device is Impressive for its size. There’s two three-watt speakers as well as
a bottom-firing bass radiator. The sound is quite full and pleasing without an artificial
bass-whoomp added by many manufactures. Even at high volumes, everything is nicely
balanced which is not the case with many similar speakers. Of course with a single-
speaker, you’ll never get a terribly wide, stereo sound, but this little speaker is among
the best portable ones I’ve heard. The volume is FAR louder than the Jambox and packs a
decent punch. It’s definitely loud enough to enjoy on a car ride, use in a room full of
people or for hanging at a tailgate. And it’s perfect for the shower as well.
$100 - $120 sort of seems like the sweet spot for portable speakers now. (Keep an eye on
Technology Jam for another review of a $99 speaker with impressive results). At $132
(Amazon), this a few dollars more than other portable speakers but you get quite a lot
it. It is rugged, waterproof, can be used as a speakerphone and you can use its power bank
to charge other devices. Not to mention the device packs punch in the volume department.
Decent quality sound with plenty of playback time (12 hours plus) make this a pretty
versatile speaker and simply perfect for road trips and other times when you don’t want
the stress associated with fragile components that can break.
Written By: Parker Harrington