Anker SoundCore Sport XL Outdoor Portable Bluetooth Speaker - 16W Output and 2 Subwoofers, IP67 Waterproof Weatherproof Shockproof, 66ft Bluetooth Range, 15H Playtime, Built-in Mic, USB Charging Port
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- Dynamic Stereo: Enjoy crisp, energetic sound with impressive volume, powered by 2 x 8W stereo drivers with remarkable frequency response. Sublime bass is delivered by dual passive subwoofers.
- Tough Tech: Tough Bluetooth speakers. IP67 waterproof (1m depth) and dust-tight. Shock resistant.
- Bluetooth 4.1: Advanced Bluetooth tech offers an extended 66ft range (outside) so you can take your phone further without losing connection and make hands-free calls with the built-in noise-canceling mic.
- Breakthrough Battery Performance: 15-hour playtime from the built-in, high-capacity lithium-ion battery (with Anker's industry-leading power management) keeps your music playing all day, non-stop. You can even charge your phone or tablet with the charging port. Playtime varies according to volume level and audio content.
- What You Get: Anker SoundCore Sport XL, Micro USB cable, hand strap, welcome guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.
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Anker SoundCore Sport XL
The Tough Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker with Impressive Volume
From ANKER, the Choice of 20 Million+ Happy Users
99% Positive Amazon Feedback
Powerful Audio Technology
Connect via Bluetooth 4.1 and instantly enjoy crisp, dynamic sound with impressive volume from the 8W stereo speakers and rumbling bass from the dual passive subwoofers up to 66 ft from your device.
Tough and Durable
Shock-resistant, IP67-rated waterproof and dust-tight. Easily withstands extreme conditions and tough treatment. Perfect for partying on your next big adventure.
Long Battery Life
SoundCore Sport XL has an incredible 15-hour playtime from the built-in high-capacity lithium-ion battery, allowing you to enjoy music all day wherever you go (Playtime varies according to volume level and audio content).
Built-In USB Charging
A 5V 1A output keeps your phone or tablet charged when you're outdoors.
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Second, I came to Amazon to buy a JBL Flip 3 based a widely positive reviews and a desire to have a speaker that I could use outdoors without worrying too much about sudden showers, dust and other hazards of the elements. While searching for it, however, I came across Anker's newest entry, the SoundCore Sport XL. Given the price, my general satisfaction with Anker, and Amazon's solid return policy, I decided to give both speakers a try. I'll note that the SoundCore Sport XL is probably more comparable to the JBL Charge 2 given that both units have a USB port to let you charge your phone or other device. The Flip 3 doesn't have charging output port.
If you want the shortest possible answer: We're keeping the Flip 3 and giving the SoundCore XL as a gift. But it was almost a coin toss about which was going to stay.
I wanted this speaker to have enough volume for modest outdoor gatherings (both meet that criteria, though the Flip 3 is probably a touch louder) and sound good enough that I wouldn't mind having it playing in the house. I'm also biased against today's tendency for consumer speakers to emphasize bass response over every other frequency range. If you like your music boom-y, I'm not going to like the same speakers that you will.
My wife and I listened to each of them across a wide range of music from classical to folk to hip-hop to pop to hard rock, trying to get a sense of which we liked better. The answer, as it turned out, was "it depends." The Flip 3 is definitely not as "flat" audibly as the SoundCore. Within the limits of what you can do with a small speaker, the Flip seems to emphasize the bass and treble ends of the spectrum more. High treble even sounded unnaturally "sizzly" for a couple songs. In others, the vocalist almost seemed a bit buried under the rest of the mix--though never disturbingly so. (We're talking nuance here, and your ears may have a different experience.)
The SoundCore is definitely more flat sounding. It doesn't produce as much bass as the Flip, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, and it never had the sizzling issue in the treble. It just sounds...even. People used to the punchy sound emphasized by consumer speaker and headphone manufacturers, however, may find that the music lacks a bit of life.
Which did we prefer? Ultimately it depended on what we were playing. Folk, country and music from the 70s and 80s that clearly was mixed with the intent of playing over the radio we often preferred on the SoundCore. More current pop, rock, and hip-hop sounded better to us on the JBL. In the final count, the JBL came out on top, but not by much. I've been listening to both for a few days now, switching back and forth every so often, and I find that I'm inclined toward the JBL, but I certainly don't mind the SoundCore.
Size and Build:
The SoundCore Sport XL is about 7 x 3 x 1.75 inches and wrapped in what feels like very sturdy, slightly rubbery plastic. It's definitely heavy in your hand and makes you feel confident that it can hold up to some rigorous outdoor use. The biggest issue with the design is that I found myself constantly grabbing into the bass port on the back, which includes a metal cover over a stretchy membrane for a passive woofer. I have no idea if pushing on the cover would damage the passive woofer, but it was disconcerting.
The Flip 3 is 6.5 x 2.5 inches and covered in a dense fabric with hard plastic ends. It's slightly lighter in the hand, and the cylindrical shape makes it more comfortable to pick up and carry around. It feels solidly built if not quite as tank-like as the SoundCore. The Flip3's dual bass ports are on the ends, out of the way unless you have a very odd approach to picking up cylinders.
