+ very practical with long battery life
+ given its size remarkable max SPL
+ Analogue input
+ Stereo pairing offering good staging
- lacks sonority, bass not really punchy
- could be smoother especially when played loud
Sound: Tonal Balance / Transparency4.1
Sound: Bass / Dynamics4.1
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9
The variety of situations to use a mobile Bluetooth speakers is almost indefinite. And if you are in the market for a sturdy and affordable device to take it to the beach or on a bike ride, you will definitely hear of the Anker Soundcore Icon Mini. Even in the entry-level league of brand manufacturers it seems to be a real bargain. Many people might simply by for its battery life promise of up to 8 hours.
And it seems to be quite robust: the IP67 standard meansenough of water and dust protection for outdoor use, even making it survive a brief immersion in water. The fabric strap offers virtually unlimited possibilities where to place such a tiny speaker.
All the features
Acoustically, the manufacturer relies on a comparably small full range driver under the grille and a passive radiator for the lower end of the frequency band. This should allow even a tiny system to provide somewhat of a bass reproduction, even if just hung freely without taking advantage of desk or wall for some kind of natural bass boost.
If you want more people to listen to music or need a bit more of power, you can couple two Anker Soundcore Icon Minis. This then even provides a true stereo routing of the signal, a feature that is more often be found in more expensive models.
All controls are found on one side. Besides buttons for volume, on/off and Bluetooth connection, there is also a multifunctional central button. It is used to control the music playback as well as to manage calls or activate the voice assistant of your smartphone. A little practice is required to remember all the key combinations as well as understanding the optical feedback of a single LED.
On the other side, the connectors are located behind a rubber cover. In addition to micro-USB for charging, there’s also an analogue input.
Does the Anker Soundcore Icon sound like Mini or a giant?
Given its quite compact design and the reasonable price, one might not have really high expectations regarding dynamics and bass. Despite a lack of some sort of voluminous fundament, the Anker Soundcore Icon Mini did a decent job and at least gave a feeling of the presence of some bass.
Voices always were well balanced, maybe a bit compressed, although the Soundcore Icon Mini did manage to produce quite a high SPL given its size. If played at decent levels, the overall sound quality was quite good, driving it further to its max SPL pushing it so somewhat lack transparency. In stereo mode using to of the inexpensive speaker, the pair was capable of creating a true staging if not placed too far from the listeners.
Alternatives to the Anker Soundcore Icon Mini
For the current low price, there is no comparable device from an established brand. Only the somewhat more expensive Tribit Stormbox Micro outperforms the Anker, especially if bass is a factor, and also sounds a bit smoother.