Anker Soundcore Motion Plus review: This bulked-up $100 Bluetooth speaker sounds excellent
Anker’s Soundcore Motion Plus came out in 2019 and managed to slip beneath my radar, which is a shame because it’s arguably one of the best-sounding speakers under $100 (£90, $AU175), if not the best. A little larger than many mini Bluetooth speakers, it’s still compact and manages to sound quite a bit fuller than much of the competition under $100, with bigger bass, more volume and better clarity. It’s also fully waterproof (IPX7 rated) and has support for the aptX streaming codec for devices like Samsung’s Galaxy phones that support it.
While we originally reviewed this speaker back in May of 2020, nothing we’ve heard in this class since has impressed us as much. That’s why we’re awarding it an Editors’ Choice.
Weighing 2.31 pounds (1.05 kg), the speaker is equipped with a 6,700-mAh lithium-ion battery (Anker is known for its portable chargers and battery technology) that gives you up to 12 hours of playback time at moderate volume levels. You can also tweak the speaker’s sound using a companion app for iOS and Android, as well as wirelessly link two Motion Plus speakers to create a stereo pair or just expand the volume. It’s an excellent value at $100 — or $103 (£110) for the blue or red versions. (It’s a little strange that they cost $3 or a whopping £20 more than the black color.)
The speaker uses Bluetooth 5.0 and has USB-C charging, with the port and a 3.5mm audio input hidden under a rubber gasket that keeps moisture from entering. On top there are volume controls, Bluetooth pairing and playback control buttons along with a bass boost button. I always left the bass boost on because the speaker sounds better with it engaged.
I’m away from the office and don’t have quite as many speakers on hand for comparison purposes, but the Motion Plus sounds substantially better than the old UE Boom 2, JBL Flip 5 and Sony’s new SRS-XB23, all of which currently or originally retailed for $100. Not only does the Anker put out more volume and bass, it has a wider soundstage and smoother sound at higher volumes. A lot of these mini Bluetooth speakers can impress you with how loud they can play for their small size, but they still seem constrained; they have their limitations.
So does the Motion Plus, of course, but its ceiling is higher than other portable Bluetooth speakers in this price range. It can’t compete with much bigger and much more expensive speakers like the UE Hyperboom or JBL Boombox 2. But it’s a good compromise if you’re looking for something more affordable that’s a clear level up soundwise from popular mini Bluetooth speakers from Ultimate Ears, JBL, Sony and all the generic sub-$60 models on Amazon (the Motion Plus easily bested the Earfun Go and Tribit Stormbox, both of which are good values at $50).
The Soundcore Motion Plus is only slightly bigger then the new Sony SRS-XB23, but it weighs significantly more.
As I said, it’s a shame I didn’t get a sample of this earlier. But better late than never.
Here are its key specs, according to Anker:
- Hi-Res Audio enhanced by Qualcomm aptX when streaming via Bluetooth (with devices that support aptX streaming).
- Two high-frequency tweeters, neodymium woofers, and passive radiators.
- 30 watts of power
- Frequency range stretches from 50Hz to 40kHz and is paired with an advanced DSP.
- IPX7 waterproof: fully waterproof casing
- 12-hour playtime (6,700-mAh battery)
- USB-C charging
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Audio input for devices without Bluetooth
- Three color options (black, red, blue)
Sonos Roam review: A good speaker in a small package
$170 at Best Buy
$179 at Crutchfield
$179 at B&H Photo-Video
- Pricey compared to many mini Bluetooth speakers
- No power adapter included, only USB-C
Sonos calls the Roam “the best-sounding ultraportable speaker ever made.” That’s a big claim, so needless to say, as soon as I got my hands on a review sample, I was eager to hear whether it lived up to that lofty billing. I’m happy to report that to a large extent it does, at least compared to other speakers of similar size and weight.
