Up for review today is one of the newest portable Bluetooth speakers from Braven, the Balance. We’ve been impressed with the stuff we’ve seen out of the Braven camp in the past so we jumped at the opportunity to test one of these out.
The Braven Balance speaker is a waterproof and semi rugged experience. This means you can take it out on the deck, patio, or set it next to the pool to provide hours of audio entertainment. It isn’t designed to take a bunch of drops, but it can withstand some moderate abuse. The rubber coating is nice, and ensures that it doesn’t slip or slide out of your hand.
Thanks to the way this one is designed, you can set it on its side, or flip it over on its stomach. Sound comes from the center of the device however the ends do have some play for the bass and lows. In terms of dimensions, it is not much bigger than a standard size Bible or book of that nature.
While it is a Bluetooth device, it also pulls double duty as a portable power solution, too. Indeed, you can use the Braven Balance as a battery bank to provide some juice to your phone. This is a fantastic little feature should you need to power up while out and about. There is a 4000mAh battery inside, so there’s more than enough to get your phone to where it needs to be and ensure you’re charged for the rest of the day. Just be sure to bring your charging cable as it’s not included in the box.
As to be expected, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack inside that allows you to plug in directly so you can use the auxiliary port from your phone rather than Bluetooth. Should you not have a smartphone or something equipped with Bluetooth, you can always plug in your mp3 player or audio source.
Do note that the ports on the rear are not going to withstand water on their own. You will want to make sure that you cover up the device using the rubber boot or protective cover. Forgetting to do so or neglecting to do so could result in a wet and potentially damage device.
The model that we reviewed was Raspberry Pink, however there are a number of color options (Electric Lime, Raven, Periwinkle, Alpine, Sunset) available from Braven. We tested this unit outdoors as well as indoors. My wife likes to use it for when she teaches yoga, and it certainly does its intended purpose. She finds that she only needs to play volume about halfway up for a handful of her classmates to hear music.
When used inside, you definitely don’t have to turn the volume up very loud. It will fill a room quite easily. But, if you need to go loud, it goes loud. There is a semi-hidden feature that allows you to turn the volume to what I believe is maximum capacity. Called Boost Mode, you hold down two buttons (power and “+” button) for a moment whereupon it will switch to maximum capacity. It is quite jarring and unsettling if you’re not ready. If you need to really pump out the jams and liven up a backyard party, then this is the way to do it.
The sound is quite accurate, if not robust. There were very few times where we had to go above half the volume to be satisfied with levels. Regardless of where we set the volume, audio was crisp, clear, and warm.
We found that we only had to recharge the battery once every few uses. The capacity allows for up to 18 hours of playback, however your mileage will vary depending on how loudly you are playing your music. Keep in mind, too, that if you’re using the speaker as a power source to charge up your phone, you’ll need to top this one off more often.
We were thoroughly impressed with this device and it fits right in line with other Braven models we tested in the past. We are happy to recommend this to anyone interested in a portable speaker. You’ll find the Braven Balance retails for about $130 at a variety of outlets, including Best Buy and Amazon.
If you are looking for something that offers even more out of the speaker with a battery combo, check out the Braven BRV-X. Not only does it bump the battery up to 5200mAh, but its certified waterproof, shock absorbent protection lets it take a beating. And, the included travel strap ensures you can buckle it down to your bike, kayak, or off-road vehicle.