We’ve followed Braven from the company’s first appearance on the scene. Back then they were a small company looking to make their mark in the crowded Bluetooth speaker market. They succeeded. The company, now owned by ZAGG, continues to innovate. Their latest? The Braven BRV -X/2. It’s small, gets great battery life and is tough as nails for under $100.
The Braven BRV-X/2 is a small, rectangular speaker. Available in your choice of black, gray, blue, or red, it measures just 8.28” by 3.18” by 3.46” and weighs under two pounds. I was sent the black version and appreciate the understated manner with which it all but disappears.
In the box, you get the speaker, a Quick-Start Guide, a Charging Cable (USB-C Cable), and a Shoulder Strap.
Both the front and back of the speaker are almost entirely consumed by black, metal grills. They do their job of protecting the speaker while also allowing the sound to exit unencumbered. They also give the speaker a rugged, “I mean business” appearance.
The bottom off the speaker has a soft, rubber insert that keeps the speaker from sliding around no matter what kind of surface it is placed upon.
One end of the speaker has a rubber cap.
The other end has a similar rubber cap that is interrupted by a softer rubber insert.
Lifting this insert, which doubles as a means to seal the ports, reveals a USB-C charging port (thank you Braven for making the move to USB-C) a USB-A port so the speaker can double as an external battery bank, and a 3.5mm Aux-in jack so you can use the speaker in wired as well as Bluetooth mode.
The top of the speaker as a rubber insert running from left to right. It houses the sealed controls which include the power button that doubles as a voice service activation button, volume controls, and a play/pause/answer/end call/pair button. A power indicator sits in the center.
At either end of the speaker, there is a metal anchor so you can attach the included strap. The included strap is short and ideal for hanging, but you can also use your own if you want something more akin to a shoulder strap.
That description could apply to any number of Bluetooth speakers so what makes this speaker stand out? The answer to that is quite simple — this speaker is tough!
It is not only waterproof and dustproof thanks to an IPX7 rating, but it also floats. In addition, it is shockproof and ready for pretty much anything you might throw at it. And while I have other waterproof speakers, none of them get the amazing 18 hours of playback per charge that the Braven BRV-X/2 delivers.
The waterproof, shockproof BRV-X/2 thumps with loud, booming bass and 18-hour battery life. And when your device is running low, just plug it into the UBS charge in.
But wait, there’s more. Thanks to the speaker’s passive radiator, the BRV-X/2 delivers far more bass than you might otherwise expect.
In addition, it doubles as a speakerphone and, when two speakers a paired, creates a true stereo experience.
A portable Bluetooth speaker with incredible acoustic performance, the BRV-X/2 boasts an 18-hour playtime for all-day adventures. Its massive passive radiator thumps with loud, booming bass, and its waterproof, shockproof design can handle your toughest adventures. It even floats! Want more sound? Pair two BRV-X/2 speakers together for wireless stereo pairing. And when your device is low, charge up with the USB charge in.
- WATERPROOF IPX7: Fear no water with powerful waterproof protection. It even floats!
- 18-HOUR PLAYTIME: Enjoy a day’s worth of activities on a single charge.
- RICH, BOOMING SOUND: The 20W output, massive passive radiator and enhanced bass create fantastic highs and deep, thumping lows.
- USB-C CHARGE-IN: Replenish power to the speaker faster and more efficiently.
- USB CHARGE-OUT: Charge anything with a USB port by drawing power from the BRV-X/2’s battery bank.
- CARRY STRAP: Take your music on the move with the carry strap and tie-down loops.
- WIRELESS STEREO PAIRING: Pair two units together for a powerful, immersive stereo experience.
- SPEAKERPHONE: Use the integrated microphone for noise-canceling, hands-free phone calls.
- 2 Year Warranty: We warrant these products against defects in materials and workmanship under normal use for a period of 2 Years, as applicable, from the date of retail purchase by the original end-user consumer.
Sound is the one area where I might be a bit critical. The Braven BRV X-2 sounds good for what it is. Compared to their early speakers, it is amazing to see how far the company has come. But while the sound is good, I can’t describe it as great. The passive radiator pumps out a decent amount of bass, but the sound still comes off as a bit thin compared to some of the other Bluetooth speakers I have reviewed in recent months. At the same time, the speakers I am thinking of were all more than 50% more expensive than the BRV X/2. As a speaker you can throw anything at, the BRV X/2 is fantastic. As a speaker you would want to get for a college student who isn’t looking for audiophile-grade sound and who tends to be tough on their gear, the speaker is ideal too. But, if money is no object, you might want to consider the Braven BRV-XL. Sure, it is double the price, but it will deliver far bigger sound in a package that is also ready to brave the elements.
The Braven BRV-X/2 is an interesting entry into the crowded speaker market. I love that it is ready to take whatever the elements throw at it but, why would anyone want a portable speaker that isn’t waterproof these days? I love the fact that it gets 18 hours of playback and can double as an external battery for your phone or tablet. And I love that you can turn two speakers into a stereo pair for huge sound during outdoor parties. But what I really love is the fact that the BRV X/2 is under $100. That makes it a speaker worthy of consideration this holiday season. Check it out here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the Braven BRV X/2
What I Like: Under $100; Water and dustproof; Shockproof; Floats; Can be doubled up for stereo sound; Carry anchors built-in and a hand strap included; Amazon battery life; Can be used to charge other devices
What Needs Improvement: Sounds is good for a speaker this size but will not blow audiophiles away