Soundcore Motion X600 Portable Bluetooth Speaker–Take it anywhere

A great blend of aesthetics and great sound

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The X600 from Soundcore has a sleek Art Deco look. In the distance, Palolo Valley and Waikiki (Rob Kay photo)
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There is a plethora of portable Bluetooth speakers on the market in all price categories. So why do you need or want Soundcore Motion X600? After all your mobile devices, your TV, your internet radio, etc. all have speakers.

So what is the point?  

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Let’s look at one application and go from there.

I can’t speak for others, but the demographic of many households in Hawaii includes older folks with shall we say, diminished hearing capacity. In our case, blasting the TV because one of our household members or guests has trouble hearing what the guy on PBS Newshour is saying was a regular occurance at the home. The volume was not appreciated by neighbors.

This was mitigated by using a portable speaker which was placed strategically so that our beloved household member (who shall go unnamed) could hear the program without informing the entire neighborhood.

Of course, there are other applications for a portable speaker than attending to hard-of-hearing kupuna.

At the back of the box you plug in the USB cable. There’s an auxiliary port for an additional audio device. (Rob Kay photo)

I listen to a lot of podcasts. If I want to listen to one of my favorites (Hidden Brain) in any room of the house, a portable speaker is a no brainer. What’s more, the quality of the sound is so much better than cranking up the volume on my tablet, laptop or phone.

Why the Soundcore Motion X600?

Before I even acquired this item I started experimenting with a (less expensive) portable speaker. However, it wouldn’t pair with my LG TV.  

Go figure?

Another choice would have been to spend a few hundred dollars on a “sound bar”, a device designed specifically as a high fidelity add on for the TV. I wanted something that would work with any device.

I would tell the nice lady that the handle is quite sturdy on the Motion X600 so she can take it anywhere. (Courtesy Soundcore)

My first choice was to go to Soundcore, which is manufactured by Anker. I was familiar with their earbuds and their chargers, which are well-engineered and competitively priced. I was intrigued by the Sounccore X600, which had good reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. It’s priced at $200 which is very reasonable if you get decent sound.

So let’s take a step back.

Do I need high fidelity to listen to PBS News Hour? No. But if PBS is airing a “Great Performance” segment with Audra McDonald (which I watched the other day) good audio was obligatory. I’m also an internet radio freak and it’s hard to enjoy music without a quality speaker. (When I stream my favorite French Jazz station TSF, I want to do justice to Ella Fitzgerald or Satchmo when he hits a high C).

The X600 will do the job. It’s a sleek, solid piece of gear with a cool, art deco look. Available in Aurora Green, Lunar Blue, or Polar Gray (which I have) it measures 6.5 by 12.1 by 3.2 inches and weighs a hefty 4.0 pounds. (A brick weighs 5 pounds).

The other thing I like: Its waterproof. You can take it outside on the lanai and if it starts raining you won’t have to freak out. It has an IPX7 waterproof rating meaning you can submerge the speaker to depths of up to one meter for 30 minutes. You could theoretically bring it into the shower, but I don’t think that would be a good idea.

The X600 has “Spatial Audio”, an “upward firing driver” that points to the heavans. Seriously, the audio quality on this device is excellent. (Courtesy Soundcore)

If you’re listening to a podcast or streaming NPR, its 50W speaker will be more than enough. For music it’s got a feature called “sound immersion” which makes you feel like you’re in a home theater. (More on that later).

In essence X600 will deliver high fidelity sound quality while allowing you the portability move the speaker anywhere.

Think of it as a Bluetooth boombox. It resembles a boom box with a sturdy handle. It’s kind of cool to carry it around the house while your favorite bules artist is blasting away.

In a way, it’s overkill if you’re just listening to TV news but as I mentioned earlier, a less expensive Bluetooth speaker may not even work with a TV.

Set it up and Use It

It’s easy enough to set up.

Just remove from the box and plug it in. All you need is USB C cable to keep it charged and you’re in business. (FYI Anker, it would be nice if there were a wall charger as well as the USB port). There’s also a 3.5mm auxiliary input so you can connect another audio device. The battery will last 12 hours. That’s more than enough time to watch a Netflix movie with the X600 tethered via Bluetooth to your laptop.

I got it working on just about every device at home. I say “just about” because I had trouble pairing it with my fancy internet radio (Como) but realized that they need a proprietary Bluetooth speaker.

Our friend likes to use her Motion X600 in the kitchen (Courtesy Soundcore)

Everything else, TV, the laptop, Pixel 6, etc. worked fine. It did take a bit of tweaking in some instances to get it paired but that’s to be expected. I did get it working with the PC as well but only after I purchased a new Bluetooth 5.0 “dongle” (from TP-Link). Once I added it and downloaded the new driver it paired.

Just a tech observation: Occasionally you may need an “updated dongle” to handle new devices. Despite digital standards, it’s the wild west out here sometimes. Not everything operates “harmoniously”.

The controls on top are LED-backlit buttons. They include power, Bluetooth, Spatial Sound, Bass Up (which enhances low-end response), play/pause, and volume up/down buttons.

Other than the basic controls on the device, there’s a Soundcore app (for Android and iOS) which displays battery life and a power button for the X600. There’s also a playback button and a volume slider. There’s also an Equalizer which lets you tweak the Bass or employ multiple presets: Balanced, Soundcore Signature (the default), Treble Boost, Voice, and Xtra Bass. You can use the app to fine tune the speaker to your liking. I pretty much left everything preset.

I listened to a bunch of different music genres—jazz, country, pop and R&B to see what I could wring out of that speaker. (No rap). The X600 seemed to like everything. Was listening to Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan on HPR and hit the “spatial sound” button on the controls. It was magic. I felt almost as if I was back at Filmore West. (Yes, I’m a boomer).

Its become a regular item in my kitchen too! (Rob Kay photo)

So let’s talk practicalities. If you’re going to use a portable Bluetooth speaker, be aware that it’s easier to operate with some devices than others. For example, if I’m listening to a NY Times podcast on my laptop all I do is turn the X600’s power on and (usually) it will grab the audio.

With my cell phone, same thing. if I’m listening to Jimmy Kimmel’s latest spiel on YouTube I just power up the X600 and it will find the device it’s supposed to connect to.

Sometimes another step or two is involved (like rebooting) but it’s not a big deal.

Using it for the TV is slightly more involved. Obviously, you flip on your TV and the internal speaker kicks in. So, you have to hit the “Settings” button on the remote then go to the “Sound Out” setting, click on the “Device List” and then click again to check off the button that says “Soundcore X600”. (Of course you’ll have to be paired from the get-go).

The upshot: If you’re a consumer of digital music and conversation, for $200 the Motion X600 is a sweet deal and a good investment.

Soundcore X600 Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 12.0 cm in height, 30.0 cm in width, and 8.1 cm
  • Weight: 1980.0 g (about 4 pounds)
  • Power source: Battery and USB
  • Battery capacity: 6,400mAh / 7.2V
  • Audio output power: 50W
  • Charging time: 6 hours with a certified 5V/3A wall charger
  • Playtime: Up to 12 hours at 50
  • Waterproof level: IPX7
  • Bluetooth version: 5.3
  • Wireless protocols: Bluetooth (with LDAC support)
  • Wired connectivity: 3.5mm audio jack
  • Speakers: 5 audio drivers and 5 amplifiers
  • Premium design with partial metal exterior
  • Supports Sony’s LDAC audio
  • Spatial audio mode widens soundstage
  • BassUp feature boosts the bass
  • 9-band graphic EQ and several sound presets

Rob Kay is a technology columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser and the creator of FijiGuide.com.

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