Anker announced an affordable AirPods rival and a bunch of new speakers
Anker’s audio brand, Soundcore, is releasing more than a dozen new speakers and headphones to welcome actual good spring and summer weather. Soundcore, like its parent brand, makes solid products at affordable price points. Most of these speakers and headphones stand out for their battery life, which is Anker’s main advantage as a company known for its portable batteries and chargers.
First up, there’s the Space NC, noise cancelling headphones with over-ear cushions. They have 40mm dynamic drivers and supposedly up to 20 hours of wireless battery life with noise cancellation on. When I tried them on and played a video of a roaring jet in the background, there was a small but noticeable difference between having the noise cancellation on and having it off — a percentage of the noise became muted but I could still hear the jet to some extent. The same goes for people’s voices: the noise cancellation isn’t absolute but it’s definitely enough for a tired redeye plane ride home.
At the $99.99 price point, what you get is decent, but my first impression is that there are better noise cancelling headphones out there. The Space NC go on sale at Brookstone and Walmart on May 14th, and will be available on Amazon by the end of May.
In the home space, Anker is also adding another set of Bluetooth speakers that have decent bass. The Flare and Flare+ blast a lot of sound out compared to their petite sizes and they can be paired to fill up a larger room. The Flare and Flare+ speakers are rated IPX7 water resistant so you can also take them to the beach or pool. They light up on the bottom and you can toggle for different colors and patterns.
At a glance, the Flare and Flare+ resemble a more trim version of the Amazon Echo although they fan out at the bottom and don’t have smart assistant capabilities. The Flare is priced lower as well, at $59.99. The Flare speakers come to Amazon on May 7th and Walmart on May 14th. They come in black, gray, blue, or red. The Flare+ boasts louder sound than the Flare and a claimed 20 hours of playtime. It costs $99.99 and comes out in August.
Anker is also adding to its sports audio offerings with new earbuds that come with an extra coating that protects them from sweat. Anker’s says this is necessary because sweat contains salt, which corrodes metal over time. (That’s never happened to me, have you had sweat break your earbuds? Let me know in the comments.)
The result is the Spirit Series, which are three pairs of earbuds, each with different prices and battery lives. The Spirit and Spirit X both cost $39.99, but the Spirit is in-ear and the Spirit X has hooks. Finally, there’s the Spirit Pro, which gets a boost in sound from a Qualcomm chip, up to 10 hours of battery life, and costs 10 dollars more.
Finally, Anker is also launching the Liberty Lite, which are supposed to come out later this year, on June 18th. Those will cost $69 and are another shot from Anker at taking on Apple’s AirPods. They’re based off Anker’s $99 Zolo Liberty wireless earbuds we reviewed back in February but they’re way cheaper. They’ll supposedly get 3.5 hours of battery life per charge. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try them out at today’s event because they’re not ready yet. From afar, they look a little like mini vacuums or gas masks.
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