Available in white or black for $169 (£159, AU$279), the Roam is currently Sonos’ smallest and most affordable speaker (if you don’t count those $99 Sonos-compatible Symfonisk Ikea Wi-Fi bookshelf speakers), though it’s fairly expensive for a mini wireless speaker. This model, like Sonos’ earlier Move portable speaker ($400, £399, AU$649), is equipped with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and can tap into your existing Sonos multiroom audio system and link with other Series 2-compatible Sonos speakers. (Sonos moved to its new S2 app last year, creating some havoc for owners of legacy Sonos devices that aren’t compatible with the new app, bifurcating users’ multiroom setups.) It also supports Apple AirPlay 2, so you can cast audio directly to it from an Apple device without using the Sonos app.
With its smooth matte finish and clean design, it’s one of the classiest looking portable wireless speakers I’ve tested — and smaller than I thought it would be. It weighs just less than a pound (430 grams) and it’s basically about the size of a JBL Flip or UE Boom Bluetooth speaker. Sonos’ Move weighs about six times as much and really isn’t so easy to carry around. Compared to that, this feels downright light. It’s also shock resistant — the end caps are rubberized — and seems pretty durable. It has an IPX67 rating, which means it can be fully submerged underwater (up to 1 meter) for 30 minutes and it actually makes for a very good shower speaker.
The Roam has an IPX67 water-resistance rating, which means it’s fully waterproof and dustproof.
Wi-Fi at home, Bluetooth on the go
As noted, like the Move, this speaker also has built-in Bluetooth. But what’s new is that when you’re away from your home network the Roam will automatically switch over to Bluetooth and switch back when you’re within range. The Move doesn’t do that; you have to manually activate the Bluetooth on that speaker.
I initially linked the speaker to an iPhone 12 Pro and the transition from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth seemed to work smoothly over the three days I tested it. Where things got a little trickier is when I wanted to switch the Roam over to Bluetooth on a Google Pixel 4 XL Android smartphone when I was out and about and using the Roam as I would a typical Bluetooth speaker. The power button next to the USB-C charging port doubles as a Bluetooth button and allows you to put the speaker into Bluetooth pairing mode. But it took several button holds and releases to finally get the speaker to show up in the Pixel’s menu for Bluetooth pairing.
In general, the Sonos app and software powering its system are quite user friendly. However, from my experience, you will run into some snafus from time to time, including issues with integrated voice assistants (you can choose either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant) when you’re dealing with a Wi-Fi speaker that relies on a home network as opposed to a simple Bluetooth speaker. That said, the Roam will get future software updates that should help refine its operation further.
The Roam automatically adjusts its sound if you lay it down horizontally.
Aside from the auto Wi-Fi to Bluetooth switching, the other cool feature this has is both USB-C and wireless charging. However, I should note that no power adapter is included, just the USB-C cable, and the speaker requires at least a 10-watt power adapter for USB-C charging.
As for wireless charging, Sonos will sell you a 10-watt wireless charging dock for $49 but you can set the speaker down on just about any Qi wireless charging pad and it will charge at up to 15 watts so long as the charging pad supports that speed. You can also charge the speaker with the included USB-C cable and that’s the fastest charging method, depending on the power output of your power adapter. With a 20-watt power adapter, I charged the speaker to about 50% in an hour via USB-C. Wireless charging takes about double that time to get to 50%.
Battery life is rated at around 10 hours at moderate volume levels, but that number may drop a bit if you’re on Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth and it could be adversely impacted with voice-assistant usage. As I’m shooting this video, Sonos says it’s working with Google to issue an update that improves battery life of the speaker when Google Assistant is enabled.
The Sonos Move is quite a bit larger.
All of Sonos’ new speakers, including the Roam, offer some form of the company’s Trueplay sound-tuning feature to optimize their sonic profiles for the space in which they’re placed. Rather than use the Sonos app on your iPhone, however, the Roam uses its built-in microphones to monitor its surroundings and continually autotunes itself on the fly.
Read more: Best Sonos speakers from $100
When on a Wi-Fi network, those microphones are also used to access Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa with your voice — you have to choose one voice assistant or the other — and you can pass audio onto the closest speaker in your Sonos setup by holding down the pause/play button on the Roam. Sonos calls this new feature Sound Swap. The Roam is able to do this by listening for chirping noises played through your other speakers and determines which one is closest. I guess the idea is that you’d walk in from your patio and then fire up the speakers in your living room.
