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Anker Soundcore Boom 2 Plus review: simply dynamite

[Embargoed until 05/29) Soundcore Boom 2 Plus Bluetooth speaker.
Anker Soundcore Boom 2 Plus
MSRP $250.00
“The Soundcore Boom 2 Plus is a loud, clear, and rugged summertime dream that punches well above its weight, all for $250.”
  • 140-watts of power
  • BassUp 2.0 feature booms
  • Rugged and IPX7 waterproof
  • App and physical controls
  • Affordable
  • A little mid- and bass-forward
  • Only supports SBC Bluetooth
  • Light show is just OK

A sure sign that summer is on its way is all the new Bluetooth speakers that have started popping up like daisies in a veritable garden of sound. A sound-garden, if you will. (Can you hear that? It’s Chris Cornell rolling over. RIP.)

Already off to a good start this season is Soundcore, the Anker sub-brand that has handily made a name of its own with some pretty solid speakers. And so far, we’ve really liked its small-but-mighty Soundcore Boom 2, a $130 speaker that dropped earlier this spring.

But now it’s time to put on our big-boy pants and make way for its larger, excellent-sounding sibling, the Soundcore Boom 2 Plus. It’s a big, boombox-style portable that’s nearly twice as big in price, size, and power as the Boom 2, but keeps everything else that impressed us about it, like IPX7 waterproofing (it floats!), clear sound, bigger bass, and a long-lasting battery — all for a very-reasonable $250.

Soundcore did us a solid and sent us a Boom 2 Plus a few weeks before today’s launch, and I’ve been putting it through its paces pretty much nonstop inside, outside, at the beach, in the water, and everywhere else. My ears are still ringing.

[Embargoed until 05/29) Soundcore Boom 2 Plus Bluetooth speaker.
Sibling rivalry: The Boom 2 and the Boom 2 Plus. Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends


Out of the box, the Soundcore Boom 2 Plus lives up to its name, with its substantial 8.4-pound weight and 17inch- by 9-inch by 6-inch body that dwarfs its sibling, but shares many of its rugged design elements. Both are made from the same rock-hard, semico-arse plastic and are available in the same black, green, and blue color options (that’s Phantom Black, Adventure Green, and Explorer Blue for anyone keeping track.)

Key to the totable boombox style of speaker (like the Skullcandy Barrell we also reviewed) is its grippy, top-mounted handle and thick nylon shoulder strap that easily hooks to two firm rings on either side of the speaker. It’s got some weight, for sure, but it doesn’t feel too heavy when carrying it or when it’s hanging from your shoulder — although I’d caution that it’s definitely more suitable for throwing in the trunk than it is for long treks on foot.

The sleek, hard mesh front grille feels like it could take a bullet and is emblazoned with Soundcore’s “d” logo. The back of the Boom 2 Plus is just as solid. And besides the “Soundcore” branding stretched across it, the only thing of note there is the well-blended rubberized door that seals the compartment for the USB-C charging port and 3.5 mm AUX input.

On the bottom, you’ll find four grippy rubber feet that keep the speaker firmly in place, even when sitting on slippery pool edges, which you don’t have to worry about because the Boom 2 Plus’s IPX7 rating means that it can be submerged in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

I took the speaker to the beach for the day and not only does it float, but the powerful bass and volume churned up the water in front and from the sides when sitting in a few inches if water. Sure, it’s not great for the sound, but it’s nice to not have to worry about your speaker rolling into the pool or lake — just don’t let it float away.

Speakers, power, and controls

[Embargoed until 05/29) Soundcore Boom 2 Plus Bluetooth speaker.
The IPX7-rated Boom 2 Plus’ bass churns up the water. Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends
If you don’t know the first thing about portable Bluetooth speakers, the Boom 2 Plus and those of its “boombox” ilk sit on the larger, louder end of the scale. (If you don’t count even-bigger party speakers.) Its larger body means it can house bigger speakers, and more of them, which also means it can deliver sound in stereo. The Boom 2 Plus does just that, and very well, with two 4.5-inch woofers and two 1-inch tweeters, as well as two passive radiators on the ends that provide additional bass (and an LED light show).

And it’s got plenty of power, pushing up to 100 watts with the speaker’s BassUp 2.0 boost feature off. (That number increases to a substantial 140 watts when the feature is enabled. More on this later.) And it does this using the battery. In comparison, the Boom 2 Plus’ predecessor, the Motion Boom Plus (that you can still buy for $220), peaks at 80 watts, and the market-leading JBL Boombox 3 ($500) can only hit its 180-watt output when plugged in (136-watts without).

Speaking of battery power, the Boom 2 Plus gets 20 hours per charge with BassUp turned off (four hours less than the smaller Boom 2, which is weird) from its 7,500 mAh battery. It also supports 30-watt fast charging and is able to charge fully in three hours. It can also be used to charge your devices through its USB-C port.

[Embargoed until 05/29) Soundcore Boom 2 Plus Bluetooth speaker.
The physical controls on the speaker mean you don’t always have to reach for your phone. Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends
Over several days of rigorous testing, I didn’t have to plug the speaker in once. My only complaint here is that there is no battery level indicator on the speaker itself; for that, you have to check the app. The only physical indication on the speaker that the battery is low is when the light on the power button flashes red.

