Anker’s Soundcore lineup continues to turn out true wireless earphones that are priced lower than much of the competition, but look like they should be more expensive. The new Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 earphones, at the relatively affordable price of $79.99, are a full $75 to $100 less expensive than some of our favorite models, but they still boast a cool charging case and a waterproof exterior. Sonically, this pair is for bass lovers—there’s some booming low-end here that’s matched by boosted highs, resulting in a sound signature designed for thunder. The on-ear controls are more complicated than necessary, but below $100, this is one of the better gym-friendly true wireless options we’ve tested.
Available in black, the Soundcore Spirit Dot 2’s earpieces are designed to stay in place. There are five pairs of eartips included in various sizes, as well as three pairs of earfin sleeves that also come in different sizes and aid in stabilizing the in-ear fit, which is comfortable and secure, even over long listening sessions.
The outer panels of each earpiece are sensitive to touch, but the controls aren’t terribly intuitive. Tapping twice on the left earpiece controls playback, and tapping twice on the right skips forward a track, which is a bit confusing. A double tap on either earpiece also handles incoming calls or ends one in progress—nothing, it seems, responds to a single tap. A two-second press-and-hold will summon your voice assistant, reject an incoming call, or power on the earphones if they are off. Powering down requires an eight-second press-and-hold. There are no volume controls, or a track backward control. It’s also unclear why a single tap can’t be assigned to basic functions, freeing up a double tap to be available, for say, backward track navigation.
The Soundcore Spirit Dot 2’s IPX7 rating means the earphones are fully waterproof and can withstand being submerged. Though Bluetooth audio signals usually cannot get through underwater, you at least know you can wash them by soaking them briefly, or running them under a faucet with reasonable pressure. Obviously, they’ll survive exposure to rain and sweat, as well.
The charging case has a unique, impressive design. Its lid slides off, like the retractable roof on a stadium, rather than flipping open. On the back panel, a USB-C port has a snap-shut cover to protect it when the included charging cable isn’t in use.
Anker estimates battery life to be roughly 5.5 hours, with an additional 10 hours or so in the charging case, but your results will vary with your volume levels. Even so, those numbers are toward the lower end of the battery life spectrum—5.5 is more or less close to average, but the 10 hours or so in the case isn’t impressive.
The earphones are compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 and support AAC and SBC codecs, but not AptX.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the earphones deliver powerful low-frequency response. At top, unwise listening levels, the bass doesn’t distort, and at more moderate levels, the lows still sound robust.
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Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the Soundcore Spirit Dot 2’s general sound signature. The drums on this track are almost too thunderous—it’s a huge sound being applied to drums that, on a flat response system, wouldn’t come close to sounding like this. Callahan’s baritone vocals also receive more low-mid richness than they need. Thankfully, there’s plenty of boosting and sculpting in the high-mids and highs, but this is not a sound signature for those seeking an accurate mix. The audio here is bright, bass-forward, and the mids are scooped out to a degree. Fans of thunderous bass will be pleased—especially since the powerful lows don’t completely demolish the balance of the mix.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop receives enough high-mid presence for its attack to retain its punchiness, but far more noticeable is the extra layer of bass depth applied to the loop, giving it notable added heft. The sub-bass synth hits are powerfully delivered, but they’re not as intense as the drum loop’s hits—this is notable because it’s usually the other way around, with the loop sounding punchy, with moderate bass presence, while the sub-bass synth hits typically sound huge. The vinyl crackle and hiss usually relegated to background status take a step forward in the mix, as well. The sub-bass frequencies are represented, but they don’t receive the kind of boosting the lows and low-mids do. Vocals on this track are delivered with solid clarity and no real added sibilance, but they can, at times, sound as if they’re doing battle with the bass for your attention.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, can sound comically overboosted in the lows. The lower-register instrumentation takes a huge step forward, no longer anchoring the mix but dominating it. Sure, the higher-register brass, strings, and vocals are still bright and crisp, but the lows are almost distracting and things don’t sound terribly realistic. Those seeking an accurate sound signature—especially for orchestral or jazz music—will want to look elsewhere. Bass lovers will likely enjoy the Soundcore Spirit Dot 2’s rumble, particularly on modern mixes.
The mic offers average intelligibility. Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 8, we could understand every word we recorded, but the audio has some typical Bluetooth distortion fuzzing up the edges of words, and the mic sometimes sounded like it was dipping in and out. On a good connection, callers should be able to understand you, but the clarity here is average, not great.
For $80, Anker’s Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 earphones do a laudable job of delivering boosted lows with some sculpted, boosted highs to (almost) balance things out. If you spend more money, you can get more intuitive on-ear controls and companion apps (often with adjustable EQ). We’re fans of the $150 JBL UA True Wireless Flash (IPX7) and the $180 Jaybird Vista (IPX7), but you don’t need a calculator to see those are roughly double the price. Significantly below $100, this is one of the better gym-friendly options we’ve tested. If you’re looking for one of the cheapest options out there, meanwhile, the cable-free $50 EarFun Free earphones have an IPX7 rating and deliver solid audio for their very low price.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 Specs
|Active Noise Cancellation||No|