The Roam has buttons on top for controlling music playback and muting the microphone. The USB-C charging port and power button are on the side of the speaker.
I had some fun moving the Roam from room to room, as well as outside like I would any Bluetooth speaker. And my first reaction after setting it up was, wow, this sounds really good for a speaker this size. It’s not up to the same level sound-wise as the Sonos One or the Move, which produce more sound with more bass, but it’s closer than I thought it would be and can fill a small to medium-sized room with sound.
Where this beats other small Bluetooth speakers like those from Ultimate Ears, JBL and others is it has more bass and sounds a little fuller with decent clarity. It’s also more natural sounding. Like any small speaker, you can’t push it that hard — it has its limitations — and it can end up sounding great with one track and only pretty good with other tracks, especially when you crank the volume. But it has a pleasant sound profile with relatively well-balanced sound that doesn’t come across as overly processed (that’s what I mean by more natural sounding).
You can also link the Roam with another Roam and create a stereo pair. They do sound pretty impressive paired up – getting that stereo separation gives the sound that much more depth – but you’ll have to pay around $350 to create that setup. I should also add that you cannot use a pair as the rear speakers in a Sonos surround sound setup. You’ll have to go with the Sonos One or those Ikea Symfonisk speakers (there’s also a Symfonisk Sonos lamp speaker that works as a surround speaker).
Read more: Best Bluetooth wireless speakers for 2021
Aside from those mini Bluetooth speakers I mentioned, I pitted the Roam against the JBL Link Portable, which seemed like the most apt comparison considering the Link Portable carries a list price of $180 and has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Link Portable is a bigger speaker and can play both louder and has more kick to its bass. But the overall tonal balance of the Sonos was more appealing to my ears. The JBL is very good but the Sonos is smaller and better designed — if I were given a choice between the two speakers, I’d take the Sonos.
Now, as for whether this is the best sounding ultraportable speaker ever made, I think it comes down to your definition of ultraportable. There are some speakers that are bigger, like Anker’s $100 Soundcore Motion Plus, that are able to match the Sonos’ sound. And there are Bluetooth speakers that cost a lot less, such as the Tribit MaxSound Plus ($50), that sound surprisingly decent and are a better value if all you’re looking for is a mini portable speaker. But for its size, the Roam is pretty hard to beat, so I’m going to say Sonos’ claim is within the realm of the truth. At least with what’s out there right now in its size class.
While the speaker is far from cheap, it is a lot cheaper than the Move, giving Sonos another speaker in its lineup that costs less than $200. With that more affordable pricing, Sonos is hoping the Roam not only appeals to Sonos newbies on a tighter budget but to existing Sonos users looking for an ultraportable speaker that can leave the Sonos nest but be right at home when it returns home. In fact, with its attractive design and strong sound quality, if you already have a Sonos setup, it seems hard to resist, and note that if you own older Sonos equipment, you can get up to 30% off the Roam and other new Sonos speakers as part of Sonos’ upgrade program.
