Braven has a clever extra trick up the sleeve of its Bluetooth speaker range. With a full-size USB port, they will also act as a backup battery charger.
It's not easy to differentiate a Bluetooth speaker these days. There are bad speakers and good speakers, which can be separated given the opportunity to listen to some music. There's also a range of designs and styles to catch the eye of different kinds of buyers. But as far as features go, speakerphone use and rugged casings are about as far as it goes, and you'll find many speakers that tick both of those boxes.
A relatively new entrant to Australia, Braven has one big feature that makes so much sense it's a shame it isn't featured everywhere.
Braven's entire speaker range includes a full-size USB port, letting you plug in any device to use the speaker as a backup battery charger. Anyone with a few devices in their kit these days knows it is easy to find yourself running out of juice at the end of a long day. To now be able to carry a wireless speaker that also doubles as a speakerphone and as a backup battery is a big win.
We've been taking a look at the BRV-1, the Braven weatherproof model. This model uses a simple screw-cap cover for its range of ports to deliver on the needs of a ruggedised, water-resistant design while still offering the battery-charging feature.
Looking at other speakers in the Braven range, the Braven 440 is available from JB Hi-Fi for AU$64. This is also a water-resistant model and comes in at a price similar to most dedicated backup battery chargers. While a dedicated charger will be slimmer and tuck away in a bag easier, if you know you want a Bluetooth speaker around as well, it's a combo deal that's hard to miss.
The charging function in the smaller Braven models is only suited to 1-amp charging devices — so that rules out most tablets. But the larger models, like the Braven 850, will deliver 2-amp charging for those larger devices too.