soundcore motion 300
“Soundcore’s Motion 300 delivers great sound and features at a price far below the price of other speakers.”
less than $100
full stereo sound
speakerphone built in
easy carrying strap
no battery level indicator
bigger, heavier than the alternatives
The high-resolution audio is awesome
At higher volume the sound becomes hoarse
Anker’s SoundCore division has become a thorn in the side of major audio brands like Sony, JBL, Jabra, and Apple, thanks to products that consistently offer great features and performance at very low prices. Its latest attempt to replicate that formula is the Motion 300, a Bluetooth speaker that comes with hi-res audio, a fully waterproof design, stereo pairing, speakerphone functionality, and 13 hours of battery life — all for less than $100. .
Here’s why the Motion 300 should be seriously considered before purchasing your next Bluetooth speaker.
Soundcore Motion 300: Design
The Soundcore Motion 300 is the second Soundcore speaker to utilize the brand’s distinctive metal and rubber design. (The first was the boombox-shaped Soundcore Motion X600.) Our review model came in black, but you’ll soon be able to choose between blue and green versions, too.
Its slab-like shape is unusual for a portable speaker. These products feature cylindrical or boxy profiles to help with stability and 360-degree sound dispersion. But that’s by design — the Motion 300 is intended to be used standing, lying down, or hanging from its integrated (but removable) carry strap. As such, there are rubber feet on the bottom and back panels, and Soundcore has installed a small gyroscope that can sense the speaker’s orientation. If you want, it can use that information to automatically optimize the sound – I’ll go into more detail about that in a moment.
Its slim profile may make it easy to carry around, but the $80 Motion 300 is a bit larger than the $150 Marshall Emberton, $170 Emberton II, and $130 JBL Flip 6. It’s also the heaviest of the four speakers: 1.8 pounds for the Motion 300, 1.5 pounds for the Ambertons, and 1.2 pounds for the Flip 6.
Like these competitors, the Motion 300 is rated IPX7, giving it excellent protection against water, as long as the rubber charging port cover remains securely in place. It can remain completely submerged for short periods of time, but even if it’s thrown into the pool you still have to pay attention – it doesn’t float. (Neither the Ambertons, nor the Flip 6.)
I haven’t experimented with dropping the Motion 300, but there’s no need for lab measurements to know that the speaker will perform better if it makes contact with one of its four rubberized corners than with the metal grill—that thing definitely works. Will get spoiled by.
An auxiliary input for connecting other music sources would have been a nice touch, but I think it’s fair to say that most of our devices are Bluetooth-enabled these days.
Soundcore Motion 300: Controls and connections
All controls for the Motion 300 are located on the top surface. Well, when the speakers are standing this is the topmost surface – at other times, they will be accessible from the side. You get buttons for power, Bluetooth pairing, one-touch access to the Extra Bass EQ mode, and volume up/down, as well as a multifunction playback button that can play/pause and skip tracks. Thanks to backlighting – a very rare feature on Bluetooth speakers – they’re easy to find even in dark rooms, and they’ve got good tactile feedback even under their protective rubber skin. You can also adjust the brightness of the button (or turn it off) in the Soundcore app.
Strangely, despite the effort to backlight the controls, the Soundcore hasn’t included a detailed visual indicator of remaining battery life, which is very common on other portables. The power button will glow white when fully charged, but will remain so until it reaches the “low battery” state, at which point it will begin blinking red. How much is left when this happens? Difficult to say. Documentation for Soundcore is not available. You can still find out by checking your phone’s settings or the Soundcore app, but an additional reminder would have been helpful.
With Bluetooth 5.3, the Motion 300 has an exceptional wireless range. It’s not as capable as Soundcore’s claimed 328 feet, but I got about 180 feet of line of sight, and there wasn’t a single spot in our house that didn’t have excellent connectivity. This is much better performance than the Emberton II or Flip 6.
With Bluetooth multipoint you can connect two devices at once, and I found it was easy to seamlessly switch from one to the other. As long as you have a second Motion 300, the Soundcore also supports stereo pairing over Bluetooth, but I wasn’t able to test this feature.
Soundcore Motion 300: Sound quality
The Motion 300 may be a little sturdier than its main competitors, but when it comes to audio it makes good use of that extra size by delivering fuller and more detailed sound than competitors. It has no match in terms of its price.
