Anker makes plenty of great audio products under the Soundcore branding, and while its products are rarely beautiful or flashy, they’re always well-thought-out and a great value. The Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 earbuds are one of the newer true wireless offerings from the company, and it’s fair to say they share those same attributes. These are unique looking, aren’t flashy, and at $79 they’re not exactly undercutting the competition—so should you get them?
Editor’s note: this Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 review was updated on December 3, 2021, to expand the list of buying options, update the scores with results from our reader poll, and update the list of alternatives.
Who is the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 for?
- Anyone looking for their next pair of gym earbuds. The secure fit is comfortable and they don’t fall out. Plus the connection strength is great.
- People who have a hard time getting earbuds to fit in their ears. The numerous ear tips and wingtips that come with the earbuds means you’ll most likely find the right combination to fit your ears.
- People who mainly plan to only be connected to a single device. These are lacking Bluetooth multipoint functionality, so if you spend your day switching between devices you might need to look elsewhere.
What is it like to use the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2?
The Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 earbuds are surprisingly easy to use. When you remove them from the case for the first time they automatically enter pairing mode, which takes some of the guesswork out of the initial setup process. Once paired, the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 earbuds will auto-connect to the last device every time you remove them from the case. They also consistently auto-disconnect from your device when you put them back in the case, something that not all earbuds have perfected.
The charging case is a small plastic pill that fits in my pocket nicely and I haven’t had any problems with the earbuds falls during my time testing them. Each earbud snaps securely into place when you put them back in the case thanks to magnets. The lid of the charging case is probably my favorite part of the case. To get to the earbuds the lid slides back and the reveal is very satisfying. On the front of the case are three small LED lights to let you know the battery level of the charging case. You can charge up the case via the USB-C input on the back.
The earphones themselves are pretty great. With this style of earbud, I typically have issues finding a good fit that I feel confident running with, but that wasn’t the case here. The only point of annoyance I have is that the earbuds fit almost too securely. To get them out of the case every time I wanted to use them I had to use my fingers like chopsticks and pry them out. It isn’t too difficult as the magnet isn’t super strong, but a little more room for my fingers would go a long way.
Normally, this type of fit results in some discomfort after a while—but I think Anker nailed it here. The stabilizers are stiff enough to keep the earbud secure but pliable enough to wear for long periods of time. While I never wore these for the length of an entire workday I did wear them one of my longer runs which lasted about an hour. During that time I didn’t experience any discomfort at all, besides the pain, I placed upon myself by deciding to run in the first place.
How do you control the earbuds?
Each earbud has touch-sensitive controls which work fine in my experience, but they still aren’t intuitive. There’s no way to return to a previous track and these are also lacking volume controls which means you’ll have to reach for your phone whenever you want to achieve those two functions.
Other than those two controls everything else works perfectly. Double-tapping the right earbud will pause or play music while double-tapping the left earbud will skip to the next track. You can also activate your phone’s voice assistant by holding your finger to the left and right earbuds simultaneously. If you want to power off or on the earbuds manually you can do so by holding your fingers both earbuds for eight or two seconds, respectively.
Is the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 waterproof?
Yes, the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 has an IPX7 waterproof certification. In regular language, this means that these earbuds have passed the official IP test of being submerged in one meter of water for a total of 30 minutes. So a few sweat droplets while out on a run shouldn’t be a problem. To learn more about IP ratings and what they all mean make sure to check out our full explainer.
How’s the connection strength?
The Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 are rocking Bluetooth 5.0 which gives them the benefit of stronger connection strength and slightly higher quality data transfer speeds than previous Bluetooth versions. As far as Bluetooth codecs go, this support the SBC and AAC codecs.
Anker claims this is because of the new LDS (Laser Direct Structuring) antenna and while I can’t confirm whether it is actually this specifically designed antenna doing the heavy lifting, I can say that my experience has been flawless. Using these while connected to my phone to watch videos has also been a pleasant experience thanks to the AAC codec which allows for minimal A/V lag. This just means that when you’re watching a video the audio that you hear will sync up with the lips of the person speaking.
Does the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 support Bluetooth multipoint?
If you’re someone that uses multiple devices throughout the day, having the freedom to seamlessly switch between them is a great feature—one that the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 lacks. If you’re listening to music on your phone and want to switch to your computer for a conference call, you’ll need to dive into Bluetooth settings to disconnect from one service and then reconnect to the other.
How do you pair to the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2?
As soon as you take the earbuds out of the charging case, they will enter pairing mode. This means that they are discoverable and can be found in the Bluetooth settings of your particular device. Just open up the settings app on your phone and navigate to the Bluetooth devices. In there, click on the Anker earbuds when they pop up under the available devices section. Unfortunately, there’s no quick-pairing like you’ll get with the AirPods or NFC like you’ll get with the Sony WF-1000XM3.
How to pair to a second device
If you’ve already paired to your primary device and want to connect your earbuds to a second device, then follow these steps:
- Take earbuds out of the case.
