Comfortable to wear, easy to pair and featuring powerful bass to keep you motivated whether you’re out for a run or doing a HIIT workout at home, the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 are a great option for budget-conscious fitness fanatics.
They pack fast charging tech via a sharp-looking battery case, voice assistant controls and offer a comfortable fit for everyone thanks to plenty of ear wings and ear tips in the box.
The Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 are chock full of features designed to satisfy even the most fastidious of headphone lovers. At the cheaper end of the scale, they are among the best running headphones and the best true wireless earbuds you can buy. And they're among the best cheap headphones, come to think of it.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 review: Design and battery life
Considering they’re on the more affordable end of the truly wireless headphones spectrum, the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 look great, a sleek, matte black finish ensuring they don’t feel cheap. They come with five sets of ear tips and three sets of ear wings: we found they offered a snug fit that managed to isolate most noise, although at this price a little ambient sound is unfortunately unavoidable.
The sliding, pill-shaped battery case looks the part and adds to the premium feel. Anker says the battery case delivers 16 hours of power, while the headphones themselves can keep ticking for five and a half hours on a full charge. We found that with the volume set to mid-level we could squeeze out just under six hours on a single charge, meaning we didn’t need to power them up for a week’s worth of 5k runs, bike rides and at-home workouts.
Once we ran out of juice, we made use of the excellent fast–charging function, which delivers an hour of playback from just ten minutes of charging. The charger itself uses USB–C, with a cable in the box. Handy if you’re packing a top-end iPad Pro or the latest Android device, which of course utilises the same tech.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 review: Performance
The tight fit of the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 is noticeable as soon as you pull on your trainers and start pounding the pavements. They don’t budge at all and we didn’t find ourselves having to adjust them while running, which is impressive compared with some pricier, big-name rivals. However, after extended use, they can become somewhat uncomfortable. We found that after an hour we were more than happy to take them out and pop them back into their case.
Pull them from the case and they go straight into pairing mode, making them easy to connect. Best of all, they disconnect as soon as you put them away, which is a handy and often overlooked feature with some wireless headphones.
The Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 also feature touch controls for playback and accessing your smartphone’s voice assistant. Tap twice on the right earbud to pause, twice on the left to skip forward and press and hold on either side to access the likes of Siri and Voice Control. We found these controls to be somewhat fiddly, especially when running, with the headphones sometimes pausing to fire up our voice assistant when we simply wanted to skip to the next track.
There’s also the glaring omission of volume controls, meaning you need to pull out your phone in order to turn the tunes up to get yourself motivated. This is a big miss and one which means working out with the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 isn’t the breezy experience that it should be.
It’s possible to answer calls using the headphones by tapping twice on either earbud, but call quality isn’t of a high standard. It’s fine for a quick chat, but not for longer calls.
IPX7 waterproofing means that the headphones can handle a drenching in the worst of British weather. We got caught in a downpour while out for a run and they stood up admirably, with no issues once they were dried off and we used them back at home while stretching out.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 review: Audio quality
While the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 don’t come with noise-cancelling tech, they do a fairly good job of isolating sound without allowing in too much ambient noise. While running through Brighton and along the city’s seafront, it was possible to hear the slight rumble of traffic and the boom of the waves at high tide. However, that didn’t overly interfere with the audio performance.
Anker has made a big play of the fact that the Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 come with what they call ‘epic bass’. And it’s fair to say that there’s a reassuring thud to keep you going. We put the new Bicep album through them and found that they offered impressive low-end. Likewise, when we listened to some vintage Four Tet while cooling down. The latter also delivered a decent amount of detail in the mid-range, but higher-end sounds were sometimes harder to pick out.
That’s no deal-breaker with a pair of workout headphones, though. Sitting at our desk, we tried out some less motivational tunes to see how they stood up. The broad sound palette of Aoife Messa Frances’ album of Land of No Junction sounded fine, but these aren’t headphones that audio purists would want as an alternative to fancier models.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 review: Verdict
Considering their entry-level price tag, the Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 are a solid bet for a pair of workout headphones. The design is excellent and while they lack volume controls, the overall sound quality when out running is pretty good. Bass is powerful and heavy without feeling overwhelming, meaning they give that added motivation when needed.
The touch controls feel a bit awkward and can be frustrating to use at times if you like to tap into the power of voice assistants. But for this price, it’s perhaps no surprise that things aren’t perfect. For anyone looking for the first pair of fitness-focused headphones, these are both solid and dependable, with better than average battery life and decent sound to match.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 review: Also consider
If you're after similarly-sized but more premium running or workout buds, check out the Jabra Elite 7 Active. These buds are a significant update over the Jabra Elite Active 75t and offer more personalised sound and ANC, better fit via the ShakeGrip coating and even improved call performance thanks to the three-microphone-per-bud setup. If you aren't too keen on wing tips/ear hooks, the Elite 7 Active are your best option for running headphones.
The JAM Audio TWS Athlete headphones are also great value for money but feature an ear hook design for a more secure fit. There aren’t tonnes of extra features and the buttons aren’t comfortable to use, but the sound quality is decent and the battery is good enough too.