Laptop Mag Verdict
Consider the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 if you want affordable buds with better sound and battery life than the AirPods.
Powerful bass levels
Tight, secure fit
Reasonable battery life with super-fast quick charging
Loaded with accessories
No special features or Soundcore app support
Highs sound faint
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The Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 is the company’s latest true wireless release, and is mainly designed for fitness, but also serves nicely as an everyday pair to keep music lovers entertained on commutes. These all-black in-ear monitors feature dynamic sound with energetic bass levels, intuitive controls, and strong wireless performance at an entry-level price point. Anker also designed these to be sweatproof and waterproof.
If you want a pair of affordable wireless sports earbuds to fuel your workouts with emphatic lows, or to enjoy upbeat songs on the go, with stable battery life, then the Spirit Dot 2 is worth the listen. It is a model we’re also considering for inclusion in our Best Wireless Earbuds roundup.
If money is no object, then we suggest looking at pricier models like the AirPods Pro and Jabra Elite Active 75t that each offer unique features (e.g. noise cancellation, personalized sound) for a premium. Granted, you might find the overall performance of Anker’s buds to be far more worth their value.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2: Price and availability
The Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 is sold for $79.99 at Amazon or directly from Soundcore. Availability will likely expand to other major online retailers over the coming weeks, though it’s yet to be confirmed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The earbuds are only available in one color: Black.
What's in the box?
Anker ships the Spirit Dot 2 with a charging case, a USB-C charging cable, a quick start guide, six extra pairs of ear tips, and two extra pairs of ear wings.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2: Design
The Spirit Dot 2 doesn’t have the luxe sporty flair of the Beats Powerbeats Pro or Jabra Elite Active 75t, and at $79, it’s not meant to. What you get is a pair of no-frills wireless buds that borrows the same design DNA as Anker’s other fitness-centric models: compact, minimalist, stem-less, and all black. The formula continues to work.
Any radical changes implemented in the Spirit Dot 2 revolve around the aesthetics. The buds are covered in IPX7 coating, making them sweat- and waterproof up to a meter in water for 30 minutes. Don’t mistake this as an open invitation to swim with them, as they’re better suited to handle excessive sweat and heavy splashes in the pool area or jacuzzi.
Anker bundles the Spirit Dot 2 with six pairs of ear tips and two pairs of ear wings. These are made from what Anker calls “SweatGuard technology,” which allows for a more advanced seal and protects the buds from moisture and wetness. After several workouts, I can attest to how well the technology works; the buds and tips remain in great shape. Also included in the packaging is a USB-C charging cable and the accompanying charging case.
Speaking of which, the case is plain with a black matte finish and gold-accented logo engraved front and center. It’s fine for portable storage and charging the buds when on the road, though the all-white interior leaves much to be desired and feels crammed. The swivel door also interferes when grabbing the buds. On the plus side, the magnetic charging system is super strong and will instantly catch the buds when dropping them in.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2: Comfort and fit
The Spirit Dot 2 is relatively comfortable for workouts and leisure listening. The buds rest firmly on the ear and the angled sound ports slide easily into the canal. I was fine sporting them for an hour daily, though I experienced some fatigue when stretching playtimes to 120 minutes. Models like the AirPods Pro and Elite Active 75t are more convenient for longer listening sessions.
However, neither model can match the personalized fit that Anker’s buds deliver. The fins and ear tips feel soft against the skin and mold perfectly into the ear, which keeps the buds stabilized during exercises. I was able to perform crunches and planks, and speed-walk to the post office without any slippage. The silicone material is also great at absorbing sweat, providing me extra reassurance when engaged in lateral-heavy workouts.
The charging case is bigger and wider than Apple’s case, though it feels lighter and isn’t too bulky to carry around. You won’t have issues sliding it into your denim pockets or tossing it in a backpack, nor will it weigh you down. That’s really all you need to know.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2: Touch controls and digital assistant
I found the touch controls to be serviceable. The panels located on the outside of each bud are responsive and accurately register taps for the most part. Very rarely will you have to tap several times to execute intended commands.
Where I find things to get a bit confusing is in the control scheme. There are no one-tap gestures, which seems like a wasted opportunity to program any extra functionality into these buds. Also missing is an option to play the previous track. Two taps on the right earbud will play/pause music, while doing it on the left will skip a track. Tapping either bud twice allows you to answer calls or place them on hold to answer another. Holding your finger on the sensor for two seconds enables the digital assistant. It is easy to forget which tap gestures do what, and even I had to revisit the instructions guide a few times to refamiliarize myself.
