review

Anker Soundcore Icon Bluetooth 5.0 Portable Speaker

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Extremely portable and surprisingly powerful, Bluetooth speakers offer a very convenient way of listening to music without having to be tethered to anything!
Whether running, cycling, fishing, sailing, kayaking or boating, Bluetooth speakers are a great, especially if they are as compact and superb sounding as the Anker Soundcore Icon
The Soundcore Icon is everything you could ever want from a wireless bluetooth speaker. It's easy to carry, sporty, comes with a long lasting rechargeable battery and even floats when dropped in water so it won't sink.
The Soundcore Icon, along with the Icon Mini, are Anker's lightest compact speakers even lighter than the Motion Q speaker which weighs 416 grams. The Soundcore Icon weighs 355 grams and measures 8cm long, 6cm thick and 5cm high when laid flat on its side, making it one of the smallest Bluetooth 5.0 portable speakers you can buy today.
With Bluetooth 5.0, the Soundcore Icon speaker uses the latest version of Bluetooth wireless technology so you get even better battery life and stronger (more stable) Bluetooth signal than with the previous Bluetooth 4.2 version.
With that said, to get close to 12 hours playtime, the Soundcore Icon speaker has to be connected to a smartphone or device running Bluetooth 5.0 such as the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Oneplus 5T, or iPhone 8.
Depending on which Bluetooth version your device is running, you can get anywhere from 9 to 12 hours of playtime on 70% volume. There is no disputing though the amazing battery life of the Soundcore Icon, considering that the bigger 16W Soundcore Sport XL speaker delivers 15 hours of battery life.
When the battery runs flat, it recharges within 3 hours via 5V/1A input. If you cannot recharge the battery, you can tether the Soundcore Icon speaker via its audio socket to the headphone jack of a smartphone via a 3.5mm male to 3.5mm male audio cable, which is not included (a micro USB charging cable is included though).
It's worth keeping in mind that many newer smartphones don't have a headphone jack; hence you won't be able to benefit from wired mode with the Soundcore Icon. The built-in microphone in the Soundcore Icon delivers clear amplified voice without distortions and minimal background noise, making it great for speakerphone calls.
The user control buttons have raised symbols so they are easy to identify although the buttons have to be hardly pressed-on to operate. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as it prevents the speaker from being powered-on by accident inside a bag or backpack. The Bluetooth button is the pair button, the plus button is the volume up button, the minus button is the volume down button and "d" button is the play/pause button, as well as the skip track button.
It's nice that the Soundcore Icon also features True-wireless-Stereo (TWS) so you can hook it up to another Soundcore Icon to double the output power. Saying this, it would be neat if the TWS feature worked across all TWS models (i.e. Flare, Motion Q, Icon Mini) so you could hook up, say, the Icon with the Icon Mini in True-wireless-Stereo mode.

The Soundcore Icon outputs 10 Watts RMS of total power (volume) which sounds a lot louder than you expect for such a small speaker and not far behind the 16W Motion Q speaker. Treble and bass frequencies are nicely complimented with clear, detailed sound.
The Soundcore Icon speaker has a cylindrical shape with a rubberized circumference and a rubber loop strap attachment that swivels 120 degrees. The Soundcore Icon speaker shell is strongly made and capable of withstanding rough handling and damage when dropped or knocked thanks to a 1.5 meter shockproof rating.
The actual grill of the Icon speaker is made of metal covered with the same type of fabric material seen on the Soundcore Flare speaker and Flare Plus speaker.
A thick rubber grommet protects the micro USB charging port and 3.5mm audio socket. The rubber grommet design of the Soundcore Icon speaker is seamless so it blends nicely with the contour of the speaker.
IPX7 water resistance technically means it can be submerged up to 1 meter in water for 30 minutes but this isn't always the case for all manufacturers. Take for instance, the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch (1st generation), both have an IPX7 rating but Apple doesn't recommend submerging them under water which makes you question the IPX7 water resistance rating of the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch (1st generation).
With the Soundcore Icon speaker though, you get proper IPX7 waterproofing (same as the Sport XL speaker and Motion B speaker) so the Soundcore Icon speaker can be properly submerged up to 1 meter in water for 30 minutes.
IPX7 rating is the same waterproofing rating most speaker showers have and thanks to the rubber loop strap you can hang the Soundcore Icon speaker from a shower tap or bike handlebar without worrying about water splashes and rain downpours.
It's worth pointing out though that immersion is not the same as submersion which means under water so, you wouldn't be able to take the Soundcore Icon swimming or scuba diving for instance. IPX7 protection also makes the Soundcore Icon speaker dustproof so you don't have to worry about sand or dust getting in the internal components of the speaker when on the beach or dirty environment.

As well as being sold on Amazon, the Icon speaker will also be sold on currys with more colours (orange, red and blue) in the upcoming months.

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