There’s a string of physical buttons on the speaker that, thankfully, let you control everything from Bluetooth pairing and playback to volume, bass boost, and even the lightshow features — without having to reach for your phone. There’s also a physical PartyCast button as well, which lets you pair the Boom 2 Plus to up to 100 additional PartyCast-capable speakers, and another Boom 2 Plus as a stereo pair. With only one unit for testing, I wasn’t able to check that out, but pairing the smaller Boom 2 to the PartyCast added a ton of volume and dimension to the sound – I have no doubt that several more would sound huge.

Lights and Soundcore app

The Soundcore Boom 2 Plus's LED lights.
The LED lights are embedded in the Boom 2 Pluss side-firing passive radiators. Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Like the Boom 2, the Plus model also features RGB LED lights on its passive radiators that are controlled by the Soundcore app. A bunch of Bluetooth speaker manufacturers have been integrating LEDs into their products of late, and I could take it or leave it. But I have to admit that when the sun goes down and the music is playing, it does add a fun bit of ambiance, and makes the speaker easy to find in the dark.

The Boom 2 Plus’s light show is better than most. And with the Soundcore app, which has been updated from the beta version I was sent for my review, you get eight light presets to choose from instead of the seven I tested with the Boom 2. Those presets are Flash, Flame, Energy, Lightning, Rainbow, Cyclone, Bounce, and Scan (the last three are new). Don’t ask me what the difference is between them, but they all offer a colorful, pulsating light show that moves to the music, and you can adjust the color and brightness of it all. You can also cycle through the preset with the button on the speaker.

The Soundcore app also gives you additional control and options over sound, offering a 9-band equalizer and a handful of standard presets. You can also activate the BassUp 2.0 feature here, control volume and play/pause/track functions, and turn off notification sounds from your device, which is a handy feature. All in all, the Soundcore app, while not frilly, is well designed and offers some additional dialing in of the speaker, if you so desire.

Note: The Soundcore app images above are from a beta version of the app from before the Boom2 Plus release. The updated lighting modes will be available with an app update.

Sound and performance

[Embargoed until 05/29) Soundcore Boom 2 Plus Bluetooth speaker.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Now for the fun part. After reviewing the smaller Soundcore Boom 2, I can confidently report that Soundcore has found a really good groove with its tuning. Both speakers excel at balance, precision, and clarity of across all the frequency ranges. But the Boom 2 Plus does it all on steroids. And while it might not have the step-up fidelity and definition of higher-end brands like Bose or Sonos, the $250 Boom 2 Plus isn’t far off the mark, which is saying a lot.

For my testing of the Boom 2 Plus, I mostly used Spotify, and listened to a range of everything from jazz, classical, and ambient electronic music to pop, rap, grunge, classic rock.  The Boom 2 Plus is not picky and likes it all. In the 30% to 60% volume window (which is plenty loud), it keeps things mostly together until it gets to the 80%-plus range, where cymbals and higher frequencies start to grate on the ears a bit, but the overall sound doesn’t distort.

[Embargoed until 05/29) Soundcore Boom 2 Plus Bluetooth speaker.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

The Boom 2 Plus is definitely bass- and mid-leaning, and with the BassUp 2.0 feature activated, it sounds big, full, and beautiful. At higher volumes, in smaller rooms, the low end is almost a bit too dominant and even a tad boomy in certain songs with heavier bass.

On AC/DC’s Back in Black, for example, with the volume a bit past half, Cliff William’s bassline nearly swallows everything else up when the chugging bass part kicks in during the chorus. In bigger rooms or sitting further from the speaker, this is less of a problem, though, and if you ever found this to be the case, all it takes is a press of the BassUp button to turn it off and even things out. You could also fire up the app’s EQ. Or, you know, don’t be a moron like me and just turn it down a bit.

[Embargoed until 05/29) Soundcore Boom 2 Plus Bluetooth speaker.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

To get the full boombox experience, I toted the Boom 2 Plus around with me – small rooms, big rooms, outside, to the beach — and let it rip. Within a normal listening distance of up to 20 feet, the speaker sounds excellent, and the volume is definitely there if you need it. It could use with a little bump in the highs and mids for some more definition, but that’s an easy fix.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The Soundcore Boom 2 Plus is a great all-rounder that punches well above its weight at its price. I would recommend it for anyone in need of a big, but portable Bluetooth speaker that does quiet well at reasonable volumes, but does loud even better (especially when linked to other Soundcore speakers). Yes, it’s big, and if you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker to throw in your backpac, this is not the one for you. But the payoff is a versatile, rugged speaker that’s as at home in your kitchen or office as it is at your backyard barbecue or the beach. And for $250, it’s way louder and sounds better than the comparable $180 Skullcandy Barrel and almost as good as the $500 JBL Boombox 3. Which is a big … Plus.

The Soundcore Boom 2 Plus is available today at the Soundcore website.

Editors' Recommendations

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