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Anker SoundCore Boost review | Best budget portable Bluetooth speaker? | vs JBL Flip 4

The Soundcore Boost is a portable Bluetooth speaker from Anker, costing round £50 or $60. It sits in the direction of the higher end of Anker’s current vary of portable speakers. It has up to 12 hours of battery life, an IPX5 water resistance score, a USB charging port and options Anker’s BassUP know-how which is meant to reinforce bass at decrease volumes.

I’ll be evaluating it towards the cheaper SoundCore 2 I reviewed a while back and the popular JBL Flip 4 that’s virtually twice the worth, however equally spec’d.

First impressions

Contained in the box you get a primary instruction guide, the speaker itself and a non-branded barely low cost feeling micro-USB cable. There’s no wall charger or 3.5mm auxiliary cable for a wired connection to the speaker.

First impressions of the speaker are good. It feels very sturdy with no flexing nevertheless arduous you attempt, and has a matte plastic prime and backside with small rubber ft. The front and back of the speaker are wrapped around with a superb material, making method on one aspect for a decent fitting cover over the ports. It’s quite boxy with solely barely rounded edges, and has physical buttons that sit flush along its prime. The Anker branding on the entrance of the speaker is way extra delicate than on its SoundCore 2 sibling.

It weighs 585g and measures 193mm x 62mm x 65mm – somewhat heavier and larger than the SoundCore 2 and Flip 4, but nonetheless very portable, just perhaps not as journey pleasant.

Has an IPX5 water resistance score

It appears nicely sealed and I’d be more than assured in its IPX5 water resistance score. It shouldn’t be submerged in water, in contrast to the Flip 4, but it’ll  survive a splash or a rain bathe. And it has a hydrophobic coating so water doesn’t soak the speaker material.

Getting started and overview

Flap reveals micro-USB, aux-in and USB-A charging port

There’s a small tab on its aspect, embossed with SoundCore branding. Pulling this firmly reveals a micro-USB charging port, an aux-in port for a wired connection and a normal USB charging port for charging your gadgets off the 5200mAh inner battery. Something neither the SoundCore 2 or the Flip 4 have.

I might have appreciated to see a more strong USB-C charging port, nevertheless it does help charging at 2.1A, which along with the proper charger costs the battery from empty in underneath four hours. If you plug it in, the charging status LEDs mild up based on its remaining charge. When all 4 LEDs are regular white, it’s reached full capacity. You should use the speaker whilst it’s charging.

Charging a smartphone by way of the USB charging port

The USB-A charging port only has 1A output as is so ofte n the case on these type of units. I would love to see a 2A output – 1A is enough for many telephones but not enough for tablets or other units with bigger batteries. It has Anker’s IQ charging know-how which is meant to determine the related system to deliver the fastest cost potential. It delivered slightly below 1A to an iPhone X and iPad Pro and 1.15A to a Samsung tablet.

A single press of the facility button turns the unit on and off with audio suggestions that can’t be disabled. The first time you flip it on, the facility LED flashes blue to indicate pairing mode. Select “SoundCore Boost” from your gadget’s Bluetooth settings. There’s a affirmation beep and the blue energy LED will go regular. On Apple telephones and tablets you possibly can see the battery status, by swiping right from the home display.

Whenever you turn the unit on again it’s going to hook up with this final related system. If that’s not obtainable the facility LED will flash blue once more ready for pairing.

You’ll be able to’t configure two audio system in a stereo pair like with the Flip 4, and extra importantly it doesn’t help pairing to multiple units, so you’ll have to disconnect from your telephone, say, to hook up with your pill. You’ll be able to unpair any related system, by holding the facility button down for greater than 4 seconds when the unit is on. You’ll hear the speaker’s affirmation beep that it’s again in pairing mode. I would like a devoted Bluetooth button like on both the cheaper SoundCore 2 and the Flip 4.

Pairing is simple

The entire Bluetooth pairing is clumsy in comparison with the Flip 4 say, which might be related to 2 units at the similar time, and can mechanically play from the system you’re at present utilizing. However it’s solely actually a problem when you do want to vary the related gadget typically, and you do get used to it.

You’ll be able to reset the speaker and remove all Bluetooth pairing data by holding the facility button down for more than four seconds with the facility off.

The speaker also has NFC help so you possibly can pair shortly with a supported gadget simply by tapping it on the NFC sensor to the correct of the buttons. Sadly I don’t have any units that help this.

Whenever you turn on the gadget or press any buttons, the white charging LEDs mild up in line with the unit’s charge for as much as 10 seconds and then turn off.

