Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Soundcore Flare Mini Review

Soundcore Flare Mini Review 

This is the review for Anker Soundcore Flare Mini.

Soundcore Flare Mini is the smallest member in the Flare Family (Flare, Flare+, FlareS+, Flare Mini), each with its unique niche set of features.

Let me get started with the unboxing / packaging, as I usually start with it.

Unboxing / Packaging:

I have included detailed unboxing video for more information.
Flare Mini came packaged in a box with a thin plastic bag. Box had the Soundcore Flare Mini Speaker, Micro USB to USB-A charging cable, User Manual, Product Safety Guide and Happy Card (Warranty Card).


Considering this is my first Flare (mini) speaker, this was an average sized speaker, however this may change when i get other Flare speakers. Simple good packaging, though some plastic could be eliminated and retain only the cardboard box. User Manual is pretty simple and easy to understand.

Look and Feel:

Flare Mini is a cylindrical shaped speaker for 360 degrees sound with broader base for lightshow with halo of LED. Exterior on the sides has Dark Grey Fabric-Mesh finish - great grip for holding in one hand, with top and bottom faces with smooth touch rubber cover with the buttons engraved / infused on the top, and bottom has the Soundcore Logo etched on it. Charging port is covered with a firm rubber cover, protecting it from water/spills with its IPX7 waterproof protection.







Control Buttons are Power, Light Mode Control, Bluetooth, Volume Up, Volume Down and Soundcore Icon which acts as Multi-Function button to play/pause/next song/previous song/answer call/end call and other functions. I have used these only for next song, play/pause and answer/end call as these are the heavy/extensively used features and easy to remember without having to ruin the overall experience.

Initial setup / Charging

Flare Mini came charged to about 80% as seen from my iPhone. Charged it to 100% before using it.

Bluetooth Pairing :

After Charging fully, powered ON the speaker, the pairing required pressing the Bluetooth Button, would have liked it to show-up instantly for Pairing since this is the first time I or any user would be pairing it. Once this was done, pairing completed, pretty smooth and straight.
Also tested pairing Soundcore Flare Mini with Asus Chromebit (Chrome OS) and my Windows 10 laptop, was fairly easy.

Battery Life :

Tested the battery by playing continuous music with lightshow ON, with audio at 65-70%, Flare mini indicated low battery after 8 hours and completely powered off after 8hours 10min. When the battery is low, the Power Button glows Red and starts blinking.
Recharged the Flare Mini back to 100%, took 3hours 40min, charged using Anker PowerPort+ Atom III (2 ports).

Using Flare Mini at the Pool - testing in water:

Used Flare Mini at the Pool, completely immersing it in the pool lot of times. Threw it into the pool for my daughter to catch, it survived multiple throws.
The fabric cover absorbs little water, or rather put it as less water absorbent. After these drops, throws & immersion into the pool, removed it out and played back the music, the sound was bit muffled as it was immersed, but with the music playing, audio got better, could see the water come out of the fabric cover, and audio output was back to normal without any wiping in about 20 minutes at the pool, though it still looked wet. Being hot summer day, the flare mini completely dried in about an hour in shade.


Answering / Making Phone Calls:

Using it with iPhone for phone calls was pretty good, considering Flare Mini more of a party animal. Voice quality was great, reception and mic pickup of my voice was good. While being paired to iPhone, to answer an incoming call, had to single press the Soundcore Icon, and press it again to hang-up / end the call. While Placing outbound call from iPhone, the LED lights glow-up for each number press on the phone, this was kind of cool!

Playing Music:

Music played great, tested with some Instrumentals, Music with Bass to test the BassUp along with equalizer with Boom app. With regular audio, the sound quality was extremely good, could feel the thump / punch coming out of this Mini. However with increased bass, sound had cracking sound, I hit the limits of bass-up mode. Shown in the video.
While using the equalizer, on higher bass / mid range / treble saw there was a bit of tearing up, sound blow-up or cracking sounds.
However with pre-tuned equalizer setting such as vocals or loudness, the sound is extremely well.
Music Punch is evident in this video , you can actually see the sound pumping which makes the Flare Mini pop and dance, Flare Mini dancing to its tunes :wink: Tested Flare Mini’s beat-driven light modes M-Sync, Fusion, Breathe, Pulse and Glow in this video.

Bluetooth 4.2 Connectivity:

I used Flare Mini with my iPhone, and moved around the house with iPhone in my living room, did not see any drop in connection across the apartment, moving between bedrooms from one end to other. Tested the same with S9 as well, with same brilliant results - Solid BT connection.

Inactivity Auto Shutoff -

When Flare Mini is connected via Bluetooth to phone and there is no activity, it shutdown down after 30 minutes, however if the Flare Mini detects no BT device connected / phone connected, shuts off in 10 min. Would have loved if the inactivity timer would have been 10 minutes whether or not device was connected, would save the battery life.

Pairing to other Soundcore devices:

Flare Mini can only be paired with Flare Family such Flare, but cannot be paired with Soundcore Icon Mini, tested this by trying to pair my Soundcore Icon Mini.
Based on my overall usage and experience of Soundcore Flare Mini, here are some positives and areas of improvement:
Positives:
  1. Waterproof IPX7, great companion in the pool parties and water splashes!
  2. Great light works or as Soundcore says it Audio Fireworks, lights up a dark room to the beat!
  3. Compact, portable and easy to hold in one hand
  4. Strong Bluetooth connection across the home. YMMV, I live in a single floor place.
Area for improvement, shortcomings:
  1. No feature to operate with Soundcore app.
  2. The buttons need to be colored for easy access or have more protruding feature. Initially takes some time to learn the buttons, but as you get used to it, the usage is intuitive over time.
  3. No Aux port, would have been good to use it, save some battery life on both phone as well as speaker with BT disabled or even plug laptop output, but this is not a deal breaker since most smartphones do not have 3.5mm audio jacks.
  4. Audio quality suffers on High Bass / Treble or on High Audio volume.
  5. Can be paired only with same family, example Flare Mini with Flare. Cannot pair with any other Speaker such as Soundcore Icon Mini
  6. Plastic usage can be reduced / completely be eliminated, retaining only cardboard packaging. After opening the package, only speaker and charging cable is retained, rest everything is trashed.

Conclusion

Soundcore Flare Mini is a great portal device to have by side for casual music with Waterproof features and Audio Lightshows with 360 degree sound, packs a punch in the small size and battery life for a day. The saying “Great Things Come In Small Packages” holds good and true in case of Flare Mini. My kids just love it and we always carry it to the pool.
Finally… my Soundcore Icon Mini has a friend, and it is Soundcore Flare Mini :+1: !!!


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