The Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus is a loud 80W portable speaker, with up to 20 hours of battery life and an IP67 dustproof and waterproof rating.
It could be the perfect speaker for outdoor use like camping, or to take off to university.
Its price varies so please check the links below this article for accurate pricing, but currently it’s around £150 or $160, a fair bit cheaper than probably its closest rival, the popular JBL Xtreme 3. I’ll run through its features and discuss its sound quality, and in the accompanying video above you can hear for yourselves how it compares to the JBL, as well as Ankers’ smaller Soundcore Motion+ and Soundcore Motion Boom.
So let’s take a closer look.
Inside the box you get the speaker itself, a USB-C charging cable, a shoulder strap and a graphical quick start guide. You can download the user manual online. There’s no included 3.5mm audio cable and unlike other Anker speakers I’ve reviewed recently, the USB cable is no longer Anker branded.
But the detachable strap is, and can quickly clip on and off.
The speaker is much lighter than I was expecting, and I found the large handle more convenient than the strap in everyday use, but that’ll come down to how you intend to use it. It weighs just over 2.4 kg without the strap and measures 389 x 140 x 196 mm (L x W x H).
Above you can also see how it compares in size and weight to its smaller siblings and the JBL Xtreme 3.
The build quality is ok, but it doesn’t have the rugged feel of the JBL with its rubberised accents.
It does have an IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating like the JBL which is an improvement on the Motion Boom and Motion+ which only have an IPX7 rating with no dust proofing.
Its design is very similar to the smaller Motion Boom, again without any particular design flourishes. It’s mostly hard plastic with a metal speaker grille.
The JBL does feel more premium with its cloth and soft touch plastic finish, but I’m not a fan of the giant JBL logo on the front – the Motion Boom Plus has more understated Soundcore logos around the speaker.
The sides of the speaker house the passive radiators and around the back there’s a rubber flap revealing the USB-C charging port, a USB-A port to charge your tech and a 3.5mm audio-in port for a wired connection – something missing on the Motion Boom.
The top of the speaker has the rubberised buttons to control the speaker. The central main controls aren’t backlit and are only slightly recessed so a little difficult to see or feel in the dark.
The power button will flash red when the battery level is low, but otherwise there are no battery status LEDs which I’d prefer to see with these portable speakers.
The 13,400 mAh battery takes up to 5.5 hours to charge at up to 3A or 15W via its USB-C port. It’ll charge with both single and double ended USB-C charging cables.
The power button flashes red if the battery is low, then steady red and then white when it reaches full charge.
The USB-A charging port has 5V, 2.1A output which I confirmed with a USB load tester. This is far more useful than the 1A output of the Motion Boom, but I’d also like to see an even faster USB-C power delivery output for the latest smartphones etc. You need to power the speaker on for this to work.
There’s no NFC pairing but after turning the speaker on for the first time the Bluetooth icon will flash ready for pairing. To pair to another device press the Bluetooth button to manually enter pairing mode. You can only pair two devices at a time, pairing to a third device will drop one of your connections. If you pause playback on one of your paired devices, you can start playback on the other device without going into Bluetooth settings.
If you have two Motion Boom Plus speakers you can create a stereo pair also using their Bluetooth buttons. This time press and hold for 2 seconds and they’ll flash white whilst they connect with each other. The primary speaker will then be steady blue, and the secondary speaker will be steady white. I didn’t have two Motion Boom Plus speakers, but this works pretty well with my two Motion Booms, with true stereo separation – with one speaker playing the left stereo channel and the other speaker playing the right channel. You’ll be able to hear how this sounds shortly in the speaker tests.
The Motion Boom Plus also supports PartyCast 2.0 which lets you connect up to 1000+ PartyCast speakers in a group – an upgrade over the 100+ speakers of PartyCast 1.0, if that wasn’t enough. There won’t be any stereo separation using PartyCast – it will just playback the same track to all the speakers in the group. But PartyCast 2.0 keeps all the individual speakers in the group stereo. PartyCast 1.0 downgraded the speakers to mono.
You start by pairing via Bluetooth with any speaker which then becomes your primary speaker. Then press the PartyCast button on this primary speaker and then all the other speakers to join them together.
Unfortunately both the Motion Boom and Motion+ and the other Soundcore speakers I have don’t support PartyCast so I can’t try this feature. You’ll need additional Motion Boom Plus, Soundcore 3, Flare or Rave speakers to use this feature.
