For the longest time, it seemed like the portable speaker trend was headed toward smaller and more compact speakers, but you know what? Big spaces need big sound, and that’s just what you’ll get with the Braven BRV-XXL. It’s not a small speaker by any means, but the sound it puts out makes bringing it along worth it!
The Braven BRV-XXL has quadruple speakers, so you get stereo sound pushing out from both sides of its body. It has a built-in 15,600mAh battery, so you can charge your streaming device while getting up to 14 hours of playback — obviously, playback time will vary depending on what you are charging while running it and the volume you’re using. The BRV-XXL is IPX5 water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about splashes and spills (just don’t submerge it), and it’s shock-resistant, so it doesn’t need to be babied. You can customize your music with adjustable equalizer settings, and you can even plug in a mic for impromptu karaoke.
Included in the box are the BRV-XXL, a charging brick, and two-pronged charging cables for the US, Australia, the UK, and Europe.
There’s also an included carry strap with a built-in bottle opener.
The Braven BRV-XXL measures 20.25″ long by 9.5″ tall by 8.25″ wide, and it weighs 18 pounds; it’s a beefy, substantial speaker. The exterior is composed of matte black molded plastic with silver metal grille inserts; there is a large plastic handle built into its top with shoulder strap holes on both sides.
On the rubber coated left side, there is a built-in LED battery level indicator that displays the remaining charge in 25% increments.
Under the battery level indicator, there is a rubber flap that, when lifted, reveals the aux-in port, a microphone jack, a 1A USB charger, and the charging port. When the flap is closed, these ports are protected from the elements.
Here’s a shot of the backside.
And there is a subwoofer behind the metal grille on the bottom.
On the right side of the speaker, there is a power/mode button with a pairing button underneath. The + and – buttons control the volume, bass, and treble depending upon which mode you have the speaker in. In the center of the buttons, there are a series of LEDs that will display the volume level, or the treble or bass levels when you are in those modes (pressing the power button will cycle you through them). You’ll know which mode you are in because an LED will light next to the labels bass, volume, and treble. You can also use the + and – buttons to skip tracks by pressing and holding those buttons.
On the top, there is a rubber flap that says BRAVEN; I thought there might be some other controls underneath, but no — it’s actually a holder for your phone. Clever!
You can pair the BRV-XXL to your phone or tablet via either NFC or Bluetooth (the BT range is the standard 30 feet or so); if you are using an older MP3 player, you can take advantage of the 3.5mm aux-in jack. One thing worth pointing out is that the Braven site says the BRV-XXL also functions as a speakerphone, but I did not find that to be true; when a call came in, the music would pause, and I had to answer my phone the usual way. This actually makes sense, though, because who wants to boom out a personal conversation like that?
Because the speaker is pretty hefty, I’m glad that Braven included the shoulder strap.
It includes a built-in bottle opener because craft beer doesn’t usually have a screw top. 😉
It takes about 6 hours to fully charge the speaker from zero; once charged, you are ready to go for a full day of fun. My experience with the BRV-XXL is that it plays music loudly and clearly —no matter the type of music you’re listening to. Being able to up the bass means that if you like a lot of thump, you can have it; if that’s not your thing, you can tone it down a notch or five. On the highest bass setting, you’ll feel the vibrations from the subwoofer on the bottom. Even on the highest levels, I didn’t notice much if any distortion; color me impressed. Setting the speaker on our back porch, on the loudest setting the music played is loud enough to enjoy at our pool — about 50 feet away. Sound projects from both sides, so you don’t have to worry about which way it’s facing when you set it down. This speaker can get impressively loud — you won’t be disappointed, and it is certainly loud enough to fuel a backyard party. Since the BRV-XXL is water-resistant, it’s fine to use outdoors or at the pool, but it also sounds excellent in the house. Long story short, the Braven BRV-XXL is a beast; it’s heavy and pushes the boundaries of what’s portable, but if you don’t mind bringing it along, it will be the star of your party!
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Rugged design; Included shoulder strap; Substantial built-in handle; Adjustable bass and treble on the device; NFC and Bluetooth capability; Mic jack for you karaoke fans; Music played is loud and clear; Sound projects from both sides; Water and shock resistant; Truly impressive bass for those who want it; Built-in phone holder
What Needs Improvement: It’s almost too big to be portable, but the sound is worth it!