Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Review

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The Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus ($179.99), along with the Tribit StormBox Blast ($199.99), appear to be in a new category: big, powerful, and portable Bluetooth speakers that cost a lot less. than those of market giants such as JBL and Sony. In its favor, the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus delivers serious bass sound, sports a waterproof build, and supports a customizable built-in EQ. And, compared to the StormBox Blast, it produces more bass depth at high volumes, offers speaker functionality (which the StomBox Blast lacks), and supports a better range of Bluetooth codecs. Given these benefits, the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus wins the Editors’ Choice Award for Outdoor Speakers.


Robust and customizable

The Soundcore Motion Boom Plus measures 7.7 x 15.3 x 5.5 inches (HWD), weighs 5.3 pounds, and comes in black. Much of the exterior is made of a hard plastic material rather than the rugged rubber material we often see on speakers suitable for outdoor use. Its chunky frame sports a built-in handle, as well as a webbing strap that locks onto a buckle at each end.

Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus back panel

(Credit: Tim Gideon)

Behind the grille, two 10W and two 30W woofers deliver a combined 80W stereo output. Dual side-firing passive radiators enhance bass response. Anker lists the frequency range as “up to 40kHz”, which only tells half the story – we have no idea how deep these speakers are, but whatever the number, they project a lot of bass. The Motion Boom Plus is compatible with Bluetooth 5.3 and supports AAC and SBC codecs, but not AptX.

An array of controls sit on the top front edge: bass mode and Bluetooth pairing buttons are on the far left; the power and PartyCast buttons (for pairing a second speaker) are on the far right; and a multi-function button (for playback, track navigation and call handling) sits in the center, along with individual volume controls on either side.

On the back panel, a quick-close lid protects a USB-C port, a USB-A port (for charging external devices via the speaker’s battery), and a 3.5mm auxiliary input. You get only one cable in the box, a USB-C to USB-C charging cable. If this doesn’t work with your charging setup, you may need to purchase an adapter.

The speaker’s IP67 rating means it’s both dustproof and fully waterproof. You can technically submerge it to a depth of up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) for 30 minutes with no problem, although Bluetooth signals don’t work well underwater (or sound). You can wash the speaker in a sink or tub with no problem, and the dust-proof exterior should protect the interior when you go hiking or take the speaker to the beach. Just be sure to fully close the port cover before exposing it to the elements.

Anker estimates that the Motion Boom Plus can last around 20 hours on a single charge, but battery life results will vary depending on your typical listening volume.

The Soundcore app (available for Android and iOS) lets you install firmware updates and adjust basic control operations; for example, you can disable voice prompts or enable the auto power off feature. The app also includes an equalizer; here you can create a custom eight-band EQ or select (and adjust) one of many EQ presets.


Surprisingly powerful sound

As mentioned, the Motion Boom Plus includes a Bass mode, and in most test scenarios we enjoyed the speaker output more with it than with it. It sounds good with the mode off, but the best sound (without tinkering with the EQ) comes from a combination of the default Soundcore Signature EQ mode with Bass mode also on. This is what we used for testing.

On tracks with intense sub-bass content like The Knife’s “Silent Shout”, the Motion Boom Plus delivers serious bass rumble. The speaker is powerful enough to shake desktops and tables, which can sometimes produce a sound you might mistake for distortion (but the Boom Plus doesn’t distort even at high volumes), you so you may have to experiment with placement—a wooden desk might vibrate more than, say, a concrete counter. It doesn’t get as loud as the Tribit StormBox Blast, but the digital signal processing takes more of a toll on this model at high volumes. Either way, at reasonable volume levels, both speakers deliver serious bass.

Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus in hand

(Credit: Tim Gideon)

Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with much shallower bass in the mix, better reveals the speaker’s sonic signature. The drums on this track get some extra body and weight via Bass Mode, but never veer into unnatural territories. Callahan’s baritone voice has plenty of richness in the low-mids, but the high-mids are also crisp; the result is a balanced, highly sculpted sonic signature that delivers bright attacks from acoustic scratches and upper register percussion just as clearly as rich bass. And, of course, the eight-band equalizer lets you make further adjustments.

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop is given an ideal amount of high-mid presence, allowing its attack to retain its punch. Meanwhile, the speaker pumps out the bass enough that sustaining the loop gets extra weight. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are slightly below the capabilities of the woofer – we hear the thump, but nothing in terms of the subwoofer-like growl you get from larger systems. Still, the Motion Boom Plus more than makes up for this common flaw with plenty of robust bass and low-mids. The vocals on this track sound clear, but with a hint of extra sibilance.

Orchestral tracks, such as John Adams’ opening scene The Gospel According to the Other Mary, clear and clear sound. When low-frequency content appears in the mix, the speakers deliver it with body. Things never sound too bass-heavy, even with bass mode on; the lower register instruments anchor everything else in the mix as you would expect.

The built-in microphone works well. We could understand every word of a test recording on an iPhone, but some minor Bluetooth artifacts muddled the audio quality. On a strong signal you shouldn’t have any call issues, however, and we’re happy to have a speakerphone option at all; many portable Bluetooth speakers in this segment are starting to drop this feature.


A new competitor

The Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus stands out for its value, robust audio performance, and durable design. It costs a lot less than the JBL Xtreme 3 ($349.95) and offers similar power, plus a better app and speaker. It has no trouble competing with similarly priced (but much less powerful) models from established brands such as the JBL Charge 5 ($179.95) and Sony SRS-XB33 ($149.99), even whether these speakers can have any aesthetic benefit. And, finally, the aforementioned Tribit StormBox Blasts gets louder (at the expense of heavier DSP involvement), but doesn’t offer speaker functionality. Any of these models are likely to appeal, but the Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus does enough to earn an Editors’ Choice award in the crowded outdoor speaker category.

Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus

Advantages

  • Powerful audio output with robust bass depth

  • Adjustable in-app EQ

  • Water and dust proof chassis

  • Includes speakerphone function

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The essential

The Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Portable Speaker delivers powerful sound in an outdoor-ready design for less money than most competitors.

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