- Tap and hold the touch-sensitive part of both earbuds for 8 seconds to power them off manually.
- Without putting them back in the case, tap and hold one earbud. After 5 seconds you will hear the earbud power on and enter Bluetooth pairing mode with a soft jingle after the battery status announcement.
- Now you can go into the Bluetooth settings on your second device and connect to the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 earbuds.
Doing this ensures that you can connect to your earbuds from multiple devices, but as I mentioned earlier these don’t have Bluetooth multipoint. So you won’t be able to stay connected to more than one device at a time.
What is the battery life like on the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2?
Battery life on the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 is fairly average for a pair of true wireless earbuds in this price range. Anker claims that you’ll get 5 hours, 30 minutes of playback and in our testing, we surpassed that at exactly 6 hours, 2 minutes. For our objective tests we make sure to play music at a constant output of 75 dB until the battery dies.
If you want to get these to last even longer, you can always lower the volume as well, but keep in mind that works in reverse too. If you tend to blast music when you’re running, you should first not do that and read our piece on noise-induced hearing loss, but second you can expect battery life to be even shorter at higher volumes. Thankfully, the case features quick charging which gives the earbuds about an hour of constant playback after just 10 minutes in the charging case.
Does the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 block out noise?
The Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 doesn’t block out much background noise. As you can see in the attenuation graph, sounds below 1000Hz have no problem getting in. This means that—assuming you’re not blasting your music to unhealthy levels—you’re going to hear any passing cars or ambient noises that are going on around. This is good if you’re like me and tend to run in public areas where you might need to be aware of your surroundings, but it’s not great for sound quality.
The more noises leak into your headphones the harder it is to focus on the details. This is called auditory masking and it’s how the brain developed to process sounds. If you hear two sounds at a similar frequency but differing volumes, whichever one is loudest is the one that your brain processes. To offset this effect the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 earbuds have a nice bump in the low end, masking bass notes sound a little louder than usual.
How’s the sound quality of the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2?
Bassheads will likely be disappointed, but as someone who enjoys a little extra oomph when exercising, I enjoy it. The thumping bass in I Feel It Coming by The Weeknd is loud enough that I can hear it when running outside, and it still sounds pretty good when I listen from a quiet room.
Vocals in the mids also had a nice amount of clarity thanks to slightly emphasized treble (boosting speech intelligibility). Despite the rampant bass throughout the song California by Childish Gambino, his vocals still are easy to make out. As far as highs go they were okay, but not great. The boost to the highs means that cymbals and hi-hats are audible but inconsistent. Sometimes they’re great, other times they distort, and still other times I barely hear them.
Unfortunately, the Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 aren’t even compatible with the Soundcore App so there’s no way to officially EQ the sound if you want to. Of course, you can always use a third-party equalizer but it would be nice if the app from Anker supported all of their own products.
How is the microphone of the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2?
The microphone on the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 isn’t great. Sure, it’s good enough that you can answer a phone call quickly while out on a run but we wouldn’t recommend it if you plan to jump on a conference call. The microphone has a sharp dropoff under about 200Hz which means that some of the lower notes in a person’s voice won’t come across as loud to the person on the other end.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 mic demo:
As of December 3, 2021, a total of 647 readers have rated the above mic sample as somewhere between “okay” and “good.” This is a pretty typical result for true wireless earbuds and what you should expect for this price.
Should you buy the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2?
The Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 is a good fit for me personally, but whether they’re right for you depends on a few things. These earphones aren’t perfect by a long shot. They lack Bluetooth multipoint, a good microphone, practical playback and volume controls, and the bud design is likely to put some people off.
That said, if you’re looking for a pair of exercise headphones this option deserves your consideration. The IPX7 build puts it ahead of the AirPods Pro when it comes to waterproofing and the AirWing stabilizers are insanely good. Plus, these excel at what is arguably the most important feature when it comes to true wireless earbuds which is connection strength. I have no problem recommending these to anyone that takes fitness seriously but doesn’t want to spend more than $100.
What are some alternatives to the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2?
For anyone who doesn’t mind paying a little more to get the best, then check out the Jabra Elite Active 75t. These buds have a fully waterproof and dustproof IP57 rating, they sound good, the AAC codec with Bluetooth 5.0, autopause , and they have a sleek charging case. While you won’t get the same noise cancelling that you’ll find on something like the AirPods Pro you will get a Passthrough mode that lets you hear what’s going on around you.
Another great option for less than $100 USD is the Jabra Elite 3. For just $79 USD, you get earbuds with an IP55 rating, aptX and SBC codec support, solid battery life, and good sound. You can use the Jabra MySound app to toggle the ambient listening mode on or off and cycle through a few EQ presets.
If you really want to stick to Anker’s lineup, check out the Anker Soundcore Life A1. This costs just $49 USD, often less, and has an IPX7 rating along with a very comfortable fit and wireless charging case. You get SBC and AAC support here, making it a better option for iPhone owners compared to the Elite 3.
Related: OnePlus Buds Pro review