Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been exploring different types of desk set-ups for my minimal, mobile-style desk. It’s a tricky thing when you are trying to keep things as small as possible. Looking around my desk right now, I have a desk lamp, a headphone stand with two sets of large wireless headphones on it, a cell phone stand for my iPhone, a small battery operated fan, a large 32-inch curved monitor (review coming soon), my MacBook Pro connected to a dock, and, last but not least, my favorite new speaker, the Soundcore Flare from Anker. For a while now, I have been considering downsizing my computer’s sound system to a single speaker, but I didn’t really think it was a feasible venture until I met this glorious 360º tower-style speaker. I never thought a single Bluetooth speaker could beat a powerful pair of wired speakers. The Flare speaker proved me wrong.
The Soundcore Flare is an impressive speaker. It offers 360-degrees of sound through dual back-to-back drivers and thumping bass radiators. The speaker also utilizes BassUp Technology that helps to produce depth and clarity for your audio. A digital signal processor analyses and enhances your music’s bass frequencies. Through the use of the Soundcore for Flare app, you can use customizable EQ so that all your music (or any audio) sounds just the way you want it to. In addition to the incredible sound the Flare produces, the speaker also offers you a dancing light show at its base. Soundcore refers to it as a ‘halo of LEDs’. They phase, pulse, and shine with the rhythm of your music and with the use of the Soundcore for Flare app, you can control the style of your light show.
There are 5 different color themes (party, energy, chill, spring, and bedtime) and 5 adjustable illumination patterns for you to customize to match your musical tastes as well as your moods. With Flare, you have the ability to double up on the speaker for a truly unique experience. Sound and light synchronize across both speakers. And, even though I intend on using this primarily indoors at my desk, the Flare is rated IPX7 and can withstand spills, rain, and complete submersion into water. The speaker has a 12-hour battery life.
- Drivers: 2 x 1.75″ Full Range + 2 x Passive Radiator
- Output: 2 x 6W, THD (total harmonic distortion) <= 10%
- Bluetooth Version 4.2
- Supports A2DP, AVRCP, HFP profile, and SBC decoding
- Auxiliary input port
- Range: 20m / 66ft
- Playtime: 12 hours
- Charging time: 3.5 hours
- Charging: Micro USB 5V / 2A
- Weight: 18.7 ounces
- Microphone: Integrated
- Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 5.95 in
- Waterproofing: IPX7
The Flare comes in a well-branded box complete with full-color image and product information. Once you open the box you are greeted with your speaker, a quick start guide, and a Micro USB cable. This is a pretty standard package for Bluetooth speakers these days. Since it supports an auxiliary port, it would have been nice if a 3.5mm stereo mini cable was provided, but I’m not going to mark this amazing speaker negatively for not including it.
Starting up the speaker is easy enough. There is an on/off button on the back of the speaker along with a Bluetooth pairing button. If the speaker has not been paired with a device, the Bluetooth icon will blink indicating that it’s ready to be paired. I connected the Flare to my MacBook Pro as well as my iPhone. With both devices, the speaker appeared quickly in my Bluetooth menu and I was able to connect easily. The one drawback this speaker has is that it will not stay connected to two devices. You can pair it with a second device but only after disabling the original device. Since I switch back and forth quite a bit, it would be nice if it stayed paired with both my laptop and phone. This is literally the only flaw I could find in the speaker.
As I mentioned above, I never thought a single tower-style speaker could replace my dual shelf speakers, but the Flare has. When I first played music through it (just a random song), I was blown away by the depth of sound this speaker produces. I love the look of it and the fact that LEDs highlight the base, but honestly, the sound quality is why I want to keep it on my desk. I have played everything from 90s hip-hop to classical orchestra pieces by Bach and everything sounds amazing through this speaker. I was equally impressed by the app, which includes an EQ control, which only enhances the quality of the sound. At this time, the app only works with Flare although Soundcore has plans to release other devices that will be supported as well. The controls are very easy to use and they are covered with a soft silicone which, in my opinion, only adds to the classy style of this device.
For several years now, I’ve really wanted the JBL Pulse speaker. This portable speaker caught my eye when I was in a store at one point and I just loved how the lights moved with the music so fluidly. Even though I’ve wanted that speaker for a long time, my new obsession is this Flare speaker from Soundcore by Anker. It’s truly a remarkable speaker and it’s much more cost-effective than some other LED-driven Bluetooth speakers. In fact, at $60, this speaker actually blows past other portable speakers in the same price range as far as sound quality goes and it has the added design feature of the lights. I don’t think you will find a better value out there if you are looking for a Bluetooth speaker that can go anywhere, this is a wonderful option for your needs.
Originally published at macsources.com on May 23, 2018.