Anker is best known for its external battery packs, many of which we've featured here on Android Police. Lately, however, the company has been expanding into the Bluetooth speaker market; its mission is to provide quality sound at an affordable price. With this product, the SoundCore Boost, Anker is promising impressive bass performance. Guess what? This speaker does great in that regard, given its size and price.
Where the SoundCore Boost loses me, however, is in the rest of its fidelity. Mediocre is how I'd express my thoughts on the rest of the sound profile. Another area where some might find it lacking is the ruggedness, whereas other speakers like the Fugoo Go and JBL Flip 4 are much more durable. For $79, though, you get an okay speaker that's made above average thanks to its powerful bass performance.
|Design||Minimalism. You all know how I like that. This speaker can fit well enough to most any room.|
|Bass||If you like some boom in your life, Anker's got you covered. Considering the inze, this speaker puts out some great lows.|
|USB port||The SoundCore Boost allows you to charge an external device via the full-size USB port (and a cable that you provide).|
|Sound quality||Other than the bass, I am not too impressed with this element. The best I can say is that the highs and mids are mediocre.|
Design & build quality
The SoundCore boost is an unassuming rectangular prism. Measuring in at 8" x 2.8" x 2.7", it's narrower and thicker than my current favorite sub-$100 Bluetooth speaker: Fugoo's Go. The fabric that covers the grille almost wraps around the entire front, sides, and back, except for a gasket that hides the microUSB port, 3.5mm audio-in jack, and the full-size USB for charging external devices (this is Anker we're talking about here). In short, there's very little special about this device at first glance, which is not always a bad thing.
The control buttons all sit up top. From the left is power/pairing, volume down, play/pause/skip/personal assistant, volume up, and BassUp (we'll get to that in the next section). Over on the left, not too far from the power button, is the battery status LED. It's not too specific, with 4 lights for full, 3 for slightly more middle, 2 for slightly less middle, and 1 for low. Frankly, the icon on my phone's status bar is more helpful, but I digress. Finally, next to the BassUp toggle is the NFC reader for quick pairing.
Anker made a very solid and well-built speaker. After taking it out of its box, I was immediately impressed with the heft of the thing. The top and bottom of it have a soft-touch coating on the plastic, meaning your fingers will simply glide along it. The tiny rubber feet, however, keep the SoundCore Boost firmly in place on most any surface.
IPX5-rated, the speaker can, in theory, survive being sprayed with water. I ran it under my faucet for a few seconds which caused all kinds of mess with sound and all that (it was never submerged). Letting it air dry returned everything to normal, so don't take this outside if you think it's going to be rainy. Or put it where it can get splashed.
It wasn't until further into my time with this speaker that I figured out how to skip tracks (yes, I'm serious). After consulting with the owner's manual, the obvious first thing to do, I sorted it out. Similar to many Bluetooth headphones, the central play button performs three functions: single click to play/pause (duh), double tab to skip to the next song, long press to open Siri or Google Assistant. And here I wasted time double or long pressing the volume buttons to just go to the next song. Fail.
The Assistant thing works fairly well, from my experience (don't have anything with Siri, sorry). The voice prompts are routed through the speaker, while your phone does the listening. Neat, I guess — pretty sure I only used it once to test it, then promptly forgot about the feature.
Sound quality & battery life
Anker promises a lot of bass with the SoundCore Boost, and boy does it deliver. With the BassUp mode enabled, my bass-loving ears were quite pleased, especially since this was the area where the Fugoo Go was lacking. I'm impressed with the level of boom that Anker managed to pack into this speaker, especially with BassUp turned on — but I did notice that after long listening periods, the BassUp begins to distort and get very hollow.
Everything else, though, is mediocre at best. Highs are where the SoundCore Boost stumbles, while mids are tolerable for most vocals. I happen to listen to a lot of European metal, especially power and melodic, so I was left feeling okay with what I heard. I tested this speaker with plenty of songs from Battle Beast, whose vocalist has an impressive range. The SoundCore Boost did a pretty decent job, except when the singer hit the higher notes. At that point, I noticed that the sound cut in and out, presenting a less-than-ideal listening experience.
Volume is very good, managing to fill most of my apartment with decent sound. Higher volumes do cause some serious distortion in the music, especially with guttural vocals in some metal subgenres. If you pick one of these up, I suggest you keep it at about 40-50% volume in a mid-sized room, or 20-35% in a small area. Anymore, it gets to be a bit too much.
Battery life is advertised at twelve hours, which I found to be a fair estimate. Upon receiving the SoundCore Boost, I charged it to full and laid into it after that. I used it exclusively for several workdays with both Bluetooth and wired connections, using my Google Play Music library and radio stations. The first run through the battery, it lasted just about twelve hours, plus or minus a few minutes. The second time, I got ten and a half hours with the same usage. The speaker auto-turns off after fifteen minutes or so, which is nice. Oh, and you can charge external devices via the USB port.
This speaker pushes out some impressive bass considering its size and price — the rest of its sound profile, however, leaves much to be desired. I suppose if that doesn't matter to you, and you don't care about your speaker being highly water-resistant, then I'd say Anker's offering here will suit your needs just fine. If either or both of those are important to you, save the extra cash for the Flip 4.
I fear that if I continue, I'll repeat myself, so I'll go ahead and wrap up this review. Below are links to buy the SoundCore Boost from Amazon or directly from Anker. Have at it, if you wish.