The Spirit Dot 2 supports Siri and Google Assistant, so you’ll be able to perform common daily tasks hands-free. The feature works well, but you’ll want to make sure to use it in quiet environments because the mics pick up a lot of noise, which makes it difficult for either program to interpret commands. Besides that, you’ll find the built-in mics demonstrate great speech recognition and both Apple and Google’s AI bots respond quickly to inquiries.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2: Audio quality
The slogan on the box states “mini buds, epic bass.” While I wouldn’t go as far as describing the Spirit Dot 2’s audio quality as “epic,” it’s definitely impressive and delivers the punchy, warm sound that bass heads and gymgoers will find enticing when listening to most music genres.
Pull up any hip-hop record with a monstrous bassline if you want a sonic boom. I gave the latest Run the Jewels album, RTJ4, a listen and was riding high off of the audio octane that was “Out of Sight,” which can be described as fired-up, revolutionary music for modern times. The doubled-up vocal sample and discordant noises culminate in a bouncy, hard-hitting resonance that strikes your eardrums ridiculously hard with little-to-no distortion, something I didn’t expect to experience on these buds.
I followed that up with something less boisterous, but still boomy, by blasting Q-Tip’s “Vivrant Thing” and found the song’s upbeat production perfect for refueling the engine when finishing my 5K run. Maintaining the bouncy vibes, while adding some harmonizing into the mix, I pressed play on Lauryn Hill’s soulful “I Used to Love Him” and was surprised by how transparent the singer’s vocals sounded over the thumping production.
Having a sound profile with accentuated bass has its tradeoffs, and in the case of the Spirit Dot 2, it is masked highs. I discovered this when indulging in some Jazz classics. The hi-hats on John Coltrane’s “Feelin’ Good,” while audible, sounded a bit faint, and reverberation doesn’t hit as hard as on other fine-tuned models (e.g. Elite Active 75t). Soundcore app support would have made a huge difference in balancing out the entire soundstage as well.
It is worth noting that the buds do a surprisingly good job with noise isolation. They create a tight seal that allows you to enjoy music fully and keep sound from bleeding out at high volume.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2: Battery life and charging case
Anker rates battery life at 5.5 hours on a single charge, which is pretty accurate based on my testing. Volume and excessive streaming do bring it down to about 5 hours. This is also considered standard for modern wireless earbuds, placing it right in between the AirPods Pro (4.5 hours) and the Elite Active 75t (7.5 hours). I got 3 to 4 days of listening out of them before recharging. The Spirit Dot 2 supports quick charging too, generating up to an hour of use on a 10-minute charge. I also appreciated the buds coming 100% charged right out of the box; that bit of effort builds goodwill for brands and should never go unnoticed.
The charging case stores an additional 16 hours, bringing the total playtime to 21 hours on three full charges, which is pretty sufficient. I’m going on two weeks and still have one full charge left. I just wish it had wireless charging capabilities like some of Anker’s pricier models.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2: Call quality and connectivity
Call quality on the Spirit Dot 2 isn’t anything to brag about, but it’s good enough to carry out audible conversations in quiet settings. As previously mentioned, the mics are sensitive to background noise, making it difficult for others to hear you, which is something my fiancée mentioned when taking her calls outside. I had better call experiences in my apartment with some of my friends claiming they heard me loud and clear during video conferences via House Party and Skype.
Connecting to devices is seamless, as taking the buds out of the case automatically enables pairing mode. It was a breeze linking these to my Google Pixel 3XL and MacBook Pro. The Spirit Dot 2 maintained a strong connection throughout my entire apartment, especially when streaming Spotify with my smartphone in another room; Bluetooth range reaches about 35 feet before dropout occurs. Sadly, Anker didn’t program these with multipoint technology, meaning you can’t pair these to two devices at the same time.
At $79, the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 is a noteworthy pair of wireless earbuds that serves multiple purposes well, from at-home listening to outdoor workouts. Ideally, you’ll get more use out of them for workouts, thanks to their waterproof coating and lively soundstage, which is spearheaded by Anker’s BassUp technology and ramps up the low end for sonic adrenaline. Connectivity is strong and makes re-pairing to devices an effortless task.
As much as we like these buds, we also feel Anker could have added more features, in particular, Soundcore app support. Not having the customizable EQ or numerous presets limits the Spirit Dot 2’s audio capabilities. This would have given users a way of fine-tuning the sound to their liking, as well as personalize the controls on each bud.
But, again, Anker blesses you with a lot of functionality and some of the best bass performance in its class, and for half the price of what Apple and Jabra charge for their flagship earbuds. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for an inexpensive travel or workout companion.