Review: Braven Stryde 360 portable speaker
The Braven Stryde 360 portable speaker is designed for outdoors enjoyment and includes a robust case that is also waterproof.
- 12-hour playtime
- 360-degree sound
- Dual opposing passive radiators generate rich bass
- Hi-fidelity drivers produce loud, outdoor sound
- Voice control
- Rechargable battery
- Fits in water bottle cages and cup holders
- Waterproof to 1m submersion for up to 30 minutes.
- Works with smartphone to take hands-free calls
- $99 (£75)
I tested the speaker at home first before taking it with me for a campervan weekend. I also gave it a good dowsing in water to make sure it survived.
At home, while resting on a solid wooden table the speaker performed very well. The sound quality for a speaker that costs £75 (RRP) was excellent. There was very little tinniness and the bass quality seemed good, to my untrained ear. I tried different music and a range of volumes and I thought that for the price it sounded great. The sound was better than the Braven 405, although this is a more expensive speaker.
When I moved the speaker to the campervan (placing it in the drinks holder) the quality of sound suffered. It probably had something to do with the rattling plastic holder. There was also some distortion in the sounds at higher and lower pitch when it is not resting on a solid surface. However, of all the speakers I have owned the sounds was still excellent for on-the move music.
Even at high volumes it sounded pretty good. I should underline that I am not trained to know what is good or excellent in terms of sound quality but I enjoyed the sounds of my tunes as I travelled.
The speaker is aesthetically pleasing and feels fairly robust. I like the soft plastic ends that help to stop the speaker sliding around when placed on its end.
The chunky silicon strip of controls is ok but not great. At first I found it hard to work out how to switch on the speaker because it difficult to make out the symbols. They need to be made a lot clearer, especially if you will be using the speaker at night-time in a campsite.
The first time I tried to link the speaker via Bluetooth with my phone it took a while to connect/find each other. After that it was simple and straightforward.
There is a snap-shut compartment that protects the USB charging port (a micro USB charging cable is included), a 3.5mm aux input and a USB charging output, which allows you to charge mobile devices using the Stryde 360’s battery. This is an excellent idea.
The waterproof feature is brilliant. You could safely use the speaker at a campsite (even in the rain), while near a pool or the sea and maybe in on the bath side should you choose to do so. I held the speaker underwater and it came out, once dried off, as good a new.
Apparently, the speaker fits into a bottle cage on a bike but I think this is a dangerous thing to do. I can’t think of any time when I would want to have music blaring while I ride. Apart for safety, this would also be very annoying to other people as it would disturb the quiet countryside.
There is a hands-free feature that allows your smartphone to give a command or make and take calls hands-free. I actually found this quite difficult to use and I thought the sound quality of phone calls was poor. This is not a benefit.
Braven states that battery life is 12 hours, but I found it to be about half this. Perhaps I had the speaker on a higher than average volume but it was still nowhere near 12 hours.
It would be nice to see a loop for hanging up the speaker if you do not have a bottle cage of dinks holder handy.
Overall, it’s a very good quality portable speaker with some nice features and a great sound for the price. It is now permanently located in my campervan.