A long press of the power button turns the speaker off. If you need to reset the speaker, turn the speaker on and press and hold the Bluetooth and volume + button for over 5 seconds until all the lights flash and the speaker reboots.
The speaker has the BassUp button to boost bass which is on by default, the Bluetooth, power button and PartyCast buttons that we’ve already covered, volume controls and a multi function button with the Soundcore logo. A single press of this button will play or pause your music, a double press will skip forward a track and a triple press will skip back. Press and hold to activate your voice assistant which uses the speakers built in mic.
Sound quality and performance
The Motion Boom Plus has 80W of output with two 30W woofers and two 10W tweeters. Together with the two passive radiators, it’s one of the best sounding portable speakers I’ve tested so far. The speaker sounds full bodied and well balanced. There’s plenty of bass even with BassUp turned off and the mids have detail and clarity even with more bassy tracks.
It’s not a small speaker but it’s still impressively loud for its size. For most music I’d say it’s uncomfortably loud at even close to full volume if you’re inside, in the same room. Anything above 75% volume is better suited for outdoors or larger rooms but even at these higher volumes there’s very little distortion, although you do lose some detail with more busy tracks. Using a sound level meter one metre from the speaker grille, I measured the speaker at maximum and 75% volume. You can see how it compares to the other speakers in the test in the table above.
You can use the Soundcore app to adjust EQ settings, and it’s worth experimenting since the built in presets do sound quite different. And you can create your own custom presets if you prefer. The app also lets you turn off voice prompts, adjust the auto-power off from the default 20 minutes and update the firmware.
In the accompanying video you can hear for yourself how the speaker sounds with BassUp on and off and compared to the Soundcore Motion+, the Soundcore Motion Boom and the JBL Xtreme 3. I’ve also included two Motion Booms in a stereo pair since this would work out around the same price as a single Motion Boom Plus. Let me know in the comments which is your favourite. I also have full written and video reviews of the Motion+ and Motion Boom playing various tracks if you’re interested.
I’ve recorded the sound test with binaural microphones that capture stereo sound, to try and provide the closest representation of what I’m hearing. Please listen to the video with headphones for the best experience.
To my ear the Motion Boom Plus is the clear winner with regard to sound quality. Not just for this sample track, but for most of the music I listened to. The Motion Boom stereo pair has the best soundstage as you’d expect, but without any tweeters some tracks still don’t sound quite as crisp as the Motion Boom Plus.
There is a little audio delay playing back YouTube on iOS, which you do sometimes get with Bluetooth speakers, but I couldn’t notice any delay playing back Netflix.
The built-in microphone is good enough for phone calls and improves the closer you get to the speaker. You can hear how the the microphone sounds in the accompanying video.
The Motion Boom Plus uses Bluetooth 5.3 and the connection was reliable and the range was good reaching the far end of the next room of my house over 10 metres away.
The speaker does support the higher quality AAC codec, but there’s no aptX support. But you could use the 3.5mm input if you have any hi-res music and want the absolute best sound quality.
Battery life is quoted as 20 hours but Anker doesn’t specify the playback volume and whether BassUp is enabled. I listened at between 40 and 70% volume most of the time and even topped up my phone using the charging port and still got at least a full day’s usage.
Despite its rather unassuming design, the Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus is one of the best sounding portable speakers I’ve tested so far – especially when you consider its price. It is on the larger side, but if you don’t mind that it should prove a particularly versatile speaker. It sounds good at lower volumes with plenty of detail but it’s loud enough for outdoors or to fill a decent sized room.
There are only a couple of minor cons. It’s great it has an IP67 dustproof and waterproof rating, but it doesn’t feel particularly rugged compared to something like the JBL Xtreme 3. And although the charging port is useful, with its sizeable battery I’d love to see a USB-C port with USB Power Delivery output for fast charging the latest tech.
But overall this is a great addition to the Motion range. If you don’t have the space or budget for the Motion Boom Plus, the Motion Boom is worth considering. It’s missing the tweeters and the wired audio-in port and it’s not as loud, but it still sounds very good and is about half the price. Or if you’re after a truly compact speaker there’s the Motion+, which manages to pack in stereo woofers and tweeters, and also sounds very good despite being out for a few years now. You can check out my detailed reviews of these speakers if you’re interested.
There’s also the JBL Xtreme 3. It’s has the typical bright sound of JBL speakers which a lot of people like, but I just don’t think it sounds as good as the Anker speaker, and it costs more. But some people will prefer its more premium design and extra ruggedness.
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