Amazon-native brands like Anker and RAVPower have been making basic, affordable sound bars for a while now, ceding the high-end ground to more established players like Vizio, Sony, and Sonos. But Anker’s new Soundcore Infini Pro is a definite incursion into the legacy brands’ home theater audio hegemony, even if it’s not yet a full-on assault.
The most eye-popping spec of the Soundcore Infini Pro is the one you should probably pay the least attention to: Dolby Atmos. It’s true that it can accept Atmos audio, and a status light even turns blue when it’s successfully receiving an Atmos source, but the Infini Pro isn’t an Atmos sound bar in the truest sense. While the Pro has two tweeters, two midrange drivers, and two subwoofers inside, only the woofers are actually pointed upwards, so it can’t bounce dedicated Atmos channels sound off your ceiling like other sound bars with true upward-firing drivers.
It’s not the only Atmos sound bar out there like this-LG and Sony have similar offerings-and use various virtualization techniques (with official blessing from Dolby) to virtualize the Atmos experience, at least to an extent. I watched part of The Martian via my Apple TV with Atmos turned on, and it sounded excellent, but not noticeably different or more immersive than the sound bar’s usual faux-surround sound mode (more on that in a bit).
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So if it’s not the most impressive Atmos sound bar, what is the Infini Pro? It’s a really great-sounding, really easy-to-set-up 2.1 channel sound bar with remarkably good bass for a bar without a separate subwoofer. It’s not going to overwhelm you with sound tuning options (the only thing you can adjust is the bass level), but you can pick from four different EQ options tuned for movies, music, voice, or a type of simulated surround sound that, to my ears, was reminiscent of Yamaha’s DTS:Virtual X sound bar. That is to say, I wouldn’t mistake it for the “real” surround sound from my typical Vizio setup, but it’s awfully convincing without the need to set up satellite speakers, or even a subwoofer.
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On the back, you’ll find an optical audio port (which doesn’t support Atmos), an HDMI input, and an HDMI output with ARC support, which allows you to control your volume with your regular TV remote. It also has Bluetooth 5.0 built in, allowing you to use it as a giant Bluetooth speaker, or even control your volume and settings with a smartphone app.
So is the Infini Pro worth its $250 MSRP, compared to cheaper sound bars like Anker’s own Infini? It certainly sounds better and has more advanced connectivity options than any “cheap” sound bar I’ve ever experienced, and it would be a great (if somewhat expensive) option for a secondary TV in a bedroom. But if you really want Atmos audio in a sound bar form, I’d recommend saving your pennies for the ~$500 5.1.2 LG SK9Y, or better yet, the ~$900 5.1.4 Vizio SB46514-F6, which includes four distinct, true upward-firing channels. But given the pace of Anker’s product releases, we can only assume that it’s a matter of time before they release a Soundcore soundbar with a more fleshed out Atmos experience.