Braven Bluetooth Speaker BRV-X
Big sound in a waterproof package
In the past on a small boat you didn't have many alternatives. You could install a marine AM FM radio, which meant cutting multiple openings for the speakers and the stereo or bring along a portable radio. The first option would work great for a season or two, but inevitably the system would fail under the harsh conditions. The portable radio option, although not a bad one, lacks the high quality sound of the installed unit, takes up precious space on the console and is even more susceptible to the elements. No matter how well I tried to secure the radio it always found its way onto the deck in a puddle of salt water. Once again, you needed a new at the end of the season.
Over the past few years there have been many advancements in small speakers with big sound. This technology uses Bluetooth a wireless local network that allows devices such as your phone to communicate and broadcast to the remote speaker. So any audio that can be played from your smartphone or tablet will play out on the speaker without wires.
Setup and pairing is easy, and even easier if you have an Android phone with NFC. Just turn the speaker on and tap the NFC logo, that's it. Now just launch your favorite music app.
The build is sturdy and the rubberized outer shell makes the speaker easy to grasp even when your hands are wet. The bottom of the speaker utilizes an extra gripping material that keeps the unit in place even when the boat is rocking. There’s also a handy strap that you can use to secure the speaker as well.
There are only four buttons to control all of the features. Hold the power button down for a few seconds to power on or off. When playing music you can pause and restart anytime by pressing the play button. Volume is controlled with the plus and minus buttons, these buttons also allow you to skip to the next or previous track by long pressing.
The sound is big and surprisingly loud when playing indoors. On the water it works well too, but for extra volume you can switch to outdoor mode, definitely louder but you will some bass however.
The speaker has a built in microphone that allows you to take calls without having to touch your phone with your fishy wet hands, This feature alone makes this unit very attractive.
Another feature is the ability to charge your device from the back of the unit. Remove the watertight cap and there's a USB port, a little piece of mind when out on the water and your phone's battery is getting low.
Fully charged you can expect about 10 hours of listening, there is also a led gauge that indicates the internal battery level.
Another feature I didn't get a chance to test is the ability to pair this speaker with another BRV-10 and get a true stereo experience.
After using and abusing this Bluetooth speaker on the water for over a month I can recommend this product for the boater or fisherman. In my tests I had one minor issue, sometimes after receiving an audible alert on my phone I would lose Bluetooth connectivity, more than likely it's an issue with my phone, I've had friends pair their phones to the BRV-X speaker with no issue.
Here's a great tip, if you're going to purchase this speaker, use a dry bag or water tight storage container and your phone will never have to make contact with the elements while out on the water.
Tim C. Smith
Available at Amazon