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Anker Soundcore Flare 2
January 7, 2020
39 x 39 x 160 mm
Summer is just around the corner which means it’s high time for a new waterproof Bluetooth speaker you can take on the go. The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is a budget contender with LED lights guaranteed to light up your next beach bonfire. But does it hold up compared to its competitors? Let’s find out.
What you need to know about the Anker Soundcore Flare 2
- Product name: $79 USD / $129.98 CAD
The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is a small speaker with a fabric covered IPX7-rated enclosure. As the upgrade to the Anker Soundcore Flare, it is a relatively budget-friendly speaker. The main differences between this speaker and its predecessor are that it uses Bluetooth 5.0 rather than 4.2, it is missing the 3.5mm input that the older speaker had, and the Flare 2 has a Bass Boost button.
What’s good about the Anker Soundcore Flare 2?
The coolest thing about the Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is its two LED light rings which dance to the beat of whatever song is playing through the speaker. These lights are customizable via the Soundcore companion app where you can adjust the colors and the frequency with which they change.
The Partycast feature allows you to pair 100+ Flare 2 speakers for synchronized playback. Unfortunately with this mode you cannot independently adjust each speaker’s volume, but you can individually adjust each speaker’s light effects mode. At a house party or late-night pool session, this feature will be very popular.
The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 boasts an impressive 20m Bluetooth range. When I left the speaker in one room while bringing my phone all around my apartment doing chores, I experienced no audio cut outs. The button controls on the top of the speaker work well and the multifunction button can even activate your smartphone’s native voice assistant. That’s right, the speaker has a microphone and you can use it to make phone calls if you so choose. The app is intuitive to use and offers a lot of customization over the speaker’s sound and light settings.
What’s not so good about the Anker Soundcore Flare 2?
The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 gets plenty loud despite its petite size, but its sound quality leaves a bit to be desired. Though it is a budget product, if I’m spending any more than $50 on a speaker I want it to sound better than mediocre, and this speaker’s bass response and general clarity are a bit weak, especially when compared to other similarly priced speakers. In Sunday Candy by Nico Segal, the vocals come through pretty crisply without overshadowing the other components of the song. The lack of bass response, even with the bass boosted via the equalizer, however, makes the song feel less groovy than normal. I would say this can be attributed to the speaker’s size, but some similarly sized competitor speakers have markedly better bass responses.
The Soundcore app offers multiple EQ presets, including Default, Voice, Chill, and Flat. It would be helpful if the app displayed the EQ slider settings for each of these presets so we could clearly see what changes were being made, but alas we are forced to determine our favorites based on just sound. I found all of the presets underwhelming, particularly in terms of bass response. That being said, an intense song like Scissorhands by Maggie Lindemann maintains its energy decently with the Default and Voice presets, and the Voice preset brings the vocals to the forefront nicely. The Chill and Flat responses are much more suited relaxed tracks like I Was Born to Love You by Ray LaMontagne
The build quality of the Flare 2 is also nothing to write home about. It’s lightweight, but it feels cheap, and Anker advises against dropping the speaker, which I suspect would cause the plastic LED lights to crack. I also wish the Flare 2 had a port for wired listening, as it is always a nice option to have.
Anker Soundcore Flare 2 specs
The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 has several features that make it special. It’s also important to keep track of how its specifications differ from its competitors, so we’ve compiled this list to help you keep track:
|Anker Soundcore Flare 2|
8.9 x 8.9 x 16.04 cm
Wired audio connection
Wireless audio connection
No; 3.5 hours for full charge
Anker Soundcore Flare 2 review: Should you buy it?
At the $79 USD price point, I wouldn’t recommend the Anker Soundcore Flare 2. While the speaker is pretty good, you can get something with better sound quality for the same price, such as the JBL Flip 5. Sure, the Flip 5 doesn’t have LED lights that dance to the beat of your music, but if sound quality is your priority it’s a better option.
That being said, some people really want the flashiness of a light-up speaker, and the Soundcore app makes everything really easy to customize. The IPX7 rating is sweet, and not every budget portable speaker includes a microphone for making phone calls, so that is a nice touch as well.
Frequently asked questions about the Anker Soundcore Flare 2
Yes, you can connect the Flare 2 to any other PartyCast-compatible Anker Soundcore speaker. The only PartyCast speaker currently in production, however, is the Flare 2.
The Flare Mini is very similar to the Flare 2 but it runs for only $42.99 at Amazon. The Flare Mini doesn’t have all the fancy features of the Flare 2—notably, it is missing the PartyCast and Bass Boost features. Its sound quality is also poorer due to its smaller size, but it maintains the IPX7 rating and 12-hour battery life.