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Soundcore by Anker Motion Boom Plus Review: Top Value Bluetooth Speaker

When it's discounted from its $180 list price -- which it often is -- Anker's mini boombox speaker may be the best value Bluetooth speaker of the year.

Anker's original Soundcore Motion Boom speaker is still a decent value at less than $100. But the new-for-2022 Motion Boom Plus is significantly improved, particularly in terms of sound quality. It's easily one of the best Bluetooth speakers released in 2022 and earns a CNET Editors' Choice Award for its attractive design and strong performance at a good price. The list price is $180 (£190, which converts to roughly AU$340) but it's often available for less.

8.8

Soundcore by Anker Motion Boom Plus

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Like

  • Well-designed mini boombox-style Bluetooth speaker that plays loud and delivers very good sound for its size
  • Upgraded dual 3.5-inch woofers and newly added dual 1-inch tweeters
  • Strong battery life (up to 20 hours)
  • Charges via USB-C, can charge other devices via USB-A
  • IP67 waterproof and dust-resistant

Don't Like

  • More expensive than its predecessor

Weighing 5.29 pounds, almost a pound more than the Motion Boom, it's equipped with upgraded dual 3.5-inch woofers and newly added dual 1-inch tweeters, delivering up to 80 watts of audio output (60 for the woofers and 20 for the tweeters). Battery life is rated for 20 hours at moderate volume levels. Equipped with Bluetooth 5.3, it's IP67 waterproof and dust-proof.

I was impressed with the sound quality, which measures up well against a few more expensive -- and some larger -- models on CNET's list of the best Bluetooth speakers. You can tweak the sound profile (with EQ settings) and upgrade the speaker's firmware with Anker's Soundcore companion app for iOS and Android. I tended to go with the bass boost engaged -- there's a button on the speaker to activate it -- and found that the speaker delivers full sound with good clarity in the mids and highs, and good bass definition. For its size, the speaker can put out a lot of sound and mostly manages to avoid distorting at higher volumes. (I tended to keep the volume in the 50 to 75% range.)

Read more: Best Bluetooth Boom Boxes

soundcore-by-anker-motion-boom-plus-on-table

The Soundcore by Anker Motion Boom Plus is designed for outdoor use.

David Carnoy/CNET

If you're sitting within a few feet of the speaker, there's a bit of stereo separation. But if you really want to up the sound quality, you can wirelessly pair two Soundcore Motion Boom Plus speakers to create a real stereo pair. The speaker also links up with other Soundcore PartyCast speakers (most recent Soundcore speakers are PartyCast-enabled) for synchronized music and bigger sound to cover a larger space.

The speaker charges via USB-C but only comes with a cable, so you'll have to provide your own power adapter. Like the earlier Motion Boom, this speaker has a USB-A charge out port that can charge your mobile devices should they need some juice. If you do charge a device, however, you'll have less battery life for audio playback. 

The ports on back of the Soundcore by Anker Motion Boom Plus

There's a USB-A charge out port on back along with an auxiliary input and USB-C charging port -- the USB-C port is only for charging the speaker, not devices. 

David Carnoy/CNET

There are several larger boombox-style Bluetooth speakers available. Tribit's Stormbox Blast ($170) is also a good value, for example. It plays a little louder, delivers more powerful bass and has built-in light show. But the Motion Boom Plus is more compact and I thought it sounded more tonally pleasant, with a bit more clarity. 

While it lists for $180, it's been on sale for as low as $125 and usually sells for less than $140 -- and it's a great value when it's on sale.