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Soundcore Motion 300 vs Bose SoundLink Flex - Overpriced Flex Thursday, November 16, 2023 - by Soumya Roy watch on youtube

The Soundcore Motion 300 vs Bose SoundLink Flex - Overpriced Flex

Motion 300 falls apart at higher volume but Bose plays cleaner Thursday, November 16, 2023 - by Soumya Roy

photo of soundcore motion 300 and bose soundlink flex

Soundcore Motion 300 looks like it could be inspired by the Bose SoundLink Flex, but the Motion 300 is smartly designed to have its own place among other similar category portable Bluetooth speakers. Both have fancy orientation or position-based adaptive EQ settings. I am going to write about those in detail a bit later in this article. There is a huge difference in price, though. The Motion 300 costs 80 USD and the Flex costs way higher at 150 USD. Is it worth buying the SoundLink Flex, by spending 70 USD more than the Soundcore …? I have done my research on both to let you guys know which one is better for what scenarios. I am very interested in digging into these smart and powerful speakers.




Inside-the-box Comparison

There is not much to write here, saving my energy for later sections. Both speakers come with pretty similar accessories. There is one USB Type-C to Type-C charging cable for the Motion 300, but a USB Type-A to Type-C one for the Flex. It is an updated cable for the Soundcore. A quick start guide is also there on both, but no charger in any package. So pretty minimal and straight­forward - check this Flex setup video. You can download manuals for Motion 300 and SoundLink Flex using the provided links if you need them.




Design & Build Analogy

If I had to choose between the two speakers, I would take the Motion 300 without any hesitation. In my honest opinion, the Soundcore Motion 300 looks way better than the Flex. So, the Motion 300 has a really unique lovely symmetric design, which I really love about the speaker. It is really even on both sides. The build quality is also very decent for the price. The whole body is made out of plastic with rubberized surface material. The top has an aluminum grille, which is a solid touch. It has a hefty weight of 775 grams, which feels solid and durable in hand. You can put it down on its sides, but looks like it was built to lay flat on the surface.



The Bose on the other hand doesn’t attract me in terms of design. It looks like a puffed-up old design, which is not symmetric at all. The build quality is quite good actually. It has a silicone exterior with a steel grille on the front side. The most premium thing to me about the Flex is the IP67 rating, which means it’s water and dustproof - it floats too. Not as heavy as the Motion 300 at 587 grams. It can sit on the side too, like in a landscape orientation.


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So, IPX7 on the Soundcore vs IP67 on the Bose - Bose wins in terms of build quality justifying the way higher price by a little. But both speakers are solid and robust with shock or fall-resistant capability. But I love the modern design on the Soundcore way more to care about the dustproof rating on the Bose. Also, I like the button layout on the Motion 300 speaker more. Both have carrying straps, but a detachable one on the Soundcore. Please, keep reading to know how the higher price contributes to the overall value of the Bose.




Configuration Check

The Motion 300 has a huge advantage here because of its stereo configuration. It has 2 full-range drivers with a passive radiator on the front side and another passive radiator on the back of the speaker. Even though it's not quite a balanced way to even out the drivers' movements, but its barely noticeable stereo adds to the experience. It will make the sound more dynamic than a mono setup. The Motion 300 is rated as a 30-watt speaker, which is quite enough for a small portable speaker. We can expect decent punch at the cost of some efficiency from it. The full-range drivers are 48 mm each - powered by a 2-cell battery pack.



SoundLink Flex is old-school with a mono setup. It kinda sucks when the retail price is 150 USD but the speaker is mono. This can be a deal breaker for a lot of people. To overcome this, the sound signature needs to be really dynamic, exciting and pleasant to listen to. So, the Bose is driven by a single full-range driver with a passive radiator at the front and another passive radiator at the back. The single driver is 20 watts, probably 54 mm in size.


teardown images of soundcore motion 300 and bose soundlink flex

They have support for apps. The Soundcore app is quite nice and there are a lot of useful features. An impressive thing is that both speakers can detect their orientations. So depending on their positions like laying, standing and hanging, they can change their sound signature. This is quite smart and I will dive deeper into this in the sound quality section.




Sound Quality Comparison

There is a lot to talk about the sound quality here because these speakers do fancy stuff dynamically depending on their position. So I am going to break it down into 3 sub-sections like standing mode, laying mode and hanging mode to drive a better comparison. Both speakers from Soundcore and Bose support orientation detection by using combinations of gyroscope and accelerometer. But Soundcore offers dedicated custom EQ for all three modes. This sounds ridiculous but true that Motion 300 being much cheaper is way advanced.



Standing Mode

This is what I call the landscape mode like your phone in landscape mode when you rotate it from its normal portrait mode. But here the standing mode seems like the normal mode to me for both of them even though they have little teeny-tiny bottom feet. So let's talk about the Motion 300 first as it is way more exciting. By default, it has the Soundcore Signature mode and the Xtra Bass mode that you can also toggle manually using the BASS button without actually going into the app. But if you want to change the custom EQ for any particular orientation, you need to set your custom EQ in the app - it will save that for the future.