|Anker Soundcore Motion Plus||Libratone Zipp 2||Libratone Zipp Mini 2||Sony SRS-XB43 90 007||Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen||Tribit StormBox Pro||Xiaomi Sound Pro||Sony SRS-XE300||Sony SRS-XG300||Sony SRS-XV900 9000 7|
|Best Price 90 007|
|energy into sound waves. More drivers can mean better sound quality.|
|Number of Drivers The speaker driver has an individual transducer that converts electrical energy into sound waves. More drivers can mean better sound quality.||4||3||3||4||2||2||2||4||N.A.|
|Driver block size A driver is a component that plays sound in a device. The larger the drivers, the more powerful they are and can reproduce lower bass.|
|Driver block size A driver is a component that plays sound in a device. The larger the drivers, the more powerful they are and can reproduce lower bass.||N.A.||101.6mm||76.2mm||20mm||88.9mm||40mm||71mm||61mm||N.A.|
|Has a neodymium magnetDevices with neodymium magnets are lighter and more powerful than those using ferrite magnets. They also have more bass and cleaner highs.|
|Has a neodymium magnetDevices with neodymium magnets are lighter and more powerful than those using ferrite magnets. They also have more bass and cleaner highs.||✔||✔||✔||✖||✖||✔||✖||✖||✖|
|The control panel is built into the device The control panel is located on the device so you can easily access and control the volume control without interacting with the cable or other device connected to it.|
|Control panel built into the device The control panel is located on the device so you can easily access and control the volume control without interacting with the cable or other device connected to it.||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Dustproof and waterproofThe device is dustproof and waterproof. Water-resistant devices are protected against the ingress of water, such as powerful water jets, but not when immersed in water.|
|Dustproof and waterproofThe device is dustproof and waterproof. Water-resistant devices are protected against the ingress of water, such as powerful water jets, but not when immersed in water.||✔||✖||✖||✔||✔||✔||✖||✔||✔|
|Total score for “Design” 9000|
|Total||Н “||Sound quality|
|has built -in stereo -stereo -stereo -stereo -stereo, and the right side of the left and right side and create a more saturated sound and better perception.|
|Has built-in stereo speakersDevices with stereo speakers provide sound from different channels on the left and right sides for a richer sound and better listening experience.||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✖|
|Has a subwooferUnits with subwoofers produce better sound quality, deeper bass.|
|Has a wooferDevices with woofers produce better sound quality, deeper bass.||✔||✔||✔||✖||✔||✔||✔||✖||✔|
|Highest frequency The highest frequency at which the device produces sound. The higher the high frequencies are tuned, the cleaner and more collected the treble.|
|Highest frequency The highest frequency at which the device produces sound. The higher the high frequencies are tuned, the cleaner and more collected the treble. 9||20000Hz||20000Hz||20000Hz||20000Hz||20000Hz||20000Hz||20000Hz||20000Hz|
|Lowest frequency The lowest frequency at which the device produces sound. The lower the low frequencies are set, the stronger and richer the bass.|
|Lowest frequency The lowest frequency at which the device produces sound. The lower the low frequencies are set, the stronger and richer the bass.||50Hz||50Hz||50Hz||20Hz||55Hz||60Hz||45Hz||20Hz||20Hz|
|Audio output powerThe audio output power is based on the number of speakers and their power in watts. High audio power output results in loud, clear sound.|
|Audio output power Audio output power is based on the number of speakers and their power in watts. High audio power output results in loud, clear sound.||3 x 10W||N.A.||N.A.||N.A.||2 x 30W||2 x 32.5W||N.A.||N.A.||N.A.||N.A.|
|Overall score for Sound Quality|
|Overall score for Sound Quality||9 0005|
|Battery capacity Battery charge, or battery capacity, is the amount of electrical energy stored in the battery. The higher the battery charge, the longer the battery life.|
|Battery capacity The battery charge, or battery capacity, is the amount of electrical energy stored in the battery. The higher the battery charge, the longer the battery life.||6700mAh||N.A.||N.A.||4900mAh||3000mAh||10000mAh||N.A.||N.A.||N.A.||N.A.|
|Battery lifeBattery life (when used) as specified by the manufacturer. With a longer battery life, you will charge your device less often.|
|Battery Life The battery life (when used) as specified by the manufacturer. With a longer battery life, you will charge your device less often.||12h||12h||12h||24h||18h||24h||25h||25h|
|Charging timeThe time required to fully charge the battery.|
|Charging time The time required to fully charge the battery.||3.5h||1.5h||3h||5h||2.75h||2h||3.5h||N.A.|
|Has a battery level indicatorThe indicator shows that the battery level is low.|
|Has a battery level indicatorThe indicator shows that the battery level is low.||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Has a rechargeable battery The device battery can be charged and used again.|
|Has a rechargeable battery The device’s battery can be charged and used again.||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Food total score|
|Food total score|
