Review: BRV-Mini speakers pack big sound in a portable package
If you're looking for a portable speaker that can keep up with you on all your adventures, take a look at Braven's BRV-Mini. Their small size hides big sound in a tough, but diminutive package.
Braven's new pint-sized portable Bluetooth speakers, the BRV-Mini, are ultra-rugged, ultra-portable speakers designed to go just about anywhere. We took a look at these rugged little speakers to see if they held up to our expectations.
Appearance and features
The BRV-Mini is a small, squat speaker that I would place in the ultra-portable category. A single speaker is roughly the circumference of a can of soda, meaning it drops pretty easily into a bag if you want to take it on the go. The included lanyard allows you to hang it from a carabiner if you want to take it with you on a trek through the great outdoors.
As an added bonus, two BRV-Minis can be paired together, giving you a stereo experience or to help fill a larger room with more sound. I found that these work wonderfully as portable desk speakers, giving me the ability to pair two with my iPad to play podcasts as I work.
The BRV-Mini is waterproof IPX7 rated and even floats, meaning that it's safe to take poolside or along for a canoe trip. Its rugged design also makes it the perfect stocking stuffer for teens and tweens who might still be a bit hard on their tech gear.
The BRV-Mini speakers are available in a few different colors, including black, gray, red, and navy blue. I have a pair of the navy blue and think they look pretty great. These speakers boast an outdoorsy, rugged look, so they might not be the best gift for someone who prizes a sleek, minimalist aesthetic.
Sound and performance
I've used enough Braven products at this point to know that they generally produce some quality speakers. The BRV-Mini is no exception. Despite its small size, the BRV-Mini packs some serious punch. The speakers have a substantial amount of bass and clear, defined mid- and high-range. The maximum volume is extremely impressive for a speaker this small, and there's not a lot of sound degradation at higher levels. Overall, this is what I would consider a solid-sounding speaker. Pair two BRV-Minis together and it's even better.
As for hands-free speaker calling, I wasn't impressed. I haven't found many Bluetooth speakers that can double as a viable hands-free option, and this one didn't blow me out of the water. It does, however, work well enough to control Siri on my Mac mini if I need that functionality.
The battery life is also worth talking about. At a low to medium volume, you can easily get upwards of 10 to 12 hours out of a single speaker, though pairing two together does reduce this a bit, as does playing audio at higher levels of volume. The speakers can be charged via USB-C and charge fairly quickly. I, for one, incredibly thankful that Braven has ditched the significantly more annoying micro-USB in favor of the far superior USB-C.
It's also worth noting that the BRV-Mini features Bluetooth 5.0, which means it has an impressive amount of range. Provided there's not too much physical interference, it's possible to pair two speakers together and put them in different areas of your house for uninterrupted listening.
Ease of use
Like most of Braven's products, these speakers are pretty easy to use. I was able to pair one with my computer, iPhone, and iPad without needing to turn to the instruction booklet. Braven has clearly marked the BRV-Mini's play button with the Bluetooth symbol— just press and hold to enter pairing mode.
Pairing two together did require me to read the booklet, but fortunately, it's a two-step process that takes mere seconds to complete. It's definitely one of the more painless pairing processes I've had to endure.
Again, I've had enough experience with Braven to not be surprised that these are great little speakers. While they're not going to replace a thousand dollar home audio system, I think that they have their place. As I said earlier, these are great speakers for kids who might still be a bit rough on gear, as well as outdoor enthusiasts. If you're looking to grab one — or two — you can get them from Zagg for $39.99 each.
- Easy to pair, both to devices and to each other
- Great sound quality
- Surprisingly loud maximum volume
- Durable enough to stand up to most abuse
- Not great for hands-free phone calls