Summer is in full swing across the nation and for many that means getting outdoors. While I can certainly appreciate being in the great outdoors and enjoying the peaceful sounds of nature, that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes want some tunes by river, lake, or camp site. There are no shortage of Bluetooth speakers to choose from out in the wild. Some offer a little more than others. Some offer very little for a lot. BRAVEN, in my opinion, is one of those speaker manufacturers that does its very best to meet consumers needs in the middle by offering a lot for a middle ground price tag. Lets take a look at one of their offerings, the BRAVEN BRV-X.
What’s in the box
BRAVEN BRV-X Speaker
Charging block with 4 international charging adaptors
3.5 to 3.5 headphone cord
BRAVEN branded strap
BRAVEN branded lanyard
Virtual overview of the exterior
On the top edges of the speaker we have controls to adjust volume, power it on and off, play/pause, change tracks and answer incoming calls.
The rear of the speaker is where you will find a screw on/off back. Under this is where you find a few key essentials to the speaker. First up is the charging port, a USB out to charger your phone or other devices, a battery life indicator and a switch for indoor and outdoor mode. You will also find an AUX in port to use that 3.5 to 3.5 headphone cable that BRAVEN packed in the box with anything that isn’t Bluetooth enabled. Just to the side of the removable back is a NFC tag that lets you easily pair the speaker to a NFC compatible device.
The bottom offers up four rather larger rubber feet that are almost sticky to reduce vibration when on a smooth surface. They aren’t quite sticky, but certainly feel like they are when you have it sitting on a table or counter.
The whole speaker is wrapped with rubber over molding combined with high-impact plastic that provides shockproof durability and gives it a unique feel in hand. Without all the fancy words, it means the speaker can take a solid beating and is likely to not withstand some bumps and drops without falling apart.
Inside BRAVEN packed a 5,200 mAh battery to power the speaker and any device you need a power boost to while on the go. It is rated for 12 hours of continuous playback at medium volume. That rating excludes any device charging of course. Braven doesn’t offer up details on the speakers, drivers or any hard numbers for audiophiles. It is apparent that there are two speakers that can be seen behind the front grill. As for watts, or ohms or impedance ranges, I am at a loss.
Additional, and important, details
There are a number of additional details to the BRV-X that are notable. Obviously this line is geared as a much more rugged outdoor type of speaker. That means it can take a good beating and keep on playing. It also means that as long as the rear cover is in place the speaker is also water-resistant with an IPX7 rating. That rating gives the speaker protection against submersion of 1 meter for 30 minutes before something could potentially go wrong. I see no reason to go diving with the speaker, but an accidental foll or splash won’t ruin your tunes for the day.
BRAVEN also has a pretty killer technology built into the speaker that they dub TrueWireless Technology. This technology allows you to pair two BRV-X device to each other to give you left and right stereo output while controlling it all from the same device.
How does it sound?
As mentioned above, the BRV-X carriers two sound profiles. One for indoor listening and one for outdoor listening. The indoor settings turns up the bass and gives you a full body sound for a large room. It can crank to max and not have any popping or distortion. However, if you go into your phone, or audio apps, settings and push things up to its max there can be some crackling issues. In a nut shell, don’t toss on Dre and crank the bass boost to 100% and expect it to thump without some potential audio issues. I did adjust some of the output sound through Rhapsody to get a little more bass and level out the mids/highs easily though for a bit more of customized sound experience.
The outdoor mode takes things to the opposite side of the spectrum by pulling the bass down quite a bit and pushing the mids the highs up. It pushes more sound for a larger outdoor space that is still clear and sounds great at all volumes. It would be thee perfect setting for late night moving watching in the tent on lower volumes as it highlights the voices quite nicely.
I ran a few phone calls through the speaker since it does offer an integrated microphone for speakerphone functionality. The recipients could tell I was on speakerphone, but were clueless to it being any different from my phones speakerphone. They could hear me just fine and I could easily hear them. Switching to outdoor mode seemed to product the best voice quality as it cleared out the bass from some of my male friends voices.