|data between devices located in close proximity using shortwave ultra-high frequency radio waves. Newer versions provide faster data transfer.|
|Bluetooth versionBluetooth is a wireless technology standard that allows you to transfer data between devices in close proximity using shortwave radio waves. Newer versions provide faster data transfer.||5||4.1||4.1||5||5.1||5||5.1||5.2||5.2||5.2|
|Has an AUX input The AUX input allows you to play other sound sources by connecting them through a simple audio connection such as a 3.5mm jack, ie. like a portable MP3 or DVD/CD player.|
|Has an AUX input The AUX input allows you to play other audio sources by connecting them through a simple audio connection such as a 3.5mm jack, ie. like a portable MP3 or DVD/CD player.||✔||✔||✔||✔||✖||✖||✔||✔||✔|
|LDACLDAC is a codec developed by Sony for Bluetooth audio. It supports a very high bit rate of 990 kbps, which provides high resolution audio. It can also automatically adjust the lower bitrate of 330Kbps or 660Kbps to improve stability.|
|LDACLDAC is a codec developed by Sony for Bluetooth audio. It supports very high bitrate 990 kbps for high definition audio. It can also automatically adjust the lower bitrate of 330Kbps or 660Kbps to improve stability.||✖||✖||✖||✔||✖||✖||✖||✖||✔|
|AptXaptX is a codec used for wireless audio transmission via Bluetooth. It is developed by Qualcomm and supports 16-bit audio at 384 kbps.|
|AptXaptX is a codec used for Bluetooth wireless audio transmission. It is developed by Qualcomm and supports 16-bit audio at 384 kbps.||✔||✖||✖||✖||✔||✔||✖||✖||✖|
|Maximum range (Bluetooth) BluetoothThe device can connect to another device over a long distance using Bluetooth/IR.|
|Maximum range (Bluetooth) BluetoothThe device can connect to another device at a long distance using Bluetooth/IR.||15m||N.A.||N.A. 10m||10m||30m||10m||30m||30m||30m|
|Connected total score|
|Connected total score|
|Can be used wirelessly. Wireless devices provide users with greater freedom of movement when listening.|
|Can be used wirelessly. Wireless devices provide users with greater freedom of movement while listening.||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Smartphone – remote control Allows you to use your smartphone as a remote control.|
|Smartphone – remote control Allows you to use your smartphone as a remote control.||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Has voice commands You can use your voice to control the device’s key functions and also easily access your device without pressing buttons.|
|Has voice commands You can use your voice to control the key functions of the device and also easily access your device without pressing buttons.||✔||✔||✔||✖||✔||✖||✔||✔||✖|
|Has a radio With headphones connected, it can work as an FM radio|
|Has a radio With headphones connected, it can work as an FM radio||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖|
|External batteryThe external battery function allows you to use the battery to charge other devices such as a smartphone.|
|External batteryThe external battery function allows you to use the battery to charge other devices such as a smartphone.||✖||✔||✔||✔||✖||✔||✖||✖||✖|
|Total score for “Features”|
|Total score for “Features”||9 0005|
The best do-it-yourself bluetooth speaker – 5 success criteria / Sudo Null IT News
Bluetooth speaker is ready!
It’s been 2 years since I started making a bluetooth speaker. And finally, she is completely ready. (Of course, again, not to the end – you still need to slightly add the firmware). I must say that I made the electronics itself much faster – only 3 months. This is the time from idea to finished board. But with the case, speakers, DSP settings, I had to conjure. As a result, I made three versions of the case, tried two types of speakers, and I consider the last option to be the final one. I will not redo. What column are you talking about? Who is interested in reading ..
When JBL speakers began to gain popularity, my son asked me to buy one. Since he and I were actively involved in electronics, the idea immediately arose to make a speaker for ourselves, and of course, the quality is not worse than the JBL Boombox.
What characteristics should the speaker have:
powerful sound (at least 40 W)
light weight (2-3kg)
built-in sd card and mp3 player – the whole collection of music with you
- 9088 5 long battery life
There were also many other small functions that were supposed to be. I will not describe them.
We select the sound amplifier
I began to study the components from which you can assemble a column. And of course I started with a sound amplifier. Having studied what is on the market and is actively used in all crafts, I realized that all this is not right, and turned my attention to the latest developments in the field of sound. On the site of Texas Industries, the heart of the future speaker was found – TAS5782M – a Hi-Fi level sound amplifier. Check out its features: 9No killability – various chip protections
Operation without a heatsink
THD – 0.02%
I’m going to business. Here are the 5 success criteria:
The entire audio path must be digital. The analog signal is very capricious in terms of board routing, build quality and requires tuning on special equipment. The digital signal, on the contrary, is practically undemanding to tracing, calmly treats “crooked hands”. The Bluetooth module must only be connected via a digital channel.
