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.
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.
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.
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 or pre-order through Amazon.