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Anker SoundCore 2 ReviewPrice: $90 List | $31.99 at Amazon
Pros: Inexpensive (when on sale), exceptional battery life
Cons: Bass is quite weak, can sound tinny, especially at high volumes
Bottom line: An inexpensive, water resistant speaker that will please most listeners
Inputs: 3.5 mm auxiliary input, Micro USB port
Reported Weight: 12.8 oz
If you're looking for a reliable, durable Bluetooth speaker at a low price, you can't get much better than the Anker SoundCore 2. And don't be put off by its list price of $90, it is generally available for less than half that online. This speaker is water resistant, lightweight, and can last more than 40 hours on a single charge. Yes, it doesn't sound as good as the pricier models, but it is exponentially better than listening to music from the built-in speakers in your smartphone. Plus, its cheap enough that you'll be able to stock up on some iTunes gift cards before heading out on your next trip. If you don't care about water resistance the original Soundcore is still available, and often sells for even less.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers of 2018
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
If you're looking for a dependable way to share your music with friends while out and about, but don't want the stress that comes along with lugging around a $200 electronic doodad, the Anker SoundCore 2 is for you. It provides a substantial upgrade to your smartphone's built-in speakers without breaking the bank.
The Original SoundCoreoriginal SoundCore is still available online. It is essentially the exact same speaker as its predecessor, except it is not water resistant. If you don't need somehting that is water resitant you can save a bit more by going with the original model.
As you can see in the table above, the Anker SoundCore 2 was one of the lower overall scorers in our tests. This was largely because it went up against a bevy of much more expensive speakers, but we still believe it provides a great value, as we'll explain in the sections below.
The SoundCore 2 was one of the worst performers in our sound quality testing, picking up a 3 out of 10 in a metric where scores ranged from 3 to 10. Notably this is better than the Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz Angle 3, which was the only other speaker that could compete with the SoundCore in terms of price.
Compared to the top scoring speakers the SoundCore 2's sound is relatively unimpressive, with weaker bass and treble that sounds thin and can easily get distorted at higher pitches. But the SoundCore 2 isn't trying to be an audiophile's dream, it's trying to be an inexpensive way to to make your music sound louder and better than your smartphone's speakers can. In this capacity it performs marvelously. When compared to the other budget speaker in our selection, the Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz Angle 3, it has more powerful bass and much better clarity. It is also still a huge step up from the quality and volume of built-in smartphone speakers. The sound won't blow you away, but it will let you share your music with friends, which is really what Bluetooth speakers are all about.
The SoundCore 2 earned a score of 7 out of 10 in our portability testing. This ended up being an average score in a metric that saw scores ranging from 2 to 10.
At just 12.8 ounces the SoundCore 2 is fairly light. We barely noticed it when we threw it in a backpack. The rubber coating feels somewhat thin, but is definitely enough to protect the body from minor scratches, and to keep it from sliding around when in use. The simple rectangular shape provides a profile that can easily slide into a bag, though the sharp edges would sometimes get caught on things. Plus it is IPX5 water resistant, so you don't have to worry about packing it with you wet towels or any surprise downpours.
The Soundcore 2 received a score of 5 out of 10 in our volume testing. This was far off the top score of 9.
The SoundCore 2 definitely does not have the juice to power a dance party. It can get quite loud, but the music gets very tinny and shrill as you crank the volume up. It is much better suited to serenading a small group of friends while they relax and talk. Unfortunately, if you want something with a bit more punch, you're going to have to spend more money. For example, the JBL Charge 3 is much, much louder, but lists for $130.
The SoundCore 2was the undisputed king of our battery life testing. It lasted an astonishing 41 hours, well besting its claimed 24 hour battery life. Honestly, we had paranoid nightmares that the SoundCore 2was walking itself over to an outlet and plugging itself in because it just wouldn't die. This incredible performance earned it a perfect score of 10 out of 10.
The Anker SoundCore 2 lists for $90, but at the time of this writing can easily be found online for less than half of that. At the list price it is a poor value as much better speakers (namely the UE Roll 2) are available in that price range. If you can find it on sale, however, it becomes a great value for those on a tight budget.
The Anker SoundCore 2 is a dependable Bluetooth speaker that is relatively inexpensive when purchased online. It can't match the impressive sound quality of more expensive speakers, but is a great option if your smartphone's built-in speakers just aren't cutting it and you don't want to spend too much
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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