When my 5 year old Samsung Level U Pro earbuds started falling apart, I decided it was time to start looking for a new set of buds… now, I’m cheap, but I like my music to sound good (quite the conundrum, I will agree). My Samsungs had fantastic sound and they were free as part of a cell phone promotion…perfect.
After several months of research, I decided on the Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo earbuds. Amazon had a great price on them and the reviews were outstanding.
To say the least, I was blown away by the quality, especially for the price. Now, there are a few trade offs (good and bad) between my Samsungs and these, but overall, I was extremely pleased.
Fully onboard the Anker product hype train, enter the Soundcore Flare Mini. In short, this thing is incredible!
I am replacing a comparatively priced JBL Go2 that was confiscated by my wife shortly after I got it. It is also a great little speaker, so it provides the perfect comparison for this review.
- The Flare Mini is smaller than I expected, which is a plus… comparatively, my Go2 is smaller, but I sort of expected the Flare Mini to be larger than it is, given the pictures. Its actually only slightly larger than a 12oz soda can.
- It feels very solid, but still relatively lightweight at almost exactly 1 pound, most of which is toward the bottom for stability.
- The soft touch cloth feels nice and the rubberized bottom looks like it would keep it stable on solid surfaces. Not sure what the cloth will feel like wet. I am a firm believer that electronics and water do not mix. As someone once told me… ‘shower with it, but don’t bathe with it.’ I tend to live by that rule so I don’t ever plan to submerge it on purpose.
- Not much in the box aside from the standard charging cable and quick start guide. To be honest, I would almost expect fancier packaging, but who really cares. Its probably the last time I will look at the box anyway.
- Lighted buttons on top… oddly, though, only 3 light up: Power, Bluetooth, and Light Controls. The lighted power button, in particular is helpful. It lights red while charging and white while playing on battery. I haven’t noticed any other colors.
- Sound… for its size, it really puts out some volume. And, its not just loud, it sounds great too - great clarity and decent bass. I have used it in my kitchen and outside on my patio and never found a need to put it at full volume. My JBL Go2 sounds really good, but the Flare Mini is a step up and has richer sound and broader range.
- Lighting… the lighted base is a nice touch. Seems like just a gimmick, but in a dark room or on a desk, it provides a nice, relaxing glow. Also, you can tell from a distance when the unit is on or off.
- Battery… initial charge took over 2 hours. Either it was extremely dead right out the box or the battery in this thing is substantial. I’ve been listening to it every day for a week and its not dead yet. I haven’t timed it but I would guess at least 7 hours of use so far.
- Auto power-off… as I was trying to test the battery life, I left it the speaker on and walked away with my phone. I discovered 30 minutes later when I came back, that it was off. Nice little battery saving feature that I was not expecting.
- Water resistance… as I stated above, I’m probably showing my age, but something about submerging electronics just triggers my OCD. I’ve been using the Flare Mini in my kitchen and bathroom near the sinks where an occasional splash may hit it and on my patio outside. Everything on the Flare Mini seems to be well sealed and secured from water - the only opening is the usb port but it is sealed with a rubber cover - so I have absolutely no apprehension about using it in wet environments.
- The Soundcore button… why only one button for play, skip-forward and skip-backward? There’s still enough real estate on the top for 2 more buttons. And, I know that most people control with their phone, etc. anyway, but 2 more buttons would be a little more intuitive. For what its worth, if you follow the instructions, the button does function perfectly ‘as advertised.’
- Unlighted buttons on top… yeah, I listed the lighted ones as a ‘pro,’ but why light only half? The 3 unlit buttons seem like they would be the most functional in low light… Volume +, Volume -, and the ‘Soundcore’ button. I’m sure there was a logical reason for this, but I don’t get it.
- Soundcore app integration… I know this is a fairly new product, soI am hoping they will integrate the Flare Mini with the app…. Control of some additional light functions through the app would be awesome!
Overall, I am extremely pleased with the Flare Mini and would highly recommend it! My wife can have the JBL Go2. It won’t be missed!