The Anker Soundcore Spirit Pro is yet another offering in Anker’s newest line in the Wireless Bluetooth Headset category. They feature a couple of notable steps up from the Soundcore Spirit & Soundcore Spirit X models as well as a step down from these (and other models) which could potentially cause confusion when comparing them to other models. These differences (as far as I could tell) are:
Step-up from lower-end Soundcore Spirit & Soundcore Spirit X:
Built-in “Dual-EQ” which consists of two different sound settings, mostly affecting the bass end of the audio spectrum, available on the headset itself with no external app required to implement. This feature has two settings, one seemingly “flat” (no EQ) while the other setting seems to be the headset’s equivalent to Anker’s BassUp technology used on it’s newer Soundcore line of speakers.
Built-in aptX High-Fidelity sound (compatible with Android devices only)
Bluetooth 4.2 (Anker’s other “lower-end” Soundcore models use Bluetooth 5.0)
Not necessarily a step down but I though I’d mention it as it may deter some from going water-happy…the micro-USB charging port on the control pod does not contain a built-in water sealing flap which apparently is not needed on this model but is on the others(?). This new design is still considered to be at least IPX7 rated. Still, I would feel more comfortable having a physical rubber flap covering the exposed charging port rather than nothing.
Packaging and Contents
Packaging is Anker’s typical classy Black/Blue/White and shows some extra attention to detail in that the front flap (which opens to reveal the product behind clear plastic) is actually held shut/flush to the front of the box with two embedded magnets in the packaging. Something I wasn’t expecting but little things like this show some care and detail behind even the packaging design. Everything was packaged well and fully protected from your typical shipping and handling bumps and knocks.
The package contents includes:
Soundcore Spirit Pro
micro USB cable
Carrying pouch with spring-snap closure
Anker’s worry-free 18-month warranty, and friendly customer service.
The Spirit Pro’s standard installed EarWings and EarTips fit me just fine
so I saw no need to experiment with the other sizes that are included. That being said, the variety of sizes of EarWings and EarTips should create a match for almost anybody’s ears for a great fit. Note that this headset is not the earloop type so if you’re looking for extra-strength hold, these may not cut it for you and you may want to look at the Soundcore Spirit X instead.
The headset came pretty much fully charged out of the box so I did test before charging them fully awhile later in which they took approx. 20 minutes or so to show a full charge. A full charge will apparently yield you 10 hours of play time which I was not able to test fully yet…10 hours is a very long time for me to be
listening to music.
Pairing was trouble free using a MacBook Pro (late 2011 running OS X El Capitan 10.11), an iPhone 5s and an iPad mini 4, (both running iOS 9.3.5…yes, admittedly old devices and old OS’s but they all work fine so I ain’t fixing what ain’t broken). Bluetooth connectivity was solid and I had no drops within a reasonable distance between the device and the headset. If you’re curious about why no Bluetooth 5 inclusion, welcome to the club. Many of these newer Bluetooth headsets are still using older Bluetooth hardware for unknown reasons. Cost? The Spirit Pro is the higher-end Soundcore headset demanding a $10 premium over both the Spirit and the Spirit X yet both of those use the newest Bluetooth 5…the Spirit Pro is still on Bluetooth 4.2. Go figure.
Sound quality was excellent for 6mm diameter drivers with more than enough bass for my personal taste. The new Dual-EQ feature helps to pump a bit more extra bass out of the headset without getting too boomy. Dual-EQ is enabled by pressing and holding both the top volume + and the middle Play (>) button for ~1 seconds. A tone will be heard through the headset, signaling the feature is enabled. Disabling it works in the same way. Like I mentioned, there’s more than enough bass for me, even without the Dual-EQ but others may possibly find it inadequate. The mids and highs seem to be well balanced. I think it’s a great sound without any additional EQ applied to the audio.
The control pod itself now has buttons that are rubber covered with a (seemingly) single piece of rubber rather than individual buttons that are internally sealed. While this seems to be a better type of seal, it causes the buttons to feel a bit less “clicky” and less tactile. This rubber piece does however have aggressively molded “+” “>” and “-” symbols for each of the three buttons and are quite easy to tell apart by feel. The pod worked well as far as button presses went regardless of the different feel of the new buttons. The charge port as I mentioned at the beginning no longer has a rubber seal/flap covering it, yet it’s still IPX7 rated as well as being SweatGuarded by Anker’s technology consisting of an “impermeable hydro-seal that coats and defends the USB port, internal circuitry, and other hardware from liquid corrosion and short circuits”. Go ahead and dunk them anywhere you can dunk yourself…they should be just fine.
This is another great Bluetooth wireless headset by Anker, likely my favorite between the Soundbuds Slim+ and the Soundcore Spirit X that I also own but the omission of Bluetooth 5 (even if it doesn’t affect your devices as of yet) is a headscratcher. Regardless of this curious omission and as stated, this is a great sounding and comfortable wireless headset.
After testing some more and playing a few games and really paying attention to the Bluetooth delay factor, sorry to say that I have found the Bluetooth audio delay to be abysmal for the Spirit Pro.
Here are the approximate delay times (on iOS, using an iPad mini 4 and iPhone 5s; the elapsed time when a key is pressed on the virtual keyboard until when the sound is heard) for all of the wireless Bluetooth headphones I have:
Anker Soundbuds Slim +: ~.5 second
Anker Soundcore Spirit X: ~.25 second (negligible)
Anker Soundcore Spirit Pro: ~1.5 seconds (!)
If you’ll just be listening to music with the Spirit Pro, they are fine. If you’ll be playing games or videos where audio sync is important, maybe look elsewhere.
Note that I tried multiple times to delete the pairing to all devices, reset Bluetooth on the headphones (connect to charger, press and hold “+” together with “>”) to get the delay to be tolerable but nothing I did would diminish the delay.
Just telling it like it is…no sugar coating.