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Soundcore Motion Boom Plus review: Loud and lightweight but short on sonic sparkle

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
190
inc VAT

The Soundcore Motion Boom Plus is a powerful and portable speaker let down by some sonic shortcomings

Pros 
Light and waterproof
Powerbank and speakerphone capabilities
Customisable EQ
Cons 
Disappointing default sound signature
Feels cheaply made
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Boombox-style speakers like the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus have made somewhat of a resurgence over the past few years, with new models typically arriving just in time for the summer.

Soundcore brought us the Motion Boom in 2021 and the Anker sub-brand is back with a Plus model intended to blow its predecessor out of the water with bigger, better sound alongside various other upgrades.

It certainly doesn’t want for power, but is the Motion Boom Plus the perfect portable speaker for poolside parties and other hedonistic festivities? Read on to find out.

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Soundcore Motion Boom Plus review: What do you get for the money?

The Soundcore Motion Boom Plus will set you back £190 or around £100 more than the original Motion Boom. The two speakers are similar in design but the Plus is larger and has more features.

Measuring 384 x 130 x 196mm (WDH), the Motion Boom Plus isn’t a Bluetooth speaker you can just chuck in a bag. However, it’s made entirely from plastic and weighs just 2.4kg, so is easy to carry around using the built-in handle or the detachable shoulder strap. Also in the box is a USB-C to USB-C cable for charging the speaker, which has a stated battery life of around 20 hours.

The USB-C charging port is located under a rubber flap on the rear of the speaker, alongside an Aux-in port for a wired connection and a USB-A port that can be used to charge other devices. If one of those devices happens to be another Soundcore speaker like the Flare 2, you’ll be able to take advantage of the Boom Plus’ PartyCast capabilities.

PartyCast is Soundcore’s speaker-pairing tech and allows you to link various devices in its ecosystem for a much larger sonic output. You can connect over 100 Soundcore speakers in one PartyCast group but to enjoy stereo sound you’ll need a second Motion Boom Plus, as left and right channels can’t be assigned to different models in Soundcore’s speaker range.

An internal microphone allows you to use the Motion Boom Plus as a speakerphone for calls and hail your voice assistant, although there’s no smart assistant built in so the Boom Plus is simply relaying commands to your smartphone’s default assistant.

Six control buttons can be found underneath the handle of the speaker and these govern basic actions such as playing and pausing audio, adjusting volume and engaging BassUp mode. With the exception of volume up and volume down, all the controls are illuminated, which is useful in dark conditions.

You can also play or pause audio and adjust volume using the Soundcore app, and this also provides access to some EQ options. There are four presets – Soundcore Signature, Voice, Treble Boost and Balanced – along with a nine-band graphic equaliser which can be used to create custom EQs.

Soundcore Motion Boom Plus review: What does it do well?

The Motion Boom Plus houses a pair of 30W woofers and two 10W tweeters and is capable of going very loud. It projects sound with impressive force; if you’re in a large, open area and want all and sundry to hear what you’re listening to, this is the speaker to bring with you. Indoors, you’re unlikely to want to push it much above 50% volume unless you’re having a party – at that level, it fills a medium-sized room with ease.

I praised Soundcore’s companion app in my reviews of its Life Q30 over-ear headphones and Life P3 earbuds and, while the number of EQ presets is more limited with the Boom Plus, the ability to create your own sound profiles remains very welcome. Nine frequency bands is also a lot more than you get with most custom EQs, meaning you have an impressive level of control over how the Boom Plus sounds.

With gains of up to 8dB available across the frequency spectrum, you can add plenty of low-end punch to your sound profiles, despite not being able to engage the BassUp mode when using custom EQ settings.

For a speaker with such power, the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus is very light. The similarly styled Tronsmart Bang is 25% heavier at 3kg, while JBL’s Boombox 2 is more than twice as heavy at 5.9kg. The JBL’s build quality is superior but the trade-off is that the Boom Plus is much easier to carry around. You won’t need the shoulder strap unless you’re feeling particularly lazy, and those with any street cred will want to leave it at home anyway.

The portable design is also completely dustproof and waterproof and will even float if you accidentally knock it into the swimming pool or, in my case, the bath. Throw in the powerbank capabilities provided by the USB-A port and you’ve got yourself a speaker that’s well equipped for outdoor gatherings, trips to the beach and, if you’re willing to sacrifice the suitcase space, holidays abroad.

Soundcore Motion Boom Plus review: What could it do better?

If you’re averse to having to play around with a device’s EQ, you’ll want to avoid the Motion Boom Plus, as the Soundcore Signature mode it ships isn’t particularly satisfying and the other presets aren’t great for general listening, either. The default EQ has been tweaked via firmware updates since I received my review unit but the likelihood is you’ll still want to make adjustments of your own to optimise the Boom Plus’ output.

When I originally started testing the speaker I found certain treble frequencies particularly piercing, and these made the Boom Plus borderline unlistenable at higher volumes. I’m clearly not alone here as the notes accompanying one firmware update specifically mentioned an improvement to high-frequency performance. Upon further testing, the Boom Plus was a little easier on the ear, but I still needed to dip into the EQ settings to get the best out of it.

I’ve praised how light and easy to carry the Motion Boom Plus is, but its all-plastic design looks and feels rather cheap. Prioritising portability over aesthetics is understandable at this price but I can’t say I’m overly fond of how it looks. And while the IP67 rating is great in terms of protecting the speaker from dust and water, I’m not convinced the plastic handle would survive falling onto a hard surface from any real height.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that you’ll only get anywhere near the stated 20 hours of battery life if you’re listening at moderate volume without the BassUp mode engaged. Listening at that level is more than adequate when at home but this is a speaker primarily designed to be blasted outdoors. I did a lot of my testing around 80% volume and above and got less than eight hours of use from the Boom Plus before needing to recharge it. That’s not terrible but it’s worth bearing in mind, especially if lots of people are going to be draining the battery further by charging their phones from it.

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Soundcore Motion Boom Plus review: Should you buy one?

The Soundcore Motion Boom Plus delivers big sound in a package that’s completely waterproof and a lot easier to lug around than its size would suggest. Sonic magnitude triumphs over audio quality, particularly if you’re using the Soundcore Signature EQ, but custom presets do allow you to tailor the sound to your liking.

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, tolerant neighbours and love throwing loud, lively parties, the Motion Boom Plus will serve you pretty well. Those willing to accept slightly lower maximum output and an inferior IP rating should buy the significantly cheaper Tronsmart Bang instead. For the same money you could even buy two and pair them in stereo.

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