Braven’s new Stryde 360 is the company’s latest speaker in its Active Series, joining the 2015 Balance and last year’s Braven 105 and 405 which debuted at CES 2016. Although the specs are similar to last year’s outdoor BRV-1M, Stryde 360 goes in a new direction from Braven’s traditionally rectangular speakers, featuring a cylindrical design more akin to JBL’s now-classic Flip and Charge speakers.
Stryde 360’s design was so different in fact that we didn’t immediately recognize it as a Braven product when we first saw it. The company is clearly trying to distinguish its Active Series here with the new design, and we’d say they’ve done a good job of making it stand out while still maintaining the general sense of Braven’s aesthetic. Stryde 360 is available in two colors: silver with green edges and grey with red edges. In addition to the speaker, the package includes a quick start card and a USB to micro USB charging cable; you’ll need to supply your own power source for charging, and Braven promises the internal 2500 mAh battery can provide up to 12 hours of play time at typical volume levels.
The cylindrical design of Stryde 360 makes it more suitable for tossing in a backpack or purse or putting into a cup holder or water bottle cage on your bike, which better fits the active lifestyle theme. While it doesn’t have the rugged design of Braven’s outdoor lineup of speakers, Stryde 360 is still IP67 waterproof meaning that it’s completely dust-proof and you can submerge it in one meter of water for up to half an hour, so you can safely use it in your pool, at the beach, or even as a shower speaker. A rubber cover on the back protects the three ports — micro USB for charging, 3.5mm audio input, and a USB-A port for recharging an iPhone or other electronic device — and closes so securely that it can even be a bit hard to open. Five buttons on the front provide the expected controls for power, play/pause, answer/end call, volume and track changes, and Bluetooth pairing, and a multicolored LED shows battery level.
Braven has generally impressed us with the sound quality of its speakers, and Stryde 360 is no exception — at least for a speaker in its price range. While Stryde 360 naturally can’t be expected to hold up to the sound quality of its larger brethren, it packs a pretty good punch for its size and design. The sound is pleasingly balanced, with two passive radiators on each side that provide good solid bass without being overwhelming — a problem that’s sadly all too common on most other speakers in this price range — with a strong and clear midrange and crisp higher end. The listening experience was very enjoyable at normal volume levels, although when turned up to maximum volume distortion was somewhat evident at certain frequencies. Stryde 360 gets plenty loud for a speaker of its size; when listening in small groups there’s going to be no need to turn it up anywhere near maximum volume levels, and this wouldn’t be our first speaker choice for pumping out tunes at a beach party anyway — that’s more the domain of Stryde 360’s larger siblings like Balance.
Like most Bluetooth speakers, Stryde 360 also includes speakerphone capabilities, which we found to be acceptable — sound from the mic was a bit muffled, although callers could still hear us clearly enough. Siri can also be activated by double-tapping the Bluetooth pairing button, and Siri had no difficulty understanding anything we were saying as long as we stayed in reasonably close proximity to the speaker.
Stryde 360 is another solid entry in Braven’s great speaker lineup. It provides impressive sound that stands out from a lot of the other speakers we’ve listening to in this price range recently, and it features a refreshing and appealing new design. While we’d still lean toward Braven’s Outdoor Series for speakers to take on our wilderness excursions, Stryde 360 is a great choice for urban adventurers on the go and versatile enough to be used for everything from casual home listening to pool parties.
Company and Price
Model: Stryde 360