A DSP processor is required. Getting powerful sound in a compact package is very difficult. DSP processor will expand the acoustic range of acoustics, especially in the low frequencies. Additionally, the latest developments in this area will make the setup process very simple, and the sound quality at any volume level.
At home, it is very difficult to make a high-quality, beautiful case. 3D printing comes to the rescue. The quality of 3D printing on home printers is now very high. Modern plastics allow you to get a durable, stylish case. Independent development of the model allows you to take into account all the features of the location of the components and provide quick access to them.
Speakers are the heart of our system. Only branded components will allow you to get a natural powerful sound. Be sure to use 2 speakers: Broadband – bass and mid range and tweeter. Also, for a small case, a passive speaker is simply necessary. The speakers must have a passport and documentation, a frequency response graph, without this it will be difficult to fine-tune them without special equipment, and as a rule, it is not at home.
All portable speakers run on batteries, so the economy and energy efficiency of all components is not in last place. As a result, the amplifier must be of the D-class with the highest possible efficiency. Most of the time you will listen to acoustics at an average volume level – it is in this mode that the speaker should work for a very long time. To get a powerful sound, you need a lot of current, which means you need high-power lithium batteries.
Diagram of column modules
Sketched the diagram of column modules.
Speakers and bluetooth module
The best speakers we could find are AURA NS3-193 and Dayton Audio AMT Mini-8 hales. They sound great. The bass they produce is very good!
Bluetooth module based on CSRA64215 chip. Everything is not very bad. digital output. apt-X support. Excellent call quality. Ready to use.
The main headache was with the body. The final version was made on a 3D printer. I did not dare for a long time, I thought that everything would fall apart immediately. But in the end, after a series of tests, I realized that everything is very, very strong. Here is what the 3D model of the case looks like.
DSP setup for
I like TI very much as a chip manufacturer. I believe that they have the best documentation for their products. The amplifier comes with detailed documentation and recommendations on passive components, as well as on setting up the DSP processor. I bought the chip from TI itself on their website. After receiving the chip, they can be asked for software to configure it. They give access for 3 years to receive software updates, and you can use it unlimitedly. There are not many settings, but a lot. I will not describe everything, here are those that I used in the column.
SMART BASS. This is a smart bass tuning. It is necessary to enter the Til-Smol parameters for the speaker into the software and specify the bass frequency that we need. Everything else will be configured automatically. I ended up setting it to 60Hz (-3dB). The speakers themselves without a DSP processor in a small package give out about 80Hz (-3dB), to achieve 60Hz, you need a gain of about 10dB. Of course, you will say that everything is not difficult here, there are many equalizers, but the main problem that the selected amplifier perfectly solves is dynamic gain. As the volume increases, the gain must decrease, otherwise the speaker will be overloaded. But that’s not all, the microcircuit calculates the critical parameters of the speaker – the stroke of the head and the heating of the coil. The amplification eventually adjusts to the composition so as not to exceed critical indicators and not degrade the sound.
Mono bass. In a compact case it is technically difficult to separate the speaker volumes. If this is not done, then at low frequencies, if the composition has stereo effects in the bass area, there may be an overlay of sound waves and a strong drop in volume. To avoid this, the processor automatically makes the composition mono in the bass area.
Stereo zone extension. The tweeters are too close together in the compact cabinet. The processor expands the stereo base.
It is very difficult to match the tweeters and midrange speakers in terms of sound pressure (loudness) due to passive components. But due to the equalizer – it’s easy.
DSP processor gets a solid five!
Microcontroller – color music and all sorts of tinsel
A microcontroller is needed to control the amplifier. I immediately took a powerful MK with DSP functions and a float module – STM32F446. It controls all modes:
control of battery charging processes
digitization of analog sound from FM module
mp3 player and maintenance of built-in sd card
control of color music
FM module control
powerbank mode control
operation as an audio device from a computer
90 RGB LEDs are used as color music.