One of the most popular portable Bluetooth speakers of the last five years or so is the Anker Soundcore. The speaker has a little over 10,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and continues to sell well around the world. Enter, the Anker Soundcore 2. The next generation Soundcore includes upgrades to the Bluetooth version, waterproof features, audio, and slight adjustments to the build and aesthetics.
The Soundcore 2 falls in the highly competitive ‘budget portable Bluetooth speaker’ category. A sector of the Bluetooth speaker market Anker dominate with the Soundcore and now Soundcore 2 in at least the top 10. What sets the Soundcore 2 apart from the competition is its premium features and solid build quality. Where many budget Bluetooth speakers feel and sound cheap, the Soundcore 2 closely competes with premium JBL, Sony, and Beats compact Bluetooth speakers. Let’s take a closer look at the Soundcore 2 and find out what makes this speaker so popular.
Anker Soundcore 2 Specs
Power output: 12W
Audio inputs: ⅛-inch AUX, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery: 24-hour playing time
Design & Features
If you’re familiar with the original Soundcore, not much has changed in terms of aesthetics. Like the original, the Soundcore 2 is covered in a rubberized material offering protection from damage and moisture. The speaker comes with an IPX7 waterproof rating which is an upgrade from the original Soundcore’s IPX5 rating. The new waterproof feature protects the speaker against submersion to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. Perfect for use around the pool or in the bath and shower.
One feature which made the original Soundcore so popular is the 24-hour battery life. The Soundcore 2 retains the same impressive playing time which is great for extended periods outdoors. The battery will fully recharge from flat in under 4 hours. This awesome battery life paired with excellent waterproof and damage protection makes the Soundcore 2 the best music companion to take on any sort of adventure.
The biggest feature upgrade for the Soundcore 2 is the power output from 6W to 12W. While this still isn’t enough to fill a room, it’s definitely a significant improvement. We’ll discuss the sound quality later in this review.
The Soundcore 2 also features a built-in microphone which lets you access voice commands to either Siri or Google and receive incoming calls. Call audio quality is not very clear and you’ll likely have a better call experience using your smartphone in handsfree mode. With that said, it’s important to note that most compact Bluetooth speakers don’t have great call quality so this isn’t a unique issue to Anker speakers.
While the Soundcore 2 doesn’t come with Alexa built-in, the speaker can be connected to your Echo device via Bluetooth or ⅛-inch AUX. If you own an Echo Dot, you’ll know the poor sound quality these little speakers produce. The Soundcore 2 is a good option to improve both the sound quality and volume of an Echo Dot. You can then obviously use all of Alexa’s features and use voice commands for making calls as well.
Inputs and Controls
The Soundcore 2 offers ⅛-inch AUX and Bluetooth version 5.0 for audio inputs. The Bluetooth range is a solid 66ft and even works through walls when moving around the house. The speaker isn’t very powerful so, while it’s nice to have this sort of range, it’s not necessary for a speaker of this size.
On top of the speaker is a 5-button control panel which includes power on/off, play/pause, volume up, volume down, and Bluetooth pairing. By double pressing the play button you can skip next track. There is no functionality for the previous track. The play button is also used to answer/end incoming calls and activate voice commands. The buttons are nicely laid out and add a trendy design feature to the Soundcore 2.
Even though the Soundcore 2 is ultra-compact, the speaker delivers a surprising amount of volume. There are two active 6W speaker drivers coupled to a passive bass radiator for improved bass response. The speaker delivers a decent amount of bass for its size, however, don’t expect a massive bass sound. The Soundcore is after all small enough to fit in the palm of your hand! The speaker delivers a good mid-range and treble response which is perfect for listening to music or podcasts.
One thing that is impressive about the Soundcore 2 sound is how little break-up and distortion there is. Once the speaker gets close to the max volume you will experience some distortion, however, this is significantly better than most cheap Bluetooth speakers on the market. The Soundcore 2 does vibrate somewhat when played at high volumes but the rubberized feet prevent the speaker from moving around.
It has to be said, if you compare the Soundcore 2 to other high-end compact Bluetooth speakers like Sony and JBL, there is a noticeable difference in sound quality. The premium brands have a much fuller sound but come in at double or even triple the cost.
Anker Soundcore 2 – Conclusion
If you’re looking for a compact affordable Bluetooth speaker, then the Soundcore 2 should definitely be at the top of your list of considerations. When it comes to these small portable speakers, the sound quality and feature differences between budget and premium are minimal. I find it’s only necessary to pay for brand names when you’re looking at bigger speakers where the sound quality is significantly better. For example, the JBL Flip 4 is $50 more than the Soundcore 2. Does that extra cost warrant the extra cash? I don’t believe it does. The Soundcore 2 comes in at just under $40 and is available in three trendy colors including black, blue and, red.