braven 855sYou may have read Stormy Beach’s review of the BRAVEN 850 speaker as he raved about how good it sounded and how functional it was. Well, get ready for more raving as we take a look at the 850‘s water resistant brother, the BRAVEN 855s.

Similarly sized as its brother at 10 inches long and 4 inches wide, the 855s looks meaner with its “shock-absorbing, water-resistant” rubber exterior, but still incorporates that sleek aircraft-grade aluminium to shield its speakers. You really get the sense from its appearance that the 855s wants you to take it places and blast out some beats as you go. In the rain. Yes, the primary difference between the 850 and the 855s is the fact that the 855s carries an IPX3 rating which certifies the 855s for limited water resistance. That means it’s probably good for a sprinkling from rain or light splash here and there, but not a hosing down.

braven 855sRight out of the box, you’ll find everything included that you’ll need to get started with the 855s. This includes a plug-in AC adapter with multiple heads for wherever you are in the world, a male-to-male audio adapter, just in case you decide to use an audio device without Bluetooth, your multilingual user manual, and an invitation to join BRAVEN‘s “More Club” which offers lots of information and giveaways to just name a few benefits.

braven 855sTucked away in the side of the 855s, normally hidden by a snugly fitting rubber cover, are the inputs and the outputs including the battery indicators, an audio in 3.5mm jack, the power jack and a USB port which can charge smartphones, tablets or practically anything with a USB charging cable. When this rubber cover is closed, it forms a great waterproof seal which should keep your 855s from experiencing a watery death by short circuit. In fact, the cover fits in so well with the rest of the 855s’ exterior that I spent an embarrassingly long time looking for the charging port before  finding the flap.

braven 855sThe 855s’ controls are much like the 850’s except that they are encased in the waterproof rubber surrounding the speaker. Although the buttons aren’t noticeably raised, they are still very tactile and solid to press. The control scheme is identical to the 850: + and – increase and decrease volume respectively but long press them and they will skip track back and forth. Connecting to a Bluetooth device is a snap as you hold the play button for several seconds till you hear a beep, then pair away with your device. And as a convenient side-note, the 855s will remember the last 8 device that have paired with it. Nifty.

You’ll notice that along with the volume up and down, play and power buttons there is also a call button and that is because the BRAVEN 855s can also be used as a Bluetooth receiver. And how good is it at doing this? Obviously the speaker component is sorted, but considering that you can’t see the mic, unlike the 850, the 855s performs incredibly well as a Bluetooth receiver; I was able to have the 855s sitting on my bedside table while I comfortably sat on my bed and carried out a conversation, only having to lean in once or twice to clarify myself. I think this is a really underrated feature on the 855s as coupled with its heavy duty exterior, even if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t want to get your phone dirty, the 855s allows you to answer your call with the assurance of water resistant buttons which can be cleaned off afterwards.braven 855sThe BRAVEN 855s, like many of its physical attributes, also possesses the same abilities of the 850 including DTS SRS Wow Sound, which gives you an “enhanced” listening experience, and True Wireless, which allows you to daisy-chain your 855s with another 850 or 855s to achieve true stereo audio. Pretty neat stuff. The 855s also has the same 8,800mAh battery as the 850, quoted as good for 20 hours playback on full charge, but I’ve had the speaker for a few weeks now and with intermediate use, I still haven’t needed to charge it.

braven 855sReportedly good for an operational distance of 33ft, or about 10 metres, this is obviously a limitation of the Bluetooth 3.0 utilized in the 855s, though you might be thinking that 10 metres would be more than a sufficient distance to really test the abilities of the 855s, but that’s where you’d be wrong. Thanks to the 855s’ 20W stereo output, the speaker can fill even the biggest room with its audio and still sound crisp and clear.

I tried everything from The Most Relaxing Classical Album In The World… Ever to Enter Sandman and the 855s made everything sound amazing. A bit on the bassy side, but who doesn’t love an excess of bass in music these days? And when I say you can turn them up, you can really turn them up without much hint of distortion, or at least, I couldn’t tell before my eardrums screamed “Stop!”.

braven 855sThere are still a few downsides to the 855s (some which are common with the 850): It must be said though that while the water-resistant, shock-absorbing exterior is perfect for outdoor and hazardous use, it is unfortunately a dust magnet; wherever you put the 855s, it somehow manages to accumulate dust on its surface and because it’s quite rubbery, it makes it hard to remove the offending particles without a damp cloth.

Additionally, if you do pick up the BRAVEN 855s, I would definitely suggest reading the manual at least once before trying to operate the speaker as it’s not exactly intuitive to operate without prior knowledge; for instance, you turn the 855s on by pressing and holding the power button for 3 or so seconds at which point it makes a tone, though that time can seem like forever if you’re impatiently waiting to play with your new 855s for the first time, making you worry whether you’ve broken it. Furthermore, while the speaker is on, there is no visible indication as to whether it is on or off, though as a backup, if the 855s does not receive a Bluetooth connection for 90 minutes, it says it will turn off.

Niggling issues aside, the 855s is every bit as amazing as the 850, and possibly even more so thanks to its water-resistant exterior which makes it good to go into environments that you thought you couldn’t with normal, more fragile Bluetooth speakers. And at $299.99 USD, only $20 USD more than the 850, the 855s figures to be a bargain for the sheer number of places you can use it without fear of damage or a light splash, and it’s going to sound awesome to boot.

Check out the BRAVEN website for more information regarding the BRAVEN 855s and its other products.