Anker Soundcore Mini 3 Review: A Likeable, Pocket-Sized Outdoor Speaker
At the touch of a button, you can pair two Anker Soundcore Mini 3 speakers for incredible stereo sound.
By Angela Wilson I Jan 21, 2021
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Our Score: 7.9
+ Tough IP67 build
+ Decent bass for a small speaker
+ Vocal quality in songs is good
+ Customizable EQ
+ Multi Pairing for stereo sound
+ Good battery life
- Volume could be louder
- No FM radio
- No Micro SD support
- No Aux-IN port
- Poor microphone
- No integrated voice assistant
- No aptX codec support
Anker sells a wide range of wireless Bluetooth speakers and its Soundcore line, now on the third generation Mini 3, is the smallest and most cost-effective of the bunch.
The Soundcore Mini 3 is an update to the Mini 2, but retains excellent sound quality and battery life of the original model. Anker has added 360-degree surround sound, BassUp technology for powerful sound, a customizable EQ via the Soundcore app, and the ability to connect up to 100 Mini 3 (or any Soundcore PartyCast speakers) to party into the next dimension.
This third iteration feels much better built and more like a real speaker that undercuts larger speakers in size and price without compromising sound quality and battery life.
Model: Soundcore Mini 3
Release date: August 2020
Regular price: $40 USD
What’s included in the box?
User manual - Click to open
Who is the Anker Soundcore Mini 3 for?
People who like portable speakers – Looking for a small Bluetooth speaker to take with you on your journey and trust to survive a dip in the pool. Look no further.
People who like to party quite often - Thanks to its waterproof design, it is a piece of hardware that can be used anywhere. In fact, buy two, play it in stereo, and impress everyone at your next pool party.
People who can't have nice things - If you're the guy who loses or breaks your beautiful things, the Soundcore Mini 3 may be perfect for you. It's not particularly expensive. So, if you break it, you won't be super bummed.
How’s the build and design of Anker Soundcore Mini 3?
The first thing you'll notice about Soundcore Mini 3 is that it's small and pretty minimalistic with a new integrated lanyard to make dropping it far less likely, or make hanging it over a tent pole easy. Its cylindrical design feels really good in the hand.
The design makes quite clever use of its small size which consists of a smooth metallic finish with the Soundcore logo printed on the front. On the back of the speaker, you will find the rubber flap with the Mini 3 logo covering the USB Type-C port.
The speaker grills are located at the top and bottom of the device, so you can place Soundcore Mini 3 at virtually any location and it won't affect the sound. The entire chassis is slightly raised with a rubber base to allow some breathing space at the bottom.
Product height: 72 mm
Product width: 72 mm
Product depth: 84 mm
Product weight: 250 g
Although the rubber at the bottom of the speaker is great for holding it in place, its sticky nature means that when you touch it, it leaves an oily feel and sticky fingers. It is also pretty quick to collect tiny dust, debris, etc., it melts and leaves marks everywhere and eventually begins to peel off.
If the base were a hard plastic like the lower part of the shell, it would be great and wouldn't get dirty so easily.
Anker Soundcore Mini 3 vs Mini 2: What is the difference?
There are some noticeable differences between the two models. There is a built-in lanyard on the back, so you can hang it on your bag or backpack when you're on-the-go.
When it comes to sound, the Soundcore Mini 3 features a similar 6W speaker to the Mini 2, but offers 360° ear dazzling audio and additional sound features. When you listen to the speakers’ side by side, you can clearly hear a difference.
With Soundcore Mini 3, you can add an additional speaker for stereo sound. While the old one could only connect two Soundcore Mini 2 speakers, this new Mini 3 can connect up to 100 speakers.
These new features are welcome additions, but the Soundcore Mini 3 also loses some of the features of the Mini 1 and Mini 2. The most noticeable is the micro-SD card and FM radio support from Mini 1 and 3.5-mm Aux input from Mini 2. If these features are important to you, you may actually prefer the Mini 1 or Mini 2 speaker.
Will water splashes ruin the Anker Soundcore Mini 3?
There is one crucial difference that makes this upgrade worthy of the original Mini model - waterproofing. Soundcore Mini 3 is IPX7 waterproof, which means that it can be immersed in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes, plus it is also sealed against dust, dirt and sand. So, it's not a problem to take the speaker to the beach.
Water Shmorter: IPX7 waterproofing says your pool and beach party can get as wild as you want it to. Or just listen worry-free in the bathroom and kitchen! – Anker
Water resistant: Yes
IP rating: IPX7
Drop proof: NA
Manufacturer's warranty – Speaker: 18 months limited
Manufacturer's warranty – Labor: 18 months limited
You should be careful when using the speaker at pool or beach parties. To ensure the safety of the speaker, you must securely cover the rear USB Type-C port with the built-in rubber seal.
