Braven’s Balance manages to pack a lot of features into a portable Bluetooth speaker and may just be the perfect choice for taking along to the beach.
At roughly 5 x 8 x 2-inches and weighing 1.79 pounds, the Balance isn’t an ultra-portable like the Monster Superstar, but you get a lot more sound out of this speaker along with extras, and it’s still small enough to put in a backpack, beach bag, or carry in hand. The 4400 mAh battery is rated for 18 hours and a USB port lets you tap into it to recharge your smartphone. A power adapter is included for fast recharging or, if you’re willing to wait, you can charge the Balance using a USB source.
Making it especially beach-friendly, the Braven Balance isn’t just water-resistant, it’s certified IPX7 Waterproof. That means it can withstand being submerged in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. AUX input, the dual-purpose USB port and battery indicator LEDs are hidden behind a rubber gasket, while the top-mounted buttons are also covered with soft touch rubber. This keeps water and dust out but requires a little more effort to use the buttons. It can be positioned upright to project sound forward, or there are small rubber feet on the back if you prefer to lay it down and have the sound directed up.
Audio performance is respectable for something its size. There is a pair of drivers behind the mesh grill and radiators at either end. Volume is enough to fill a small room with music that offers a decent amount of detail and good low-end punch. Maxing it out gets a little harsh and some static then enters into the mix (at least with Bluetooth), but for a small speaker in this price range, it does the job quite nicely. Sound Boost mode kicks the volume up to give better coverage in open areas like the outdoors, although the sound does get a little muddier when you do so.
I plan to take the Braven Balance camping this summer and it’s seen extensive use while I’ve been working on a series of renovations. It’s a trooper for providing music in less than optimal conditions—it’s good for multiple extended sessions without needing to be recharged and when it gets coated in drywall dust, I just blow the speaker grill out with compressed air, give the speaker a quick dunk in the sink, and wipe it down. It’s also seen duty providing a soundtrack to snow shovelling.
If the black case of my review unit doesn’t appeal to you, Braven offers a range of bright colors. I noticed that at time of writing, Amazon had the Electric lime/gray version for $83.99, which is a significant savings of the $129.99 MSRP.
Disclosure: Braven provided a speaker for review purposes.