Portable speakers are a big deal these days. Not to mention, Bluetooth speakers are proving to be increasingly popular too. While speakers on smartphone are becoming increasingly better, they still do not offer the external sound quality one would like. Therefore, Bluetooth portable speakers in particular, are literally, all the rage right now. A speaker which is sufficient in quality to be used at home as a main speaker, but light enough to take with you as a portable speaker and one which can remotely connect to your smartphone and your extensive online music is exactly the product which can impact the market. Enter the BRAVEN BRV-HD Bluetooth speaker. The BRV-HD clearly aims to bridge the gap between portability and quality. However, with a price-tag of close to $300, this one is right up there at the top of the Bluetooth speaker price range.
When it comes to speakers, the design of the internal parts, coils, tweeters and so on, should be one of the most important aspects to take note of. It is this physical design and build which will either result in an excellent or poorer level of sound production. However, BRAVEN's BRV-HD looks to equally offer a product which is well designed on the outside as well as the inside. The BRV-HD consists of a grilled front and back resulting in a rather speaker-like appearance when face-on. However, the rest of the unit is encased in a rubberized exterior. This rubberization immediately results in a smooth yet firm feel to the device. While further highlighting and reinforcing the strength of the device. Not to mention, the exterior is also built to protect the device. As well as being encased in a way to ensure it will survive your average drops and bangs, the rubberization means it is also (somewhat) waterproof too. This is not just a portable designed speaker, but one built to survive the elements as well. That said, one issue which was noted (and you will probably see in the images) is the rubberized exterior is hard to keep dust free and does easily attract dust debris.
Moving on, the BRV-HD adopts a rather unassuming appearance. You have to look closely to see the controls which are etched into the top of the unit. These consist of controls for play/pause, call answer, volume and Bluetooth syncing. Equally as hidden, is the main connection panel which resides beneath an opening on the right-hand side of the unit. Once unveiled, the connection panel includes the USB charge socket, battery indicators and 3.5mm jack input.
This is a Bluetooth speaker and, therefore, the function and connecting ability does need to briefly be discussed. After all, this is not a simple plug and play speaker but instead, is largely dependent on being able to connect to your device. In terms of connecting, there were no overwhelming issues. Connecting via Bluetooth is easy enough, although not idiot-proof. After initially trying to just immediately pair with the device, the instructions do have to be read before the connection method is noted. Once understood, the connection was as simple as holding down the right button for a few seconds while your smartphone/tablet is in pair mode. At which point, the speaker does output a rather strange beeping sound and a connection is made.
Unlike some other Bluetooth speakers, this one has a built-in microphone function which allows for direct answering and taking of incoming calls without the need to use your mobile device. Overall, the function worked much better than would be expected. The speaker contains a call answer/hang-up button and as such the call can be taken without an issue. In terms of the quality, this was surprisingly good. Callers were heard loud and clear and without issue. Likewise, the callers also noted there were no major issues in hearing the user.
While most companies like to be quite liberal when declaring the battery life of their products, BRAVEN's BRV-HD seems to be right on the money when it comes to battery life. BRAVEN claim 27 hours of playable music is possible using the Bluetooth function and this was largely in line with what was found when testing. The unit was tested with a view to emptying the battery as quickly as possible and held up extremely well. Not to mention, there were no issues with heating or signal drop even after ten hours of continuous usage. There are no issues here in terms of battery life and this can be safely taken on-the-road knowing a full charge will easily get you through a full day.
Of course, this is a speaker. So although the ruggedized casing and the ability to take calls is all well and good, what really matters is the sound quality. In short, the BRAVERN BRV-HD does not disappoint. The overall sound quality is excellent. This is in part, due to the size of the unit which allows for the BRV-HD to come equipped with two full-range drivers. As such, and unlike many other Bluetooth speakers, this really is a speaker with the ability to utilize a range of frequencies. The tops are excellent and offer clear and audible top-end frequencies. Likewise, the mids come through strong offering a well balanced and all-around great sound. The quality of the low-end is a little more debatable. For an all-in-one unit, the bass is more than sufficient and certainly better than anything you are likely to encounter on a similar style of unit. Bass is handled well and there were no overwhelming issues with the quality of most bass-heavy files being played. That said, the sub bass (as to be expected) does suffer somewhat. This is not a deal-breaker as anyone looking at this unit will not be thinking of buying the BRV-HD based solely on the sub bass capabilities. However, it is worth pointing out.
The BRAVERN BRV-HD is an excellent Bluetooth speaker. This does exactly what it is supposed to do. The quality of the audio is significantly better than a number of the options currently available. The only notable issue with the sound production was at the lowest of bass levels and in all reality, those looking for a better bass reproduction will need to look for a unit which is not so portable in nature. The design of the device was surprisingly as good as the sound quality and is certainly built to last and withstand a few bumps and scratches. As such, this is a very well-built portable option. The BRV-HD is unassuming when used as a permanent fixture in the home, but certainly makes its presence known when active and playing. However, there are two overall noticeable downsides. The first is the weight of the unit. As this is considered a portable speaker, the weight edges on the side of being a little too heavy to be truly portable. This is not a unit you will want to be carrying around too often and certainly would impact on any weight restrictions on baggage if traveling. The second major hurdle which needs to be addressed is the price. This is not a cheap unit in any respect and coming in just under the $300 marker, means this is one you will have to seriously consider before purchasing. As a portable on the go unit, the price does mean it is a little too much for most people's needs. However, for a home Bluetooth speaker which offers excellent sound quality and the ability to be portable (when needed), the BRAVEN BRV-HD is a worthwhile buy.