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Anker Soundcore Motion X500 review – room-filling sound

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Although it may lack the brand recognition of other Bluetooth speaker mainstays like Bose or JBL, Anker’s Motion series of Bluetooth speakers has been an impressive exercise in big sound at small prices. The Anker Soundcore Motion X500 looks to improve on its siblings by offering spatial audio, a beefy 40W output, but true portability, unlike its larger cousin, the Motion X600.

I’ve spent weeks testing the clutch bag-sized Anker Soundcore Motion X500 in a variety of circumstances, including indoors while gaming or listening to music, and outdoors. If you’re looking for a great-sounding device to take with you on the go, this could well be the best Bluetooth speaker out there, especially for under $200 / £200.

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Anker Soundcore Motion X500 review: a black speaker with silver handle appears from the side against a wooden surface.

Pros

Great, room-filling sound
Effective spatial audio
Classy-but-practical design

Cons

Poor ratio of charge time to play time

Anker Soundcore Motion X500 specs

Model
Anker Soundcore Motion X500

Output power
40W

Frequency range
50Hz – 40kHz

Battery life
12 hours, 4900mAh

Dimensions
228 x 190 x 81mm

Weight
1,646g

Anker Soundcore Motion X500 design and features

Although its design is hardly revolutionary, the Anker Soundcore Motion X500 looks great nonetheless. I’m reviewing the black version, although there’s a blue and particularly snazzy pink version available too, for those who prefer a splash of color.

The front of the device is taken up by a black, aluminum grille emblazoned with a subtle Soundcore logo, whereas the back, top, and bottom are black silicone. Considering its 40W output and three-channel sound, the speaker is surprisingly small, though certainly not pocket-sized. Nonetheless, it’s easy to carry and can be comfortably stored in a small rucksack when out and about.

There’s also a sturdy metal bar that attaches to the sides of the speaker and runs along the top to allow for easy carrying. The Motion X500 could easily have shipped without this bar, but I think it’s a great feature — it protects the buttons, makes the speaker easy to carry, and gives an appealing industrial edge to the speaker’s otherwise soft looks.

Anker Soundcore Motion X500 review: a black speaker with silver handle appears from above against a wooden surface.

There are six buttons across the forward-sloping top to control the power, Bluetooth connection, volume, playback, and audio mode. Between these six buttons is a 43mm up-firing driver with attractive ambient lighting at the top, which flashes different shades of white depending on what preset EQ setting is enabled.

The Motion X500 has an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it can be submerged in water up to a meter deep for 30 minutes without incident. I can’t attest to its submersible capabilities at that depth, but it survived me splashing it with water from my tap without any adverse effects, handy if you’re taking it camping or to the beach (or have friends with a propensity to spill their drinks at parties).

The Motion X500’s booming 40W output blasts out sound at frequencies all the way from 50Hz up to 40kHz, offering Hi-Res audio that can handle the LDAC codec to allow higher resolution data transfer via Bluetooth. Chances are you’re not going to notice a huge difference in fidelity between different codecs in the situations you’ll be using a portable speaker like this but it’s always nice to have the option. The only feature I’d have liked to see that isn’t present is a 3.5mm jack for those who like an analogue connection option. But considering the price and everything else on offer, that’s only a minor quibble.

Anker Soundcore Motion X500 performance

As well as the aforementioned up-firing 43mm driver, the Motion X500 has two forward-firing, full-range 58mm drivers, one on the right-hand side of the cabinet and one on the left. All three combine to produce a truly room-filling sound. And it’s not just bass-forward brutality either, the speaker’s self-professed ‘ultrawide’ frequency range ensures no vibration is left behind.

The bass is powerful, don’t get me wrong. If you hold the speaker in your hand, you can feel its meaty rumble, especially in bass-heavy tracks and at high volumes, thanks to two passive radiators beefing it up. But it’s matched by crisp treble and a midrange that more than holds its own. The Motion X500 is just as comfortable blasting out John Coltrane, Led Zeppelin, Disclosure, or the Elden Ring soundtrack.

In fact, the spatial audio functionality means it’s surprisingly well-equipped to handle games like Valorant and CS2 where directional sound cues are important. Of course, it’s never going to compete with a top headset like the Corsair HS80 Max Wireless, but the Motion X500’s spatial audio, driven by a special Soundcore algorithm, is the best I’ve encountered in a Bluetooth speaker.

Anker Soundcore Motion X500 review: a black speaker with silver handle appears from the side against a wooden surface.

You can tweak this room-filling sound to your tastes in the Soundcore app’s EQ. If you don’t want to download the app, you can switch between the Motion X500’s three preset profiles on the fly with the audio mode button on the speaker itself. There’s Spatial Dynamic, Spatial Signature, and Bass Boost to choose from. Sadly, you can’t tweak the spatial presets themselves, but I found Spatial Dynamic to be pretty much spot on. You can also create custom presets in the app.

Battery-wise, Anker says the Motion X500 can expect 12 hours playtime on 50% volume after five hours of charging, which is more or less consistent with what I experienced. That’s not a great charge-to-play time ratio compared to other products, but is more a reflection of the Motion X500’s beefy 40W output than anything, considering the battery is a respectable 6400mAh. But if you want a speaker that can run and run, this probably isn’t it.

Anker Soundcore Motion X500 review: a black speaker with silver handle appears from above against a wooden surface.

Is the Anker Soundcore Motion X500 worth it?

In a word: yes. The Anker Soundcore Motion X500 price is $170 / £170, which is great value for such an excellent speaker. It delivers high-quality audio across the board, with an impressively wide soundstage that outputs great sound whether you’re listening to music, podcasts, or gaming.

The only thing holding it back from perfection is the amount of time it takes to charge compared to how long the battery lasts. But even that is primarily a reflection of how much power the Motion X500 packs within its diminutive frame.

 

Anker Soundcore Motion X500 review

The Anker Soundcore Motion X500 offers brilliant, room-filling sound in an impressively small package for a reasonable price, approaching Bluetooth speaker perfection.

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