For years my sound systems were bifurcated. Ancient Logitech speakers, including a big, boxy subwoofer, resided in my game room/office. I used them when my computer was docked. Away from my desk, I used earbuds or whatever tinny sound my smartphone or tablet could produce.
Last summer I spent a good many evenings working on the back patio, doing stuff for the day job or writing for Nuketown while sipping a beer and listening to baseball games on my phone. When my Logitech speakers finally died, I decided enough was enough: I needed a solution that would work everywhere. That included:
- When I’m listening to baseball games, listening to music, or watching movies on the back patio
- When I’m doing the dishes, cleaning up the kitchen, or painting a room
- When I’m at a friend’s house running Dungeons & Dragons and want to play some ambient music
- When I’m writing in my office/game room
Given the mixed indoor/outdoor use, the speaker needed to be water-resistant. I don’t plan on leaving it out in the rain, but accidents happen. Bluetooth connectivity was essential, as was easily being able to switch between devices. Getting repeatedly lost in connectivity hell is not something I needed. I also wanted decent, but not awesome sound. A speaker with good range that could accommodate a solid bass was sufficient for my needs. Finally, it needed to be reasonably affordable. My budget was in the $40-$60 range, which would hopefully land me a speaker that wouldn’t stop working 30 days after buying it.
The Anker Soundcore 2 (Amazon) fit the bill. Recommended by friends, the Soundcore 2 is a solid speaker that does everything I wanted and more. A small black box with angled corners, the Soundcore 2 feels sturdy. It has a respectable Bluetooth range – I can easily connect to it from across the room – and it has great battery life. Officially, it’ll go 24 hours on a charge. For me, using it for an hour or two every other day, I was able to go a week or more without recharging.
The sound is good — better than my old Logitech speakers and lightyears better than the sound on my iPhone, iPad, and circa 2012 MacBook Pro. Audiophiles might knock its dynamic range, but it works for me. I’ve used it for listening to audiobooks, the Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, soundtrack, and streams from Spotify and Pandora. In each case, the speaker delivered rich, full sound that filled the room nicely. It worked equally as well outside.
The Soundcore 2 cost $39.99 on Amazon, which was at the low end of my price range. I’m satisfied with my purchase, and would recommend it to anyone with similar speaker needs. Heck, my 16-year-old daughter also recommends it. She kept stealing mine, so we got StarGirl one for her birthday.
Featured Image Meta
A close-up view of the Anker speaker in service out on my back patio. Credit: Ken Newquist.