At this point when someone brings up the brand Anker I no longer think of charging cables and battery packs. What comes to mind now are a handful of some of the best bang for your buck products we’ve used over the last few years. The Soundcore Flare is still one of my favorite affordable Bluetooth speakers and the Anker Liberty Air 2 got a glowing review from my colleague Lily Katz. Anker has been putting in work in the true wireless market, and the Soundcore Sprint X2 are the next pair of earbuds it’s hoping you’ll consider. While the Liberty Air 2 and the Soundcore Liberty Pro were aimed more for everyday use there is no mistaking what the Soundcore Spirit X2 is geared towards: fitness.
Editor’s note: this Anker SoundCore Spirit X2 review was updated on March 7, 2021, to address an FAQ about if the ear hooks are adjustable and to add context to the sound quality section.
Who are the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 for?
- People who exercise. If you’re looking for a pair of wireless earbuds for your next workout these are for you. They’re sweatproof, have great battery life, and if you prefer the earhook style to secure the buds to your ears then these have you covered there as well.
- Anyone who wants the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They look similar to the Powerbeats Pro but cost way less. While you’re sacrificing some build quality—you’re saving so much money that the tradeoff is fine.
How is the build quality?
Build quality isn’t the reason why you’ll buy a pair of headphones but it’s always important to note what you’re spending your money on. We’ll get to the actual earbuds later in the article but for now, let’s start with the charging case. This isn’t the same discreet and pocketable case that you’ll find in something like the Liberty Air 2. Instead, this case is much more similar in design to the Powerbeats Pro. It’s wide, and not exactly easy to fit in your pockets. It is doable, though it’ll likely be the only thing you can fit in your pocket.
On the front are also three small LED lights that let you know how much battery is left when you open the lid. Of course, if you’re going to the gym or on a quick run this shouldn’t be an issue as you likely aren’t going to be working out with a case in your back pocket anyway. The case isn’t as large as the one for the Powerbeats Pro but it’s definitely better off in your gym bag. On the back of the case is a small flap protecting the USB-C input and a small button for pairing.
When you open the lid you’ll get to the earbuds which are also a dust magnets because of the rubberized ear tips. These are also rocking the around-ear hook but with a twist, literally. When you put them in your ear you have to twist them to lock the earbuds in place, and when you do: you’ll realize that the bulk of the earbud is actually vertical along the ear. It’s a little different than the horizontal placement the Powerbeats are known for and I like it.
These utilize that same stabilization technique but in a new way that I find less intrusive while wearing. Along the back of the earbuds are the playback controls which get a little more confusing and definitely take a bit of memorization in order to remember which button does what. Each earbud has two buttons: a volume button and a multifunction button.
It's a little different than the horizontal placement the Powerbeats are known for and I like it.
You’ll be able to control volume and skip between tracks by either tapping or holding down the volume buttons while the multifunction button lets you activate your phones virtual assistant or turn on the “extra bass” EQ preset. One thing that’s worth mentioning is that these don’t have any special features that you’d find on some other buds. There’s no active noise cancelling, passthrough, and they don’t even auto-pause when you take one earbud out. The few times that I needed to remove the earbuds to answer a question or hear what was going on around me resulted in me missing some parts of the song or podcast I was listening to.
The Soundcore Spirit X2 is part of the “Spirit” line of fitness headphones, so these have an IP68 sweat-resistant design like the other models to accommodate your sweatiest workouts. I used these on a few runs and they stayed on the entire time and worked perfectly. The earhook keeps them secure on your ears while you move, and the ear tips themselves also have a small wing that keeps the nozzle nicely inside the ear canal. Even when I started to sweat, these never got loose or fell out—something that happens all the time with true wireless earbuds. They’re fine for regular exercise, but as soon as you really start to sweat they begin to shake loose. That isn’t the case here.
My one complaint with these as far as use goes was that the button placement isn’t great when running. Instead of just reaching for my ear and pressing a button I needed to rotate my wrist around in an awkward position in order to get to the buttons.
How’s the connection strength?
As far as specs go these are rocking Bluetooth 5.0 and the aptX Bluetooth codec as well. Interestingly, I found that these also have AAC compatibility even though Anker doesn’t specify this to be the case. Since iOS devices are only compatible with AAC and SBC, this is good news for anyone with an iPhone. The good news doesn’t end there: I found the connection to be fantastic whether I was just in my apartment or going for a run. There also isn’t any noticeable audio-visual lag while watching videos. I caught up on a few of my favorite YouTubers and even tried out watching Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix and never had any issues.
Because these lack multipoint connectivity, you won’t be able to seamlessly switch between devices—but in my experience switching between my iPhone 11 Pro and Pixel 3 wasn’t difficult. Switching devices just requires going through Bluetooth settings on both devices and disconnecting/reconnecting accordingly.
