Anker is a household name when it comes to smart devices for entertainment, travel, and smart homes. Our review device the Anker SoundCore ticks all the boxes when it comes to build quality, sound output, portability, and battery life.
After more than a week of stress-testing the SoundCore, I now understand the hullabaloo about this device. There are some things you have to form your own opinion and no reviews in the world can replace first impressions. On that note, let’s dig in.
Design & Build
I am rather fond of the solid heft of the Anker SoundCore. The brick feels substantial in my hand like no cost was spared in the making. It certainly looks and feels rather expensive.
The design is simple and classic; basically a rectangular-shaped boombox. A soft rubber matte finish encases a possibly metal-rimmed speaker like a second skin, leaving out the grille that cages the speakers within.
The top of the SoundCore is home to the controls; power button, volume buttons, play/pause button, and Bluetooth. To the right is the mic, micro-USB power button (along with its LED light), and the audio jack. The LED in the grille is slightly off-center and one of those things you can’t unsee once you pay attention to them.
But I should warn you. The SoundCore will easily pick up fingerprints and smudges owing to the matte finish. Good thing it’s not the end of the world. A quick clean with a damp cloth should leave it looking like new.
Personally, I like the Anker brand name on the front and the back. Unlike the usual Chinese no-name products, Anker makes a statement by debossing the company’s logo onto their products. This way, you won’t ever mistake an Anker speaker for any other.
The Anker SoundCore is a Bluetooth speaker to the core. The Bluetooth version 4.0 has a range of 20 meters/66 feet. Seeing as my apartment is shoe-box sized, I didn’t get the opportunity to test the outer limits of the SoundCore’s connectivity.
The audio jack slot comes in handy when you encounter Bluetooth connection problems. Unfortunately, the device doesn’t come with an auxiliary cable out-of-the-box. So that will be on you, in the event that you need one.
On the plus side, a mic is included for hands-free calls so you don’t have to rummage around for your phone.
In the words of Taio Cruz’s monster hit ‘Dynamite’, the Anker SoundCore battery goes on and on and on. A single charge can take you quite the distance, even longer if you play your music at a moderate volume.
Anker assures you of 24 hours of playtime at 80% volume. Well, I have been using it for days sporadically and there’s still some juice left to take me longer. It’s the best companion for the great outdoors without having to worry about charging on the go.
In terms of quality, the Anker SoundCore definitely can hold its own. It belts out a decent bass void of any distortions even at high volume. For perspective, it is way better than what a similarly-priced Oontz Angle can muster, although not nearly as good as what I get with the more high-end Sony SRX55.
Expect clarity, perfectly-balanced mids, and treble. The bass is good but it clearly won’t knock your pants off. The SoundCore maintains good quality sound even at high volume.
A pleasant surprise was how the perfect Anker SoundCore’s output was when connected to the TV. I have been plenty disappointed the times I have hooked up a speaker to the TV. You normally don’t get that perfectly balanced sound, so I was glad the SoundCore managed this feat.
- Buying a Bluetooth Speaker: 5 Things You Should Consider
- 8 budget TV Soundbars (below $100) worth considering
- How to connect Windows 10 PC to Bluetooth speaker and headphones
A few annoyances
I noticed something off with the way the Anker Soundcore interacted with my Windows 10 PC. Usually, you’d expect that when you connect a speaker via Bluetooth, you can control the volume two-ways. But when it came to the Anker, I couldn’t increase or reduce the volume from the PC end. The volume strangely remains the same however high or low you set it. The best I could do was kill the music by dialing it all the way down.
We verified this glitch by hooking up the Oontz Angle to the PC for perspective. The Oontz still allowed us to control the volume using the PC as it should be.
And that was only half of my troubles. I encountered another obstacle when I connected the 3.5 mm male to male stereo audio aux cable to pick FM radio. It was rainbows and butterflies until I got a notification message on my smartphone. The Soundcore’s reaction is to reduce the volume all the way down and keep it there. It’s rather annoying having to manually bring the volume back up every time I get messages.
The Anker SoundCore is currently one of the bestselling Bluetooth speakers on Amazon and for good reason. It’s going for
$29.99 $27.99 without shipping fees and taxes.
In Uganda, check on Odukar which sells the unit at UGX 185,000. For its price, the SoundCore is great value for money. It delivers in a big way when factoring in price, quality, features, and sound output.
Anker SoundCore Specifications
- Model: A3102
- Size: 165x45x54m
- Weight: 365g/12.9oz
- Range: 20m/66ft
- Bluetooth Version: 4.0
- Driver output: 3W×2
- Playtime: Estimated 24+hrs @80% volume
- Battery Capacity: 4400mAh
- Input: 5V / 1A
- Charging time: 5 hours
- Bass Boost: Passive radiator