Anker is a well-known brand in the mobile space: the company’s battery packs and other accessories are simple, functional, and thrifty. Anker hopes to bring that same vibe to its Soundcore sub-brand, now expanding into home theater.
The Infini series consists of two cheaper soundbars, the standard and “Mini,” both offering stereo sound at under a hundred bucks. But the Infini Pro is an interesting proposal from Anker: premium, powerful sound, with a simple setup that appeals to non-audiophiles who want better audio from their TV.
It uses a 2.1 setup with an integrated subwoofer and very few frills in terms of connections or settings but adds in Dolby’s Atmos kinda-sorta-surround sound and Bluetooth to help justify the higher $250 price tag.
And for the most part, it succeeds. Anker’s minimalist approach to design will undoubtedly be welcome by people who don’t know—or care—what ARC or optical audio cables are. The simple setup makes it easy to get good sound from more or less anything with barely any thought. This comes at the expense of flexibility and a higher cost—$250 might be more than some are willing to spend.
Keep It Simple, Soundbar
Building off the critical success of the Infini and Infini Mini, Anker keeps things simple with the Pro. At a little over three feet wide and 4.5 inches deep, the bar is bigger than many in this price range but justifies the size with the integrated subwoofer and top-firing Atmos speakers hiding behind the fabric wrapping.
There’s something notable in its absence, however: a screen. Even cheap soundbars often include a small LED for basic audio and source management, but the Infini Pro does without. Instead, it uses a short row of LEDs, opposite the hardware buttons on the top of the central unit, to indicate connection and input status.
On its own, that’s not a bad idea. Keeping the user interface to a minimum is a good call for something that’s going to be sitting in front of your TV. But while the LEDs are pleasantly obscured when you’re watching from a chair or couch, that means you’ll need to stand up to see if the input you’ve modified has any effect. It’s a surprising whiff in terms of usability.
Elsewhere in the box, you get some minimal documentation and an infrared remote, which has a simplified control setup that looks very similar to the mini remotes from Roku, Apple TV, et al. The remote is minimalism done right, with an intuitive layout that nonetheless manages to find a logical spot for every function. After a couple of days, I could control everything I needed to without relying on a backlight. Which is good, since the remote doesn’t have one. You’ll also get some small, flush brackets for mounting the soundbar to a wall.
Not Looking For a Hookup
The Infini Pro’s input options are a bit sparse, but they should get the job done for the vast majority of users. HDMI pass-through and HDMI ARC will take care of things for most TV and receiver connections—though if you have an audio receiver, I doubt you’d be looking for an all-in-one soundbar solution. Optical audio input and a standard headphone jack are there if you want to keep things even simpler. The rear panel includes what looks like a USB 3.0 port, but the manual says it’s for service only: it can’t be used for an audio connection or directly loading local music.
One extra trick is Bluetooth 5.0, allowing the user to play audio directly from a phone. (Or a laptop or a tablet or even a television, but let’s be real here: you’re going to connect from your phone.) This is a nice inclusion and seems to be expected above a specific price point these days, but I can’t say it’s something I rely on regularly. If I’m already in front of my TV with my phone, I’ll be using Chromecast or just manually opening music via the Roku interface.
And yeah, that’s pretty much it in terms of I/O. One additional function of the fancy Bluetooth is that you can control the Infini Pro from your phone; however, the Soundcore app doesn’t do anything that the remote can’t handle faster and more efficiently. You can also control power, volume, and source with the buttons on the bar itself, but they’re touch buttons instead of more traditional tactile buttons, so this is more of a hassle than anything else. Again, the remote is the far better option.
The Sound of Surprise
As someone who loves cheap TVs, I’m no stranger to low-end soundbars, since they’re a must-have if you want to be able to hear, well, anything on a low-end model with its piddly integrated speakers. So I was expecting the Infini Pro to be at least moderately better than the cheap LG 2.0 bar I’ve been using for years since it’s more than twice as expensive.
What I wasn’t expecting was just how much better it would be. Despite only a nominal improvement in overall sound and power (the Infini Pro has 120 watts across its tweeters, woofers, and subwoofers, compared to the LG’s 100w), the difference in overall sound was dramatic. The upward-firing subwoofers, the “.1” in the Soundcore’s 2.1 rating that pull double duty as its Dolby Atmos surround sound feature, offer a huge boost to overall volume and balance.
“Integrated” subwoofers are something I’ve only seen on much more expensive soundbars, the kind that try to combine good sound with a dash of elegance by ditching the dedicated subwoofer box. Anker’s managed to get that feature on a comparatively economical design. I’d be lying if I said I was blown away by its power or quality, but considering the price, the volume, and the relatively small size of the soundbar, it’s an excellent combination of features.
What about surround sound? That’s a bit harder to make a definitive call on. Dolby’s Atmos system simulates real surround sound by bouncing sounds off the walls of a room, which is iffy at best. The Infini Pro’s Atmos mode didn’t make a difference to the Netflix movies I watched with it (5.1 Atmos-compatible sound enabled); it just made them louder and more bassy. That makes sense since the upward-firing subwoofers are the source of the surround channels.
My living room isn’t a pristine audio testing chamber, but with my TV and couch equidistant from walls on the side and not far from the back, it’s pretty ideal for Atmos. Even so, I couldn’t hear any specific benefit from the surround channels. It could be that my environment isn’t great, or it could be that it just isn’t all that effective in a 2.1 setup (other sound bars with integrated Atmos have a 5-channel tweeter/woofer arrangement in the bar itself). The bottom line is that I don’t recommend you buy the Infini Pro as a substitute for a surround setup, for all that Anker is pushing the Dolby Atmos feature.
Premium Features for a Simple Setup
At $250, the Infini Pro is a significant step up from the bottom tier of budget sound bars. And that jump comes with a few drawbacks, like a relatively simple setup for I/O, poor surround performance, and settings that are hard to see from a sitting position. If you want a sound bar that really lets you dig into its settings or connect to half a dozen different sources at once, this isn’t it.
Having said all that: the Infini Pro hits all of Anker’s high notes. It’s simple, with a well configured remote and an interface that won’t confuse even novices. And while it’s more expensive than some options, it’s punching above its weight in terms of features, size, and sound quality.
If you’re ready to invest a little more in your entertainment center’s sound, without expanding to a full surround setup or something that needs a lot of space, the Infini Pro is an excellent choice.
Here’s What We Like
- Great, powerful sound
- Simple interface and remote
- Compact size with integrated subwoofer
- ARC support
And What We Don't
- Questionable Dolby Atmos utility
- Top-mounted interface lights are hard to see