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So the Motion 300 will automatically apply the saved preset or EQ for standing mode if you put it on its standing mode. But as of now, I think only custom EQ can be set separately for all 3 modes, setting a preset will affect all 3 modes. If you set the Xtra Bass preset, all the modes will be on that preset when they are in their respective positions.



The frequency response is different in Xtra Bass mode. You get a sense of bass-heavy response but without any real gain in the bass region. When you press the BASS button, Motion 300 drops the mids and highs from 400 Hz and up. So without adjusting the volume, it will sound little muddy and dull. Mids and highs get reduced but bass stays the same, which makes it a more bassy response but you lose overall volume.


Soundcore Motion 300 Xtra Bass vs Signature mode frequency response

So you need to turn up the volume a little bit to get the actual gain in the bass frequencies. Previous Soundcore speakers like the Motion+ have proper bass-up mode, but here with the Motion 300, they are reducing mids and highs relative to bass. But the amount of bass this small speaker can produce is pretty amazing. The bass frequencies are peaking at around 85 Hz on that track, which is kinda mid-bass but far from deep-bass.



Bose Flex on the counter position has a totally different frequency response. Their approach is also pretty different than Soundcore. There is no embedded custom EQ for the Flex, but there is PositionIQ Technology. Flex will change its sound signature depending on those position-based modes to give you a better listening experience. You cannot press any button to make it go bass-light or bass-heavy. By default, it already has a bass-heavy frequency response. Real-world listening through tracks can be quite different as the bass peaks will be in different frequencies than doing a frequency response check.


Soundcore Motion 300 vs Bose SoundLink Flex frequency response

So both of them have bass peaks at around 76 Hz in their frequency responses. But Bose has way less mids than Soundcore. Bose offers a V-shaped sound signature, but Motion 300 has a gradual rise toward the high-end. So it is a bright sound signature on the Soundcore. In the frequency response Motion 300 is on standing Xtra Bass mode, which is one of the two defaults. At average listening volume, the Bose sounds good enough with decent bass and clean highs, but missing mids are pretty noticeable.


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For the lack of mids, it sounds pretty clean with nice clarity. On the other hand, Motion 300 also has good bass response but the highs are a bit pushed, which sounds pretty bright sizzly unnatural sometimes. But for a low-level listening, Motion 300 has a pretty balanced sound signature. The sense of soundstage is also better for its stereo configuration. So I think having more details in the midrange with nice sparkle and shimmer in the highs, the overall more balanced sound of Motion 300 puts it ahead in low to moderate listening volume.



For high-level listening, I think the Bose sounds more dynamic, controlled and balanced. Because the mids start to fill up as you turn up the volume. It’s not V-shaped at higher volumes. So, Bose holds onto more bass but does not push mids and highs like the Soundcore. Because of this Bose plays cleaner with more bass but less overall volume. Motion 300 sounds very unpleasant at near-maximum volumes for having less bass but sounds quite a bit louder. Bose has less distortion too - distortion on the Soundcore can get pretty bad. The higher price for the Bose kinda kicks in here and overall Bose is better for somewhat enjoyable high-level listening. Going louder without decent bass on the Soundcore feels cheap.



Laying Mode

The laying mode, lying mode like the app seems to address it, represents the position when the speaker lays flat on the surface on its bottom itty-bitty standoffs. So you will be listening off-axis in this orientation. You might feel a little bit more bass because of the support the speaker might get from the surface by laying on there. But you lose a big chunk of high-end, listening like that off-axis if it stays in standing mode tuning. This is where the SmartTune Technology comes into play for the Soundcore Motion 300 speaker.



As the high-end drops for off-axis listening, the laying mode tuning bumps up the high-end to make it more balanced for your ears. There is a delay in switching modes, like you’re playing in standing mode, and you lay down the Motion 300, it will not switch to laying mode instantly. There is enough time to measure the difference, like the way Alan Ross Reviews did. You should check out his video to know more about the technical measurements.


frequency response of soundcore motion 300 on standing mode vs lying mode

The frequency response was measured on-axis. There is a trickery to mention, you can measure on-axis standing mode with no problem, but you need to be quick while measuring laying mode by switching it from laying to standing mode. But it will actually be in standing mode after a short delay. And in the meantime, the measuring will be done. So this way you can measure both modes exactly the same way for better comparison.



Between the two modes standing vs laying measured exactly the same way, laying mode has a little bit more bass and a lot more high-end boost. So it makes real sense now, because in the real world, while you will be listening using laying mode tuning, the boosted high-end will actually help to balance out the frequency response. This is helpful as you will be listening off-axis, you would perceive muddy sound if it continued playing in standing mode.


