Anker Soundcore Rave Neo portable Bluetooth speaker review


It’s only a matter of time until we start having parties again. There will be a lot of get-togethers happening in the near future. I’m already planning my own epic BBQ and you should too. If you’re going to have a party, you’re going to need a great speaker. I’ve been reviewing the Anker Soundcore Rave Neo (coming soon to Best Buy).

It’s a portable Bluetooth speaker with funky lights and 18 hours of playtime. It’s also waterproof, so it can fall right into the water at pool parties and it will still work. If you want to take party hosting to the next level, is this the missing piece? Let’s find out. 

Design of the Anker Soundcore Rave Neo

The Soundcore Rave Neo is about the size of a loaf of bread. It measures approximately 11”x6”x7” (LWD) and weighs 6.61lb. The outer shell casing is constructed from hard plastic with a front metal grill. Inside is the woofer and tweeter with a combined output of 50 watts. An LED ring sits around the woofer. This produces a multi-colour light show.

This speaker was designed for outdoor use. With an IPX7 water resistance rating, it is fully waterproof. On the top are the controls housed in a rubber surface. Here you access the power, volume, and Bluetooth buttons. There is also a BassUp, light mode, and PartyCast buttons. A multi-function button is also available for pausing music, answering or ending calls, and other actions. 

The Rave Neo has a built-in fabric handle that sits just above the top controls on the back. On the bottom, there is a USB-C charging slot, USB-A port, and a 3.5mm aux port. With a USB-C cable, the speaker’s battery can be used to charge a mobile device. This comes in handy during camping trips when power is not available. 

On the very bottom, the Rave Neo sits on four rubber pads. This prevents it from moving around from bass vibrations. 

Using the Soundcore app

The Soundcore Rave Neo works in conjunction with the Soundcore app available for iOS and Android. The app provides additional features such as Light DJ, EQ profiles, and Party Games. Party Games is definitely something I didn’t expect. It uses the lights on the Rave Neo and the app to create games. Users can play Spin the Bottle, Truth or Dare, and more. 

There are Preset EQ settings but users can opt to create custom EQ profiles. Light DJ also you to switch between different light patterns such as Neon City, Jazz Bar, Blue Moon Cafe etc. Users can also adjust the light patterns and colours inside each profile.  

Volume levels can also be controlled inside the Soundcore app. There’s even access to free music on LÜM. LÜM is a music discovery platform for independent artists. The app is also where you can update the firmware and choose the time for auto power off. 

Adding more speakers to the Anker Soundcore Rave Neo

Let’s face it, two speakers are better than one. In fact, three speakers are better than two. Believe it or not, 100+ speakers can be connected to the Soundcore Rave Neo through Anker’s PartyCast technology. 

In most cases, there are two ways to add additional speakers. The first is with True Wireless Stereo (TWS) Mode. This is suitable if someone has two Rave Neo speakers. In this setup, the two speakers can play music on the left and right channels. By itself, the Rave Neo produces a mono output. 

The second method is with PartyCase Mode. Here, the first Rave Neo is set as the primary speaker. Users then press and hold the PartyCast button for 2 seconds on multiple Rave Neo speakers to enter ParyCast mode. Once connected, you can adjust the volume or switch lights for all the speakers by controlling the primary speaker. You cannot adjust the volumes for speakers individually. 

Using the Anker Soundcore Rave Neo

I consider myself to be an expert in two things: Bluetooth speakers and LED lights. Naturally, when you combine them together, my interest peaks. 

The first feature I look for in any Bluetooth party speaker is Dual Bluetooth Connection. Thankfully, the Soundcore Rave Neo has it. This allows you to pair up to 2 mobile devices via Bluetooth. This feature is critical in parties. There’s always someone else who wants to play DJ. With this feature, people can take turns playing music off their devices. I use this feature often in my backyard parties, especially with multi-generational crowds with different music tastes. 

Another party feature I tested out was BassUp. You can definitely feel the pump of the bass, especially up close. I like the fact that they include this Bass button to activate and deactivate the boost. We don’t always party. I used the Rave Neo inside my house and turned BassUp off. If I couldn’t turn the bass down, I probably wouldn’t use it inside. 

I’ll admit the light show is pretty epic. It follows the beat of the music turning any space into a club atmosphere. Naturally, its effect is more pronounced at night than in the day. I much prefer to toggle the different lights with the light show button and not the app. The handle makes it super easy to carry around too. 

Sound-wise, you can tell this speaker was made for parties. It sounds great when turned up loud and I couldn’t hear any distortion at max volume in both the lows and highs. Any type of modern pop music will sound great, especially songs with a lot of low-end bass.

Final Thoughts on Anker Soundcore Rave Neo

Wireless speakers today are like sneakers. We now have separate sneakers for running, hiking, and walking. In that regard, the Anker Soundcore Rave Neo party speaker is a specific-purpose portable speaker. It’s made for parties, plain and simple. 

Is it a perfect party speaker? I would say no. There are things I would have liked to see. First, I wish it produced 360 degrees sound. That would let you place it anywhere during a party and still get a full sound from every direction.

I also wish the light show was on both sides. Those two features alone would make it the centrepiece of any party. Speaking of which, I also wish there was a microphone input for drunk karaoke. We all need more drunk karaoke in our lives. 

That said, Anker did get a lot of things right. It’s waterproof, provides dual Bluetooth connections, and has a fantastic light show. Those are three things must-have features for any party speaker. 

If you’re ready to up your party game to the next level, the Anker Soundcore Rave Neo should be high on your gear list. Keep an eye out for this one as it’s coming soon to Best Buy.

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.