I have always been on the fence with portable Bluetooth speakers, the concept is great, but they rarely sound amazing. The one exception was the Ultimate Ears Megablast which sounds awesome but costs £179.99.
The Anker Soundcore Flare Plus is the bigger brother to the normal Flare and hopefully should provide that extra power to achieve a decent level of sound.
The Soundcore Flare Plus is one of the more attractive portable speakers I have been sent to review, coming in a sort of cone shape that is wrapped in a cloth material that is reminiscent of the Amazin Echo. It has a reasonable amount of weight to it, and its overall size is well proportioned. Not as large as the Magblast but larger than many other portable speakers.
It has IPx7 water-resistance which will allow you to rinse off the speaker under a tap; it will happily survive being submerged in water up to a depth of 1m. So you can safely use it for picnics or beach trips and not have to worry about the rain or other accidents. The none cloth bits have a rubber coating to them and the overall build quality feels excellent and I think it should be able to take a few tumbles without concernBuy from Amazon
The bottom of the speaker is a multi-colour LED ring and this will light up and synchronise with your music when you play something. The default setting is a bit intense to start with, akin to something you might find in a rave. Thankfully there is a button on the top of the speaker to switch through lighting options, you can have it off, or some slower breathing and pulsing options. It is a bit of a gimmick but the slower options are not unpleasant and I imagine it will provide a little extra ambience when used outside at nighttime.
The other buttons on the top of the speaker include the volume up and down, as well as a bass button to boost or reduce the bass. On the back of the speaker are the power and Bluetooth buttons. There is a fold-down rubber seal which hides the microUSB for power, a 3.5mm jack and a USB port which can but used to charge your phone. Battery life is rated at 20 hours so you should be comfortably able to take this on a trip and not worry about having to charge it.
In a world of smart speakers, there is a noticeable lack of Wi-Fi, Alexa and Google Assistant. I don't regard this as a bad thing as it keeps costs down and this is designed to be taken outdoors where you will likely not have Wi-Fi.
The Anker Soundcore Flare Plus has two 2-inch drivers, each matched with a bass-boosting passive radiator on the sides, and tweeters on its back and front all of which deliver 25W of sound.
Set up and Sound Quality
As with most Bluetooth speakers and headphones, pairing it is very simple, just switch it on and connect. You can also optionally download the Anker Soundcore app where you can manage various features. When I first connected it advised me to do a firmware update.
Once connected I was greeted with a surprisingly decent sound. The 25W speakers are never going to be the loudest but the speaker pumps out ample volume for most usage scenarios.
Within the app, you can control the LED lighting presets, which includes altering the brightness and various other settings. More importantly, you can tweak the EQ settings to your liking. Personally, I think the default one with bass boost on performs admirably.
Similar to UltimateEars you can use the app to pair up to a second speaker providing a richer, louder and fuller stereo sound.
The overall range of the audio is the most impressive feature, most portable speakers suffer from harsh highs and often a complete lack of bass. While it can't compete with the Magblast, which is both more expensive and much larger, for the price and size, this can produce superb low-ends. You can comfortably listen to rock, electronica and hip-hop at decent volumes without the speaker sounding like the diaphragm is broken. This makes it much more suited as an outdoor speaker for parties and BBQs compared to smaller devices where you may want to play something a little more lively.
Mids and highs are also well represented. They can start to get a little rough at high volumes but at moderate volume I found them to be excellent, again, especially so once you factor in the size and price of the speaker.
There is a lot to like about this speaker and I would say it is one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers I have reviewed. It is capable of producing excellent bass which is something lacking in the vast majority or portable speakers. Granted it is not the smallest speaker on the market, but this is necessary for it to achieve a decent sound. Small speakers can't move air as effectively and therefore struggle with range and volume.
The sound isn't quite as loud or good as the UE Megablast, but that is much larger and more expensive.
Overall, there is nothing I can think of to fault this speaker and if you want a decent sounding portable and waterproof speaker it makes a fantastic option.
You can buy the Soundcore Flare+ today from Amazon for £109.99Buy from Amazon
Price - 90%
Performance - 90%