Portable backup batteries are quickly becoming commoditized, but Braven is trying to fight back against that trend by giving the BRV-BANK a feature set which most wouldn’t have imagined for such a product. The premise behind the standard backup battery is that it comes with a USB port or two, connects to your smartphones and tablets via their own charging cable, and that’s the end of the story. But in this instance that’s just the beginning.
Two features define the BRV-BANK. One is that it’s water resistant. The other is that it’s app-controlled. The included smartphone app tells you how much juice is left and allows you to dictate whether you want one or both of its USB ports to offer a charge, and also acts as a locating beacon among other features. The product is clearly designed to be used in an active, rugged environment – right down to something called “Bear Mode” which sets off an alarm if the battery is shaken or moved.
The BRV-BANK is clearly well thought out and designed. The question becomes whether its extra features are worth its price tag. The included 6000 mAh is a lot of battery power, enough to fully recharge an iPhone 6 three or four times over. But $129 is also a lot of money; you’d typically pay $70 to $100 for a 6000 mAh battery which doesn’t come with the water resistance or the app based features. So while it’s only suitable for those who plan to take advantage of those features, it does a strong job of serving that market. Rating: four stars out of five.