How do you connect the Soundcore Mini 3 to your phone, another Soundcore Mini 3?
Bluetooth pairing with Mini 3 is a very straightforward process. All you have to do is press the Bluetooth button, once it starts flashing and beeping, which means you've entered pairing mode, then open your device settings and click Bluetooth. From there you should see "Soundcore Mini 3" in the available devices section. Tap that icon and you're paired.
The Anker Mini 3 speaker can also be paired with another Mini 3 speaker. The dual speaker system manages to create a stereo speaker effect and provide even better, louder and more vibrant sound.
To pair the two speakers, simply press the Bluetooth button on the first speaker for 3 seconds, then the Bluetooth button on the second speaker. The two speakers will pair automatically. It's a very simple process.
Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth
Pair speakers for stereo sound: Up to 100 speakers
Hands-free function: Yes
Wireless multi-room audio: No
Input & output terminals: No
Power input: USB Type-C
As mentioned above, Anker has abandoned support for the 3.5mm Aux input to allow the connection of older source devices that do not have a built-in Bluetooth transmission module.
There is no NFC feature that allows pairing with your NFC-enabled smartphone or player at the touch of a button. Therefore, you would need to turn on the Bluetooth on your device and manually pair the Anker Soundcore Mini 3 speaker.
The Anker Mini 3 uses Bluetooth 5.0 and its performance works really well. During our tests we did not encounter any problems while using the speaker in the home. It could easily stay connected up to 20 meters away from the smartphone with minimal breakups.
Bluetooth version: 5.0
No. of devices to be paired: 7
No. of devices can connect simultaneously: NA
Bluetooth transmitter power: up to +20 dBm
Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2.4 GHz
Bluetooth range: Up to 20 m
Compatible profiles: A2DP, HFP, AVRCP
In addition, audio latency for iOS and Android has been improved compared to the previous model, thanks to the updated Bluetooth 5.0 (Mini 2 had Bluetooth 4.2). It's much better for watching videos, although some apps compensate for latency, so your experience may vary.
What can the controls on Anker Soundcore Mini 3 do?
At the base of the speaker is a control panel with buttons for power on/off, volume up/down, playing/pausing music, jumping tracks back/forth, and Bluetooth pairing. The Bluetooth pairing button also allows you to connect another Mini 3 speaker for stereo pairing.
The speaker also features a built-in microphone that allows you to route calls from your smartphone to your speaker.
Interface: Physical buttons
Controls: Power, Bluetooth, Volume, Play/Pause, Answer Calls, Voice Assistant
Voice assistant: Google Assistant, Siri
Unlike many portable Bluetooth speakers in this price range, Anker Soundcore 3 Mini does not include Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. Instead, you can access your phone's voice assistant by holding down the multifunction button for a few seconds.
What are the options available in the Soundcore app?
The dedicated companion app for Soundcore Mini 3 speaker is really good. It is compatible with both iOS and Android. There are many customization options available, such as turning the speaker on or off, adjusting the volume, turning BassUp on/off, or fully customizing the equalizer for a more personalized sound experience.
App name: Soundcore
Platforms: Android & iOS
Customizable EQ: Yes
The app also has an option to set up a widget, at least on iOS, to quickly switch between different modes. Anker has really improved the Soundcore app to complement your Mini 3 experience.
How long does the battery of the Anker Soundcore Mini 3 last?
One thing we've noticed with a lot of Anker Bluetooth speakers is that they offer incredibly good battery life. The Soundcore Mini 3 is no different; Anker evaluates it to have a 15-hour playback time on a single charge and we found that it is quite accurate.
In our test the speaker easily lasts from 14 to 15 hours at moderate volume levels. It's really impressive and you'll only really be able to appreciate it when you see how small this speaker is.
The Soundcore Mini 3 now also features the latest USB Type-C charging port, so you can charge the speaker with the same cable that charges your Android phone.
Battery type: Lithium-ion
Battery capacity: 1800 mAh
Battery voltage: 3.7 V
Music playtime: Up to 15 hrs
Auto-power off: After 30 mins
Power consumption: 5 W
Power adapter: 1 A
Battery charge time: 4 hrs
USB charge out: No
If you're more interested in a portable speaker with a really long battery life, you should check out Anker Soundcore 3. It offers excellent music playback time, rated 24 hours at a moderate volume level. This means that you can easily use the speaker at lower volume levels for several days without having to recharge.
How does the Anker Soundcore Mini 3 sound like?
