Braven Stryde XL
So between you and I, when a good friend had recommended a Braven speaker I hadn’t heard of them before. But after looking around on their website it did look like I may have found what I was looking for. The whole point was to find speakers that could handle being out around the pool and maybe out in the yard when we light the fire pit. Braven’s website is focused on showing their speakers in use while hiking and out in the water. All of which are a lot more demanding than our pool. So with that in mind as well as the high recommendation they were giving I was excited to see what they might send out. They send their Stryde XL.
So right away when the Stryde XL came in I was impressed with their packaging. I’m always a fan of making sure there is at least a real picture of the product on the box, but being able to see the entire thing is WAY better. Braven packaged their speaker in a completely clear plastic enclosure that lets you see the speaker from every angle. The product name ran along the bottom with the Braven branding up top. They also have a short list over on the list of a few key features. Up on the top they slipped in “Go the Distance”. The back of the packaging has more features down along the bottom and Braven social media information all listed out next to them.
Inside the plastic packaging, they did hide the accessories in the bottom section that you can’t see inside. In there you get a warranty and warnings paper, a small get started guide, and then one that shows you how to register the speaker. For accessories, you get a wall wart similar to the Creative speaker. It also has a few different connection options like before as well, for me, I will only need the US power adapter but if you travel you can bring these with you if needed. There is also an audio cable with your normal headphone jacks on both ends to hook up directly.
So the Stryde XL is similar to the iRoarGo in a few ways. It has its drivers facing out the front with two passive radiators on the ends. Because of that design, they do both have that wider shape that is designed to focus the audio more in one direction. The radiators do help get it out to the sides as well, but this isn’t a 360-degree speaker design like the Ultimate Ears. Now the Stryde XL is larger than the iRoarGo, it is 9 and a half inches wide and 5.6 inches tall. Then it is about 2.6 inch thick, Braven doesn’t list the thickness on their website. They also don’t mention what size drivers they are using, only that there are two. The overall look is sharp, the front grill is holes drilled in the plastic enclosure with a dark gray rubberized finish then there are red accents down on the ends. There is just a single status LED and it is here on the front as well hidden behind the grill.
The back of the Stryde XL has that same dark grey finish and it has the same plastic construction. The Braven branding is embossed into the back and there are four smaller rubber feet here for if you want to face the speaker up into the air.
Down close to the bottom of the rear there is a rubber panel with a pull tab on top that you can pull out. This is by far the most heavy duty watertight seal in all of the speaker I am testing. It was really hard to pull out because it is so tight and it uses multiple rings. That is because this speaker is IP67 rated. This means it is dustproof and can be immersed in up to 1 meter of water. This is the standard rating for anything that you would run outside in the dust, dirt, and rain.
Behind it, you have all of the connections. So we have a full-sized USB out and a micro USB port. The full-sized USB port is there because the Stryde XL has a 4400MAH battery inside that you can use just for the speaker or to charge up your mobile devices. This is especially nice when playing music from your phone. The micro-USB port on the other hand, I thought might indicate that you can use the Stryde XL as a PC speaker like the iRoarGo but that didn’t work. Windows picks up the USB device, but not an audio device. The included User Guide doesn’t even include the plug in their drawings so I’m guessing this might be a service plug. The battery shape on the button is the battery status button with the LED below it to show you via color how charged it is. White is fully charged, green is 70%, yellow is 40%, and red is anything below 40%. The reset button is there to restore back to original settings. Then to the right of that is the power plug. Like the iRoarGo Braven went with a power wart and regular plug, not a micro-USB or Type-C port that might also match your mobile devices, so you will need to bring the charger along with you if you think you might need to charge it. Lastly, on the right, is an auxiliary in port that uses a headphone jack and the included male to male adapter to hard wire to your mobile device or laptop if it doesn’t have Bluetooth.
So both ends of the Stryde XL are completely filled with the passive radiators. These basically pull sound waves from inside of the enclosure out the sides. They both have Braven branding on them and then that bright red ring around them that gives a nice accent to the speaker. They do also have another version that has a lighter gray casing and these rings are then bright green. Both look awesome.
So all of the controls are contained up on the top edge of the speaker. There is a rubber ring around them all and then the buttons are also rubber. The Braven branding is here as well. I think they managed to put their brand on every side except the front. For buttons, you have the standard stuff in the larger buttons. Power is on the left (this photo has the speaker upside down) along with a play/pause button. Then in between them is the Bluetooth sync button. On the other side, the plus and minus signs are mainly for volume up and down, but long pressing each of them can skip forward and back through your music as well. Then the middle button there is a speaker icon. This one can be used to answer phone calls. The Stryde XL has a microphone built in for this as well. Or any other time pressing it will turn on your google assistant or Siri and using the built-in microphone you can give commands.
The bottom is the least exciting area. So all of the required logos and information is all down here. Then near the ends, there are two-inch wide rubber feet that help give a flat surface to the round bottom of the speaker and to keep it from sliding around.