Aside from the combined power & Bluetooth pairing button, there’s a volume down, play | pause, volume up and the BassUP button which I’ll talk about shortly, however by default is on and lit white. All the lights are quite faint – so you need to look quite intently to see if they are on, in brilliant mild at the very least. There’s no app to configure the speaker.

The play button can even skip forward a monitor with a double press, but there’s no solution to skip again a monitor. An extended press of the play button will activate your voice assistant. So I might say, what’s the weather in London?

Speaker telephone mode

The speaker’s microphone, additionally permits it to handle telephone calls do you have to want. The play button will answer or end a call.

The quantity controls sync with my iOS units, but not my Android pill. So the utmost quantity on my iPhone or iPad is the maximum volume on the speaker. There’s a affirmation beep that interrupts the music whenever you reach full volume. Should you’re related by way of a 3.5mm cable, there’s no volume synchronisation.

It is attainable to replace the firmware on these models which I did, however it’s not precisely clear what was fastened or added. Maybe audio latency issues but I didn’t check this before doing the update.

Updating the firmware on the SoundCore Boost

If you want to update your firmware, I’ll add links in the description. Let me know if you are able to affirm anything it provides or fixes! You put in and run the Anker Software Upgrade Utility and then together with your unit off, connect it to a pc while holding down the quantity down and up buttons, until the Anker software recognizes the connection. Then select the new firmware file to complete the improve. I couldn’t get this to work with the provided micro-USB cable, however it labored wonderful with another cable I had.

Efficiency and sound quality

Battery life is rated at 12 hours at 60% volume and with BassUP off. I received near this and about half that at full quantity with BassUP on. It’s just like the quoted battery life for the Flip 4 however lower than the SoundCore 2 which has virtually double the battery life.

The SoundCore Boost has Bluetooth 4.2, not the newer 5.zero normal, but range was good reaching the subsequent room of the house around 10 metres away and was comparable with the SoundCore 2 and only very barely less than the Flip 4.

The speaker has two full range 10W drivers, versus the 6W drivers within the SoundCore 2, which might account for the decreased battery life to some extent. There are passive radiators for the lower frequencies. This isn’t a 360 diploma speaker so you’ll have to pay some consideration to placement.

As a speaker telephone it really works fairly properly, though the microphone didn’t sound so good to the decision’ee until I received very close to the speaker.

Audio delay is minimal for YouTube

Audio delay watching YouTube and Netflix was barely noticeable and even slightly better than the Flip 4.

Sound high quality is excellent and it’s loud sufficient to fill a medium sized room or for use outdoors. I measured it round 2dB louder than the SoundCore 2 and about the identical as the Flip 4 at 1 metre away. There’s a superb amount of bass for a speaker this measurement and in comparison with the competitors, and the BassUP button does have an noticeable impact however only at lower volumes. At above 60-70% I really couldn’t hear any difference. It provides the speaker a fuller sound that sounds spectacular for the speaker’s measurement.

The mids additionally sound good and it’s solely whenever you examine it on to the JBL Flip 4 that you simply notice vocals and treble sound just a little muddy with not as a lot clarity as the Flip 4, which does sound very vibrant – if typically a bit harsh. There’s little distortion as you improve the quantity, however the muddyness does develop into extra exaggerated.

Watch the video to listen to a sound check between the Anker SoundCore Boost, Anker SoundCore 2 and JBL Flip

You possibly can take heed to a comparability between the SoundCore Boost, with BassUP on and off, the JBL Flip 4 and the SoundCore 2, by watching the video on the prime of the web page. I’d advocate using headphones to actually hear any differences.

Conclusions

The Anker SoundCore Boost is a capable speaker that I feel most people can be very proud of. It sounds good, it’s properly built, it’s loud, it has some water resistance and it’ll even charge your telephone. At £50 or $60 I feel it gives good worth for money.

The improved sound high quality and USB charging make it value the additional cash over the SoundCore 2, for those who don’t want the additional battery life, or smaller, lighter type issue. I do slightly want the clarity of the Flip 4 even if it may sound a bit harsh, especially for spoken audio like podcasts. However the Flip 4 does value greater than the Boost, and lots of people will want the additional bass of the SoundCore Boost.

Ideally I’d like to have the ability to pair with at the very least two units on the similar time, and the speaker can’t be submerged in water – each options the Flip 4 has. However I’d haven’t any hassle recommending this speaker, particularly if you will get it in one in every of Amazon’s frequent gross sales – examine the links on this video’s description for the newest costs.

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Anker SoundCore Boost: https://amzn.to/2KzhTo9
Anker SoundCore 2: https://amzn.to/2WmzNgr
JBL Flip 4: https://amzn.to/2WQyXwr