Braven isn’t a household name in tech, but chances are you’ve heard of them if you’ve researched Bluetooth speakers. The audio underdog makes some of the most powerful portable speakers you’ll find, and from mini to extra large offerings. They also happen to be the most durable too.
The Ready Elite is one of Braven’s latest “outdoor” speakers, which fills a size gap between the middle-ground Ready Prime and colossal BRV-XXL. Continue through our Braven Ready Elite Bluetooth Speaker Review to find out if it hits just the right spot!
Summary: There’s no getting around the considerable size of the Ready Elite. It knocks on the limit of “portability”. But you’ll gain monumental sonic output in return. Braven’s engineering left us thoroughly impressed, but sound quality could use some refinement.
What We Liked
- Memorable design and materials
- Environmentally indestructible
- Decent battery life
- Party-ready, Space-encompassing sound (even outdoors)
- Generous I/O
What We Didn’t
- Large to handle or put in a bag
- No USB charging (must carry charging brick)
- Bass response to just too much
- Bluetooth range is average
- Relatively expensive
Ready Elite Specs
Audio Drivers Two full-range (front) and two bass passive radiators (sides)
Frequency Range Unknown
Bluetooth Standard Unknown
Bluetooth Range 33 feet
Battery 5,200mAh, rated for up to 12 hours
Weight Unknown, but feels like 3 lbs
Waterproof Rechargeable Battery Microphone Price $299
Braven Elite Design
If you’ve seen one of Braven’s other “Outdoor” series Bluetooth speakers, you’ll be in familiar territory with the new Ready Elite. That is, a rectangular form, thick thermoplastic chassis, and a domineering front grill. It’s closest in relation to the Ready Prime speaker, and can almost be summed up as a larger version of it. This isn’t just true in looks but in features too.
The Ready Elite carries over the same durable qualities that Braven has boasted, such as IP68 water/dust-proofing and a tough, shockproof housing. An official impact rating isn’t stated, like the common MIL-STD-810G, but you’ll believe it when you get your hands on the unit. Its substantial, rubber-like surround feels like a tank, and all the parts are tightly sealed and sturdily put together. Braven even encourages the user to take it swimming, by advertising that it can float in water.
One may think that this is a basic, unidirectional firing speaker, but its sides reveal some extra outputs. Actually, Braven configured the bass to shoot from the sides (via “passive radiators” on each end) and dual full-range drivers at the front. This is a smart design that should make for a encompassing sound.
Function of the Braven Ready Elite
Braven doesn’t go easy on the Ready Elite’s unboxing presentation. Interestingly, we’re given multiple outlet types of the world (we guess that Braven didn’t want to deal with different packaging). You pick the cable for you and plug it into the sizable AC power brick. One downside about this speaker is that you cannot charge it with just a standard microUSB or USB-C cable, you have to use its supplied adapter.
Ultimately, the Ready Elite is a basic Bluetooth speaker. You simply turn it on (it will boot in pairing mode), find it in your mobile device’s Bluetooth settings, pair the two, and then get playing. The size of the speaker may make it seem like it’s a plug-in-only device, but it does have its own battery pack (5,200 mAh, to be exact) and can last up through a decent 12-hours of playback. What’s more, it can charge an external device from a USB-A output from the back.
Proficiency of the wireless connection is often a sensitive subject for Bluetooth devices. We observed no connection interruption with the Ready Elite in general. However, the range is somewhat average. We often used our smartphone as a source, and when walking around with it in our pocket, it wasn’t hard to get playback to stutter. The comparable UE Blast fared significantly better in this test from a few feet away. It’s our opinion that an “outdoor” speaker should have considerable reach.
Ready Elite Sound Quality
The size of the Ready Elite begs us to hold high expectations for the sound. From a loudness perspective, the speaker absolutely delivers. The sonic output can reach a house-shaking height, and completely succeeds in its goal for a surrounding, party-capable sound. It really is amazing that you can get this much power from a portable device that is battery-operated.
That said, Braven went a little too far with the bass response. We appreciate the quality of it, especially how it reveals low-end details you may have not noticed in your favorite music before (the sub-bass, in particular, has an impressive depth and rumble). But it considerably overpowers the rest. The mid-range mostly suffers from the domineering mid-bass, naturally, resulting in a muddied transition in this region. This isn’t to dock the quality of the mids, as the tone and vigor of vocals and instruments can shine through the storm. The treble has a similar impact. It reveals some crisp detail, but we could use a bit more presence.
Overall, the Ready Elite is one of the best Bluetooth speakers we’ve reviewed. Braven has proven that it knows how to build a device that will stand the test of time. And if portable power is your ultimate requirement, then you should look no further. But this isn’t to say that the Ready Elite is the perfect speaker. Our comments over the average signal range and overdone bass response are no minor gripes. We also can’t forget the premium, $299 cost.