How does the battery perform?
I currently work in a retail space for 8 to 10 hours a day. The speaker sits out in plain view pumping out tunes from a variety of devices from the second we open until we close. It sits mostly at medium volume with some max volumes for demonstration purposes or to open/close the store. I have had no issues with the speaker lasting the whole shift with most occasions having it last through two whole days before it needs to be charged. By days I mean open to close for our retail hours which is 10 – 7.
What is it going to cost me?
The speaker is competitively priced for the rugged sector with a sound quality that matches nicely at $199.99. That price tags offers you up the gray and black offering in this review or the black with blue accent variant of the BRV-X.
What I like best about the BRV-X
Being that I have kids and it is summer, I really love that the speaker is IPX7 rated. It has sat outside on a number of occasions in the front and back during water fights and sprinkler sessions all without fear of it getting wet. It is plenty loud enough on both indoor and outdoor modes to rock my yard and that of a few neighbors. Lucky for me my neighbors all have the same taste in music that I do and they usually want me to turn it up more.
It is small enough and light enough to take on trips but packs enough sound to not force you to sit 3 feet away to hear it.
Indoor and outdoor mode give you a quick ability to switch profiles with little fuss and the difference in how it sounds is noticeable enough to warrant switching it for different environments.
The included strap is pretty cool and can be very useful in a variety of situations. Strapping it to the front or back of a quad, to a small tree or to the boat are the first things that come to mind. I strapped it to a low branch on the tree in the back yard to elevate the speaker and help it throw some more sound out over everyone heads.
What I dislike most about the BRV-X
A person can easily pick apart any product for some flaws. I do my best to point out the little things that may or may not drive you crazy. In the case of the BRV-X it still rests on the proprietary charging plug that still needs to be plugged into a wall outlet for charging. This method of charging is understandable, but limits long-term outdoor use for some. If I plan a week-long backpack trip and want to take the speaker for some tunes, I will be out of luck on day 2 or 3. I don’t usually venture out that long personally. Most trips have a car or generator accessible for one reason or another and I can give it a charge if needed. However, the lack of additional charging options, like a micro USB port for instance, is perplexing.
While I am very confident in the companies support and customer service, I don’t see a way to purchase another power plug-in the event of the one in the box getting lost or damaged.
The Bluetooth connection, whether connected manually or by NFC, was as quick and as painless as any other Bluetooth product I have used. It offers the usual 33-foot range and you will notice the music cut in and out around that marker. Other interference can cause the same thing. I also noticed that if you have multiple devices paired to the speaker that it will connect to what it feels like offers the best connection, not necessarily the one you are trying to pair with. I did have to put the speaker back into pairing mode to make it switch to the device I wanted to use at the moment. I am not sure if that is a fault of the speaker, or the devices and Bluetooth though as other devices I have available are super easy to toggle the connection on and off and connect to another device.
If you are in need of a solidly built, lightweight, great sounding and long-lasting speaker to get you through your summer adventures and beyond, it is hard to say that the BRAVEN BRV-X isn’t a solid choice for $199.99, from BRAVEN.com. Everyone that I know that has listened to them say they sound better and outperfom the Beats Pill and other similar devices they have used or purchased. I never got into the Beats hype, but I trust their opinions as much as they trust mine when it comes to product purchases. All that have picked one up tell me they still love it and use it nearly daily in the back yard for BBQ’s, at the river with the family, out camping on the weekends and on their desks at home.
You can venture over to BRAVEN’s site to take a closer look and order it directly from the company if you do so desire. If you love shopping though Amazon as much as I do though, you can save yourself a little money on both color options. At the time of posting this the BRV-X in black was $168.98 and the gray was $187.59. Odd price difference for the same speaker, but I don’t have control over that. Hit the links to get one ordered today. If you are looking for a different option, maybe something a little smaller like the BRV-1 check out BRAVEN’s other speakers on Amazon