Anker recently released its Soundcore Spirt Pro sweat-proof and water-resistant Bluetooth earphones. While they don't go directly head to head with heavy-hitters like Apple's Airpods or Sennheiser's Momentum earphones, they do pack in some compelling features and design novelties at a fraction of the price. After several weeks' heavy use, here's what we make of them.
Top of Spirit Pro's headline features are its IP68 water-proofing and "SweatGuard" sweat-proofing. Immediately obvious is the earphones' build quality. Unlike pricier alternatives, they are joined by a cable which mounts a small control module with Micro-USB charge port.
But the headphones feel suitably robust with nary a nook or seam to be seen. Though we can't speak to the sweat-proofing over what one would hope would be the lifespan of the product, our review unit survived submersion in water, with music playing throughout. (One word of warning: wet earphones are moderately uncomfortable to wear.)
Probably the first thing you notice about the Spirt Pro are its distinctive "EarWings" designed to fit the curvature of your ear and help to anchor the earphones into place.
We were initially skeptical, but we can't argue that the Spirit Pro feels firmly fixed once the correct wings and earbud tips are fitted. How much the wings are contributing to that is hard to say, but we came to appreciate them if for no other reason than it's easy to see at a glance which earphone goes in which ear.
Another very welcome feature are the magnetized backs of the earbuds themselves, most usefully as they allow the Spirit Pro to be worn necklace-style for a few moments when taking a phone call or what have you.
Again, though it's not reasonable to ask Anker's 'phones to compete with premium alternatives at more than five times the price, we have few complaints on the sound-quality front. For earphones, audio is rich and full if perhaps unabashedly bass-oriented.
Listening to Underworld's Pearl's Girl, the full bubbliness underlying the intro was fully evident while the offbeat snares arrive crisp as a Granny Smith, yet it's the echoey thud of the bass kicks that really stand out, which is nothing to complain about.
Gearing down to Nina Simone's Sinnerman, here the bass sounded a little more in check with Simone's vocals very much at the fore. The piano accompaniment lacked perhaps just a little sparkle and definition compared to our over-ear headphones of choice.
Overall, our impression is that Spirit Pro is more adept at dense contemporary music than, say, classical or jazz recordings with more sonic range and nuance. But since they're pitched at people working out at the gym, perhaps that's not so much of a compromise.
Our only other complaint was that, using them paired to a Macbook, the Bluetooth connection occasionally dropped out. That said, our suspicion is that this was more the fault of the Macbook, since pairing the earphones with an iPhone caused no such problems.
Spirit Pro boasts a 10-hour battery life between charges, and though we didn't put that to the test in a single sitting, our use bore out that claim. We tended to listen for an hour or two per day in our working week, leaving them unused at the weekend. The Spirit Pro seems to hold its charge very nicely, and easily passes what we think is the most useful test for Bluetooth headphones: surviving a working day, including travel, on a single charge.
With an asking price of US$49.99, these are very easy to recommend. Audiophiles may prefer to look elsewhere, but then, are audiophiles likely to opt for in-ear 'phones in the first place? Probably not…
Product page: Spirit Pro
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