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Soundcore Boom 2 review: big fat bass, skinny price, and it floats!

The Soundcore Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker.
Soundcore Boom 2
MSRP $130.00
“The Soundcore Boom 2's compact size might fool you, but it has huge, room-filling bass at the push of a button, a fun LED light show, and it floats. Just add party.”
Pros
  • Huge bass in a small package
  • Affordable
  • Rugged construction
  • IPX7 waterproof and it floats!
  • Full-featured app
Cons
  • Only supports SBC Bluetooth
  • No AUX port
  • Not super stylish

Two questions I often pose to anyone who asks me which Bluetooth speaker they should buy are (1) what do you want to use it for, and (2) do you like a little bass or a lot? If the answers to those questions are “I want a speaker I can take with me to parties, camping, or to the pool” and “bass, bass, bass,” then I have a $130 recommendation for you.

As advertised in its name, the Soundcore Boom 2 — a relative of the Anker-owned company’s popular Motion Boom speaker — does indeed boom. And it has a powerful, well-rounded sound signature suitable for all kinds of music.

Summer party people, weekend campers, and road-trippers will like the Boom 2 for its lightweight portability, rugged build, and boombox-style handle, as well as its fun LED light-show features and versatile companion app. It’s also IPX7 water resistant, it floats, and can even charge your phone.

All that fun stuff is cool, but after spending several days with the Soundcore Boom 2, it was all that big, beautiful low-end that left an impression on me (and a ringing in my ears), all from a reasonably compact and affordable speaker. Let’s dig deeper.

Soundcore Boom 2: design and features

The buttons on top of the Soundcore Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker.
The physical buttons on the Boom 2. Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

The Soundcore Boom 2’s 11.7 by 7.3 by 4-inch (WxHxD), 3.6-pound boombox-style body might fill up your backpack faster than the more petite Marshall Emberton II ($170) or Klipsch Nashville ($149), but neither of those speakers will have nearly the same impact on your party than the Boom 2.

Driving the Boom 2 is a 4- to 4.5-inch racetrack woofer and a pair of 1-inch tweeters on either side. Soundcore didn’t provide those measurements (that’s according to my ruler), but what it does stipulate is that the 50-watt woofer combines with the two 15-watt tweeters for a total output of 80 watts of stereo sound, with 20 of those watts coming by way of the speaker’s main selling point — its BassUp 2.0 feature.

When activated, the bass boost is substantial and sounds beautiful (more on this later). Additionally, there are two side-firing passive bass radiators that help create an even more immersive soundstage while also providing a fun party atmosphere with their built-in LED lighting effects that are controlled with the accompanying Soundcore app.

The Boom 2’s body is a hard matte plastic in three colors: black, blue, and green. It’s a single solid piece that extends to its rugged, grippy handle, which makes it easy to carry. You could probably hook a carabiner to it for hanging it on a sturdy beach umbrella or tree branch.

The metal front grille is equally sturdy and does a good job of protecting the speakers behind it. And while the back panel doesn’t feature any rear-firing speakers, it’s turtle-shell strong and simple, with nothing to find there save for the USB-C charging port (cable included) and USB-A port used for charging other devices (cable not included). Rubber feet on the bottom are grippy and will prevent the speaker from slipping about, even in wet conditions.

Speaking of wet conditions, the Boom 2 has a rating of IPX7, meaning that it can withstand being submerged in a meter of water for up to half an hour with the rear hatch sealed. But to do this, you’d have to hold it down because, as I mentioned earlier, the Boom 2 floats.

After tossing the Boom 2 in my hot tub, I can confirm its buoyancy. The music kept on playing, although stifled by the water as it bobbed up and down. When I took it out, the music cleared up immediately, compared to other waterproof speakers I’ve tried where remaining water in the speakers can cause distortion until it dries up. Even after rinsing it off in the sink, water doesn’t seem to bother the Boom 2 at all. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the X in IPX7 means that it isn’t rated for dust protection. So, if you’re beach-bound, you might want to keep it off the sand.

The Soundcore Boom 2 floating in a hot tub.
The Boom 2 floats, speakers-up, sound blaring. Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

On top of the speaker’s main body are seven physical controls lined up across the top of the speaker. They include: power, Bluetooth, volume up, volume down, a play/pause button, the TWS “PartyCast” pairing button for connecting up to 100 additional speakers for bigger sound, and the all-important BassUp button. And while I’d gotten used to not seeing previous/next track physical buttons on compact Bluetooth speakers, upon reading the Boom 2’s booklet (read the instructions, folks) I was pleased to discover that by double- or triple-clicking the play/pause button, you can skip back or forward, respectively. It’s a little thing, but if you’ve ever left your phone across the room and wanted to change the song, you’ll appreciate this smart design decision.

