We’ve previously reviewed Braven speakers – most notably last year when Modern Vagabonder Robert Evans beat the bajeezus out of his Braven 625s, concluding simply: “I can’t kill it.”
Now, the company’s upping the ante with the all new BRV-1 Wireless HD Speaker/Speakerphone/Phone Charger. They sent us one to gawk over and here’s what we found …
Firstly, in Braven’s own words, the BRV-1 promises:
- IPX5 certified water resistant, shock absorbent, ultra-lightweight and compact design
- 6W Speaker output (3W per channel)
- Built-in noise-canceling mic to make and take calls wirelessly
- 12 hours of playtime from the 1400mAh battery
- Wirelessly streams music via Bluetooth for high fidelity stereo sound
- … OR connect to a device or stereo system via 3.5 mm jack
- Features a built-in powerbank that can charge a phone
- Lanyard connection to attach quickly and easily to your pack or carry-on
Here’s the glossy promo commercial:
The Traveler’s Take
Straight out of the box, Braven’s products feel durable and well-made. The BRV-1 is no exception. Its rubberized body has a rugged, military-grade feel to it, with the sense that it’s designed to be kicked around – to take whatever you can throw at it. While I did not take an axe to it or take it SCUBA diving, I did take it in the shower and played with it outside in the New England snow and it performed without a hiccup.
Most importantly, I put the BRV-1 to the audio test with Underworld’s Born Slippy – a bit of electronica with plenty of highs and lows. For such a small speaker, it packs a pretty sweet sound. Although we’re not audiophiles here at Vagabondish, we can appreciate crisp, rich, room-filling audio when we hear it. Where lesser speakers provide warped, almost watery lows and tinny, piercing highs, the BRV-1 is consistent and rich throughout the range.
At 12.2 ounces, it’s about as light as you can expect a rugged, portable outdoor speaker to be. For ultra-minimalist travelers, it’s still likely to be too heavy to pack on a regular basis. However, if you’re an active traveler with an appreciation for great sound and can’t bear to listen to your tunes through shoddy headphones or laptop speakers, the BRV-1 is a solid choice.
Lastly, we travel with a backup battery all the time. Since BRV-1 features a built-in powerbank, it serves that purpose too. So, if you’re a weight-conscious packer, keep that in mind as well.
Pricing & Availability
Available in two color combos (Lava or Glacier) for around $180 USD directly from Braven. (Note: currently out of stock as of March, 2013)
Disclosure: Vagabondish received one Braven BRV-1 speaker in advance of this review.