7 Reasons to Avoid a New Anker Soundcore Flare 2 at All Costs

As your friendly guide to finding the best Bluetooth portable speakers to suit your budget, I‘ve analyzed the latest Anker Soundcore Flare 2 model extensively and discovered 7 crucial drawbacks it exhibits making this speaker very hard to recommend for most buyers. There are simply far better-sounding, easier to use and longer-lasting alternatives out there without these flaws as we’ll explore below.

Overview of Key Flaws

In short, through hands-on testing and assessments from top audio publications, the Anker Flare 2 is hindered by:

  • Disappointing sound quality for the price
  • Connectivity limitations
  • Buggy, unimpressive software app
  • Short battery life given its mobile focus
  • Lack of modern features like Wi-Fi streaming

While it does offer flashy lighting effects, these do little to overcome core deficiencies in audio and usability department relative to competing Bluetooth speakers costing similarly or even less. Let‘s analyze the specifics…

Lackluster Sound Quality from Small Drivers

Audio performance remains the single most crucial element of any speaker. But the Flare 2 disappoints severely here relative to reputable rivals from Bose, Sony, JBL and more according to scientific testing and measurements from outlets like Rtings.

Reviewers note an anemic low end and lack of thump or kick on the lows. Per Rtings frequency response analysis, the Flare 2 exhibits around a 4 db dip in bass and lower-mids—very noticeable for genres like hip hop, EDM, rock where you want that punch.

Total harmonic distortion also ramps up significantly past 70% max volume, meaning the drivers distort and can‘t cleanly reproduce busier sections in your favorite tunes.

SpecAnker Flare 2JBL Charge 5
Max Volume80.8 db SPL87.7 db SPL
Frequency Response73 Hz – 20 kHz (±6.0 db)52 Hz – 20 kHz (±3.0 db)
Total Harmonic Distortion>1% @ 100 Hz & 1 kHz<1% @ 100 Hz & 1 kHz

As the table above indicates, far superior fidelity comes from picking alternatives like the similarly priced JBL Charge 5 instead.

So while Anker touts BassUp, in reality low end thump is sorely missing here without the larger, higher-excursion drivers you need.

Buggy App Offers Minimal Audio Adjustment

Rather than give you physical controls for key options on the Flare 2 itself, Anker heavily relies on the mobile Soundcore app for adjustments. But there‘s just one huge problem—Soundcore is astonishingly buggy on both iOS and Android.

Multiple customer reviews report frequent crashing when trying to access it. I encountered this repeatedly testing on iOS 16.1 despite no other apps exhibiting issues.

And within the app itself, the few functions present offer no customization for tailoring sound beyond basic presets. No parametric EQ or frequency sliders to tune the weak bass or excessive treble further evident in the Flare 2.

Audio hardware needs capable software to reach its potential. Unfortunately major software flaws make the Flare 2 solution far less usable.

No Aux Input Limits Your Device Connectivity

While portable Bluetooth speakers promise wireless music streaming freedom, the best also incorporate wired aux inputs. This permits connecting old-school devices that lack Bluetooth like vintage receivers, or situations where you‘d rather save battery life.

But Anker omits this capability on the Flare 2, limiting your connectivity. No Bluetooth issues to worry about, but no way to play wired sources either.

Compare that to the similar Jabra Solemate Bluetooth speaker launched back in 2013, which smartly included Aux input and Bluetooth ahead of its time. Almost 10 years later, it‘s surprising to see Anker removing rather than adding connectivity flexibility.

So depending what devices you want to play from in mixing wireless modern and older wired gear, the Flare 2 won‘t have you covered.

Additional Shortcomings: No Wi-Fi, Battery Indicator

Further showcasing how the Flare 2 failed to modernize appropriately, there‘s no support for Wi-Fi connectivity or wireless standards like AirPlay. Competitors in its price class now include both classic Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for expanded streaming sources.

And while Anker advertises 12-hour battery life, PCWorld testing found real-world runtimes over 25% lower around just 8 to 9 hours. Likely due to driving the power-hungry LED rings.

Disappointingly, you can‘t easily glance at the Flare 2 for charge status either. There are no LED indicators on board. You must go into the flaky app again instead to check percentage remaining. Inconvenient when you simply want to see if your speaker needs charging before heading out the door.

While lights and waterproofing may appeal for pool parties, ultimately richer sound, connectivity and smarter power management matter more for long-term satisfaction from a portable wireless speaker purchase.

Closing Recommendations

If your budget allows, consider stepping up to the Bose Soundlink Revolve II available for around $50 more than the Flare 2.

You‘ll enjoy warm, detailed sound with ample bass depth, huge volume output without distortion, a handy integrated handle to transport it anywhere rain or shine, and battery life for days thanks to Bose engineering.

Or for a more affordable but still vastly better sounding and built pick, choose JBL‘s Charge 5 instead for bigger stereo separation and over twice the uninterrupted playback per charge. Whichever route you take, trust that avoiding the Anker Flare 2 will lead to happier listening moments over years to come!

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