Not only is the Braven BRV-PRO the most rugged Bluetooth speaker we’ve ever reviewed, it’s designed to work with a long list of accessories that make it the one of the most customizable speakers on the market. The case is mostly aluminum (instead of the plastic you usually get at a $149 retail price) and the speaker has earned an IPX7 waterproof rating (OK in the rain or getting splashed but don’t throw it in the lake).
The speaker measures 6.25” x 3” x 3.5″ and weighs 1.5 lbs. Construction is incredibly solid and the unit I’ve been testing has taken abuse incredibly well: it’s been dropped and banged around for a few weeks and there aren’t any chips or scratches and the color hasn’t started flaking off. There are rubber feet on the bottom of the unit and a direction bass speaker so you can use a table or a stump to pump up the bass.
There’s a locking cap on the back of the unit that protects the micro USB charging connector, a USB out for using the speaker’s batter to charge your phone or tablet, an audio in jack, a battery indicator button and matching battery indicator lights.
It delivers on the 15 hours of promised battery life and, impressively, really does have a 100-ft range for Bluetooth connectivity, something that makes an enormous difference for outdoor speakers.
I’ve been giving it the Deep Purple/Black Sabbath test and it’s got an impressive amount of low-end for its size. I wish it was a bit louder and there are other $150 speakers whose sound I like a bit more, but the BRV-PRO’s combination of sound and toughness is unbeatable. There are also a few amazing accessory options that are the real selling point here.
This speaker comes with its own Allen wrench for removing panels and adding accessories, something with obvious appeal for those of us who like to tinker and customize our cars, tools or guns.
The action mount sells for $14.99, screws into the bottom of the BRV-PRO and is compatible with GoPro and many other action sports mounts.
The solar panel ($49.99) attaches to the top of the speaker and lets you recharge the unit without electricity, something that should appeal to long-term campers or the survival crowd.
The waterproof Glow Deck ($29.99) also attaches to the top and offers LED light after sundown.
The stacking plate ($19.99) helps solve the volume issue if you’ve got two units. If everyone in your crew goes for the BRV-PRO, you don’t have to stop at two units. Stack ’em as high as you want.
The 3800mAh external battery pack ($49.99) can add another 25 hours to the unit’s 15-hour life. Braven promises a Multi-Tool attachment at a future date.
I’d go for the action mount and solar panel accessories. The unit comes it silver and black with blue accents or black with red and each comes with a matching tie down strap. You can use this one as a speakerphone as well when it’s paired with a phone.
The BRV-PRO is highly recommended for outdoor use and the best one we’ve seen for use in extreme conditions. And, if you really like the design, you won’t be disappointed if you’re just using it in your kitchen. If this sounds like a great gift, you can still get the BRV-PRO at Amazon or Crutchfield.