My biggest issue with the connection is that these aren’t great at automatically disconnecting when you put them in the case. You need to make sure that the earbuds are set in place perfectly in order to break the connection. Otherwise you’ll get back from your run, put the earbuds away, and jump in the shower and try to listen to a podcast, only to discover that the phone is still connected to the earbuds inside their case. It’s a very specific situation but I’m sure it’s fairly common if you’re getting workout earbuds.
How to pair to the Soundcore Spirit X2 true wireless earbuds
Unlike some of the other true wireless earbuds from companies like Google and Apple you won’t find any method of quick-pairing here. Instead, they’ll automatically enter pairing mode when you open up the case for the first time. Just go into the Bluetooth settings of your device and choose the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 in the list. To pair to a second device, you’ll need to open the case and—with the earbuds still inside—hold down the small button on the back of the charging case. This will force the earbuds into pairing mode so you can find them in Bluetooth settings. If you’re looking to completely reset the headphones then you’ll have to hold down the button for about 10 seconds. Doing this will clear any devices saved on the earbuds so that you can start from scratch.
How long does the battery last on the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2?
Anker claims that you’ll get about nine hours of constant playback with the Soundcore Spirit X2 but I got more than that in our testing. To be clear, we have a standard way of testing battery life here at SoundGuys that requires playing a variety of music at a constant output of 75dB until the battery dies. Doing this I managed to squeeze out exactly 10 hours and 49 minutes of battery life which isn’t only impressive for the price, it’s impressive for the category. These are one of the longest lasting pair of true wireless earbuds we’ve tested.
The charging case is designed to give you an extra four charges and also has quick charging. Just ten minutes in the case will give you about two hours of extra playback. If you’re worried about battery life when it comes to your true wireless earbuds, then pick these up because battery life is basically a non-issue. Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that battery life depends on output. If you blast music while you run (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway) then these will probably struggle to reach ten hours of playback.
Do the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 have a good microphone?
The Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 true wireless earbuds do have a microphone and it’s actually really good. Considering the price and the use case of these headphones I was not expecting them to sound as good as they do. Don’t get me wrong they’re not going to give you a podcast level quality, but I answered a call mid-run while outside running on a windy street and didn’t have a single complaint from the person on the other side. While there is a slight dip under 100Hz like we see on most other mics that are built into the headphones it isn’t as dramatic here. What that means practically is that a lot of the lower notes in your voice will be preserved better than on other headphones.
Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 microphone demo:
How do the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 sound?
When it comes to sound quality there are two important factors to consider. The first is how well the particular headphones isolate and the second is the frequency response. We have an entire explainer piece on why isolation is important but the short version is there: the more outside noise there is, the less of your music you’re going to be able to actually hear. Anyone who has used a pair of cheap earbuds on a plane, or while riding the bus will know that as soon as the engine goes on it becomes harder to hear your music. Frequency response is also important, because it gives you a general guideline of how the headphones will sound. Keep in mind, that a frequency response graph isn’t the end-all-be-all of sound quality. It’s just a visual presentation for how loud the headphones can reproduce sounds across the audible human frequency range (20Hz – 20,000Hz).
As you can see from the isolation graph these don’t do a great job at isolating outside noises below 1000Hz. I can confirm this as every time a truck or a car passed me on my run I was very aware of it. That said, I take that as a positive. While I’m a huge fan of active noise cancelling in true wireless earbuds, I don’t want that in my workout headphones. I need to be able to hear my surroundings at least a little bit. Still, isolation isn’t great here.
When you look at frequency response you’ll see that while these aren’t flat they’re emphasized in all the right places. I wouldn’t say that these sound great, but they do sound really good if you mainly use them for running. The low end is given a slight emphasis all the way from 20Hz to about 120Hz which just means that basslines and bass kicks are made slightly louder.
This was really noticeable in the song Gosh by Jamie xx and while running the low bass plucks sounded great. At the same time though, I found that the synth that comes in around the 2:30 mark to be a little bit piercing to my ears. Sure enough after running our frequency response test I saw that the there was a big emphasis in the mids and highs, and these notes did tend to sound a little louder than I’m used to. I wouldn’t recommend these for any kind of critical listening but it hit all the right spots in my favorite songs to keep me pumped while running.
Should you buy the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2?
If you’re looking for a pair of workout true wireless earbuds the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 are hands-down my new recommendation. Like the PowerBeats Pro the around-ear hook makes these super secure while exercising and the IP68 certification leaves me feeling confident that these won’t degrade quickly. True, the sound signature isn’t the greatest but it still manages to make my runs a little more enjoyable and I had few complaints.
Battery life is also amazing and while the charging case is bigger than I’d like and feels cheap, it gets the job done providing four extra charges. Throw in Bluetooth 5 and both aptX and AAC codec compatibility and it’s hard to see why anyone would spend so much more for a pair of PowerBeats Pro. These fit that same niche perfectly and cost less than $100. I just bought myself a pair of the new Pixel Buds which have been working perfectly on my runs as well, but the introduction of the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 earbuds into my life has been making room in my wallet to pick these up for myself at the first opportunity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, no, the ear hooks are not adjustable.