Under the Radar

Review: Braven BRV-Bank Backup Battery

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There are so many smartphone backup batteries on the market that it's getting difficult to stand out from the rest. The Braven BRV-Bank introduces a lot of surprising features to create a device that's not like anything else on the market. The 6000 mAh battery can charge two devices at once and gets a sturdy, rubberized case that offers IPX5 water protection.

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It's not cheap at $129.99 retail, but Braven has tried to add a lot of value to justify the higher price. You can choose black with blue accents or gray with red accents. The case feels like it's incredibly well made.

 

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You give up a lot of the water protection when you open the flap to use the device.

 

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One of the two ports delivers 2.4A of power to charge an iPad, so you can charge a tablet and a phone at the same time.

 

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The BRV-Bank comes with a heavy-duty micro USB to USB charging cable that includes protective caps for each connector and a USB flashlight that's designed to work with the device's advanced features.

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Advanced features? Yes, this backup battery offers Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to remotely control its unique functions. Once you've paired it with your phone, you can use an app to turn each power port on and off or get the Braven to play a sound if you're having trouble remembering where you set it down. There's a "Bear Mode" that plays an alarm and causes the flashlight to blink if someone moves or picks up the phone that's paired with the device. The app also lets you know how much juice is left in the battery.

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SOS mode flashes the Morse code signal if the flashlight is plugged in.The BRV-Bank charges quickly: it refilled an empty iPad in about 3 hours and it worked much faster on an iPhone.

This is one of those pieces of gear that you take to the hunting or fishing camp and spend a couple of hours showing off all the features to your buddies. Its piercing siren and flashing light would certainly scare the hell out of any raccoons, bears or campsite pranksters who decided to mess with your phone while you were asleep.

There are definitely much cheaper backup batteries out there and even some really good ones that sell for less than the BRV-Bank, but no one else offers this feature set. Braven makes some well-reviewed outdoor Bluetooth speakers and they've brought their expertise in building rugged gear to a battery that's obviously something the engineers who designed it wanted to use for themselves.

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