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Braven BRV-1 review: A splashproof mini Bluetooth speaker that sounds decent

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MSRP: $179.99
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The Good The Braven BRV-1 is a compact wireless Bluetooth speaker that has a rugged, splashproof design. It sounds decent for its size and has good battery life.

The Bad Some people may find the pulsating blue light on the front irritating, particularly when using the speaker in a darkened room; doesn't pair automatically after initial pairing.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a compact rugged, water-resistant Bluetooth speaker, the Braven BRV-1 is worth considering now that its street price has dropped to closer to $100.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.2 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Sound 7
  • Value 7

Review Sections

Braven's compact, water-resistant BRV-1 Bluetooth has been out for a while, but it's now come down in price to the point where it's a reasonable value at a little more than a $100 -- or about $50 less than its list price. Soundwise, it compares favorably to some the better small Bluetooth speakers out there, including the UE Mini Boom, and is nicely designed, with a couple of different color options to choose from.

If you turn the BRV-1 around, it does look a little like a night-vision scope, but all this thing does is stream your music from any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone from about 30 feet away.

On top of the unit there are volume controls along with a power button and pause/play button. Aside from the water-resistant design, you get a few extra features. There's a built-in microphone for speakerphone calls and under a screw-on cap on the back of the unit, you'll find an auxiliary input for non-Bluetooth devices, a battery life indicator, and a USB charging port.

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The BRV-1 is water-resistant, though not completely waterproof. Sarah Tew/CNET

That port allows you to charge a cell phone from the speaker's internal rechargeable battery, which is rated to power the speaker for 12 hours on a full charge at modest volume levels (it charges via a microUSB connection). Naturally, the battery life will dip if you crank the speaker for long periods.

Performance

The speaker plays pretty loud for its size and sounds comparatively good -- by that I mean it manages to avoid having a harsh edge so long as you don't crank the volume too much. It doesn't play as loud as JBL's Flip 2 or the more expensive UE Boom (that speaker sounds significantly better). And like most mini wireless speakers, it does have its limitations, particularly in the bass department -- it just doesn't come across as a fuller-sounding, large speaker -- and is strongest in the midrange (it sounds best with mellower acoustic tracks).

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