You’ll probably want to keep Extra Bass mode on. With that mode used, the Motion 300 has a very respectable amount of low-end. It doesn’t thump or boom or pound, but it offers enough bass response that things sound natural, not shrill. When it’s turned off, things sound a little hollow.
The midrange is surprisingly detailed and the highs are very clear. Automatic tuning works for three orientations. It’s not magical, yet I definitely prefer the sound when it’s on than when it’s off. Of the three positions, you will get the best bass response by laying the speaker flat. You’ll get the best stereo separation when it’s sitting upright. And although I can’t really say that the vertical position offered any improvement compared to the other two, it is a convenient option.
It turns out that the sound quality of the Motion 300 is most sensitive to volume level. The speaker hits its sweet spot of 50% to 60%. There’s enough volume to easily fill a small space like a kitchen, and everything feels tonally balanced. Once you start pushing into the top 25% of the speaker’s range, the midrange starts to get lost between the lows and highs. The notes tend to be slightly harsher, with a tendency to sibilance (the “s” sound that cymbals and “s”-word vowels can produce).
You can partially mitigate these effects by tweaking the EQ using the Soundcore app’s impressive granular equalizer, but it may take some effort on your part – the small selection of EQ presets won’t cut it. In fairness, this is also true for the JBL Flip 6. In fact, because the Flip 6 can be significantly louder than the Motion 300, you start to notice a drop in sound quality at about 65% of its range.
As much as I want to give Soundcore props for including hi-res audio compatibility via Sony’s LDAC Bluetooth codec, I have to compare the same track streamed from an iPhone 14 using AAC and a Motorola ThinkPhone using LDAC. It seemed impossible to tell the time difference. And I’m not surprised at all. It can be challenging to hear the difference between these codecs, even when listening on wireless headphones or earbuds, which provide a much more intimate experience. Portable speakers like the Motion 300 never stood a chance. Also, LDAC consumes far more power than AAC, and I don’t think it’s worth the impact on battery life.
What does all this mean for daily use? As a travel speaker, this is going to be a fun hotel room party starter, with a fuller, more impressive sound than the competitors I mentioned above. It’s perfect for small pool side gatherings and will give the perfect soundtrack to your outdoor dinner. But don’t expect to entertain the entire backyard revelers. Doing this may make the sound significantly louder, but the results will not be satisfactory.
Soundcore Motion 300: Speakerphone quality
For some reason, Soundcore doesn’t mention the fact that the Motion 300 can also function as a speakerphone. It’s not called for on the company’s own product page, and you won’t see it listed on Amazon’s page. I didn’t even know this feature existed until I read Soundcore’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). This is actually baffling to me as we’ve been criticizing many recent Bluetooth speakers for failing to include speakerphone functionality. The Sonos Roam, JBL Flip 6, Marshall Emberton and UE Megaboom 3 – none of them let you take calls.
The Motion 300’s mic is in the upper-left corner of the speaker (when standing upright). Although it’s not particularly sensitive (your voice won’t be picked up if you’re on the other side of the room), your callers will hear you very clearly if you stay within 2 to 3 feet of the speaker. It’s best used indoors – it has little ability to cancel out other sounds – but it’s a better loud call experience than most phones.
Soundcore Motion 300: battery life
At a claimed 13 hours, the Motion 300’s battery life is definitely enough to get you through most, if not all, of a day’s worth of listening. Keep in mind that this is based on running the speakers at 50% volume, with the LDAC codec option disabled – another reason to skip the hi-res audio.
You can expect this kind of endurance from most Bluetooth speakers at this size and price – the Flip 6, Sonos Roam and UE Boom 3 all offer between 10 and 15 hours. If you want more, two of the options are Marshall Emberton (20 hours) or Emberton II (up to 30 hours).
Soundcore consistently demonstrates that it knows how to make great audio products for less money than the big brands, and the Motion 300 keeps that tradition alive. It may not have the classic good looks of a Marshall speaker, the incredible sound of a JBL speaker, or the smartness of a Sonos speaker, but it has a sturdy and waterproof construction, great sound quality, speakerphone capability, and a price that beats every price tag. Competitive in its category, the Soundcore Motion 300 should be on everyone’s short list of Bluetooth speakers when it comes time to buy one.