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We had a great time during our Anker Soundcore 2 Bluetooth speaker review. Listening to your favorite tunes or podcast makes even the most mundane or challenging activity more fun. Which is why rugged, portable speakers are a must-have item for the person on the go. For a while now, the Soundcore division at Anker has been trying their hand at small form, water-resistant, portable speakers, with some success.
Anker has now brought to market the Soundcore 2, the second iteration of the Soundcore Bluetooth speaker. This small speaker can fit nicely in the palm of your hand, but its diminutive size belies its sturdiness, its long battery life and its sound quality. All at a fair price.
Anker Soundcore 2 Bluetooth speaker review: Who needs it?
This sturdy little speaker was designed for the kind of person who likes to listen to good music when they are doing outdoor activities like camping, hiking or even a day on the beach. The speaker is sturdy enough to withstand the tough conditions of the outdoors, so it can take almost anything you throw at it. Yet it is small and light enough to fit nicely with the rest of the camping gear in your backpack.
The Soundcore 2 is also waterproof, to a large extent. This allows it to survive the rain as well as the less-than-dry environment of a shower. Meaning that you can put a soundtrack to your shower and make it that much more epic by having the speaker right there in the shower, with you.
Thanks to its long battery life, the Soundcore 2 is the perfect companion on long nights under the stars, when you and a few friends are enjoying some barbecue in the park, or on your day trip to the beach.
This tiny but feature-rich speaker has a whole lot more going for it, so let us take a closer look.
The design of the Soundcore 2 was informed by two main considerations. The first was sturdiness. This speaker is built to hold up to the challenges of different environments, outdoor and otherwise. The second was portability, which is why Anker made this speaker as small and as light as possible.
Dimensions and looks
The Soundcore Bluetooth speaker comes in matte black, blue or red. It is rectangular with rounded edges and a rubber-like casing on most of its surfaces.
With a small form factor of 6.4 x 1.7 x 2.1 inches, this speaker pretty much fits in the palm of your hand. It weighs 14 ounces, with most of the weight attributed to the speaker’s powerful battery.
The drivers and radiator of the Soundcore are at the front of the speaker, where they are covered with a mesh-like fabric.
Buttons and ports
The controls of the speaker are conveniently located at the very top of the device. They seem to be embedded in the soft rubber surface that covers the speaker and they feel nice to the touch.
From left to right (if you are facing the speaker), you will find five control buttons: power, volume down, multi-function play/pause, volume up and the Bluetooth on/off button.
The micro-USB port and the 3.5-millimeter audio jack are found next to each other, at the side of the speaker that has the Bluetooth button. The ports are covered with a rubber flap that protects them from the elements.
The Bluetooth connection of the Soundcore 2 uses the latest Bluetooth 4.2 technology. This allows the speaker to connect to devices that are as far as 66 feet (20 meters) away. This impressive range will let you play music in the shower with your phone in the next room.
You can also connect a device directly to the speaker through the 3.5 mm audio jack, which is located right next to the USB port.
You can connect both input and output devices using Bluetooth and the audio jack. This allows for pairing with other audio devices like the Echo dot.
Like with any device with a new battery, you will have to charge the Soundcore for a couple of hours after you unbox it.
To switch it on, press the power button once. You will notice a steady white LED light come on as the speaker powers up. When the speaker is ready to pair with another device, the Bluetooth LED will start to flash.
To connect your phone or some other smart device, just go to the Bluetooth settings on the device and select the Soundcore. The speaker and your device will connect and you will hear a confirmation from the Soundcore, then the Bluetooth LED will stop flashing.
You are now good to go, and the speaker can now play audio from your phone or tablet via Bluetooth.
The Soundcore is meant to be a portable device, so it figures that it can only connect to one device at a time. That means that it cannot be part of a stereo pair configuration. However, it can remember at least six unique devices, whether they be Apple, Android, or powered by Alexa.
If you find that you have some trouble pairing a device with the speaker, just long press the Bluetooth button (for about 5 seconds). The action will clear the pairing records from the Soundcore speaker’s storage. To reconnect an Apple device after flushing the pairing records, you will have to go to Bluetooth settings and select “Forget the device”.
Android devices will likely reconnect with the speaker without any trouble.
Whenever you switch on the Soundcore speaker, it will try to connect to the last device it paired with.
Once the speaker pairs with a device, you can control playback from Android and Apple devices. Better still, with Apple devices, you can control the speaker’s volume and use the equalizer of the smart device to tweak the sound output.
The reverse also works: A double tap to the speaker’s play button will skip forward to the next audio track in your phone or tablet.
However, this level of remote control is only possible over a Bluetooth connection.
