Soundcore Flare Mini Full Review
First up a big thank you to @AnkerOfficial or giving me the chance to test the Flare Mini as part of #WELOVETESTING
Before I get into this review I’ll cut to the chase for anyone who just wants the verdict on this speaker – IT’S BRILLIANT! At it’s current Amazon UK price of £49.99 it’s a no-brainer! If you’re after a small, portable speaker with great sound that is also waterproof GET THIS! Kids will love it and so will adults at a party, BBQ, camping or just chilling in the kitchen.
Right so that’s that – sub-£50 speaker, this is the one. Now the detail…
First impression on eagerly opening the Amazon box (great speedy delivery from Amazon by the way) – wow it’s small this! I’m not sure what I was expecting but the little Flare Mini box inside the big Amazon box was the first of the surprises from this speaker. The box and packaging of the Soundcore Flare Mini is very neat and minimal. All the relevant info about the speaker is printed on the box – along with a photograph of the Flare Mini plunging into water. You get the message – it’s waterproof!
Inside the box there’s a short quick-start manual, micro-USB (I know – not USB C – but I’ll come on to that) cable for charging and, well, the Flare Mini!
That’s about it for unboxing – see my photos of my unboxing.
So another surprise. On first picking up the Flare Mini I’m struck by how nice and tactile it feels. The charcoal-grey textile covering looks and feels great in the hand. The rubberised base and top also have a quality feel – and despite its small size (it’s actually shorter than a ballpoint pen and a lot smaller than my much loved old Anker A3143 – see my photos) the Flare Mini has a reassuring weight to it – it feels robust and a quality item. I don’t own any of the other Soundcore Flare speakers – but I imagine if you do none of this will be a surprise to you – but for me I was blown away by how cool this little speaker looks. Anker/Soundcore have hit upon a pleasing and original design language for the Flare range so it’s no surprise they are sticking to it with the cheapest speaker in the range – the Mini.
There’s a neat rubber cover for the USB port – and the buttons on the top light up in a pleasing manner that also serves to clearly tell you the functions. There are of course also the lights on the base - but I’ll cover that in the “Features” section.
That’s about for the design. I like it. It’s worth saying that all my friends and family who have seen the speaker have said “wow that’s a really cool speaker!”. So it’s not just me who likes it.
This is, of course, the really crucial point – it’s a speaker after all so it has to get this bit right! And I’d say overall it gets the sound quality really right. You have to remember that this is a small, low cost (£49.99) speaker. It’s not designed to rattle your windows with sub-base – no speaker this size will do that. However I think this is totally fine. I would never buy a speaker like this for a full on rave!
I was interested in this speaker to see if it could replace my loved but ageing Anker A3143 Premium Bluetooth Speaker as a speaker to take camping, pop on in the kitchen when cooking and generally use for low level travel listening or at a small party or BBQ. I also have a Soundcore Motion+ speaker but I think it’s more relevant to compare the Flare Mini with the A3143.
I was a little sceptical about this at first due to the very small size of the Flare Mini compared to the A3143. Also the A3143 is rated at 20W and the Flare Mini only 10W. I shouldn’t have worried – this speaker fits the bill perfectly! It’s got a surprisingly crisp sound – highs are clear and crisp, lows are very good for the size of speaker and the mids are present. It’s probably at its best at about 40% to 50% volume – the sound at these levels is really full and enjoyable. It will of course go louder – but there is a noticeable throttling of the lows at very high volume settings. Best to back it off a bit and enjoy the more rounded sound.
To my surprise when I did a back to back comparison with the A3143 the Flare Mini sounded noticeably better. It’s much more “musical” and crisper than the old speaker. I’d never really noticed the slightly muffled sound of the A3143 (a speaker I rate highly for the price) until I heard it next to the Flare Mini. Yes the 20W speaker might JUST go to a higher overall volume level – but there’s not much in it and you’d never guess the Flare Mini was only 10W. Shocking! Given the choice I’ll now pick the Flare Mini ever time as my go to small speaker – and seeing as the A3143 and Flare Mini are currently both £49.99 on Amazon I can’t see why you wouldn’t pick the Flare Mini.
Right so this is where you can start to see how Soundcore have produced such a good speaker at such a great price. There aren’t that many features to this speaker! Now this could be either a bad thing or a good thing depending on your point of view……
To be honest I’m quite happy about it for a speaker of this type. Yes there’s no app access for it, no EQ to tweak, no AUX input (hey it’s a Bluetooth speaker so I have no problem with this), it can’t charge your phone and it won’t make you a cup of tea! But you know what, with a little speaker like this I just want to be able to grab it out of my bag, fire it up and listen to tunes. The speaker EQ is sweet as it comes out of the box so I’m really happy that I don’t have to spend hours tweaking that.
The key features are all good. Battery life seems good so far – I reckon I’ll easily get a day of casual listening out of it – it’s waterproof, Bluetooth connection seems strong and stable (I’ve walked about 15 metres away from it with no dropouts),it’s simple and that’s a good thing!
Yes Micro-USB is a little old hat and it would have been nice to have USB-C for quicker charging and less cables to carry around – but let’s be honest, that’s not really a deal breaker, we all have Micro-USB cables and I generally have one on me anyway for some other device.
Google Assistant works fine on it.
I’ve not tried the True Wireless Stereo paring of this speaker with another yet – but I think this could be a cool feature.
Finally the lights……I LOVE THEM! I thought they would seem a bit of a pointless addition on a speaker but in fact they really add to it. I have mostly been using the lights flashing in sync with the music and it works really well.
This is a great little speaker for the price and size. I know people have questioned the point of the Flare Mini – why not get the Flare or Flare+? Well for me, having other bigger speakers, I love the fact that the Mini is…well mini! It’s a perfect addition to my speaker options, so I think there’s a lot of a point in the Mini and I can imagine a lot of other people finding it ideal for their needs too. I’ve already recommended it to other people – if you’re looking at spending under £50 on a Bluetooth speaker that’s mega portable, looks good and feels premium get this! #breaktheillusion
• Great sound quality for its size
• Neat small design
• Strong Bluetooth connection
• Good battery life
• Simple to use
• Robust feeling
• Great light show!
• No USB C (not a big deal)
• No EQ/App (see above though as it’s not really a con)
Thanks for reading and hope this has been of some help.