While I’ve had Bluetooth headphones in the past, I’ve never had a dedicated Bluetooth speaker. Not that I haven’t wanted one, it’s just that they are generally pretty expensive for a decent sounding speaker. The BRAVEN BRV-PRO is not on the cheap end of the spectrum, but it brings some pretty awesome features to the table that we’ll be taking into account in this review.
BRAVEN BRV-PRO overview
The Braven BRV-Pro is billed as a rugged Bluetooth speaker for people with an active lifestyle. In a large part, they were able to accomplish this. The speaker itself is encased in a metal housing with several robust rubber bumpers strategically placed in areas where the speaker may impact if it were dropped. Adding to its ruggedness is the IPX7 waterproof rating.
In my opinion, one of the best features is the versatility of the speakers. Braven makes a whole host of accessories that you can add to the speakers. Here is the complete list of accessories for the BRAVEN BRV-PRO.
- BRV-PRO Action Mount $14.99
- This allows you to mount the speaker to a GoPro camera mount
- BRV-PRO Solar Panel $49.99
- BRV-PRO battery pack $49.99
- BRV-PRO stacking plate $19.99
- This allows you to use two BRV-PRO speakers together in tandem
- BVR-PRO Glow deck $29.99
- Provides light
BRAVEN BRV-PRO setup
The setup is pretty easy. You just need to hold down the play button for a few seconds to put it in pairing mode. From there, just search for Bluetooth devices from your phone. The only other thing that you’ll need to do is completely optional. If you purchased any accessories, you’ll need to remove the baseplate with the included hex key and attach the accessory with the same hex key.
I received the solar panel attachment and found that it was fairly easy to attach. However, if I had multiple attachments that I wanted to change in and out, I think it would turn out to be a real hassle to do that on a regular basis.
If you don’t purchase any accessories, you’ll still need to attach the included strap, if you wish to use it. To attach the strap, you’ll need to either remove one if the plastic clip ends and then feed it through the metal pieces on the end. Then reattach the clip to the strap. Alternatively you can also remove the metal pieces with the hex key, place the strap and reattach the metal pieces.
BRAVEN BRV-PRO usage
I found the sound quality to be great and there is absolutely no distortion at higher volume levels. For the size of the speaker, it was able to reproduce the lower bass notes and the highs sounded great.
The only knock on the sound quality is that the sound was noticeably quieter if the speaker was pointed away from me. I believe that is, because of the waterproofing of the speaker, the sound is focused in a forward direction.
The waterproofing itself worked great. I took the speaker in the shower with me and it played music even when it was wet. The only downside is that when the water gets into the speaker grill, the water will distort the sound from the speaker. A few taps from behind was enough to remove the water from the speakers and the sound returned to normal.
The solar panel is also waterproof, but I found that after taking the speaker in the shower with me, the solar panel’s hinge began to squeak when opened or closed.
One gripe that I have about the speaker is the amount of time required to press the button to change the song. It takes approximately 3 seconds of holding the button down before it will actually change the song. Even then, it won’t change until you release the button.
The speaker is equipped with a microphone, so it can be used for hands-free phone calls. One area in which I feel they missed the boat was that they did not integrate voice controls. It would be awesome to press a button and interact with the phone via Google’s voice commands through the speaker.
The build quality of the BRV-PRO is outstanding. My only complaint would be that the hatch on the rear of the speaker that covers the USB ports and audio in port is a pain in the rear to get unlatched. When you flip the lever up, you have to then manually slide the latch up while moving the hatch open. The latch should just move up automatically.
The built-in battery will last you all day and then some. It can charge your phone when your phone’s battery is running low too. The optional solar panel will help you listen to the music longer, however, if the battery is dead, the solar panel does not provide enough juice to play music from the current it produces. I left mine in my window sill all day and only got 2 dots of battery charge. Granted, it was not in direct sunlight the whole time, so it may charge faster if left in direct sunlight the whole time.
BRAVEN BRV-PRO summary
Overall this is an awesome speaker for someone with an active lifestyle. It’s built like a tank and takes a beating like one too. The optional accessories will allow you to further customize the speaker to make it your own. Having said that, the less active person can enjoy the great sound quality of the speaker as well. The speaker is available at Amazon for a very affordable $149. What do you think? Are you looking for a rugged Bluetooth speaker? Let us know in the comments.