The Soundcore Flare 2 is a new speaker from Anker with dual drivers providing 360 degrees around the speaker in a similar design to many other popular speakers. Soundcore rates this at 20W of output power. I tested it for 2 weeks in mixed use and here are my thoughts.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/Nnn1f2aZsRw
As an Anker product this speaker has a healthy 5200 mAh battery which the company ranks for 12 hours of play time (without the LEDs). I have used it for testing and for shower videos for 2 weeks and it has not had to charge yet. As of this writing, it still has 20% battery. When it finally drains, it charges at 5v/2a for 10w using a USB-C port . The product page states that it charges completely in 3.5 hours. I didn’t do an timed test but this pretty much matches my experience.
The Soundcore packaging is different than standard Anker minimalist packaging. The packaging looks like it is designed more for display in a store than for e-commerce. This represents a shift with Anker since many of their products are now being carried in retail stores like Target. It makes sense for Anker to standardize one type of packaging rather than developing two different types.
Positive points for the premium feeling packaging with bright colors to attract a buyer on a store shelf. Negatives for waste with extra layers of cardboard and plastic. The speaker itself is wrapped in plastic and cradled in plastic. Once again, I would like to see a transition to something more sustainable here.
The Flare 2 shares design language with the Flare speaker line. The Flare 2 is a cylinder wrapped in a nice feeling fabric cover all around. There are 5 buttons on the top (power, a multi-function button, volume up/down and lighting control button). The multi-function button handles play/pause, skip/back and can pick up phone calls. On the back is the Bluetooth pairing button and bass boost. Under a protective flap is the hidden USB-C port. Unlike the rest of the Flare line, the Flare 2 has 2 RGB light rings (one on top and another on the bottom). The other speakers in the line only have a bottom light ring. Unfortunately, like most modern Bluetooth speakers, there is no 3.5mm aux input jack.
Positioning within Soundcore Portfolio
Comparing with the rest of the Soundcore Flare line, I would place the Flare 2’s 20W speakers between the original Flare and Flare +. The Flare+ features a larger pair of speakers rated at 25W total while the Flare has 12W of power to its speakers. On the other end of the spectrum is the Flare Mini with 10W of speakers. All the speakers are rated waterproof with submersion but only the original Flare is tested for Dust ingress at IP67. The rest of the speakers are only tested for water resistance so they have an IPX7 ratings. This might not necessarily be an issue and it is possible Anker didn’t pay for the dust testing.
In my testing I have been using the Flare 2 as my shower speaker. It has been replacing my 1st gen Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom (also IPX7 rated). The light of the speakers are actually sufficient to shower in the dark if I really wanted to! As with all Bluetooth speakers, there is some audio delay which impacts videos but it was not too bad for casual watching. There is no support for codecs like AptX to reduce lag or improve sound quality but I have no qualms at this price point.
I am not an audiophile so I am not qualified to give a in-depth audio review. But the speaker sounds pleasant to me and I could hear the vocals of my videos clearly. For music I most listen to hip-hop/rap and these speakers performed well. I thoroughly tested with a playlist of Gorillaz music. The varied genres allowed me to get a taste for the speakers and I have no complaints! You can adjust the EQ depending on your tastes. The BassUp button is not bad and adds some more bass without distorting the audio. The speaker gets plenty loud but there is a bit of distortion at 100% volume.
I really put the IPX7 ratings to the test. I showered with this speaker every day and it got a fair amount of splash and humidity. I took it under the shower directly several times (as demonstrated in my clothed shower in the video). The sound gets a bit muffled when wet but I had no interruptions. To test this further, I subjected the speaker to more rigorous testing. I ran a constant stream of water over the speaker as I filled my sink. Once full, I fully submerged the speaker and held it down. It never skipped a beat. It does float slightly in water.
The Soundcore app is not required but allows some customization of color effects and of the EQ. requires an account but I believe I used the same ones I used in my other Anker apps. Once paired, the speaker will show up in the app and you can see the battery life as well as the light status. There are several color modes with limited customization per mode. It would be cool if we could pick colors via an RGB selector or hex codes rather than from a pre-populated list.
While the light modes can be cycled through on the speaker itself, the app allows you to pick colors for each mode. Lastly, the “Who’s Next” color mode has an extra feature in the app. It will play a special sound bite and cycle through the colors until it lands in one direction like a digital spin the bottle. Other light modes include Phasing Beats, Party Time, Bouncing Beats, Circle Beam and Cool Breath. Check out the video to see the differences.
Pairing w/ Multiple Devices
I found that the Flare 2 easily remembered all my devices when switching between them. I have it paired to 3 android smart phones, my iPad and my windows laptop. The only caveat is I need to tap the Bluetooth button to disconnect from the prior device and go to the device settings to reconnect. This is a mild annoyance compared to some other Bluetooth speakers. I have used speakers that will remember multiple devices and automatically depending which source sent the most recent play command. My old speaker (Logitech Wonderboom) was able to do this with 2 devices.
One feature that I miss on this speaker is NFC pairing. When sharing speakers or using multiple devices, it is nice to be able to tap and tell the speaker which phone to pair with. I add a NFC sticker to all my speakers without NFC. Using NFC Tools on my Android phone, I set the sticker to pair via the Bluetooth mac address. This is not a perfect solution. On my Wonderboom, tapping the NFC sticker will switch the device. But on the Flare 2, I need to tap the Bluetooth pair button before tapping the sticker.
The Flare 2 also has the ability to pair with up to 100 speakers via the Partycast feature. I do not (yet!) have another Soundcore device to test this with but other reviewers mention that your mileage may vary with sync issues. I feel like the 100-speaker pairing is a gimmick and is not the primary use for this speaker. Generally, you would get a larger output speaker or some dedicated multiple speaker function. This feature is common across other speakers in this price range so it makes sense for Soundcore to offer it to compete.
Overall, the speaker is a really nice package. It outputs a lot of sound for its size and the water resistance is really robust. The light is a really cool feature and I never turn it off. The battery life is amazing and is to be expected of an Anker company. If you are looking for an all-around speaker, I would recommend this. It is small enough to travel with and be unobtrusive sitting around the house.