Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth Speaker Review – A Boom Box for a New Generation
Before I start this review, I have a confession. I bought the original Soundcore Motion Boom speaker for one of my sons for Christmas last year. He’s been carrying it around the house for the better part of the year blasting, for the most part, the soundtrack to Hamilton and a litany of music from the likes of the Jonas Brothers, Imagine Dragons, and 21 Pilots. So…not my favorite Christmas gift. When the opportunity to review the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth speaker came along, I pounced. Mostly, because I had something to compare it to, and also because I just love me some weatherproof Bluetooth speakers. I grew up owning (or for the most part wanting to own) boom boxes (I’m aging myself, I know). I thought that this looked to be the boom box of this generation. Oh, how right I was!
Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Specs
- Power – 80 watts
- Bass Boost – Yes
- Drivers – 2 x 30 watt woofers, 2 x 10 watt tweeters
- Sound Frequency Range – 46hz-20kHz; THD+N: ≤1%
- Battery – 13,400mAh; Charge Time: ≤5.5 Hours
- Water/Dust Resistance – IP67 Rating
- Speaker Pairing – PartyCast 2.0 – link over 100+ PartyCast-compatible speakers; True Wireless Stereo (TWS) – pair two Motion Boom Plus speakers
- Bluetooth Version – 5.3
- Additional Connections – 3.5mm AUX input; USB for charging other devices
- App Control and EQ – Yes
- Accessories – Detachable Strap, USB-C to USB-C Cable, Quick Start Guide
Soundcore Motion Boom Plus First Impressions
I can’t actually include my first reaction to the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth speaker. But I’ll paraphrase and say that I thought, “Holy crap, this thing is huge!” When comparing the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth speaker to the original Motion Boom, the differences are stark. I’ve included a couple of pictures below for comparison. If you have the original, you probably won’t be prepared for how large this thing is. That said, it weighs less than a pound more than the original. But that larger size comes with distinct advantages.
First and foremost, there is more room in the speaker for drivers. This expands the driver count from two full-range drives in the original to two dedicated woofers and two dedicated tweeters in the Boom Plus. Paired with the twin passive bass radiators at the ends, this provides considerably more output.
On the back is a removable cover for the connections. There is a 3.5mm Aux input (for those that still hardwire their phones/tablets), a USB-C connection for charging, and a standard USB port for charging external devices. The rubber cover is hard to remove which is actually a feature. The Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth speaker sports an IP67 rating. This translates to full dust ingress protection and short dips into water. This is perfect for an outdoor speaker as it allows you to forget about it outside in the rain and not worry about damaging it.
Controls and Setup
The Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth speaker has controls on the top. There is, from left to right, a button for the extended bass mode, Bluetooth pairing, volume and start/stop, power, and TWS buttons. The controls are fairly self-explanatory and you’ll likely only use the volume and power controls on the regular. The button between the volume controls starts/stops content as well as skips tracks (two presses) and previous track (three presses). There is a built-in microphone for answering calls or using your voice assistant.
After making sure the speaker is charged, the first thing you’ll want to do is download the Soundcore app. There are lots of reports that the out-of-the-box firmware had issues. Fortunately, Soundcore was quick to release an update that fixed the issue. You can only do that through the app. It is a very quick process. Plus, the app gives you tons of EQ controls including a couple of preset curves as well as access to a manual EQ. The fun part is that you can actually see exactly what the bass boost is doing to your curve by pressing the button on the speaker (see images below). Kinda cool.
The TWS button allows you to connect the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth speaker up to another for stereo sound. It will also, reportedly, allow you to connect to over 100 other TWS speakers (not just the Boom Plus) for mono playback. Since I didn’t have over 100 speakers on hand, I’ll have to take Soundcore’s word on that.
EQ and Firmware
I tested the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth speaker pre- and post-firmware update. The short version is that you really want to update the firmware. At initial connection, I was getting moments of static frequently during playback (Bluetooth streaming Tidal). Restarting my phone mostly fixed that problem. When playing sweeps, I noticed some distortion around 600Hz.
After downloading the app and updating the firmware, the static issue was completely resolved. I also noticed that the distortion I was hearing around 600Hz disappeared. After digging into the app defaults, I discovered why. The Soundcore “Signature” curve has a deep cut right around the frequencies where I heard the distortion. I was able to recreate the effect by running the sweep in the “Voice” setting which boosted those same frequencies.
When using the manual EQ and leaving all the settings to flat, the distortion I heard was pretty much gone during the sweep at a reasonable volume. This indicates to me that the initial firmware must have had some sort of boost in that region that was causing the problem. Might not be the case, but regardless, download the app and update the firmware.
You don’t buy a boom box for critical listening. First and foremost, you want it to be loud. If volume is all you are looking for, the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth speaker has it in spades. At 50% volume on my phone, the speaker was loud enough that people in the house were complaining. If you are looking for a loud, portable, waterproof speaker, this is the one.
But what if you want it to sound good? Well, fortunately, the Boom Plus also does that. The bass boost (shown above) is very much localized to the lowest frequencies so it doesn’t degrade the overall presentation. In fact, this is one of the few speakers where I prefer to listen with the bass boost on at all times. With the Soundcore Signature EQ setting. I found the presentation to be very pleasant even at high volumes.
If there is a knock against this speaker, it is the design decision of dual tweeters. As you move off-axis from the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth speaker, the quality of the treble changes significantly. This is only really evident in close proximity and certainly won’t be noticeable from a distance. But it is there.
Would I recommend the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus Bluetooth speaker? Absolutely. At $179, it is arguably the loudest portable Bluetooth speaker on the market at this price point. More than just that, it sounds good, has an app for EQ control to dial in the sound further, and is eminently portable. With a built-in handle, a port for charging your phone, and pretty much universal weather resistance, this is the speaker you want for indoor or outdoor parties. If the current generation is looking for a boom box, look no further. This is it.