This is the perfect season to test waterproof gadgets. Enter Soundcore Motion Q by Anker, a compact Bluetooth speaker that claims to be fully waterproof and boasts of ‘huge 360-degree sound’ and up to 10 hours of play time. Time to put each of those claims to test in this review.
Rugged build, compact footprint
The Soundcore Motion Q is a cylindrical speaker that looks like a slightly bulkier version of a beer can. It is 3.5 inches in diameter and about 4.5 inches tall. In short, quite compact but not pocketable. Despite its solid build, the company has managed to keep its weight down to around 400 grams. It has rubberised top and bottom, while the rest of the body is covered in a fabric mesh. We got the red variant for review which looks quite cool. You can connect the bundled wrist strap and take it around.
On the top, you get buttons for play/pause, Bluetooth pairing, volume control and power, along with a power LED. Different shades of LED inform you about the connectivity status as well as the battery status. The Play button does some serious multitasking. It doubles up as a call receive/cancel button. It can also be used to jump to the next or previous track by double-clicking and triple-clicking it respectively. It also brings up the voice assistant on your phone (Siri or Google assistant) with a long press. An aux input and a micro USB charging port are at the base of the speaker covered by a rubber flap to protect them from fluids.
Basic features but fully waterproof
The Motion Q has a pair of 1.75-inch drivers that deliver stereo sound and a pair of passive radiators for bass. They manage to deliver a total output of 16 W RMS. The 360 degrees sound that this speaker claims to deliver is not exactly surround sound but a promise of a similar audio experience irrespective of which side of the speaker faces the listener. It has a 2,600 mAh battery that is meant to last for up to 10 hours of music playback. Other specifications like frequency response or SNR haven’t been mentioned. Inputs are limited to Bluetooth 4.2 and aux, which is standard for most portable Bluetooth speakers. It also has a built-in mic to handle calls.
As I mentioned earlier, the Soundcore Motion Q has an IPX7 rating which means it can survive immersion in meter deep water for up to 30 minutes. Though I did not keep it submerged for that long, I did drop in a bucket of water and wash it under a tap on two different occasions to test the claim. I am happy to report that the speaker is still fully functional without any drop in sound quality. Though the speaker shell successfully keeps fluids at bay, the fabric mesh on the outside soaks in water and takes about an hour to dry completely. Again, the performance wasn’t hampered but it feels a bit weird to grip a wet speaker.
This little guy packs a punch
Pairing the Motion Q with your phone over Bluetooth was a breeze. All you need to do is turn on the speaker, press the Bluetooth button, select it in the list of Bluetooth devices and you are good to go. You can see the battery level of the speaker on your phone, and the volume control on the speaker is synced with that of the phone. So you don’t have to bother adjusting playback volume on both the devices individually. The company specifies a Bluetooth range of up to 20 metres. I tried keeping the phone and the speaker 10 metres away from each other without any obstruction in between and there was no stutter. But with a concrete wall in between, the operating range dropped drastically to 4 metres. The drop was a metre or two more than I expected.
Moving on to its audio performance, I was in for a surprise. Unlike the Pebble BassX Extreme speaker that I reviewed earlier this month, the sound attributes like loudness and bass weren’t hyped on the box. But it did a fine job on those fronts nonetheless. The speaker is fairly loud with a good amount of warmth in the sound. There is a noticeable amount of bass and you can actually hear a bit of thud in the beats, way more than one would expect from a speaker this size. But don’t expect miracles either. The company claims that ‘a customized digital signal processor first analyzes, then enhances your music's bass frequencies in real-time’. One way or the other, it manages to get the job done.
The speaker can get loud enough to fill a mid-sized room with quality sound. It does not crack even at peak volume and the bass feels just about adequate. The highs are reproduced well and the vocals are clear too. Certain mid-range frequencies feel a bit muffled though. The soundstage is not too broad but more than decent for a wireless speaker this size. To sum it up, the overall sound quality is pretty good and quite impressive given the size of the speaker. Don’t be surprised if your guests feel that the sound is being played on a much larger speaker.
However, there was a weird problem. Every time I would push the volume to 100 percent during testing, the speaker would switch off within seconds. At first, I thought it may have run out of battery but there was a good 30 percent juice left in the tank. Possibly it’s a piece fault, but something that Anker should look at closely. The company claims a battery life of up to 10 hours, and during my testing, the Motion Q actually got close to that figure. When charged fully, it lasted for about 9 hours with 90 minutes of listening per day at 50 to 60 percent volume. That is quite impressive. It takes 3.5 hours to charge this speaker completely which is not as impressive. It’s a bit longer than what I would have liked.
Quality comes at a price
The Soundcore Motion Q is priced at Rs 5,499 with 18 months warranty. While the price isn’t over the top for what it offers, it could have been more competitive, especially given the fact that the JBL Flip 3 Stealth now sells for a good 1000 Rupees lower than this. That too is IPX7 rated water-resistant, offers 10 hours of battery life and has a tad better sound signature overall. Having said that, the Motion Q certainly won’t disappoint you with its performance but a lower price tag would have made the deal that much more sweeter.
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