Review: Braven BRV-XXL Bluetooth Speaker

Braven’s been on a great streak recently, releasing a number of very good-to-excellent speakers in the past year or so. BRV-XXL is the company’s biggest, priciest Bluetooth speaker yet. The huge BRV-XXL is an IPX5 water-resistant speaker built for the outdoors — its carrying strap even comes with a built-in bottle opener. Four drivers push sound out of both sides of the speaker, and a subwoofer is situated in the middle. Braven promises an impressive 14 hours of battery life, which makes sense when you realize BRV-XXL is equipped with a 15600 mAh battery — a 1A USB output port lets listeners charge an iOS device during use. As one might expect with a speaker this size, BRV-XXL recharges with its own proprietary adapter — Braven packs in a number of different plugs to ensure that its speaker fits into a number of world outlets.

Review: Braven BRV-XXL Bluetooth Speaker

BRV-XXL’s size is a blessing a curse. While it can pump out powerful sound — we’ll get to that in a bit — it’s also quite large. The speaker has a handle and an optional carrying strap, but it’s still not the most portable speaker around considering its dimensions — 20.25” x 8.25” x 9.5” — and its hefty 18-pound weight. (See it below next to an iPad mini.) Forget throwing this into anything smaller than a duffel bag, and if space is restricted on your trip, BRV-XXL won’t be coming along for the ride. You need room for this bad boy.

Review: Braven BRV-XXL Bluetooth Speaker
Review: Braven BRV-XXL Bluetooth Speaker

The speaker’s exterior design features black plastic, black rubberized ends, and two large silver speaker grilles. It doesn’t scream high-end, but it’s a fine utilitarian, industrial look. Under the handle, a small rubber flap allows users to stand up their device. One side of the speaker has a battery meter, with a flap covering the adapter and output ports, an aux jack, and a mic jack, as well. On the other side are the power, play/pause, and volume buttons. The power button also allows users to connect to Bluetooth, and adjust the bass and treble of songs, which is a nice way to give listeners extra control without having to access a proprietary app.

Review: Braven BRV-XXL Bluetooth Speaker
Review: Braven BRV-XXL Bluetooth Speaker

You’d imagine that due to its size, BRV-XXL is powerful and loud, and well, you’d be right. The four drivers deliver plenty of volume, and bass — the latter of which can be especially booming if you pump up the bass on the speaker itself. We listened mostly to the default settings of BRV-XXL, and what stood out was the balance and clarity of the sound. The speaker proved adept at handling all types of songs, and we didn’t find much of a need to tweak the bass and treble — your tastes may vary.

Review: Braven BRV-XXL Bluetooth Speaker
Review: Braven BRV-XXL Bluetooth Speaker

BRV-XXL begs comparisons to another recently released speaker, Nyne’s Rock, as seen above. While we liked Nyne’s Rock as a bass-heavy boombox, it’s clear from the get-go that BRV-XXL is a better speaker, providing improved clarity and stronger overall performance. Peak volume level is similar between the two, as is peak bass, when BRV-XXL is pumped up on that end. Braven’s speaker doesn’t rattle like Rock can at high volumes, another win for BRV-XXL. One must keep in mind, however, that BRV-XXL is also $100 more expensive.

Another apt comparison for BRV-XXL is UE’s very good $300 Megaboom. The sound is pretty even, though Braven’s offering gets louder. UE Megaboom has the obvious edge in portability.

Review: Braven BRV-XXL Bluetooth Speaker
Review: Braven BRV-XXL Bluetooth Speaker

There are two obvious downsides to Braven’s BRV-XXL: the size and the price. But if you’re looking for a top-performing portable speaker that will be loud enough for your gathering — and you don’t mind lugging it around — you’re likely to find BRV-XXL’s relatively high price easier to swallow. It’s a beast of a system, with great battery power and water resistance, and it’s easy to use, too. It’s an over-the-top outdoor speaker that can last all day, and it comes highly recommended.

Table of Contents

Our Rating

A-
Highly Recommended

Company and Price

Company: Braven

Model: BRV-XXL

MSRP: $350

Compatibility: Bluetooth iPads, iPhones + iPod touches

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