It’s often amazing to sit back and think about how far technology has come along over the past two decades. I first joined the military at the age of 17, back in 2001. Back then, there was no such thing as digital media players, wireless earphones, or portable speakers. I can remember back to my first deployment in 2002 and using a pair of cheap Koss speakers with no external or battery powered source to amplify the sound from my CD player, and I thought it was the greatest thing ever – at least until planes started taking off. Fast forward nearly 20 years later and the conveniences and abilities that products have today is a stark contrast, and so much appreciated. I bring this up because today I’m reviewing the Anker Soundcore Mini, and it had me reminiscing of technology of days gone by, and marveling at what such a tiny, compact Bluetooth speaker is capable of! So… let’s talk about the Soundcore Mini.
Presentation: Anker has been working to make their products and packaging more appealing to the average consumer – at least that is what I think, based on changes they’ve made over the past few years. Their products have definitely become more mainstream and the expectations have risen, just like their availability. The Soundcore Mini packaging is nice and sporty looking, with a fresh clear package that eludes the waterproof nature of the speaker – seriously, waterproof speakers! The speaker itself is nice and compact as well, sporting a built-in wrist strap, the Soundcore logo on the front, and rubberized buttons on top. It looks great and it’s very easy to operate and has a solid feel to it. It’s not too heavy, and it’s easy to tote around on your backpack, bicycle, desktop, or pretty much anywhere you want to go.
- Connected wrist strap adds an extra level of portability
- 8hrs of playback time – varies by type of music and volume level
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Fully waterproof with IP67 dust and water resistance!
- Stereo pairing capability with other Soundcore Icon/Icon Mini speakers
- Listening range up to 33ft
- Lightweight – weighs in at 6.4oz
- Still has a 3.55mm aux-cord jack if you’re feeling froggy
Performance: Overall, the sound quality is quite good for a compact speaker that’s waterproof and only costs $35.99. However, I found most of sound experience to be only slightly better than average. I think the best way I can describe the speaker performance is by referring to it as the speaker that tried to do too much, with too little. Volume is adequate for most things that you would want a speaker like this for, whether that’s listening to it by the poolside, playing some tunes while you BBQ, or for listening to some music while you’re sitting at your workbench in the garage. It’s not anything to write home about in any of the three spectrum areas: bass, mids, or treble. However, it is more than adequate and probably better than most of the competition in the $30 department. I may have gone into it with expectations a little higher than most because Anker has been doing so many good things with so much less than the competition, but this time I think the money was spent more on the hardware and the protection than the performance. The sound really isn’t completely clear, and only gets more muddied as you increase the volume. I don’t want to paint a picture of negativity, but overall, I would rate the sound experience at a 6 out of a 10. The bass is a bit overwhelming when it’s present, and highs are fairly muddied up when the volume is cranked up. Volume-wise the speaker performs well, but as the volume goes up, the clarity drops marginally. The sweet spot for this speaker is really around the 65% volume level, which is probably when you can hear everything the best. Of course, clarity will also be dictated by type of music, as well as the sampling rate. The higher sampling rate and the less “busy” the music is, the more clear it will be. Where this guy picks up extra points is in the IP67 waterproof and dust resistance, the 8 hours of playtime, and the portability. It is a complete package of sound and an outdoor enabler. It’s perfect for camping, hiking, biking, BBQing, swimming (fill in the blanks); it’s a complimentary piece of tech that I would have killed for when I used to be a much more “outdoorsy” person. If you want a versatile, all-around speaker, it’s a solid audio accessory that will take a beating and allow you to listen to music where most speakers won’t dare to go, and it will never skip a beat.
Ease of Use: The Icon Mini is very easy to pair, and even easier to use. The speaker has the standard compliment of buttons on top, etched into the rubbery surface: power, volume up/volume down, Soundcore, pairing button, and the multifunction button to play/pause, or answer calls. Additionally, if you feel so inclined you can pick up two of these guys and pair them together for a stereo sound experience, which is an extra feature that the competition surely doesn’t offer. Anker has really doubled down on the stereo connectivity feature with their speakers this past year, and it’s really been nice! I used this feature with the Flare series speakers, and it worked really great. I can only imagine that it works juts as well with the Icon Mini speakers as well. And last but not least, the built-in microphone is convenient for taking calls on-the-fly.
Conclusion: The Anker Soundcore Mini is like the Swiss Army equivalent in the speaker world; this speaker does it all. Toss it in the pool, hang in on your backpack, put it on the hood of the car while your do yard work, etc… It does it all without breaking a sweat and runs for up to 8 hours. The sound experience is better than average but nothing to nothing to get too excited about. It has more than adequate sound, but this speaker is really geared more towards adventure than high fidelity audio. Weighing in at $35.99, it’s a solid option for versatility and grab-and-go listening.
If you’re interested in picking up an Anker Soundcore Mini speaker, you can find them on Amazon for the low price of $35.99, and it even comes with Prime 2-day shipping if you’re a member – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LBMJ98L/?tag=androidcentral00-20&ascsubtag=UUacUvbUpU6517734 – As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them down in the comments section.