Braven BRV-1

March 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Reviews

If you’re looking for a portable speaker that can withstand the trials of outdoor life, the Braven BRV-1 could be the perfect travelling companion…

A sample of my review for ITProPortal.

Score 4/5 Stars

Price £149.99

Good Points
Stylish and extremely rugged design
Speaker, speakerphone and charger in one
Clear, rich audio performance

Bad Points
Volume could be louder
No support for AptX over Bluetooth
Battery life could be longer

“Rugged, water resistant, and built for the outdoors. The BRV-1 will keep up with you in even the most extreme environment.” – Braven BRV-1 product page.

Here at ITProPortal we like a challenge so we decided to put the marketing rhetoric behind Braven’s first rugged Bluetooth portable speaker to the test. In our exclusive review we took the BRV-1 north of the Arctic Circle to spend a week in the snow covered landscape of Finnish Lapland where temperatures in March can drop below -30 degrees Celsius.

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Design
Making the 1,000km journey from Helsinki to our destination in Äkäslompolo by train meant a 14-hour ride. This was more than enough time to get a feel for the BRV-1, but it took just minutes to be struck by two significant aspects. The first observation upon opening the box is that Braven has decided to omit a wall charger. The BRV-1 charges over microUSB and a USB to microUSB cable is included in the box (plus lanyard and 3.5mm cable) and while USB wall chargers aren’t exactly scarce, it will come as a shock to buyers who first unpack the speaker on their travels as we did.

Secondly, and more positively, was the BRV-1’s build quality. To guard against water, impact and extreme temperatures the BRV-1 has a molded rubber finish, tightly sealed seams and control buttons and a large screw cap at the rear which covers its ports. At the front is an aluminium grill (coming in blue or orange finishes) to protect the drivers and the whole package not only feels solid as a rock, but measures only 115 x 60 x 85mm and weighs just 338g. The BRV-1 also looks great thanks to curves somewhat reminiscent of Dark Vader’s Tie Fighter!

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Style is rarely high on the agenda with ruggedised products, but on the side of substance the BRV-1 is shock resistant and sports an IPX5 water resistance rating. The latter of these is defined by International Protection standards as “water projected by a nozzle (6.3mm wide) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects”. In real life this translates to the BRV-1 being happy out in the rain, snow, or liberally sprayed by water in a shower. It cannot, however, be fully submerged.

Features
Aside from the durability the key feature of the BRV-1, and Braven speakers in general, is its flexibility. Bluetooth audio playback is its staple fare (more on this later), but users will also find the BRV-1 functions as a speakerphone for taking calls and a portable charger. The former is aided by the inclusion of a noise cancelling microphone while the latter is enabled by the inclusion of a USB port under its rear screw cover.

The BRV-1 is fitted with a 1,400mAh battery which Braven claims is good for up to 12 hours of continuous playback, but this capacity is also large enough to virtually recharge an iPhone 5 (1,440mAh) or iPhone 4S (1,430mAh) from flat. It will also add significant extra juice to a Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S3 (both 2,100mAh) or a Galaxy Note 2 (3,100mAh), or even an iPad Mini (4,400mAh). It won’t make much impact on the huge 11,666mAh battery fitted inside the iPad 4, but it does still make the BRV-1 potentially three highly useful portable devices in one.

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Performance
So how does it all come together? The good news is remarkably well. At the heart of the BRV-1 are two 40mm drivers, a large 70mm passive subwoofer, class D digital amplifier (delivering a total of 6W) and output level of 95dB at 0.5 metres. Other than the size of the passive sub these don’t actually stand out a great deal, but for portable speakers dispersion and sound signature are far more important and Braven has got both of these right… This is a sample, to read more detail about the performance of the BRV-1, how it faired in our durability tests, its value for money and it read my final verdict click here for the full review @ ITProPortal

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

 

 

 

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