The Anker Soundcore Motion+ sits towards the top of Anker’s range of portable Bluetooth speakers. It boasts a whopping 30W output via its 4 drivers and central passive radiator. It has an IPX7 fully waterproof design, customizable EQ via its own app, up to 12 hours of battery life, aptX support, USB-C charging and supports wireless stereo pairing.
At £100 or $100 it’s no budget option like some in Anker’s range, but I was keen to compare it to the Anker Soundcore Boost I reviewed recently, and the popular JBL Flip 4, the Anker Soundcore Boost I reviewed recently and the popular JBL Flip 4, to determine if it was worth its fairly hefty asking price.
Inside the sizeable box you get the speaker itself, a graphical getting started guide, a USB-C to USB-A charging cable and a 3.5mm audio cable. There’s no wall charger.
The build quality of the speaker is very good and I like the design. Anker have moved across to Soundcore branding, on the front and back of the passive radiator and with a small badge across the front of the metal grill, which wraps halfway around the sides. The rest of the speaker casing is made of a rubberised plastic which feels nice to the touch, but does attract fingerprints.
It’s no lightweight at 1050g – that’s the same weight as an Amazon Echo and almost 500g heavier than the Anker Soundcore Boost I reviewed recently. It still fairly compact considering what it packs in, at 257mm by 79mm by 81 mm.
There’s no included carry case and although I haven’t managed to dent the metal grille yet, I’d exercise caution chucking it in a travel bag.
It does have a very welcome IPX7 waterproof rating though. Anker state it can be fully immersed in water for up to 30 minutes. It certainly survived being dunked in the sink. It certainly survived being dunked in the sink.
Getting started & overview
Pulling the Motion+ branded waterproof rubber seal on the side of the speaker reveals a USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm aux-in port for a wired connection. I’m pleased to see the more robust USB-C port with its reversible design that doesn’t care which way you insert the cable.
The speaker charges its 6700mAh battery at up to 2A which I measured at closer to 1.8A which I measured at closer to 1.8A, taking up to 4 hours for a full chargeYou can use the speaker whilst it’s charging but although it will charge off your computer’s USB port, it doesn’t support digital audio output via this connection.
The power button, just above the charging ports lights red whilst the speaker is charging and turns off when fully charged. It will flash red when the battery is low, but beyond that there is no indication of remaining charge without checking via a Bluetooth connected device.
Disappointingly, there’s no USB charging port that’s so common on these portable speakers, including the Anker Soundcore Boost and JBL Charge to name two.
You’ll need to make sure the port flap is fully closed if you want to maintain its waterproof rating.
A single press of the power button turns the speaker on and a two second press turns it off. Both accompanied by a slightly over the top sound that can’t be disabled, even in the app that I’ll cover shortly.
When you first power on the speaker, the Bluetooth LED will flash blue as it enters pairing mode. Tap on “Soundcore Motion+” in your device’s Bluetooth settings to connect. The blue LED will go steady when the connection is made.
Unfortunately there’s no NFC support for quick pairing to supported devices – another feature the cheaper Boost has.
But the Motion+ does support connecting to two devices simultaneously. To pair to another device, press the Bluetooth button on the speaker. The Bluetooth LED again flashes and you can connect your second device. You can now play from either connected device and the speaker will automatically switch across to the active device. This works most of the time – occasionally I still had to tap on the speaker in Bluetooth settings to reaffirm the connection.
After turning the speaker off and on again, it’ll connect across to both connected devices. This all happens pretty quickly thanks to the latest Bluetooth 5.0 support.
If you want to connect to another device, you can press the Bluetooth button again which will drop one of its two connections ready to pair with another device.
You can reset the speaker and remove all pairings by holding the Bluetooth and volume up buttons for 3 seconds with the speaker on. The Bass LED flashes white and the device reboots ready for pairing.
The speaker sits on rubber feet and the drivers are fitted at a 15 degree angle intended to better direct the sound. This does mean that the controls along the top are also angled making them difficult to use and see without standing right over the speaker.
The Bass button to the right of the microphone enables and disables the bass boost and is turned on by default with its white LED lit. Volume up and down buttons surround the Soundcore branded play | pause button. With the already discussed Bluetooth button and its LED at the far right.
The volume up and down buttons have only their single function and are synced with your device’s volume over Bluetooth, but not on a wired connection. There’s no beep interrupting your music when you reach maximum volume, common on Anker’s other portable speakers.
The play | pause button has multiple functions. A single press plays and pauses your media, or answers and ends phone calls, a double press plays the next track and a triple press plays the previous track. A two second press activates your voice assistant.
It’d make more send to me to use a double press of the volume buttons to skip tracks rather than over complicating the one button.
