1. Adam Matlock's Avatar


    Sometimes there are conventions in life that are best left alone and should never be tampered with. For instance, you don’t put skittles in ice cream, you don’t ride a motorcycle without a helmet, and you don’t wear white after Labor Day. Well, thankfully adding sweet LED lighting to a Bluetooth speaker isn’t one of those no-nos. In an effort to make their Bluetooth speakers mo’bettah, and mo’brighter, Anker created the Flare speaker, which if you’re a good guesser then you probably guessed right… it has LEDs! Wanna learn more?

    [REVIEW[ Anker Flare Speaker-1.jpg
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    Overview: The Anker Flare speaker has two things going for it which help bridge the gap between speaker and name: the shape (flared cone), and the flare-like LEDs at the bottom that pulsate, fade, and skip around like trapped fireflies to the rhythm of your music. Want to know something else that’s cool about it? It’s totally waterproof! Yup. That’s right. You heard me correctly. The Flare speaker is IPX7 rated, which means that you can take this guy for a dip in the pool with you and it won’t die an agonizing death (can be submerged in up to 1M of water for 30 minutes). I’m not throwing it in the pool to test this out, but the IPX7 rating and warranty on this device are enough to back up that assertion for me. In addition to the fancy waterproof rating and flashy lights, it also has full 360-degree sound, Anker’s trademarked Bass Up technology, and the ability to link two of them together wirelessly through the SoundCore app, to give you true-blue stereo sound.

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    Sound Quality: The overall sound quality and volume on the Flare are excellent. The ability to adjust the bass on the fly with the dedicated Bass button helps you make mid-listening adjustments without having to open the app or adjust the equalizer (EQ), which is pretty nice. Sometimes when you’re listening to hard rock you want to tone it down a bit, so it hits harder, but when you’re listening to hip-hop or other bass-dominant dance music, it’s nice to have a bit more depth to carry the music. I also like that piano sounds and strings are natural, bright and strong - this really helps with classical music, which I am a huge fan of. Vocals and mids are also represented very well on this speaker. One of the best features for the Flare speaker is the SoundCore app. Without it, you’re really getting the rudimentary experience of the speaker, which is good, but not nearly as great. The SoundCore app is available for Apple or Android, and is easy to download and setup. Once you get the speaker paired and the app up-and-running, you can adjust certain aspects of the sound experience through the app, allowing you to influence the sound and make it play to your liking. You can change between several different modes: default, flat, chill, and voice. Each one of these individual presets is represented graphically with a soundwave animation that shows the areas of emphasis on the screen, which is visible in three columns: Bass, Midrange, and Treble – it really is a pretty nifty feature, and quite original. In addition to the presets, you can even hit the tab to turn on Bass Up ™ , which gives you that little extra “mmmmpph”, to your lows. The overall volume for this speaker is great and can really be cranked up, with 12W of available power pushing the sound out! I was surprised as I was turning up the volume because when I felt like it was going to stop, it kept going – this is nice, but be careful with max volume because when the music gets busy and loud, you can lose some of the overall sound quality and distinction in spectrum quality, and the vocals dominate. I think the optimum sound level for this speaker is about 85%, which is plenty loud and doesn’t suffer from the quality loss. Last but not least is the volume slider within the app. The buttons on the speaker are nice and are quite typical of Bluetooth speakers. However, the volume slider is really nice because you can place the volume level right where you want it. One thing I don’t like about portable/cell phone audio is that everything is in preset increments. Well, the volume slider alleviates that and gives you full control over the volume!

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    Functionality: Wow… there really is a lot to say here, and there’s a lot going on. If you don’t use the app, the speaker is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require too much practice to get everything going. Of course, it has a built-in microphone, so you can use the speaker as a gigantic speaker phone. In addition to this, the buttons are readily apparent and easy to use. The standard gambit of play/pause, volume -/+, dedicated Bluetooth button and separate power button are on full display. The customizable additions are the LED light button, which allows you to work your way through the colors with each press, and of course the Bass Up ™ button, which kicks the bass up notch. The really technical stuff comes into play with the SoundCore app, which is exclusive to the Flare speaker, as of right now. The app allows you to control the music experience (as mentioned above), but it also lets you adjust the light show as well! There are several different modes to choose from: Party, Energy, Chill, Bedtime, and Spring. Each of these individual presets affects how the LED ring on the bottom of the speaker behaves, whether that’s by shifting to a more pulse-centric mode, a slow color adjustment and brightness increase, or moving to a hybrid-mode, where the lights behave in an unsynchronized manner and become more active. The last mode that I will mention is bedtime mode, which is pretty neat. This mode only emits warm colored lights, in a slow and deliberate manner so that it helps you to relax and doesn’t create distractions for your eyes as your trying to fade off into lala land while you listen to your tunes. Finally, each of these modes has four (4) different options, which are: glow, m-sync, fusion, and breathe. These different options affect the way the lights react within the given preset, allowing for a bright glow, full-music synchronization, a hybrid of glowing and pulsating (hybrid), and finally the relaxing and slow illumination mode (breathe), which is designed to help you relax. All in all, the customization and thoughtfulness that went into the creation of these features, along with the app, are quite novel and really speak volumes about the level of commitment that Anker has to the end-user experience. This isn’t just music, it’s about life, and style. It’s a great combination of features that helps you to blend the Flare speaker into your day-to-day life, and have a little fun next to the pool, or when you have company over for a party – it’s definitely a great conversation piece!

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    Features:
    - Up to 12 hours of playtime (based on volume and usage)
    - Bluetooth 4.2, for a range of up to 66ft
    - IPX7 water-resistance (waterproof!)
    - 360-degree sound
    - Pairable with a second Flare, for full stereo sound
    - SoundCore app is second-to-none in customization and cool-factor
    - 4,400mAh battery which fully charges in 3.5hrs
    - It still has a 3.5mm headphone jack! (sweetness)
    - Cool LED lights that help create a great experience

    Conclusion: The sound quality is good, the dynamics of the lights and the customization of the experience and sound through the SoundCore app takes your experience to the next level, and the overall ergonomics and design of this speaker are top-notch. At a price of $59.99, Anker really delivers a great price for a great sounding product. The Flare competes well in the mid-range speaker market, and adds its own “flair”, which helps set it apart from the rest of the pack. The listening experience is comfortable and really allows you to enjoy our music without having to make very many compromises at all. I definitely recommend it.

    Interested in picking up one of these flare-tastic speakers by Anker? You can find them on Amazon for a cool $59.99, which I think is a pretty good deal for the amount of power, design and control that this speaker brings to the table. Here’s the link: https://amzn.to/2HqzY2I - The speaker only comes in one color: Black. Interested in the SoundCore Flare? Have Questions? Please feel free to leave them down in the comment section.
    robertk328 likes this.
    07-28-2018 12:42 AM
  2. Just_Me_D's Avatar
    Dude, you're on a roll today with the reviews......Well done, sir.
    07-28-2018 11:14 AM
  3. robertk328's Avatar
    That thing looks cool! We have two nice BT speakers (Oontz Angle, about $25) but those lights look slick! Might have to pick one up just for the lights.
    07-28-2018 12:21 PM
  4. Adam Matlock's Avatar
    Dude, you're on a roll today with the reviews......Well done, sir.
    Thanks. I worked on them this past week. They all just went through today.
    robertk328 likes this.
    07-28-2018 07:57 PM

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