The Braven BRV-X is a waterproof Bluetooth speaker with a hefty design and price tag to match.
It’s time once again to get back on board the wireless Bluetooth speaker train. At the rate that these things are popping up, by the year 2020, scientists from the Fat Duck Tech Institute* estimate that we’ll be overrun with Bluetooth speakers, forced to create music for them to listen to. Apparently, they like electronica.
In that nightmarish future world scenario, the Braven BRV-X is likely to be one of the top dogs, simply because its big selling point is that it’s a rugged outdoor Bluetooth speaker and is thus likely to be the speaker with the big pointy whip. Remember to smile nicely at it.
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The Braven BRV-X is roughly the size of a football. Oh, very well, if you must, Braven’s specification sheet says that it’s 9.06×3.63×2.94 inches and 1.5lbs, or, for those of us who prefer actual scientific measurements, 23.0124×9.2202×7.4676cm and 680 grams.
The point here is that in the world of supposedly portable Bluetooth speakers, the Braven BRV-X is a chunky creature. It’s heft with a purpose, however, as the Braven BRV-X is IPX7 water-resistant and incorporates a 5200mAh battery within its frame. That’s useful as long as you pack a microUSB or Lightning/Dock connector cable with you, as the Braven BRV-X will fairly happily give over its power to keep your smartphone running when you’re in the great outdoors. It’ll also act as a desktop speakerphone if you’re not shy about the world hearing your phone calls.
The Braven BRV-X’s power port lies at the rear of the speaker underneath a sealed cap which also hides a standard audio jack and switch for picking between what are effectively two equaliser presets. Indoor is the default, with outdoor changing frequencies to better deal with the lack of reflective surfaces for the audio output to deal with. For the most part it works well in both environments, without simply making the outdoor setting “louder” for the sake of it.
By itself, it’s rated for 12 hours of wireless music playback, which gels well with the amount of playback time I’ve been able to eke out of it. Audio quality is solid. One of the advantages of a larger speaker design is that it does allow Braven to avoid the problems of small plastic speakers and reverberation issues, which the Braven BRV-X manages quite well. If you’re particularly picky, the Braven BRV-X tends towards the bass side of the equation, which won’t suit every musical taste.
If you’re particularly flush with cash, or really like Braven a whole lot, it’s feasible to pair two Braven BRV-X units together for true stereo sound. That’s not a unique feature for wireless speakers, but as I’ve only had the single speaker to test, I can’t speak to its actual efficiency per se.
Braven’s local RRP for the Braven BRV-X is $299, available in either Black or Grey. That’s slighly problematic in the classic “Australia Tax” sense, because the US list price (which is, to be fair, free of any local sales taxes that vary state by state) is only $199. Even allowing for a smaller market and GST, that’s still slightly overvalued, although it isn’t too hard to find a Braven BRV-X locally for around $270.
If you want and need a robust Bluetooth speaker with an industrial design motif, the Braven BRV-X is a decent buy, although you’d have to be particularly flush with cash to drop $600 on a pair of them.
*We also do pedicures.