If you were looking for the Soundcore Mini 3 to be a big improvement in terms of sound quality compared to the previous model, I'm sorry to disappoint you. The Mini 3 sounds very similar to the previous model. As far as I can judge, there are few subtle differences here, one in the highs and one in the bass.
The speaker grills are located at the top and bottom of the device, and its symmetrical shape provides some breathing space for this little speaker to fire downwards. You can place Soundcore Mini 3 in pretty much any position and it won't affect the sound output.
The sound quality of the Soundcore Mini 3 is well balanced. The highs and lows are clear and the mids are very well balanced (thanks to the BassUp function that is enabled by default). At moderate to high volume, the tracks offer a certain bass punch, with the DSP (Digital Signal Processing) thinning the lows slightly to avoid distortion.
Overall, the entire speaker offers excellent sound at normal volume (e.g., up to 75%). We didn't expect much from a speaker of this size, but we're really surprised by its performance.
Speaker type: Outdoor Speaker
Drivers: 1.75" Full Range + Passive Radiator
Driver Diameter (metric): 45 mm
RMS power: 6 Watts
Total Harmonic Distortion: <= 1%
Minimum Frequency Response: 90 Hz
Maximum Frequency Response: 20,000 Hz
Maximum sound level: 82 dB
Supported codec: SBC
At maximum volume levels, the driver gets slightly overwhelmed—it's not necessarily full-on distortion we hear, but the DSP is chugging and the driver sounds on the verge of distortion without ever really going there.
Speaking of volume, the Mini 3 doesn't get loud enough for our taste. The speaker sounds very loud to listen to in a quiet room, but once it has to compete with the surrounding noise, you'll quickly find the speaker’s volume limit.
In Anker's Soundcore family of speakers, the sound quality of the Mini 3 somehow falls between Soundcore Nano and Soundcore 2. It doesn't give you the thud you might find on larger speakers, but the sound quality can definitely keep up with some speakers that are twice the size.
Can I use the Anker Soundcore Mini 3 for phone calls?
There is a built-in microphone for hands-free calls, which is a nice addition to the original model. But don't expect business-class performance. During our tests we found that it's not good for people at the other end of the call to hear you clearly.
When you turn on the microphone, the sound quality drops and continues to make noise like a radio. Overall, it is a bit muddy, even the latency gets worse and the sound no longer matches the speed of the action.
Should you get the Anker Soundcore Mini 3?
Soundcore Mini 3 is one of the most competitive speakers when considering sound quality and price. It will be very difficult to find anything else of this size that is so powerful and durable.
The Anker Mini 3 offers a powerful punch for such a small speaker, and the waterproof construction adds value to an already affordable price.
The Soundcore Mini 3 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that aims to be the life of your picnic or poolside parties without requiring additional provisions for its transportation.
Of course, it doesn't offer dance party music for a large and enthusiastic crowd, but it's great for background music at small gatherings. If that's exactly what you need, the Anker Soundcore Mini 3 is a great deal.
What are some alternatives to Anker Soundcore Mini 3?
For $59, the Sony SRS-XB12 is an IP67, fully waterproof low-cost speaker. The speaker offers a decent show in terms of overall audio quality. If you're looking for a powerful portable small speaker that can be taken anywhere and delivers impressive audio output, it's a worthy contender.
Sony's audio tuning is focused to deliver the low-end frequency of this speaker. The SRS-XB12 looks tiny, but has a lot of bass. In a small room where you can manage passive amplification, the thumps from the speaker of this size are amazing. In addition to bass, the mids are adequately detailed, while the treble doesn't distort at high volumes.
JBL GO 3
JBL Pro Sound delivers surprisingly strong audio performance from the ultra-compact size of Go 3. While the bass is practically non-existent, the mids are really strong and the treble is tight and smooth. The speaker gets loud enough to fill a small room at higher volume.
The new ultraportable design with bold logo fits perfectly with the latest styles, while the colorful fabrics and expressive details make the speaker look as great as it sounds.
JBL Go 3 is also IP67 waterproof and dustproof, so you can take your speaker anywhere - on the beach or in the park to set the stage for fun.
LG XBOOM GO PL2
The LG XBOOM Go PL2 is the smallest and least expensive offering in LG's latest speaker trio including larger PL7 and PL5 models. All three models share the same design language and all have Meridian-tuned audio.
The LG XBOOM PL2 has IPX5 splash proof rating, which means it can withstand being sprayed with water but should not be submerged. We ran it under a faucet for a few seconds and the speaker kept working as it should.
The PL2 is based on version 5.0 of the Bluetooth standard and the range is quite similar to that of other speakers in the same price range. It can remain connected to more than 25 feet indoors from the audio source.