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

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.

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.

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

Sarah Tew/CNET

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