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Anker SoundCore Boost review: Anker SoundCore Boost speaker bumps the bass

Toward the high-end for Anker but still affordable, the SoundCore Boost mini Bluetooth speaker gives the JBL Flip 4 a run for its money.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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It's hard to describe any products from Anker, the upstart accessory manufacturer, as high-end. But the splash-resistant SoundCore Boost is currently its top of the line mini Bluetooth speaker. It costs $80 or £60; it's currently not available in Australia but the US price converts to about AU$100. That may not may seem like a lot of money, but the speaker is twice as expensive as its smaller sibling, the SoundCore 2 speaker. While it may not quite sound twice as good, it does sound significantly better. From a performance standpoint competes with such products as the JBL Flip 4 and UE Wonderboom, which list for about 25 percent more.

Anker SoundCore Boost
7.8

Anker SoundCore Boost

The Good

The Anker SoundCore Boost delivers strong sound for its size, has decent battery life and is splash-resistant. There's a USB out for charging devices and a built-in microphone for speakerphone calls.

The Bad

Design is somewhat generic.

The Bottom Line

While it doesn't have as cool a design as some competitors in this size and price class, the Anker SoundCore Boost delivers excellent sound..

Like the SoundCore 2, the 1.29 lb. (0.59 kg) SoundCore Boost has a straightforward, low-frills design that's highlighted by a soft-to-the-touch rubberized finish and nice, big buttons on top for power, volume control, pause/playback and Bluetooth connectivity. The finish does get a little marked up with handing, especially if your hands are a little grimy, but that was my only real design complaint.

Anker SoundCore Boost
Enlarge Image
Anker SoundCore Boost

The SoundCore Boost has a straightforward, no-frills design.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I had no problem pairing it and the wireless range was good (Anker lists it as 66 feet or about 20 meters). A rubber gasket covers the USB charging port and 3.5mm auxiliary input, which allows you to connect non-Bluetooth devices. Additionally, there's a built-in microphone for making speakerphone calls, but don't expect business-class performance. Its water resistance is rated at IPX5, which means it should survive splashes and water nozzles, but it's not designed to be dunkproof. 

It's also worth noting that -- like JBL's Charge speakers -- this one has a USB-out port so you can use it to charge phones, wireless headphones or other small devices (you'll need to supply your own Lightning or USB-C cable, of course). The internal battery is listed at 5,200mAh, which allows you to play the speaker at moderate volume levels for around 12 hours.

Anker SoundCore Boost
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Anker SoundCore Boost

The "BassUp" button is on top of the speaker along with other controls.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The "Boost" naming comes from a button on the speaker that boosts the bass using Anker's "patented BassUp technology." Once I engaged that boost I pretty much left it on, because the speaker sounds better with the boost activated -- something that's not always the case with "sound enhancement" modes. It takes the speaker from sounding a little flat and thin to sounding fuller and bigger with strong bass for its small size. 

We fed it some pretty hard material -- music that often makes other small speakers distort -- and the SoundCore Boost did surprisingly well. The alt-J track "3WW" has some deep bass frequencies that the SoundCore 2 couldn't resolve without warbling, but SoundCore Boost handled the track without a problem, even at louder volumes (it does play quite loud for its size).

There's a little bit of presence boost, but the treble isn't accentuated enough to give the speaker a harsh edge. As I said, sound-wise this is in the same league as speakers like the JBL Flip 4 that cost a bit more. It's not quite on par in terms of design or build quality, but performance-wise it delivers.

Anker SoundCore Boost
Enlarge Image
Anker SoundCore Boost

A gasket covers the ports, which include a USB-out for charging devices.

Sarah Tew/CNET
Anker SoundCore Boost
7.8

Anker SoundCore Boost

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Sound 8Value 8
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