Todays review is all about the Anker SoundCore 2. It costs just £45 and for that it offers some impressive features, but can it live up to them?
In the box
I picked up the £45 Christmas edition and with that I got
- A premium feeling hard shell carry case
- Micro USB cable
- 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable
- A carabiner clip
- The documentation
There is also a standard Anker Core 2 which costs £40 and that comes with all the above minus the carry case. Personally for the extra £5 its worth it as the carry case feels great and will offer a good amount of protection for your speaker if you travel a lot.
Design and Build
- IPX5 water resistance
- Dimensions: 165mm x 54mm x 45mm
- Weight: 411g (0.9lb)
The SoundCores design is pretty basic and pretty minimal. The front face is a perforated metal with some large Anker branding in the centre. Personally I think the oversized branding is a bit much and they could have done it much more subtly.
The main body is coated in a layer of smooth plastic, this feels great but I can see it damaging quite easily overtime. Luckily the carry case with this variant will prevent that during travelling, but in use, not so much.
On the top are the raised buttons, these are large, easy to find and easily distinguishable from one another. The buttons are a main power, volume down/skip back, play/pause, volume up/skip forward and the main Bluetooth pairing button. There is also two LEDs, one acts as a pairing LED and the other is for the battery level. The buttons though feel pretty nice, they have decent travel and don’t feel mushy.
The left side of the speaker is clear and the right houses the aux in and micro USB charging port. These ports are well protected by a thick cover which has a handy tab to make it easier to open.
Round the back there is more branding that is even larger the that on the front, again I’m not sure why they’ve done this as I think it cheapens the look of the speaker. Underneath there are four circular feet to help give the speaker some grip and also to help reduce unwanted vibrations.
Overall the Soundcore 2 is a nice looking speaker but it is a touch bland and looks a little generic. The construction is very solid I can’t deny that, but the finish could look a little worn over time.
- Bluetooth 4.2
- Up to 20m range (open space)
- Aux in wired mode
The SoundCore 2 is using Bluetooth 4.2. This is a pretty new standard that is both efficient and backwards compatible with older versions. The range stated by Anker for the speaker is a massive 20m (66ft) and that does hold up really well. It easily went further than the similarly priced Creative Metallix Plus I recently reviewed. And not only that, it did it without any issues at all. It stayed stable and had no drops or hiccups even when moving around my house. So if you do so happen to leave the speaker and take your phone with you to another room, it will continue playing. Keep in mind though that I live in a prefab house with thin walls and if you have brick or stone then the range and stability of the connection may not be as good as what I experienced.
Using the Soundcore 2 daily has been a trouble-free experience. The carry case makes it a breeze to just put it in your bag and its also large enough to fit in all the bundled accessories. It does of course add a bit extra weight but even at 540g (1.19lb – with all the accessories) it’s still not over heavy. Its size isn’t an issue either. It’ll easy fit in a gym bag, backpack or messenger bag. It could pose an issue if you’re trying to squeeze it into a very small bag as the case does add some extra bulk, but with its handy carabiner clip, you could always clip it to your bag if you’re running short on internal space.
Pairing and using the speaker has been a nice experience as well. I’ve had no issues with the speaker auto connecting to my LG G6 and even the initial pairing process was really straight forward. You simply power on the speaker, press and hold the Bluetooth pairing button and wait for the LED to flash. You then fire up Bluetooth on your device and wait for the Soundcore 2 to pop up. It should appear after around 5 seconds and once it does, press that and let them get connected. The whole process took probably around 15 to 20 seconds.
- Up to 24 hours playback
The Soundcore 2 has a very impressive quoted time of up to 24 hours continuous playback, in reality though I only managed to achieve 16 hours at 60% volume. This is still great but not that close to the 24 hours. I have a feeling the 24 hours was achieved at a very low volume, but at actual volumes that you can enjoy, 16 hours is about what you can expect. Again your experience will be different depending on how loud you listen to it and what device you have it paired to.
The charge time was not quoted but I charged it via the Anker Powerport 5 in a time of 5 hours 36 minutes. This is a fair amount of time, but it’s quite a good trade-off for the 16 hours of use. But if you want that extra few hours, you may want to check out the Metallix Plus. That managed 20 hours under the same conditions. But even still 16 hours is still much better than the usual 8 hours you commonly see at this price point.
- 2x6W drivers
Like a fair few of the other options Anker have chosen a tried and tested three driver configuration. The Soundcore makes use of two full range speakers and a passive radiator to help out the lower end. But how does it sound? Well…
It’s very good, it gets easily loud enough to fill a decent sized room and the distortion is kept nicely in check, although when really pushed it does start to show some signs of weakness. Bass is solid. Usually at the price point its a little weak and limp but here its good. The drop is good for its compact nature and the bass is reasonably well bodied and not overly thin. The punch is decent and detail is okay. It’s not too overwhelming and it compliments the sound nicely. Keep in mind that it won’t blow you away in terms of absolute power but for its size, its better than expected.
The mids are pretty nice too, they’re clear and detail is quite strong. Sound and instrument separation is admirable as is the soundstage. Of course this can’t replicate what a speaker with a dedicated tweeter but for a full range driver its good. The mids are also a touch warm so that they don’t sound overly dull, nor are they too over bright or brittle.
Vocals are a good point too, they’re again clear and project really well. Listening to some Ed Sheeran, Rag N Bone man and Dua Lipa was nicely put out by the speaker. Its capable of some decent potency without being overbearing, it doesn’t vocal range to hit everything perfectly but it’s still very enjoyable and has a nice tone overall. Again it sways towards the warm which makes it sound like it has a bit of vigour to it. It does however seem to sound better with a good female vocal than it does male, but the vocals produced are good.
As a whole it’s a solid sounding speaker that’s clean and unfussy in its approach. It doesn’t try to hard and it works. What you are getting is a very nice sounding speaker that suits multiple genres and I can say that its a speaker that I have enjoyed listening to. Usually I’ll say its okay for just casual use, but with this, it’s actually something that I could listen to and be impressed by.
Listen to the sound test here
Uncompressed samples here – www.limitlesstech.co.uk/anker-soundcore-test
For £45 the Soundcore 2 is a great speaker, the design is a bit plain but its well made, has pretty much all the features you’d expect at this price point and it sounds good. The inclusion of the carry case is a nice touch too and as an overall package it’s really impressive.
The battery life was not as good as stated but 16 hours is still impressive and I’m honestly hard pushed to find any major faults with it. So should you buy one, well, if you’re in the market for a great speaker that won’t break the bank this should be at the top of your list. Is it the best? I couldn’t say, is it the best I’ve tested? Again a tough call as the Metallix Plus is great too. Maybe a comparison is in order to see which comes out on top.
But again the Soundcore 2 ticks all the right boxes and I can easily recommend one.
Pick one up here via Amazon UK