At this point when someone brings up the brand Anker I no longer think of charging cables and battery packs. What comes to mind now is a handful of some of the best bang for your buck products we’ve used over the last few years. Anker has put work into the true wireless market, and the Soundcore Sprint X2 is a great, albeit discontinued, pair of earbuds.
Editor’s note: this Anker SoundCore Spirit X2 review was updated on September 30, 2021, to add the Anker Soundcore Life A1 as an alternative, add results from a reader poll, and address the discontinuation of the Spirit X2.
Who is the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 for?
- People who exercise. If you’re looking for a pair of wireless earbuds for your next workout these are for you. They’re sweatproof, have great battery life, and if you prefer the earhook style to secure the buds to your ears then these have you covered there as well.
- Anyone who wants the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They look similar to the Powerbeats Pro but cost way less. While you’re sacrificing some build quality—you’re saving so much money that the tradeoff is fine.
How is the build quality?
Build quality isn’t the reason why you’ll buy a pair of headphones but it’s always important to note what you’re spending your money on, starting with the charging case. This isn’t the same discreet and pocketable case that you’ll find in something like the Liberty Air 2. Instead, this case is much more similar in design to the Powerbeats Pro. It’s wide, and not exactly easy to fit in your pockets. It is doable, though it’ll likely be the only thing you can fit in your pocket.
On the front are also three small LED lights that let you know how much battery is left when you open the lid. On the back of the case is a small flap protecting the USB-C input and a small button for pairing.
The earbuds rock ear hooks but with a twist, literally. When you put them in your ear you have to twist them to lock the earbuds in place like the JBL Endurance Peak 2. Along the back of the earbuds are the playback controls which get a little more confusing and definitely take a bit of memorization in order to remember which button does what. Each earbud has two buttons: a volume button and a multifunction button.
You’ll be able to control volume and skip between tracks by either tapping or holding down the volume buttons, while the multifunction button lets you activate your phone’s virtual assistant or turn on the “extra bass” EQ preset. There’s no active noise cancelling, passthrough, and they don’t even auto-pause when you take one earbud out.
The Soundcore Spirit X2 is part of the Spirit line of fitness headphones, so these buds have an IP68 design to accommodate your sweatiest workouts. The earhook keeps them secure on your ears while you move, and the ear tips themselves also have a small wing that keeps the nozzle nicely inside the ear canal.
How’s the connection strength?
As far as specs go this headset rocks Bluetooth 5.0 and the aptX Bluetooth codec as well. These also have AAC compatibility even though Anker doesn’t specify this to be the case. Since iOS devices are only compatible with AAC and SBC, this is good news for anyone with an iPhone. The good news doesn’t end there: the connection is fantastic and there’s no audio-visual lag while watching videos.
My biggest issue with the connection is that these aren’t great at automatically disconnecting when you put them in the case. You need to make sure that the earbuds are set in place perfectly in order to break the connection. Otherwise you’ll get back from your run, put the earbuds away, and jump in the shower and try to listen to a podcast, only to discover that the phone is still connected to the earbuds inside their case. It’s a very specific situation but I’m sure it’s fairly common if you’re getting workout earbuds.
How to pair to the Soundcore Spirit X2 true wireless earbuds
Unlike some of the other true wireless earbuds from companies like Google and Apple, you won’t find any method of quick-pairing here. Instead, the Spirit X2 automatically enters pairing mode when you open up the case for the first time.
Just go into the Bluetooth settings of your device and choose the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 in the list. To pair to a second device, open the case and—with the earbuds still inside—hold down the small button on the back of the case.
To completely reset the headphones, hold down the button for about 10 seconds. Doing this will clear any devices saved on the earbuds so that you can start from scratch.
How long does the battery last on the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2?
We subject all relevant audio products to a constant 75dB(SPL) output until the battery dies, and the Spirit X2 lasts 10 hours, 49 minutes under these conditions. This exceeds Anker’s specified 9-hour battery life.
The charging case is designed to give you an extra four charges and has quick charging. Just 10 minutes in the case gives you about two hours of extra playback. Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that battery life depends on the output. If you blast music while you run (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway) then these will probably struggle to reach 10 hours of playback.
Does the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 have a good microphone?
The Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 has a microphone and it’s quite good. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not podcast-level quality, but it does a good job of rejecting distracting sounds like wind.
Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 microphone demo:
As of September 29, 2021, 376 readers have rated the above mic sample as somewhere between “okay” and “good.” This is a pretty typical result for true wireless earbuds, and what you should expect to get out of any products of this type.
How does the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 sound?
When it comes to sound quality there are two important factors to consider. The first is how well the particular headphones isolate and the second is the frequency response. We have an entire explainer piece on why isolation is important but the short version is there: the more outside noise there is, the less of your music you’re going to be able to actually hear. Anyone who has used a pair of cheap earbuds on a plane, or while riding the bus will know that as soon as the engine goes on it becomes harder to hear your music.
Frequency response is also important, because it gives you a general guideline of how the headphones will sound. Keep in mind, that a frequency response graph isn’t the end-all-be-all of sound quality. It’s just a visual presentation of how loud the headphones can reproduce sounds across the audible human frequency range (20-20,000Hz).
As you can see from the isolation graph these buds don’t do a great job at isolating outside noises below 1000Hz. This isn’t the set of earbuds to take on an intercontinental flight, but the isolation is good enough to block out the clang of dumbbells at your gym.
When you look at frequency response you’ll see that while the sound isn’t flat, it is pretty consumer-oriented and sounds good for exercise. The low-end is given a slight emphasis all the way from 20Hz to about 120Hz which just means that basslines and bass kicks are made slightly louder.
This was really noticeable in the song Gosh by Jamie xx and while running the low bass plucks sounded great. The synth that comes in around 2:30, however, is a little loud. I don’t recommend this for any kind of critical listening but it hit all the right spots in my favorite songs to keep me pumped while running.
Should you buy the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2?
The Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 is a great set of workout earbuds but is discontinued. You can find it renewed through Amazon, however, making it a great deal for those willing to breathe life into an old product.
Sure, you could spend more for a pair of PowerBeats Pro, but unless you need the H1 chip, the Spirit X2 gets the job done just as well. If you want to save a little money, look into the Anker Soundcore Life A1, which costs just $49 USD and has an IPX7 rating. If you want a great pair of workout earbuds with active noise cancelling, check out the Jaybird Vista 2 instead. Though, you’ll have to stretch your wallet for this nearly indestructible set.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, no, the ear hooks are not adjustable.