Lastly, the Soundcore Boom 2 supports only the SBC Bluetooth codec, which is a shame because it sounds so good, and it would have been nice to try it with a better codec, such as AAC. That said, the less battery-hungry SBC codec likely has something to do with the Boom 2’s noteworthy 24-hour playtime.

The side LEDs of the Soundcore Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker.
One of the Boom 2’s LED passive radiators. Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Soundcore Boom 2: lights and app

The free Soundcore app serves two main purposes — expand and complement the Boom 2’s audio features (which I will dive into more below) and control the lighting effects on the speaker’s sides. Under “Audio,” the app lets you adjust volume, play/pause, and activate/deactivate the BassUp boost. It’s also the point of control for four decent preset EQ settings and, more impressively, a “custom” section with a more precise 9-band equalizer that lets you set and adjust points between 80Hz and 13kHz and save them as presets.

Selecting the “Light” section opens up the presets for the lighting features, which I couldn’t test fully because I was unable to update the Boom 2’s firmware through the app for some reason. What did work, however, looked bright, was vivid and colorful, and moved with the music in some instances, similar to some of the big party speakers I’ve reviewed ,like the JBL PartyBox Ultimate.

Users can choose from seven presets: Flash, Flame, Energy, Wave, Lightning, Fireworks, and Rainbow. Selecting one adds a color wheel from which you can choose the colors you’d like the preset to display and cycle through. In the Light section you can also control the brightness of each or turn the LEDs off altogether.

Lastly, the Soundcore app can also be used to turn on and off notification sounds from your connected devices, adjust the brightness of the speaker’s physical button lights (excellent if you sleep with music), set the auto power off timer, update firmware (presumably), and more.

Soundcore Boom 2: sound and performance

The grille of the Soundcore Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker.
The metal grille of the Soundcore Boom 2. Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

To set a baseline for testing the Boom 2’s sound, I started with everything set to a flat EQ in both the Soundcore app and Spotify, the main music service I used for the testing.

Tom Petty’s You Don’t Know How It Feels was the first song I played, and out of the gate, you can tell that this speaker has some excellent tuning. With the volume at around 30% to 35%, the song’s thumping kick drum was, indeed, thumping, supported by a balanced and tight bass guitar. The song’s signature harmonica shines through in the midrange, as did Petty’s bendy, chirpy guitar solo, all without harshness on the ears. I even pushed the speaker to the 75% volume range, which is louder than you’d really even need it to go, and it held things together.

The next track on my playlist was Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, and again, everything sounded sweet, especially with its smooth, back-and-forth F and G bass line. I thought this would be the perfect time to activate the Boom 2’s BassUp feature, and when I did, things went from big to huge. With impressive clarity, depth, and warmth, the relatively small speaker just sounds gorgeous, even in a side-to-side comparison with the similarly-sized Marshall Middleton, which I love.

I continued my low-end testing with beautifully saturated bass tracks from one of my go-tos, Billie Eilish, as well as Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat’s insane bass-fest Uh Uh. In my smaller office space, the room filled with sound. I could go on, but all you need to know is that this thing pumps, and its portability will step up whatever indoor or outdoor setting you bring it to.

The Soundcore Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker on top of a case of vinyl records.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

The Boom 2 has some EQ presets that I also tried, and I was impressed with most of them. The “Soundcore Signature” was my favorite, as it just tempered some of the highs and mids, and “Balanced” just took the bass and mids down. “Voice” and “Treble” were my least favorites as they seemed to remove some of the depth and dynamics from much of the guitar-based tracks I listened to, and even poppier, electronic stuff like The Weeknd’s Wasted Time sounded a bit thinner. And since adding the BassUp feature, I just didn’t want to listen to anything without it — it’s that good.

Soundcore Boom 2: bottom line

If $130 is in your price sweet spot for a portable summer boombox, and big, beautiful bass tops your list of priorities, just buy the Soundcore Boom 2 already. It sounds that good. Alternatively, you could pay more and get the Marshall Middleton or even the Boom 2’s cousin, the $200 Soundcore Motion X600 that features an up-firing speaker for “spatial sound,” which are also two very good options, to be sure.

But I feel like with its rugged, waterproof body, you’d be less worried about dropping or dunking the Boom 2, and with its excellent sound, infinitely tweakable EQ for dialling in your perfect sound, and fun LED lighting features, it (ahem) outshines much of the competition, at this price range.

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Derek Malcolm
Derek Malcolm is a Toronto-based technology journalist, editor, and content specialist whose work has appeared in…
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