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Braven BRV-X Ultra-Rugged Bluetooth Speaker Review

When the brand Braven comes to mind, I think: bold, tough, durable. The Braven BRV-X is the epitome of those words. The BRV-X is an indoor/outdoor bluetooth speaker that’s built for the toughest environments. It’s not just shockproof, but IPX5 water resistant. It rocks an impressive 12 hour, 5200mAh battery that can even charge mobile devices while it’s rocking out.

Braven looks as tough as it is. It’s got a mean and rugged look. You’d expect to see BRV-X in a sandy dune in the midst of a battle. The speaker is covered in a durable and dense black rubber with a black riveted speaker grill and blue accents. There’s also high-impact plastic designed to keep the speaker completely shock-proof. There’s rubber feet on the bottom, rubber buttons on the top, and a control/input/output panel on the back covered by a plastic screw-on cover. There’s a removable strap included so you can strap BRV-X to anything you want, a tree, a bike, a car, you name it.

The BRV-X is rich on features. Firstly, it’s a bluetooth speaker, so it can wireless crank tunes at a 33 foot range from just about any smartphone, laptop, or iPod. To make the bluetooth pairing process easier, there’s NFC which allows you to simply tap the speaker with your device to sync them (sorry iOS!). You can even use bluetooth to pair a second BRV-X and use one as a right channel and the other as a left channel. There’s a built-in microphone so you can easily make and take phone calls from the BRV-X. There’s also a regular auxiliary input so devices without bluetooth will still work.

The BRV-X battery is 5200 mAh (about 3 times the size of your smartphone). It will last the speaker over 12 hours of play. You can also use some of that battery reserve to charge your phone or USB device. There’s a USB port on the back.

With an IPX5 protection code, the BRV-X is certified to withstand water flow at all angles for 3 minutes (there’s some more details involved, but that’s the gist). It’s pretty much covered from rain, sleet, and snow. Even if you don’t plan on extreme sports, it’s great for your peace of mind. You also know it’s safe to keep in the bathroom during a shower.

That’s a lot of features. It pretty much has it all when it comes to bluetooth speakers. Next, let’s talk sound quality. This, unfortunately, isn’t the BRV-X’s best feature. There are indoor/outdoor modes, which is nice. Indoor mode is bassier with warmer mids. Outdoor mode pumps the treble and the overall volume(which is a good thing outside). The audio quality is a little bright for our taste. Indoors, it can sound too in-your-face. The bass is good and thumpy. The mids are loud and pronounced, and the highs are even pretty decent. We just find that it’s lacking the warmth of a quality indoor portable speaker. Of course, if you’re constantly in adventure mode, this may not be as important. It gets quite loud for it’s size…and that might be what really matters.

Verdict

The Braven BRV-X is a beast. It’s a great feeling to know that you have a speaker that can go just about anywhere. Sure it’s water resistant and shock proof, but it’s almost as comforting knowing it has a huge battery that will last a full day and can charge your phones at the same time. Plus, you can really crank it up. Other than the sound quality being a little bright for indoor use, we have two main gripes. Firstly, it charges with a proprietary AC adapter; no micro-USB charging. Secondly, there’s no auto shutoff or sleep mode. This means if you forget to shut it off when you stop your music, the battery will drain until it dies or you remember to shut it. Other than that, it’s a great device. Pricing in at $229.99, it’s definitely on the pricey side. It might be worth waiting for the price to come down or checking out the BRV-1 which prices in at just over $100.

The Good: IPX5 Water Resistance, Shock proof, Built-in buttons for controlling music and volume, Battery meter, Built-in microphone, Loud, NFC enabled, Auxiliary input, Can charge any USB device, 12 hour battery, Indoor and outdoor modes

The Bad: Audio is a bit too in-your-face (bright) indoors, Uses proprietary AC adapter, No sleep mode or auto-shutoff, Expensive