The Soundcore Flare Mini by Anker presents itself as a potential party king with its LED lighting and all-round sound. We test the noise box.
If you are looking for a loudspeaker for outdoor use – be it for use in the garden, on the beach or on the road – you can choose from a large selection of various devices. We have already tested several of these outdoor speakers with Bluetooth support:
Anker locates itself clearly with the Soundcore Flare Mini in the beginner segment, wants however for the called up price of currently approximately 50 euro a possibly round music experience offer – inclusive 360 ° sound and LED lighting. Whether this calculation will work out and the Flare Mini can compete with other cheap Bluetooth speakers in outdoor use, will test our test.
While Anker has equipped the Flare Mini with some nice extras, the speaker comes with a very economical package: The practical packaging contains only a brief manual in pocket format and a micro USB charging cable. The manual consists of a so-called Quick Start Guide, which uses simple pictograms to explain the functions of the loudspeaker to a reasonable degree.
Design and workmanship
The manufacturer has the Soundcore Flare Mini Although a Partytaugliche LED lighting missed, but otherwise focuses on a rather simple design. The Flare Mini measures little more than a standard Coke can, while its round case tapers slightly towards the top. The surface of the speaker is covered with a kind of textile mesh. The LED lighting surrounds the bottom of the speaker with a width of about one centimeter. The Flare Mini is only available in the color black-gray.
On the top of the speaker is a silicone plate with recessed control panel. The simple Soundcore logo emblazoned on the front of the device, on the back we can connect the charging cable. A jack connection or other ports do not exist. However, the connection can be – as usual with most outdoor speakers – sealed with a rubber stopper.
As an outdoor speaker, the Flare Mini easily survives minor falls from a meter high: We dropped the device on both vinyl floor and gravel and found no damage to the housing or impairment of the speaker’s function. We were also able to rid the textile mesh of dust and grime easily by wiping it with a slightly damp cloth.
In addition to its impact resistance, the Flare Mini also has IPX7 certification. Accordingly, we can immerse the loudspeaker in water up to one meter deep for a maximum of 30 minutes, without the hardware being damaged. The next pool or beach party can come: The Flare Mini should survive a fall into the (low) water easily.
The operation is limited to a few essential functions: The control unit has in addition to the power button on Bluetooth pairing buttons, the LED lighting, the volume and play / pause and back / forth. Two buttons are double-assigned: The Bluetooth button is also used to pair with another Soundcore Flare Mini, while the Play / Pause button is used in parallel to switch between individual songs.
The Flare Mini by Soundcore consists of a round case with textile cover and a control panel on silicone surface on top.
At first glance, there is little to complain about in the operation: All buttons responded functionally, even if there was a slight input delay when pressing the play / pause button. However, we found it difficult to see the individual keys in low-to-medium light, which can be particularly annoying when using the loudspeaker in dim or dark surroundings. Although the power and the Bluetooth button have their own lighting. But that does not help us much if we want to change the volume in the dark. A groping of the buttons is hardly possible.
We also found the duplication of the play button as unfortunate: To play a song or pause, we press the button once. To skip a song, we press it twice, and if we want to jump back, we have to use the button three times. But if we want to jump forward or back several songs, it quickly turns into a wild hither and long press, if we do not press the key fast enough or count us out. Here would the speaker two additional keys really well done.
The rubber plug on the back of the speaker, which protects the connection for the charging cable from penetrating dirt and moisture, was also only partially convincing in the test. Because unfortunately he is quite deeply embedded in the case, so we were busy for quite a long time to open the fumbling construction.
Also annoying: The Flare Mini does not work with the Soundcore app, and the speaker can only be connected to the same models, but not to other speakers in the Flare series such as the Flare +.
After all, we can choose from five different light modes with the light button. You can choose from M-Sync (light pulsing to the beat of the music), Fusion (dual, flashing colors), Breathe (colors blending into each other), Pulse (haunting color rings), and Glow (slow transitions of individual colors). A single color, which is permanently lit, can not be adjusted.
Because the Soundcore Flare Mini is an entry-level outdoor speaker, we consciously set our expectations for the sound of the unit ahead of our test low. Nevertheless, the speaker managed to disappoint us.
Because although the Flare Mini offers 360 ° sound and the manufacturer with the so-called BassUpTechnology promises power, the speaker proves that five watts of power is simply not enough for a reasonably acceptable sound. As soon as the loudspeaker was raised by pressing the power button, we noticed the tinny sound of the device.
When we then played various music of various genres (pop, rock, metal, classical), the speaker destroyed all hopes for good sound. No matter what kind of music or language we played over the Flare Mini, the sound always sounded dull and tinny, sometimes with a clearly audible reverberation. This was particularly evident in dynamic and treble-heavy music, but also basses and deeper notes mingled to a washed-out sound porridge.
Overall, the Flare Mini still exceeds the sound of the speakers of most mid-range smartphones, just because of the stronger bass. However, the Flare Mini has to compete in the market for Bluetooth speakers with strong competition – and since the Soundcore device pulls the sound clearly the short straw.
Soundcore has equipped the Flare Mini apart from the already mentioned LED lighting with no extras. A jack connector is missing as well as an equalizer or the ability to fix the speaker somewhere (such as with a carabiner). However, we can get over this shortcoming in view of the low price.
Yes, the Soundcore Flare Mini costs only 50 Euro. That’s why he is not a bargain. Because the speaker was in our test with various small and big problems that make a purchase recommendation virtually impossible. Of course, the sound: It goes without saying that you can not expect too much in the entry-level segment and in the small size of the Flare Mini. Nevertheless, other outdoor speakers tested by us in the same price range have combined a better sound pattern with more features – such as the Tronsmart Element Force.
We did not get rid of the feeling during testing that Soundcore somehow lost sight of the essentials of the Flare Mini: why does an outdoor loudspeaker, which belongs to the absolute entry-level segment with a price of € 50, need LED lighting? five different modes? And at the same time dispenses with a reasonable control panel or a reasonably acceptable sound – the core components of a usable speaker in every price category?
Because the Flare Mini looks in every way like an immature lifestyle product that can not convince in various points, we can not give a buy recommendation for this outdoor speaker despite the low price and the strong competition. The Flare Mini is suitable for partygoers who are looking for an expensive Glowstick with loudspeaker function.