Take into account the increasing number of people traveling and embracing a more active lifestyle, it’s no wonder that the portable speaker market has seen a steep increase during the last couple of years. Braven, one of the more aggressive brand in the portable audio scene, has come out with a portable speaker that not only takes advantage of Bluetooth technology, but also incorporates portable charging as well as having a rugged exterior.
The BRV-1 is not Braven’s first foray into the ruggedized speaker category, but it is most likely their best bet to make the ruggedized portable speaker concept go mainstream. For one thing, the BRV-1 looks very contemporary. Rectangular in shape with slightly curved edges make the speaker look modern and sleek. While some people might be turned off by Braven’s choice of covering the BRV-1 in a soft, rubber-like material, I actually find it to my liking as the rubber-like material makes it easy to get a good grip on the BRV-1, not to mention that it also does double duty as padding to protect the speaker from nasty, accidental drops. Weight-wise, the BRV-1 carries substantial heft, but not to the point that it’s heavy enough to be a burden.
All the function buttons are placed on top of the BRV-1 with icons etched on the rubber cover to show what each button does. The other hardware ports like the battery indicator button, battery meter, 3.5mm stereo plug, micro-USB and standard USB charging port are located at the back of the unit which is neatly covered by a plastic cap that can be easily attached/removed by a simple twist. One would wonder why Braven went into great lengths in wrapping the BRV-1 in shock-absorbing material and hiding all of the open ports with a removable, sealed-tight cap. The answer lies in the IPX5 certification that was awarded to the BRV-1. IPX5 certification means that the BRV-1 is protected against water splashes, water jets and wet weather conditions. The availability of the Brven BRV-1 is very timely as we’re nearing the peak of the summer season, quite a nice accessory to bring along during outdoor trips.
But enough about the physical aspect of the BRV-1, how exactly does it stack-up against other portable speakers? It has only been a short while since Braven released their first Bluetooth speaker, but in that short a time, they have already created a name for themselves in the portable speaker business. The BRV-1 successfully manages to bring recognition to the Braven brand as it carries the same awesome sound quality that Braven is known for. Streaming either wirelessly via Bluetooth or using the 3.5mm wired jack, the Braven BRV-1 sounds extremely clear and loud. Equipped with two mini speakers rated at 3W each (for a total of 6W), music produced on the BRV-1 has more than adequate mid and high notes which is accompanied by a generous sampling of bass. It’s a shame though that the BRV-1 doesn’t have aptx support, that feature is saved for the Braven 650.
The BRV-1 also has a built-in microphone which enables it to act as an extended speakerphone of your smartphone.
Running on a 1,400 mAh battery, it has a slightly longer runtime compared to the Braven 570 which we previously reviewed. On the spec sheet, the 1,400 mAh battery translates to a 14 hour runtime and in our actual testing, it comes close to that. Still, I wish Braven would have opted for a beefier battery as the BRV-1 can also act as a portable battery charger for any smartphone. A bigger battery would have meant more power when charging my iPhone.
It’s a portable speaker, battery charger and does double duty as a speaker phone when connected to a smartphone. What more can one ask for? While there are two points that I wish Braven didn’t skimp out on (the lack of aptx and the 1,400 mAh battery), the BRV-1 still proved to be a phenomenal Bluetooth speaker. The ruggedized aspect of the BRV-1 means that I can bring it along to my beach hopping trips with the ease of mind that it can withstand the elements. Sound produced the BRV-1 sounds great and even when tuned to the highest volume setting, the music didn’t sound tinny or “sabog”. It is a bit expensive at Php 7,450, but hey, you get what your pay for and it is quite worth its asking price.
Beyond the Box, QuickSound, Digital Walker and Digital Hub
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