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For Bose the tuning doesn’t seem balanced at all, there is a big wide suck-out at around 4 KHz. But there are weird things going on in the frequency response. From that, you can come to the conclusion that the speaker is changing its tuning in the lying down position. There is an added peak at 6.5 KHz and that big dip at 4 kHz, so I think the PositionIQ tech is working but it’s not polished and refined well enough. Bose SoundLink Flex was released years ago, so Soundcore is doing it smartly by being a newcomer in the bazaar.


 frequency response of Bose SoundLink Flex on standing mode vs lying mode

The sound signature on Bose in lying mode is pretty bass-heavy. It’s already a bassy speaker for low-level listening, but the lying mode makes it even more bassy. The upper-mids are missing with a huge dip, and it sounds like a lot of details are missing. But because of that dip at 4 KHz and punchy bass, it will sound pretty clean, warm and relaxed. Also the high-end doesn’t sound harsh and mids don’t sound sharp in lying mode.



Hanging Mode

These speakers are pretty smart - especially the Motion 300, which has been popping up on the market recently. The value-for-money aspect of the Soundcore is pretty impressive. These modes also help with marketing tactics. In hanging mode both speaker is mono. The Soundcore goes to mono from stereo, which I think is only okay when it's in hanging position but on a surface or something. Why do you need to switch to mono when the speaker is literally hanging and there is space on all sides ...? Maybe they are experimenting and trying out different things with these modes. The Motion 300 sounds louder but by the cost of some bass. So it was already bass light at higher volume and hanging mode is even worse.


frequency response of soundcore motion 300 on standing mode vs hanging mode

I would like to mention that because of their boosted high-end, some tracks will sound very bright if the track itself has got stuff there to deal with. This problem is present on both speakers but it is not a major issue in most scenarios.




Features & Battery Comparison

Motion 300 offers way more advanced features than the Flex. The Soundcore app supports this speaker and you can tinker the Motion 300 on another level. The app has a custom 9-band EQ, where you can expand the frequency bands and gain a bit more flexibility. The EQ works really well and you can tune it to personalize the sound. On top of that, there is SmartTune Technology to detect any orientation change and switch to different sound profiles. This is a very smart way to provide an overall better listening experience. This fancy feature works okay too, where the default sound signature for those 3 modes makes sense.



Bose SoundLink Flex is a much older device. Taking that into consideration, it offers good features as well. Their PositionIQ tech is also able to detect positional changes. But the tuning on those position-based modes doesn’t provide a perceived balanced sound. Anyway, Bose offers IP67 protection vs IPX7 on the Soundcore. Bluetooth 5.3 for Motion 300 vs 4.2 on the SoundLink Flex. Higher quality LDAC on the Motion 300 vs basic SBC codec on the Flex. The YouTube playback latency seems to be better on the Bose.



Bose also has an app but with way less useful features. It can be paired with some other Bose speakers to make it stereo from mono. The Motion 300 supports true wireless stereo pairing, which sounds more dynamic, exciting and immersive. Both support type-c charging, 5 volts 3 amps charging for Soundcore but 5 volts 1.5 amps for Bose.



Both speakers claim to have a playback time of 12 hours at moderate or average listening volumes. They take around 4 hours to fully charge. Motion 300 has a 3350 mAh 7.2 volts battery pack, which is equivalent to a 6700 mAh 3.6 volts battery pack. The Bose has a 3.67 volts 3100 mAh battery, which is quite small in comparison. I do think that the overall playback time on the Bose will be lower than what they are claiming.




Conclusion

I think the Motion 300 is offering high value for its price. There is nothing critically wrong with its sound signature. And the overall experience and flexibility seem pretty good. Some weird stuff going on with some other Soundcore speakers, but I genuinely think the Motion 300 is worth buying with all the bells and whistles it currently has. Maybe later on issues may appear, like sound signature can get updated, who knows other than they themselves. The SoundLink Flex is also a worthy opponent, but the price is too high.


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Bose will be a better option for you if you have twice the money of Motion 300 to spend and you prefer to listen to higher volumes most of the time. Otherwise, the 300 is a clear budget option, which only falls apart at higher volumes. Some might prefer the 300 as it goes much louder than Flex, even though both are pretty small speakers. Both have pros and cons, like the Bose can hold onto its bass at higher volume but doesn't go as loud as the 300. The Motion 300 goes loud but sounds bass-light and cheap at near-max volume. You should check out my reviews on the Soundcore Motion+ and Soundcore Boost speakers.



Overall the Motion 300 is a way smarter option and offers a lot for just 80 USD. The app and custom EQ are huge addition to the experience. Bose charges more for their big brand name, arguably better build quality like IP67 and maybe a slightly better quality custom-designed transducer. But I recommend the Motion 300 without a doubt - get 2 of them instead of 1 Bose and enjoy more immersive stereo. Check out the official product page of Bose SoundLink Flex and Soundcore Motion 300 to discover more.



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