So full disclosure as I start this review: Anker sent me this product free as part of their power users program - I get to review and ultimately keep the product(s) they send, BUT they show a real commitment to wanting truthful quality feedback and integrating that feedback into later revisions of their products (especially in their portable batteries and cables, of which I've reviewed TONS and purchased more). I make a real effort for unbiased and balanced reviews that give positives and negatives and suggestions for improvement, which I'd like to think is why they continue to send me stuff.
Next, let me give a bit of context on myself in terms of comparisons on audio (which they were unaware of). I have two full surround systems in my home: A Pioneer Elite SC-LX901 11.2 ATMOS setup with Monitor Audio Silvers and dual SVSubwoofer 39" tubes on my main TV, and a 7.2 Sony Receiver with Energy Take 5.1 series (with two additional centers for L and R) on my secondary system. My expectations for an audio system are ... more than your average home listener. I literally listened to over a dozen speakers with the Pioneer head before selecting the monitors because I like the combined clarity and warmth (and because the Boston Acoustic References were just way out of my price range at the time).
The above being said, I'm generally very pleased with this little sound bar. In terms of response, these little speakers are really surprising: most tiny speakers are very lacking in their mid-tones, becoming screechy and falsely thumpy. This little bar really bridges those mids much much better than expected (much like BOSE systems, the sound quality and frequency response is surprising). The bass response is better than you'd expect, but not incredible (there is a next size up on this bar that I made the effort to find and listen to and it's really impressive in this regard, actually). In terms of VOLUME, it gets loud, but it struggles to fill space the way a "real" speaker system will - this is purely a limitation of the size of the drivers. Staging is exceptional for a bar system - you get not only a sense of left and right, but actual depth in the sound stage. This was really the most incredible aspect of this little bar for me. Connectivity is my biggest complaint: it comes with an optical cable and mini-din to rca, which is nice, but it lacks ARC on HMDI - which is really odd for a soundbar to me (again, the next model up has this). The bluetooth works very well without noticeable lag or dropout. I'd also really like a USB power input (this would enable you to use this as a portable speaker with an Anker battery backup) - it'd be fantastic to have the staging this bar offers while on the beach.
In all, I think this bar is good for a smaller space like a bedroom or office where "real" surround sound is overkill but you still need better response than tinny TV speakers. The staging and response are truly great. If you want to use HDMI and ARC or you like more BASS, the next size up of this speaker is worth the extra cost. I really really hope they add USB power input in future revisions because it would be a killer beach sound system (I've used it by my pool, and despite struggling to fill large rooms, the staging is still very good outdoors if you're within about 15 feet).
I pulled a star for two reasons: first I'm a real audiophile and I just can't 5-star a system that lacks the space filling capability of a "full system", and second the lack of ARC on HDMI is just strange on a soundbar to me.