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Braven BRV-1 Review: Good sound, rugged construction

Brave the outdoors with a speaker that boasts sturdy design and excellent sound

Braven Speaker main

Compatible with • iPhone • iMac • iPad

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Price: £129.99/$149.99

The perpetual problem with heading outside of the confines of your house and into the great outdoors is the severe lack of rock and/or roll in nature. Sure, it might be fun to chill out at the beach with your friends, but without music it can be a little lacking in atmosphere. Thankfully, there are plenty of companies looking to deliver sonic solutions with affordable, portable Bluetooth speakers. Braven is one such company, back with an update to its very popular BRV-1 speaker.

Delivering 12 hours of tunes straight out of the box, the BRV-1 impresses with its IPX7 certified, water resistant, shock absorbent, ultra-lightweight design. Hiding beneath its sleek metallic design are two 40mm drivers that deliver a convincing midrange, while the 70mm passive subwoofer aids in unleashing a healthy low-end.

Braven rarely disappoints with its sound signature, and the updated BRV-1 isn’t looking to buck the trend. The treble is clean and clear, while the midrange is full enough to get decent performance out of vocals and percussion at all volumes. As with any speaker, it’s only as good as the production values of whatever it is you’re pumping through it: expect some tracks, from the Seventies and Eighties in particular, to bring a light – though impressively well-defined – guitar tone to the party.

With any portable speaker it is important to set your expectations low, though, and unsurprisingly the BRV-1 underperforms with bass-heavy music. In fact, there’s a severe lack of depth to the bass bite here – which is to be somewhat expected from a palm- sized device. Despite its price, the BRV-1 is still resolutely entry-level. Out in the wild, you’ll find yourself wishing the device would bring the noise. A little headroom would do wonders here, as windy environments have a way of swallowing the sound. Go indoors, on the other hand, and you’ll find it as a nice alternative to the standard MacBook or iPhone speakers.

Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

There’s a lot to like about Braven’s BRV-1, though you shouldn’t rip it out of the box expecting audiophile-quality sound. The IPX7 water resistance protects against light rain – and finally gives us an excuse to pump up the volume in the shower every morning – but it’s easy enough to bring the BRV-1 to a situation and be left wanting. More volume for large gatherings is desired, as is bigger bass for indoor scenarios, but when you look at the complete package it’s hard to find a reason not to recommend it.

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Pros Great sound with impressive durability. Impresses on all levels

Cons We’d have liked a little more bass and volume for the outdoors

Orange 4 Stars