Portable speaker from Anker: Functions, Tests, Price Comparison
The successor to the Anker SoundCore is not without reason being in bestseller rank on Amazon in the portable Bluetooth speaker category: The generous 12 Watts audio output enables a powerful, bass-driven sound that can be taken anywhere thanks to the built-in 24-hour battery. For a Bluetooth speaker in this price range, SoundCore 2 seems almost unbeatable, but does the speaker also hold up in practice? Our test overview lists functions, customer ratings, and test results for Anker SoundCore 2.
Portable Bluetooth speaker with 12 W for powerful sound
The Bluetooth speaker has a simple but high-quality design, its rubberized surface also makes it waterproof. The front speaker grille is made of metal and not plastic, as is the case with other, cheaper alternatives. With its relatively compact dimensions of just 6.5 in wide, the loudspeaker barely fits in one hand.
Some smaller Bluetooth speakers even fit in a jacket pocket, but the Anker SoundCore 2 hides a lot of power: Inside there are a total of three drivers, including a 2×6-watt broadband chassis and 1x passive radiator, which provide a total of 12W to ensure sound performance. The control buttons are on the top and the connections for micro USB and AUX cables are located on the right side of the housing behind a tightly closed, waterproof cap. Multilingual instructions and a micro USB cable are also included with the Bluetooth speaker. The device is charged directly via USB, so there is no external charger. Unfortunately, a jack cable is not included.
Anker SoundCore 2 scores with voice control and hands-free functionality
The operation of the speaker is very easy thanks to the few and large buttons: the rubber-like surface prevents slipping, even with wet hands. Also, the operating symbols are haptically highlighted so that they can be found and activated very easily even in the dark. The total of five buttons fulfill the main functions on/off, volume down, playback, volume up, and establishing/pairing Bluetooth connection.
The operation is best done conveniently via the paired smartphone. To do this, keep the Bluetooth button pressed for about 2 seconds: the pairing mode is activated and the mobile phone is found. But not only with a smartphone, but also with the Anker SoundCore 2 itself, more functions can be carried out than it seems at first glance. A song is skipped by pressing the play button twice. Unfortunately, you cannot jump back a song and play it again that way. If you keep the play button pressed, the smartphone’s voice assistant, e.g. Siri or Google Assistant is activated.
The microphone built into the Anker SoundCore 2 also enables a hands-free function to make mobile calls via it. The device has numerous options for controlling calls, such as accepting calls, rejecting them, putting them on hold, or switching calls to mobile phones during a call. In addition to Bluetooth, Anker SoundCore 2 can also be connected to other music devices using an AUX cable. The device does not have any other connection options such as NFC.
Excellent rating for long battery life and a good range
The battery life of 24 hours stated by the manufacturer is very surprising. However, this always depends on the volume set and even the audio content being played. The manufacturer does the calculation with a set volume of 80%, i.e. relatively loud.
In practice, devices usually fall slightly behind the specified values. The SoundCore 2 remained very close to this value in the test. This is also proven by the numerous 5-star ratings on Amazon. The loudspeaker is more than sufficient for taking with you on a swimming trip or a sunny afternoon in the garden. You have to worry more about the battery of the smartphone, which is responsible for the music streaming. SoundCore 2 does not have a radio reception or an SD card slot. Unfortunately, the device does not have a charge level indicator. The low battery is indicated by a red flashing light. The charging time to full charge is a solid 3 hours.
The device switches itself off automatically when not in use, but not when there is an existing Bluetooth connection – so it is rather impractical to fall asleep in bed with a radio play. Perhaps you can solve this with IFTTT on your smartphone. According to the manufacturer, the range for the Bluetooth connection is about 20m/66ft. But even here you have to remember that various factors such as signal strength, walls, or ceilings shorten the range. However, Anker SoundCore 2 uses the latest Bluetooth 5 technology, which ensures faster and more reliable coupling.
Good sound quality with powerful bass and balanced mids
2×6-watt drivers are enough to fill a medium-sized room with proper sound. When it comes to loudspeakers, it is always important to have good positioning, because the sound is received very differently depending on the location. For a bassy sound, Anker SoundCore 2 uses a passive radiator and its so-called BassUp technology.
You should still not turn the Bluetooth speaker to the maximum volume. At around three-quarters of the volume, the SoundCore 2 reaches its limits and starts to hum. The so-called AptX technology, as found in higher-quality competing products such as the Teufel Rockster XS, is not used in the affordable Anker loudspeaker. This ensures a particularly high audio quality there, despite the compression of the music due to Bluetooth.
SoundCore 2 – Bluetooth speaker in comparison and alternatives
Compared to the predecessor model, the Anker SoundCore, the overhauled loudspeaker has a higher watt output, newer Bluetooth technology, and longer battery life. The SoundCore series also includes the new SoundCore Boost and SoundCore Pro models. Boost is the more bass-heavy, also water-repellent alternative with two instead of just one passive subwoofer. A 5200 mAH external USB port enables simultaneous charging and listening to music.
In comparison, Anker SoundCore Pro goes one step further on the Boost model: Four drivers ensure a 25 Watt clear sound. It supports NFC technology for pairing and is also water-repellent. Another device popular with customers is the Aukey SK-S1 with 16 W loudspeakers and an operating time of 12 hours. Aukey SK-S1 is not waterproof in comparison. The device from the Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is even cheaper around 50 dollars. The Mi Bluetooth Speaker offers all the features of the SoundCore 2, but its battery only lasts 8 hours and it is also not water-repellent. Our speaker comparison offers a more detailed comparison of cheap Bluetooth speakers.
Anker SoundCore 2 Overview and Test
For an affordable price, you get a waterproof, with a good battery life Bluetooth speaker for small indoor use