First, the Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3 PLUS Bluetooth Speaker with 30-Hour Playtime - Richer Bass Greater Sound Quality & 10W+ Loud Volume, Water Resistant Splashproof, Portable Wireless Speaker, is a slightly larger version of the best-selling speaker on Amazon with over 17,000 reviews and a $30 price tag, and this only costs $5 more, so why not give it a shot? I chose Anker SoundCore Sport XL Outdoor Portable Bluetooth Speaker - 16W Output and 2 Subwoofers, IP67 Waterproof & Dustproof, Shockproof, 66ft Bluetooth Range, 15H Playtime, Built-in Mic, USB Charging Port, partially because I have other Anker products that I'm pretty happy with, but also because the 66-foot advertised range seemed like it could come in handy if I were working in the backyard with my phone in my pocket and the speaker sitting on the porch. I selected the GEEK BEATS JOLT5 10W X-Bass Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker and USB Power Bank - Green. IP65 Water and Dust Resistant with 5200mAh Samsung Battery. because it's the same price as the Anker, it has an average of 4.9 stars (wow!), and it can be used as a battery to charge your phone. And finally, I chose the JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker (Black) because in my search, I kept seeing the JBL Flip 3 pop up in reviews for other speakers, and this is the newest (and supposedly slightly better) version of that speaker.
Sound Comparison: Sitting in my living room and swapping around between the four options, it's clear that the Flip 4 is the most, well, clear. Considering it's also the most expensive, I kinda expected that to be the result. Surprisingly, the OontZ was a solid second place with a bit more rumble in its bass compared to the Flip 4 but at the cost of less clarity. The Anker and Jolt5 were noticeably flatter in their sound, seeming to favor the lows instead of an overall range, and this caused some distortion at higher volumes. When I took the speakers outside, it's a slightly different story. With the speakers on the patio, I walked into the yard about 25 feet and compared the sound quality again, and again I'd put the Flip 4 in the top spot. This time, however, I'd actually say the Anker was a solid number 2. At this distance, the distortion from having the volume up the whole way was not very noticeable and didn't detract from the music I was playing, and the Anker is a bit louder than the OontZ. The Jolt5 is a distant last place being not only flat but also not as loud. It's comparable to listening to the radio on a boombox from the 90s.
Bluetooth Range: With the speakers inside, all four started cutting in and out around the same spot about 30 feet away. It's around a corner, so having a wall in the way seems to even the odds here. Having an open space outside didn't seem to make a difference to the Jolt5, though, as it still broke up around 30 feet. The product page on Amazon says 33 feet, so that's pretty accurate. The OontZ fared a bit better and almost made it to the back gate about 60 feet away. The Anker is pretty spot on with its advertised 66-foot range as it went a bit further than the OontZ, even onto the other side of the gate and almost into the road. The Flip 4 was still going strong when I got to the other side of the road and couldn't go any further in a straight line, maybe 75 feet.
Other Things: Depending on what exactly you plan on using your speaker for, and just for comparison's sake, there are some differences that may be worth note:
-- All four speakers come with a mini-USB to USB charging cable but not the plug. If you've charged a cell phone in the last 10 years or so, however, you should probably already have one.
-- The Jolt5 and OontZ come with a 3.5mm cable so you can plug your phone right into it instead of using bluetooth (though all four speakers have this option, just not the cable).
-- The Anker and Jolt5 have a USB port so they can be used as a portable battery to charge your phone.
-- The Anker, Flip 4, and Jolt5 have hand straps. The OontZ does not come with one nor have a place to attach one.
-- The Anker, Flip 4, and Jolt5 have audible cues when they power on or off. The OontZ is silent. All four speakers do, however, make a noise when you successfully pair a device through bluetooth.
-- All four speakers are splash resistant, but only the Anker and Flip 4 are likely to live if they fall into the water (submersible up to 30 minutes)
-- The Anker and Jolt5 are shock resistant, so they likely won't shatter if you drop them
-- The OontZ has the longest battery life (30 hours) and the Flip 4 has the shortest (12 hours)
-- The Flip 4 can be paired with other Flip 4's (through an app) to provide a wireless multi-speaker experience. There are Bluetooth adapters that would allow you to do this with the other speakers if you wanted, as well as physically connecting them with 3.5mm cables.
-- The Flip 4 comes in a variety of colors.
-- They are all roughly the same size, just differently shaped (see pics)
Conclusion: The best bang for your buck is the OontZ Angle 3 Plus. It's a measly $35 and sounds almost as good as the $100 Flip 4, especially inside. In addition to being inexpensive, you can literally keep it blaring music for an entire day. It's not quite as loud outside as the Anker or Flip 4, but it's also half the price. If you're willing to pay for premium sound, go with the Flip 4 or even the Flip 3 if you want to save 20 bucks. Supposedly the sound is comparable, just the Flip 4 has a longer playtime. It really is noticeably clearer compared to the other options, so if you were using it with a projector to watch a movie, for example, the rumbling and distortion aren't going to drown out the dialogue, and likewise vocals on a music track don't get lost in the rest of the noise. If you're planning on a bunch of outside activities, like mountain biking or camping, the ruggedness of the Anker and ability for it to charge your phone makes it your best bet. I didn't do a drop test with any of these, but the Anker feels like a rubberized brick and would probably survive a fall. Other than battery life, there's no reason to ever choose the Jolt5 over the Anker, especially considering they are the same price. The Jolt5 is just worse in every way, and I honestly don't understand its 4.9 rating.
The Jolt5 is going back. The Flip 4 is staying. I'm still debating between the Anker and OontZ and may keep them both since the cost combined is still less than a Flip 4.
EDIT: After further testing, the Anker is going back and I'm keeping the OontZ. When plugged in with a 3.5mm cable, the sound is dramatically better with way more bass and a louder volume. And it's still somehow the cheapest one.
-- On a budget? Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3 Plus
-- Best sound? JBL Flip 4 (though I do wish it had a bit more bass)
-- Most likely to survive the apocalypse? Anker SoundCore Sport XL