Fun-sounding and accomplished sports earphones that will appeal to gym and non-gym users alike
- Fun, deep bass
- Great battery life
- Excellent water-resistance
- No battery level notification
- Slightly unrefined upper-mids
- Not a balanced signature
- Review Price: £32.99
- Bluetooth 5.0 wireless
- Up to 12-hour battery life
- 10mm dynamic drivers
- Micro-USB charging
- IPX7 water-resistance
What are the Anker Soundcore Spirit X?
The Anker Soundcore Spirit X are budget wireless sport earphones for gym fans and runners. However, their low price and fun sound means they could hold wider appeal.
They sound better than Anker’s cheaper units. Just make sure you’re up for big and fun bass rather than ultra-refined balance – and at £32.99, “fun” seems a good goal.
Anker Soundcore Spirit X – Design and comfort
There are several design elements to the Anker Spirit X’s that confirm their sporty identity. Large lozenges sprout out of the earpieces, largely because these are ear hook earphones.
Rather than simply sitting in your ears, the Spirit X feature silicone-covered, semi-flexible hooks that sit over your ears. These are designed to keep the earphones secure in your ears if wearing them whilst working out in the gym or out running.
The design is unlikely to appeal to those who aren’t after exercise earphones. However, their design has very little effect on their comfort. Once in place, their fit is light and breezy. There’s no sense to the wearer that a chunky piece of plastic is protruding from their ear canal. And, in my case at least, the hooks only lightly touch the back of the ear.
Much of this comfort comes from the soft silicone tips, and the design of the hooks, which bend at their base to fit your ears.
Stability is great for running, but I’d happily use the Anker Soundcore Spirit X as a standard wireless earphone.
Since the Spirit X don’t use a neckband, just a cable, you’ll need to use a little junction box that sits behind your neck to ensure there’s not too much slack is left flapping around. This initially seems a little fiddly – like adjusting your shoelaces while wearing a blindfold – but the system is actually quite elegant.
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Anker Soundcore Spirit X – Features
The Anker Soundcore Spirit X include features you’re unlikely to find in even some big-brand pairs at the price. The level of water resistance on offer is perhaps the most impressive.
A rating of IPX7 means the Anker Soundcore Spirit X can handle being submerged in water. Anker calls it SweatGuard, the “world’s first truly sweat-proof technology” according to the over-reaching Soundcore website. The micro-USB port and all the internals are sealed against water.
There’s only so much water-proofing that can be achieved when it comes to the driver aperture, which is still a standard metal grille. Note that these earphones are designed for sweat, not for use whilst swimming.
In addition, the Soundcore Spirit X are the cheapest wireless earphones I’ve used with a Bluetooth 5.0 chipset. This isn’t a huge achievement in itself, since 5.0 is simply newer than the more commonly used 4.0 and 4.1 chips. But it shows the Spirit X earphones are up to date.
Bluetooth signal reliability is excellent. In fact, it’s far better than the cheaper SoundBuds Slim.
Related: What is Bluetooth 5.0?
Battery life is well above average, too, and should make you forget any gripes about the size of the earpieces. The standard for band-free earphones is seven to eight hours. The Spirit X last for up to 12, thanks to the space afforded by those earpieces.
They support the headphone version of fast charging, too. Anker says a five-minute charge will provide an hour of listening.
There’s just one missing battery feature. You don’t get a voice prompt of the battery level when you turn on the Spirit X, or any indicator of the amount that remains on your paired phone. Instead, you’ll have to wait to hear low battery bleeps as an indicator of when to charge.
The Spirit X also lack higher-quality Bluetooth streams. You get SBC and AAC, but no aptX. Otherwise, these are very complete.
Like almost all wireless earphones the Spirit X come with a three-button remote with a mic for hands-free calls. It offers the basic controls, but nothing more. You can play/pause music and alter volume, but multiple presses won’t skip tracks, and long presses will not bring up your phone’s voice assistant. The lack of track skipping, in particular, is a shame.
Anker Soundcore Spirit X – Sound quality
The Anker Spirit X may not offer ultra-high quality sound or “HD” streaming, but you can’t argue too much with the enjoyment per pound.
These earphones present a deep, bouncy bass. If you’re after a pair of earphones through which to play pumping dance or rock music to get you working harder through your workout then the Spirit X are perfect.
Bass decay and response isn’t lightning-fast, but these earphones aren’t at all veiled or muggy sounding, or too boomy considering their level of bass punch. They seem to get away with their bass focus because it’s somewhat localised in the lower bass registers, and is therefore incited by kick drums, not male vocals.
This specifically tuned bass is balanced out, to an extent, by fairly vital and pronounced-sounding upper-mids and treble. The sound isn’t ultra-refined, and can at times border on seeming slightly hard. However, it’s what stops the Spirit X from sounding overly led by the bass. This combination gives the earphones a fairly good sense of scale and a respectable degree of separation for earphones at this price. Imaging is surprisingly good.
What happens between these two frequency ranges is much less notable. The bulk of the mids are rather neglected in terms of texture and presence, which does their representation of lower register vocals no favours.
The Anker Spirit X aren’t high-end earphones that suit, or deserve, close listening. But their sound signature offers fun for the kind of casual listening whilst exercising or travelling to work, where audio tends to be compromised somewhat by ambient noise.
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Why buy the Anker Soundcore Spirit X?
The Anker Spirit X are among the most impressive sports earphones you can buy for under £50. That they cost significantly less than £50 only serves to add to their appeal.
Their features are impressive, headed up by great battery life and excellent water-resistance. They’re great fun to listen to as well.
Confident, deep bass is perfect for exercise use – or, when you need some loud tunes to wake you up in the morning. Higher frequencies are slightly harder than those of the Skullcandy Method Wireless, and the bass more forceful (for better or worse). However, as a full package they’re hard to beat.
Fun-sounding and technically accomplished sports earphones that will appeal to gym and non-gym goers alike.