At under $100, the Soundcore Infini soundbar from Anker is a budget-friendly soundbar priced to compete head-to-head against the likes of the Bar Studio from JBL and Polk’s Signa Solo.
In the last few years, Anker has grown from a relatively small, unknown manufacturer to an electronics powerhouse, making everything from mice and keyboards to Bluetooth speakers and headphones. Now, the company is seeking to expand its footprint even further, entering the competitive soundbar market by way of its Soundcore Infini lineup.
Needless to say, soundbars at this price point aren’t designed to reproduce ‘audiophile-grade’ sonics. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to enhance the entertainment value of your favorite shows, movies, and music, some of these budget devices may prove worthwhile.
Our Infini arrived with everything we needed to get the bar up-and-running within minutes. For most users, the included optical cable will be the preferred method to connect the device. But for others – i.e with older TVs – the company has also included a 3.5mm to RCA and coaxial cable. Unfortunately, there’s no HDMI port, meaning you won’t be able to control the device with your TV remote.
When it comes to the actual setup, it’s as easy as plugging in the optical (or RCA / coaxial) cable into the back of the Inifini, then connecting the other end to the corresponding port on your TV. Once connected, simply plug it into the power outlet and turn it on.
Once the soundbar is powered on, you can use the included remote to scan through the various input options. To easily discern one setting from another, the company uses an LED to emit different colors for each one.
Right away we selected green (corresponding to optical), as we were eager to hear the difference between the Inifini and our test TV’s crummy, built-in speakers. It took only minutes before we were all in agreement that the soundbar was leaps and bounds better.
The first thing many of us noted was the deep rumble of the bass. Become of its slim profile, none of us thought the tiny subs could reproduce low frequencies to much avail. Clearly, we were wrong!
In watching our go-to action flick – chock full of bumping and thumping bass – we found the Infini instantly exceeded our exceptions in this area. To be clear, this is not huge, chest thumping bass here. In total, the Infini is just about 3 foot by 3.5 x 2.2-inches – it can only rumble but so low. Nevertheless, despite watching the movie for the umpteenth time, the viewing experience was vastly improved due to the deeper lows burbling from the soundbar.
But in truth, praising only the bass does the speaker a disservice, as its mid and high-range frequencies are very good and full of color. In our experiences, no matter how high we cranked the volume, there’s none of the “trumpeting” that’s often associated with budget-friendly audio equipment.
And this brings us to our next point of interest: the volume. In short, this thing gets loud – almost obnoxiously so. While tinkering with the volume setting, we found ourselves wondering who’d ever need to play a movie this loud. And we’re sure the neighbors were wondering the same thing.
Interestingly, the same isn’t true for most music – at least in our experience. While volume is far from ‘lacking’, it’s definitely not as loud as viewing movies. Many of us, indeed, found this odd.
But what’s really impressive about the Infini with regard to the volume control is how ‘sensitive’ it is. In other words, even a single degree of change in one direction or the other results in highly noticeable difference. We all found this to be impressive, wholly unlike most TVs, which requires at least a few degrees of change in one direction or the other (i.e. from volume level 10 to 13) to be noticed.
While we’d say this is a good thing overall, we did notice it could sometimes be frustrating. For example, at one point we ran tests at night and didn’t want to bother others. It was at this moment that we found ourselves wishing for a way to ‘fine tune’ the volume. To our ears, the setting that ‘felt’ appropriate was a bit too low, while one step up felt a touch too loud.
Moving forward, another very impressive feature is the equalizer, which can be set to music, dialogue, or movie mode. Before the Infini arrived in the mail, a few of us had read about this feature and scuffed it off – all thinking it was gimmicky. Well, as it turns out, this is undoubtedly one of its most powerful features.
The looks on our faces when the soundbar first changed from one mode to another was one of astonishment. Many of us were absolutely floored by the stark difference between the different settings.
We found movie mode to be very bass dominate. Though the highs are clear and present, we noticed that some films/shows had to be played at a slightly higher volume in order to clearly hear the dialogue. Again, as mentioned before, this can be an issue if you’re sharing your space with others. Dialogue mode is the polar opposite. It’s all about the highs and mids, virtually no bass to speak of. As one would guess, using this mode most defiantly makes for clearer dialogue, however, due to the absence of bass, in our testing, it’s practically useless when it comes to movie/TV viewing. However, that’s not to say dialogue mode is useless, many find it appropriate for listening to audiobooks, documentaries, and radio.
Lastly, there’s music mode. To our ears, this is the most balanced of the three. There’s a very clean and honest mid/high range – and the bass blends right in the mix. Despite each mode having a predetermined function, we think Anker could have also gone with “mode 1,” “mode 2,” and “mode 3.” Why? Well, depending on which movie/music genre we play, we often find ourselves using an unrelated mode. In other words, sometimes we’ll listen to music on the movie setting and vice versa.
When it’s all said and done, we think Anker’s Soundcore Inifini is well worth its price tag. This is especially true if you find your TV’s speakers to be lacking in one area or another. For just $93, you’ll receive a well-built soundbar that delivers exceptional volume, clear highs, thumping lows. Not to mention, the initial setup is effortless.
In all, the Infiniti fills the ‘value gap’ that often plague those looking for a rewarding movie/tv watching experience without shelling out hundreds (or thousands) for state-of-the-art audio equipment. As mentioned previously, this soundbar is not designed to replace a hi-fi, audiophile setup, but it will certainly add to the overall entertainment value of your favorite movies, music, and shows.