Anker Soundcore Wakey bedside speaker review: Booming audio, with a side of wireless charging

Use your smartphone to configure this Bluetooth speaker, then drop it on top to charge it.

anker soundcore wakey with phone
Anker

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At a Glance
  • Anker Soundcore Wakey

The Soundcore Wakey may just be an alarm clock, but it’s one of the coolest alarm clocks you’re likely to encounter. Soundcore, a sub-brand of Anker, focuses on the basics with a minimalist design, buts it dedication to solid audio and some clever bonus features make the Wakey worth buying.

The pint-sized device, with roughly an 8x4x3-inch (WxDxH) footprint should have no trouble fitting easily on any bedside table. The entire front of the clock is covered by a speaker grill, and LEDs behind the mesh display the time in surprisingly enormous white light. That said, the presentation is a little odd: I’m unclear on why either AM or PM need to consume a third of the display, and the flashing colon between hours and minutes is distracting.

anker soundcore wakey charging phone Anker

The built-in Qi-compatible charging system can put out up to 10 watts of wireless juice.

The good news is that if you’re the type of person that needs absolute darkness to sleep, the Wakey has you covered. Brightness can be set to automatically adjust with the time of day, or you can manually adjust the LEDs or turn them off altogether, either all the time or only at night. When the speaker is dark, you can tap any of its buttons to display the time for a few seconds.

Said buttons are found in a slim bezel along the bottom of the front panel, beneath the speaker. You’ll also find access to various controls here that let you change the volume or source of audio or confirm when your next alarm is set. Any of the controls can also be used as a snooze button.

Anker Wakey app Christopher Null / IDG

You can set up to 10 FM station favorites using Anker’s intuitive mobile app.

You can’t use the controls to set alarms or music sources, however; all of that is done via Soundcore’s mobile app. Once downloaded and paired to the device via Bluetooth, you’ll find a simple interface that lets you manage the primary features of the clock without having to mess with hardware buttons. You can set multiple alarms, which can be keyed to both time of day and day of week, each playing one of 10 alarm tones or your choice of radio station.

You can even individually set the number of snoozes that are allowed for each alarm and the length of the snooze. For bedtime, the Wakey offers a white noise mode, with 11 ambient sounds ranging from gentle rain to (totally not relaxing) freight train noise.

The Wakey’s music-playing features are twofold. First, it’s a Bluetooth speaker, so you can use it to play music stored on your phone or streamed from anywhere. (An aux input is also available.) The system can even work as a phone speaker, and with some patience, you can master answering calls and even switching between two calls via the onboard controls. As well, the unit includes an FM radio (though not an AM radio). Manually tuning and setting favorites is all done via app—though once you’ve set your favorites, you can later switch among them through the hardware controls.

One of the Wakey’s biggest selling points is its ability to charge small devices—such as your smartphone—and not just via the dual 5-watt/2amp USB ports in back. The top of the device also features a Qi-compatible charging puck that can pump out 10 cable-free watts to a Samsung S10, S10+, S9, S9+, S8, S8+, Note 9, or Note 7; or 7.5 watts to an Apple iPhone 11, XR, XS Max, XS, X, or 8 Plus (and while it's not specifically listed on Anker's support page, we've discovered that it will also charge a standard iPhone 8). If you’re the type of person who sleeps with your phone next to you—even though you know it’s bad for your health—it’s a very convenient feature. (You’ll need your phone to use most of the radio’s features, anyway.)

And then there’s the audio quality. The unit packs two 1.75-inch full-range drivers with 10 watts of total output and a claimed frequency response of 170Hz to 20,000Hz. That doesn’t sound like great bass performance, and in regular use I definitely found the Wakey a little weak on the low end. If you need thumping drum and tuba to wake you up, the Wakey might not get the job done—but everyone else will love it.

Its overall quality runs rings around my drugstore clock radio, and its upper frequency reproduction offers amazing clarity, with piano and vocals both showstoppers. It also gets incredibly loud. Anyone sleeping through an alarm on the Wakey is probably dead.

The only significant miss with the $90 Soundcore Wakey is its lack of real smart features, including Wi-Fi connectivity. Integrated Alexa would be a killer feature on this system, especially considering the unit’s audio quality, which the iHome iAVS16B manages to provide for just $10 more (at present). But maybe that’s something for Wakey 2 to explore.

Updated May 18, 2020 to report our finding that the Anker Soundcore Wakey will also wirelessly charge a standard iPhone 8, although that device is currently not listed on Anker's support page.

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At a Glance
  • This upgraded Bluetooth speaker doubles triple duty as a solid alarm clock and a wireless phone charger.

    Pros

    • Wireless charger (plus two USB ports) covers all your bedside power needs
    • Very powerful audio output, well beyond the typical clock radio
    • Thoughtful control features for its LEDs

    Cons

    • Enormous AM/PM on display feels silly
    • No AM radio
    • No real smart features
  
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