When it comes to mobile peripherals such as chargers and power banks, Anker is a well-known name as, since years, they have unveiled products that perform exceedingly well. Switching up the game a bit, Anker has also delved into an area that’s not so synonymous with them — audio.
Anker has now introduced the SoundCore Sport XL in India too and based on its features alone, we were left impressed. This portable Bluetooth speaker is built like a brick — literally. It comes with nifty features such as a waterproof, dustproof and shockproof body, making it an alluring option for anyone who singles out ruggedness as an important requirement while purchasing a portable speaker.
We take a closer look at the Sport XL from Anker to give you a calculated idea whether this SoundCore is for you.
As mentioned, the Anker SoundCore Sport XL is built rock solid and also is the size and weight of like a conventional brick. The XL is wrapped in a rubberised body and the overall construction feels tough. The materials used here appear capable enough to withstand the most rugged environs and because of the texture, a quick rub-down won’t leave any dirt or unwanted residue. The front features a metal grill and underneath it is a waterproof cloth that helps keeps the water out. The rear features a thick rubber flap that houses a micro USB charging port, a 3.5mm audio jack and a USB Type-A port. While it seems like it could accommodate a USB storage to play music from, it actually is a charging port for external devices. Yes, this speaker also doubles up as a power bank on the go.
The speaker comes with an IP67 ingress rating making it dustproof, waterproof and shockproof. This means while it can survive the rugged outdoors, and also be submerged under 1 metre of water without getting ruined.
The SoundCore Sport XL is on the heavier side weighing 600g and measures 175x43x78 mm. This means it will definitely not go unnoticed. However, for the trade-off, you get a construction that’s almost unparallel.
All the control buttons are found on the top. These include the Power, volume, pairing and Play buttons. You can also use the speaker to answer calls. Four subtle LEDs on top also denote the battery level.
The Anker SoundCore Sport XL features twin 8W stereo drivers along with two dual passive radiators. Given the size of these drivers, we expect the audio quality to have sufficient bass with enough separation for the mids and highs. The speaker uses Bluetooth v4.1 for connectivity and with it, you get a range of about 66 feet. The speaker features an inbuilt 5200mAh battery that provides a playtime of up to 15 hours, which is pretty incredible for a speaker of this size. As stated earlier, the speaker can also be used as a portable charger so. So, in addition to entertaining you, it can also top up your phone, which is a welcome feature, especially when outdoors.
Indoor performance is pretty loud making it an ideal alternative for a small house party. Outdoor jam sessions are superb too. The speaker is pretty loud, and clear with an above average audio performance — an ideal choice for a pool or a garden party.
When on test with popular genres, we observed that though the bass delivery has the desired impact, the sub bass was lacking with no extension. The bass had enough of a punch due to the passive bass radiators. However, it is unfortunate that it doesn’t extend to the sub-bass.
The mids are decent and this is the best how we could describe it — there wasn't any "distinguishable" audible separation between the treble and the extreme highs. The highs seem to have the desired extension but the sound was more like a V-shape with the overall extension in the bass and highs. The mids were felt drowned out at times.
Lastly, we did not find the desired stereo effect that was yearned for.
The Anker SoundCore Sport XL performs its battery life as advertised and we easily managed about 12.5 hours whilst charging an iPhone XS Max by about 40%. Top up time is 3.5 to 4 hours but depends on the charger type being used.
The Anker SoundCore Sport XL is priced at Rs 5,999 and we feel is a bit steep. However, it does have an advantage of being rugged and portable along with being waterproof, which justifies the price tag. If your budget is tight and all the rugged features aren’t your thing, then there are plenty of options available out there. But if you want the best of both worlds — a rugged speaker for the outdoors and also being a solid performer, then the Anker SoundCore Sport XL should easily top your list....