Anker Soundcore Motion 300 Bluetooth Speaker Review: The Price Is Right
Anker's take on Bose's excellent SoundLink Flex Bluetooth speaker costs a lot less ($80) and delivers strong sound for its price and size.
Updated Nov. 8, 2023 7:00 a.m. PT
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David CarnoyExecutive 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.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
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Bose's excellent SoundLink Flex Bluetooth speaker, which we awarded a CNET Editors' Choice, is one of the top-selling Bluetooth speakers on Amazon, with thousands of user reviews there. Needless to say, competitors took notice and decided to offer up their own spins on the Flex, which lists for $150 but sometimes goes on sale for less. The Soundcore Motion 300 is Anker's answer to that Bose speaker. Around the same size as the Bose, it doesn't sound quite as good, but it sounds impressive for its compact size and costs only $80. As a result, we've awarded it a CNET Editors' Choice as a strong value pick in the portable Bluetooth speaker category.
The Motion 300 weighs in at 1.76 pounds and is a little heavier than the 1.3-pound SoundLink Flex. But like the Flex, the Motion 300 can be laid down flat with its speaker firing up toward the ceiling or sky or propped up as shown in the photo above (Anker says its SmartTune technology senses changes to the speaker's orientation and adjusts the sound to improve the listening experience).
The speaker IPX7 waterproof and seems pretty durable. I left it out in the rain for about 30 minutes and also submerged it in a sink full of water. It worked fine afterwards.
At least Anker made some effort to differentiate the design of the Motion 300 from the SoundLink Flex, giving it more rounded corners and a distinctive metallic grill on front. (Anker says the "metal mesh preserves sound quality and has a rugged, industrial feel.") Tribit's Stormbox Flow (1.47 pounds) is more of a direct knockoff, with a shape and metal grill that's even more similar to that of the Bose. The Motion 300 has a sturdy strap integrated into its design while the StormBox Flow has a cheaper looking lanyard. Both are detachable.
One of the reasons the Bose is so popular is because it's kind of the perfect size for a portable speaker -- not too big and not too small. Of course, the other reason is that it sounds as good as it does -- and plays as big as it does -- for its size. The same is true for both the Motion 300 and Stormbox Flow.
Soundcore Motion 300 features
The Soundcore Motion 300 has a somewhat robust feature set for an $80 speaker, including support for Sony's LDAC audio codec for Android and other devices that support Bluetooth wireless streaming with LDAC.
While Anker doesn't advertise the speaker as having speakerphone capabilities, it does. I connected my phone to the speaker and then put my phone in another room and covered it with a towel to cover its microphone and then had a conversation using the speaker. You do have to be close to the speaker for the microphone to pick up your voice, but people said they heard me fine in a quiet room.
While Anker describes this as a stereo speaker, the drivers are close together so you'll get minimal stereo separation. However, you can wirelessly link two Motion 300s together for a real left/right stereo speaker set up.
The Motion 300 is compatible with the Soundcore app for iOS and Android, which allows you to tweak the sound profile, adjust the brightness of the LEDs on its buttons and upgrade its firmware. It delivers up to 13 hours of audio at moderate volume levels (my tests confirmed that is a fairly accurate rating)
Soundcore Motion 300 sound quality
Most of these mini Bluetooth speakers are strongest in the midrange and treble, and the Motion 300 is no exception. It offers decent clarity and also plays loud for its compact size and outputs a reasonable amount of bass, giving the sound a certain amount of depth and richness that you typically don't find in speakers in this price range.
The speaker has a bass boost button that does amp up the low end a bit. But I actually thought the speaker sounded a bit better without the bass boost engaged because it seemed slightly overdriven with the boost on. The bass just doesn't sound that tight at higher volumes. That's where the Bose does better.
Tribit's StormBox Flow is a slightly warmer speaker and may actually sound slightly better than the Motion 300, edging it out for bass performance by a tad. But the Anker speaker does offer slightly more detail and clarity and wins on design. While it may be a plus that it has support for the LDAC audio codec, I didn't really notice a difference in sound quality when I was streaming to the speaker from an Android phone that supports LDAC vs. what the sound was like when I paired an iPhone to it. You'd likely need a much more premium speaker to hear any significant difference with LDAC streaming.
Soundcore Motion 300 final thoughts
While the Bose SoundLink Flex is still the mini Bluetooth speaker to get if you can afford it, the Motion 300 is an excellent value alternative that's only a small step down in terms of performance and design. I also like the Tribit Stormbox Flow for the same price. It has a more generic design but has better battery life and sounds slightly warmer, which you may -- or may not -- prefer.
Both the Motion 300 and the StormBox Flow list for $80, but we should see some flash sales that bring the price down a bit. Anker also makes the Motion 100, a smaller Bluetooth speaker that lists for $60 and is also a good value. However, if you can afford it, the Motion 300 does sound better and I prefer its design.