Pairing the Soundcore with Alexa
If you have a tiny smart speaker like an Echo dot, you can pair it with the Anker Soundcore 2. The Echo dot or an equivalent smart speaker will use the Soundcore as an output device, which will improve the overall quality of audio in your space. With this setup, a person can also send a voice command to Alexa through the Soundcore’s microphone.
You can also make the Soundcore part of a multi-room system. You do this by wiring it to an Echo speaker with an audio cable. Alexa will control the audio output of the Soundcore, which can only improve the sound quality of a multi-room system.
The Soundcore 2 may be small, but it has surprisingly good sound quality. It has two front-facing 40-millimeter drivers that take care of the treble and higher sound frequencies, making for crisp sound in those frequencies.
It also has a passive radiator to render lower frequencies. As a result, you get to enjoy loud, defined bass that can be made even clearer by playing with the equalizer settings of your smart device.
The Soundcore 2 is loud enough to fill a medium-sized room with crisp, defined sound. You will enjoy clear sound even as you crank the volume up. However, the sound will become a little bit tinny when you increase the volume past the 75 percent mark. Time for this Anker Soundcore 2 Bluetooth speaker review to shift towards the battery that comes with the Soundcore 2.
Battery capacity and play time
Anker is known for its batteries and charging systems and they have poured their expertise into the Soundcore 2. This Bluetooth speaker has a 5200 mAh battery, which is impressive and a huge selling point for this product. This large battery translates into 24 hours of continuous play between charges.
Battery: Charging time on mains power
The Soundcore 2 charges via a micro USB charging port. It has a battery status light that is located next to the power button. The status LED will let you know when the battery is running low by turning red.
Because the speaker has a 2A rating, you will only need around three hours to charge the empty battery with a two Ampere wall charger. The downside is that the speaker does not ship with a wall charger, which is annoying.
Battery charging time on alternate power sources
However, without a power source that functions like mains power, it will take you many hours to charge a depleted 5200 mAh battery.
Meaning that if you plan to be outdoors for a couple of days, you will need to take every opportunity to charge the speaker. Also, you will have to keep an eye on the power status light, to make sure it does not turn red. If you really need to save power, you can switch off the Bluetooth and connect the speaker directly to your phone with an audio cable.
Battery care and maintenance
When all is said and done, there is very little chance of this speaker dying because of an empty battery.
To extend the battery’s life, Anker recommends that the speaker is charged to full capacity once every 45 days. The manufacturer also advises us to avoid leaving the speaker hooked up to a power source for extended periods of time, so do not get into the habit of using the speaker while it charges.
How waterproof is the Soundcore?
The Anker Soundcore 2 has IPX5 water-resistance, which means it will make it through some rain or the accidental splash in the shower. However, the speaker will not survive if you dunk it or otherwise submerge it in water. Which is just as well. If you are looking to listen to some audio underwater, you will need something along the lines of underwater earphones anyway.
This means that you should avoid dropping the speaker in water, just as you would with most electronics. Other than that, the speaker can take anything else you throw at it, water-wise.
- It is built to withstand wetness and it has the IPX5 rating to prove it
- Its quality build, including its rubber covering, makes the speaker more resistant to impact, making the Soundcore a rugged portable speaker that can hold up under outdoor conditions
- The speaker has a large battery that offers up to 24 hours of audio playback
- The Soundcore 2 has fast charging support
- It has a 66-foot wireless range
- Thanks to the internal microphone of the Soundcore 2, you can activate the smart assistant of a paired device with a voice command
- The Soundcore’s built-in microphone allows you to make audio calls with the speaker
- The speaker is loud enough to be heard all around a medium-sized room
- The sound is fairly clear and defined
- It is compatible with Apple, Amazon and Android devices
- It does not come with a wall charger, only a USB cable
- Though the Soundcore 2 has a 3.5 mm audio port, the speaker does not ship with an audio cable
- The sound becomes tinny at very high volume
- Unlike many Anker products, the Soundcore cannot function as a power bank
- The Soundcore can only connect to one device at a time
The verdict of our Anker Soundcore 2 Bluetooth speaker review
There are few affordable portable speakers that can perform better than the Anker Soundcore 2. Such speakers may have slightly better sound, but they are nowhere near as sturdy as the Soundcore. Nor do they have the staying power of the Soundcore battery.
For its price point, it performs well
From the first time you set eyes on the Anker Soundcore 2 Bluetooth speaker, you will fall in love with its design. As you put it through its paces, you will find that the speaker is much more than its pretty form.
It is a high-performance speaker that you can take with you wherever you go and you will enjoy its clear sound, long battery life and its tough exterior.
If you are looking for a portable, affordable speaker that will produce good sound, you should consider the Soundcore 2. It will keep you company in the comfort of your kitchen or shower, and it will keep up with you as you enjoy the great outdoors. Click here to learn more about this speaker or purchase one.