You can connect two of these speakers as a stereo pair – just press and hold their Bluetooth buttons for 3 seconds to initiate pairing. Both speaker’s Bluetooth LEDs will flash white then turn steady white from once they are paired . Unfortunately I didn’t have a second unit to try this feature out.
The Soundcore app
It’s good to see an accompanying app for the Motion+ available for both iOS and Android. There’s no native iPad app, but you can use an oversized version of the iPhone’s.
When you first open the app you’ll need to select which Soundcore device you have. This setting is remembered the next time you start the app. You can control the playback, adjust volume and a long press of the power icon turns off the speaker. But you can’t turn it back on again from the app.
Tapping the 3 dots lets you configure the auto power off time from 5 minutes to 60 minutes. You can also update the firmware from here and you can disconnect all connected devices. Back on the home screen there’s a battery level indicator, and the current EQ setting is displayed. Tapping on this lets you choose between 6 predefined EQ profiles plus an additional Custom setting which can be tweaked to your heart’s desire. A recent firmware update now saves this custom setting to the speaker – so make sure you check for the latest firmware via the app if custom EQ settings aren’t remembered.
I had an issue with custom settings affecting other sound profiles which I contacted Anker about. They fixed this bug just as I was about this film this video.
There’s no way to reset the custom EQ settings back to their defaults. You have to manually return all the sliders back to zero.
It’s worth noting if you activate Bass via the speaker button, when your press it again to turn it off, the speaker doesn’t return to your custom settings, it switches to the Bass Off profile. You’ll need to use the app to go back to your custom settings, which are at least saved.
Performance and sound quality
The two tweeters, two woofers and passive radiators are visible through the metal grill. They do a good job of delivering a well rounded sound that could easily fill a decent sized room at full volume and with little distortion. Although I found it uncomfortable to listen to at the loudest volumes. There isn’t any distortion as such but the midtones just sound very harsh. I preferred listening to it at around 50-60% volume.
I think the default Bass on setting, indicated by the white LED, sounded best for most music I listened to. There’s decent bass that doesn’t drown out the vocals or highs.
But you can adjust the EQ settings to your tastes using the app as discussed previously and unlike using your devices EQ settings, these are saved with the speaker.
There isn’t much separation, but you could pair a second speaker as I described earlier.
Like many of the Bluetooth speakers I’ve tested, the less busy the tracks, the better they sound. This is one of the best portable speakers I’ve tried under £100, but it still has difficulty with more complex tracks. So long as you don’t have the volume too high it sounds just fine though.
In the YouTube video at the top of the page, you can listen to a comparison between the Soundcore Motion+ with various EQ profiles, the Soundcore Boost and the JBL Flip 4. I’d recommend using headphones to really hear any differences.
Anker claim the Motion+ has up to 12 hour battery life. This will be at lower volumes – I got around 6 hours during testing – but a lot of that was at max or close to max volume.
The speaker has the latest Bluetooth 5.0 for supposed better range, but I found the range average – it made it into the next room of the house, but not much further. I also had some issues with interference where playback stutters for a while and then resumes normally after 10-20 seconds. I only got this in the house where there are lots of WiFi and Bluetooth devices all sharing the same spectrum. But I don’t get this with the Boost or the Flip 4. Most of the time I didn’t get any issues.
It’s not something I use very often, but the speaker worked well for voice calls. The built in microphone sounds clear.
Even with the latest Bluetooth, I still got issues with audio sync with the iOS YouTube app – but not all the time. Netflix was fine, and YouTube on Android was also ok.
The speaker supports the aptX codec for supposedly higher quality audio but it doesn’t appear to support the AAC codec compatible with iOS – falling back to the basic SBC codec even on a MacB ook which is meant to support aptX.
None of my Android devices support the aptX codec either, and although Windows 10 is meant to support aptX, there was no way I could find of confirming I was streaming via this higher quality codec. I’m not sure you’re going to be able to hear a huge difference anyway. For the best quality you can connect via the included 3.5mm audio cable – and the difference between that and Bluetooth, even the more compressed codec was very subtle.
The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is an impressive portable speaker, and has the best sound quality I’ve heard from a Bluetooth speaker at or around this price point. It’s very loud and with its IPX7 rating would be an ideal speaker for outdoors.
The accompanying app is a nice bonus, not just for adjusting EQ settings – it also makes firmware updates nice and easy.
It is heavy though at over 1kg and although it has a decent waterproof rating and feels well built, I’m not sure just how rugged it is – the metal grill looks like it would dent easily. And I would have liked a USB charging port too if I’m being picky.
But I very much doubt you’ll find a better speaker for the price, especially if you manage to get it in one of Amazon’s many sales. I paid around £70 or $70 for mine so check the current prices – there’s a link down below. If you’re ok with the size and weight, it’s definitely a speaker worth checking out.
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