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Review: Braven Balance Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

The Braven Balance puts the average Bluetooth speaker to shame with its rugged waterproof design.

Let's face it: Summer brings some serious heat, and if you want to enjoy your favorite jams poolside or at the beach, you'll need a speaker that can stand up to the elements. We've had our hands on the Braven Balance for a week now, testing its sound quality and durability on a few outdoor excursions. Its IPX7 waterproof rating means you can soak this speaker like something fierce — even completely submerge it to nearly 3.5ft for up to a half hour.

The Braven Balance isn't exactly the most compact Bluetooth speaker we've seen up close, but it still fits nice in a backpack — measuring 4.96 x 8.23 x 1.85 inches. It's also fairly lightweight, weighing in at 1.8lbs. The construction is tough, combining a thick TPU with a durable plastic. The top, bottom, and sides feature a soft rubber that compliment the music buttons and prevent unwanted sliding on any surface. On the back is a large TPU port cover that shields the USB output, auxiliary in, and power input from water damage. You want to be 100% sure this area is covered up before taking it to the turf.

Braven Balance Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Included with the Bluetooth speaker is a proprietary power supply that comes with US/EU/UK/AU adapters, along with a 14-inch auxiliary cable for direct connections. The Balance not only plays your music, but also acts as a speakerphone for your calls using its built-in microphone. When connected, you have a supported wireless range of up to 33ft — pretty much standard for most Bluetooth speakers. The main buttons on top include power, play/pause, and volume up/down. They're large in size, so getting an accurate press should never be an issue.

Braven Balance Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

When its 4000mAh lithium-ion battery is fully charged, the Braven Balance provides approximately 18 hours of music playback. If you ever need to check battery life, remove the TPU plug on the back and tap the battery button. A series of LED lights will illuminate, giving you a more accurate reading of how much life is left before you're back to the charging block. You can also use the Balance to charge a single device with the built-in USB output. Although its 1A rate is a bit on the slow side — power is power.

Pairing is easy peasy — hold down the play/pause button on top for a few seconds, and you'll get an audible "Pairing" message that's your queue to search for the Braven Balance on your device. The speaker packs enhanced acoustics and bass optimization, which sounds pretty dang good even at max volume. For pushing the speaker to its absolute limit, you can put it into Boost Mode by simultaneously pressing the power and volume-up button. Basically, when you've already maxed out levels on your mobile device, Boost Mode cranks it up another notch. And yeah, it's loud.

The verdict

In a nutshell, the Braven Balance is a beast for bringing your beats to life inside and out. The sound quality is excellent from our experience, even at higher volumes and in Boost Mode. The waterproof feature is definitely a plus if you're after a speaker that can handle getting wet or even drenched for that matter. The real caveat here is its $129.99 price tag. Granted, you're getting what you pay for — no question about it. But, that price is still a hard pill to swallow for many us.

There are certainly more affordable waterproof speakers out there you could roll with if you don't necessarily need the Balance's sporty design and superior audio quality. If price isn't a problem, you can snag it in electric lime (as pictured), raspberry, raven,periwinkle, alpine, or sunset straight from their website (opens in new tab) or pre-order through Amazon.

Buy from Amazon ($129.99) (opens in new tab)

26 Comments
  • Really want a speaker that floats...and not with a dumb add-on floatie...right now, AFAIK the Monster Backfloat is the only one!
  • http://i.imgur.com/uViX2lt.jpg :D
  • Check out ecoxgear.com - I have one of their speakers, it floats (flips itself over so the speakers are pointing up) and has a mini usb port for charging.
  • Altek lancing waterproof Bluetooth speaker. I have one, although I must admit I'm too much of a chicken to actually put it in my pool. It sounds good, and it has tap to pair with nfc. Realm good battery life too. I think its supposed to float, but I'm not positive.
  • There are multiple options out there that float.  I just bought the Ecoxgear Ecostone, it's supposed to float (I'll find out this weekend!), and it's rated at 24 watt output, 12 hr playback, and can be used as a powerpack for your phone, though I wouldn't when using it, the battery isn't very big.  The sound is clear, even when cranked up.  It gets fairly loud, I tested it by setting it up in a room with a bunch of HVAC equipment.  I walked at least 60 ft away, the bluetooth didn't cut out, and I could still hear the vocals perfectly.  My only complaint is that it could use more bass.  Considering it's hard to find any of these waterproof ones in the store, it's hard to judge sound quality until you bite the bullet and purchase one.  But it sounds good enough for me, so I will be keeping it!
  • Thanks guys!!!  Checking out the Ecoxgear now.  We spend a lot of time at the lake, and want to bungie a couple floating speakers to the Paradise Pad & boat for all of us to use.
  • Most of the EcoStones on Amazon are $99, but some colors (like camo) are 140 or so.  If you have a bigger budget, Fugoo (sp?) is supposedly pretty good, as well as some of the UE ones
  • Update on the EcoStone:  It does float, and it does still work after being dunked in the river, lol.  Bass could be better, but I could feel the vibrations from it in the water, while the speaker was sitting in the canoe, so it's not too bad
  • Can I use it in the Shower? Wana listen to Dan's voice one day on a podcast while I am getting extremely wet.
  • #nohomo ?
  • Lol!
  • Where and what you choose to do with said speaker is your prerogative.
  • That's just sound worng in so many way...
  • But I want a shower speaker to listen to podcasts. Many times I am in the middle of a cast and stop it to shower. Be great to tap and continue.
  • Simple, just stop showering. I have this one and it's been great.  Doesn't get extremely loud but for gets loud enough for the shower.  I paid $60 late last year so it looks to be on sale right now. http://www.amazon.com/Photive-Resistant-Shockproof-Waterproof-Technology/dp/B00K589F8A/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1438956826&sr=1-2&keywords=waterproof+bluetooth+speaker
  • There is an odd omission that I see in just about every portable speaker review. How many watts of output? Going to the Amazon link, it doesn't show either.
  • I dug through included documents and their site without finding speaker specs on this particular unit. You'd think that bit of info would be something to brag about if you're making a Bluetooth Speaker.
  • I looked for MONTHS before I bought my EcoStone.  Very few list actual wattage, unless they are bragging aout it.  If they don't list it, once you do find out, it's usually so low, they didn't want to say anything, lol.  I was going to buy an Ivation Acoustix, which was 12 W, but once I saw the EcoStone was 24 W for the same price, I went with it.  It's a bit weak on bass, but loud, and it floats.  Perfect for wearing a lifejacket like a diaper and floating down the river, drinking beer (of course) 
  • So is it better than the UE Megaboom? So far that is my go to speaker and its waterproof and floats in the water albeit the sound gets distorted but it works.
  • Seems quite nice. Great for backyard pools. Beaches not so much. My music tastes may cause random strangers to attempt to destroy it.
  • Apparently the Denon Envaya Mini is the best for sound quality in its size class, and it's splash resistant. I personally have a Soundfreaq Soundkick, which sounds quite good, though it's not splash resistant. There's a new one coming out called the Riva S that's supposed to be even better than the Denon, but it's probably going to be like $250.
  • How does the sound compare to the Braven BRV-X?
  • Will it float?! No... Guess I'll strap one of those toddler floties around it then and toss it in.
  • Anything works? Being creative with its waterproof system is the enjoyment :)
  • Funny how he direct us to UE Roll by saying speaker you can "roll" with you... I'm looking for one as my cheap 30 bucks Bluetooth speaker doesn't cut it anymore in SQ.
  • Love braven, own the bvr1 absolutely amazing speaker