Many things in life can be improved with a soundtrack of your favourite tunes, and with some road trips booked over the summer I was excited to test out Anker‘s Sound Core Boost 20 portable Bluetooth speaker. Over the last month or so I have taken the speaker off wild swimming in southern England, to the south coast of Wales, to Devon, and of course had it around in the garden at home – I’ve put it through it’s paces.
Look & feel
The Sound Core 20 is a sleek dark grey wireless unit with speaker grills curving round each side and five flat buttons on the rubberised plastic top. It measures a 193 x 62.2 x 65mm and weighs 0.59kg, which means it isn’t going to fit in your pocket, but will easily slip into a tote bag or handbag without too much fuss and won’t weigh you down.
Underneath a thick rubber flap you’ll find three ports, a micro-USB for charging the speaker, a USB-A to charge your phone or iPad via the unit’s internal battery, and an aux-in if you wanted to connect something without Bluetooth.
Setting up the speaker is very simple. Once it is fully charged (denoted by four led dots on the top) then pairing it with your phone has just three steps:
- Switch on Bluetooth on your phone
- Press the “On” button on the speaker (the furthest left button on the top) and the button will rapidly flash blue and a startup sound will play
- Select “Sound Core Boost” from the Bluetooth devices on your phone
The Sound Core 20 is on sale for around £50, and for that money you get a decent speaker that offers impressive bass for its size thanks to Anker’s BassUp technology, which you can switch on and off with a button on the device. It offers good volume for its size to the extent that I never really needed to have it on full blast at any time during my trials, but when pushed to its limits the sound does start to distort little.
The speaker sounded great with most music I threw at it, from Max Rad’s debut electronic jam to some older cuts by The Strokes and Nina Simone, with a good warm sound. Podcasts could be heard pretty clearly, but the warmth and bass does make them a little harder to hear than I would like even with BassUp switched off.
I tested the speaker in cars, vans, in parks, and on the beach and it performed admirably. It’s IPX5 water-resistant, so I wasn’t worried about any splashes or drips and no matter where I went it was great having a soundtrack of some of my favourite songs. Whilst the speaker is good, having a reliable Anker battery inside that can recharge your phone is a great extra help when on road trips as well, as phone batteries don’t last too long with the constant Instagram photos, Spotify streaming, and Bluetooth connectivity that you use on road trips.
Anker says the speaker can play music for up to 12 hours, and I found that to be pretty accurate. Obviously if you start charging your other devices off the speaker’s battery that will impact its play time, but you should be pretty set to soundtrack a whole road trip and one or two recharges of your phone.
The Sound Core Boost 20 is a compact and great sounding portable Bluetooth speaker, that with the help of Anker’s own battery tech on the inside makes it an invaluable addition to any trip to the park or beach. And it’s curved lines and good looks means it also wouldn;t look out of place on your desk next to your MacBook Pro and iPhone either.
Price at time of review: £51.99