AnkerWork might not be the first brand you look to for creator microphones, but the M650 is feature-packed and excellent in just about every way.
the good bits
Loaded with clever quality of life touches
Quality dual microphones
Flexible output connection options
Compact charging case
the not so good bits
Noise cancellation can impact audio quality
Slightly shallow vocal performance
AnkerWork M650 Wireless Lavalier Microphone
Say Anker and most people instantly think batteries and power banks, but the household name has a few other forms you might be less familiar with. The AnkerWork sub-brand is a corporate mix of conference cameras and speakerphones, but tucked away are a couple of options for taking out of the office too.
The AnkerWork M650 is an all-in-one wireless microphone solution for streamers and creators. A pair of wearable lavalier mics with a unique mobile receiver, it hits the market as a long overdue challenger for the popular RODE Wireless GO. The Australian brand may have a head start but on paper the M650 has all the attributes to catch up quickly.
For a small box, there’s quite a lot to unpack with the AnkerWork M650. A £249.99 price point means the M650 is far from an entry level option, but the inclusions list makes for pleasant reading and it’s nice to see an all-in-one option actually be all-in-one with no hidden extra costs.
The first big tick is there’s two identical microphones included with the M650 as standard. Each is a charming little cookie of a mic, a 45mm disc weighing just 30g with a choice of black or white as the primary colour. I say primary, as regardless of which you choose you’ll find an extra pair of livelier coloured shells in the box.
While these interchangeable covers are a nice chance to make the M650 feel your own, you can’t choose your alternate colours and AnkerWork don’t offer a way to get more so the customisation is somewhat limited.
Like the RODE Wireless GO, each M650 microphone comes with a built-in clip for easily attaching to clothes. It’s nicely balanced and manages to avoid the microphone flipping over on itself like I’ve seen from the Wireless GO in the past. Each clip is attached with a surprisingly strong magnet which is both super clever and a bit of a game-changer.
Such a simple thing unlocks so much freedom when it comes to proper positioning, it’s an a-ha moment that I’m surprised RODE hasn’t clocked on to already. More often than not I chose to mount the AnkerWork M650 with the magnet through a shirt rather than hanging off the edge with a clip, it’s a great solution.
Along the top edge of each M650 puck you’ll find the onboard mic as well as 3.5mm input if you want to bring your own lavalier and just use the M650 as a wireless transmitter, more points for flexibility. There’s a mute button on the side though I’d have preferred a slide switch here as I often found myself or guests muting the microphone accidentally while trying to fit it.
Both microphones simultaneously talk to a receiver offering a 1.47” touchscreen that’s sharp and clear with a neatly laid out interface and enough backlight punch to still be easily read in bright sun. Each microphone instantly connected anytime it was removed from the charging case which is a really slick user experience, it makes for lightning fast setup with no delays while you try to pair things.
Rather than relying solely on a 3.5mm auxiliary output, the AnkerWork M650 includes swappable USB-C and lightning connectors that see the receiver plug straight into mobile devices. It’s genius. In a world where the headphone jack is near extinction, being able to connect and go with any modern phone, and switch between them on the fly, is near perfection. It also solves the problem of how to handle the receiver itself, particularly for solo shooting, as the receiver bolts on securely like an attachment to the phone itself rather than a nuisance swinging freely about the place.
The receiver and both microphones neatly slot into the included charging case with a satisfying magnetic click and there’s dedicated spots for the two receiver adapters too. The only notable absence here is a place to store the two included external windscreens, AnkerWork seems to have thought about so many little details with the M650 so it’s a shame this was overlooked.
The case itself juices everything up via a single USB-C input and also acts as a 2,600mAh power bank boosting overall use time to 15 hours on a single charge. It’s clever, it’s functional and I love it.
All these nifty design touches and quality of life wins count for nothing if the AnkerWork M650 falls into the same trap as the Razer Seiren BT however. A microphone needs to record nice audio before it worries about looking good after all. Thankfully, AnkerWork has done well here too.
For recording on the go, the AnkerWork M650 does a more than admirable job. Through testing in a range of situations I found it easy to record great sounding dialogue without needing to fuss to achieve it. While the sound may be a little shallow overall, voices come through clear and natural with a minimal amount of distortion.
Filming a two person conversation, the AnkerWork M650 recorded audio that made it easy to believe you were standing there with them. Levels were rock solid and there were no issues with feedback or audio bleeding from one microphone to the other.
Chances are, more often than not the M650 is going to be used out and about and that brings the sound tech’s worst nightmare – wind. Thankfully AnkerWork offers a few weapons in the fight, both by design and inadvertently.
There’s VoiceShield noise cancelling tech built in, though I’d recommend looking at this as a garnish rather than relying on it as the main course. While it does work well to cut out background distractions, there’s some noticeable friendly fire involved that did have an impact on overall sound quality. In a noisy stadium environment and with VoiceShield on high, the M650 managed to almost solely feature the voices but they sounded manufactured and a tad robotic as a result. It was still listenable and likely better than with the background noise included, but there was a definite drop in quality.
To help tackle wind before it becomes a problem AnkerWork includes mini dead cat windshields that take advantage of the 3.5mm jack to clip on. It’s another clever solution that’s far sturdier and easier to use than the fiddly clips found on the Wireless GO. These were fine to a point but did start to let through more rumble than I’d like as the wind picked up.
I found the best solution was to use the magnet clips and mount the AnkerWork M650 microphones backwards. Putting the mic inside a shirt with the clip on the outside delivered wonderfully clear, crisp audio – even without a windshield attached. The clips are also half the footprint of the M650 mic itself so even easier to hide in shot.
While AnkerWork boasts up to 200m of range between transmitter and receiver, you’ll need perfect conditions to achieve it. Much like the RODE Wireless GO, how happily the M650 works at distance is entirely dependent on what’s going on in between. Line of sight is king here and I found that while I was able to maintain a stable connection from surprisingly far away, this was slashed as soon as anything got in the middle. Even from just a handful of metres back, facing away from the receiver while wearing the M650 saw the connection become spotty.
The receiver’s touchscreen is responsive and while it’s only a small area, an intuitive set of gestures makes it super simple to achieve a lot. Swipe left to manage one mic, swipe right to manage the other – it just makes sense and I found myself knowing where to go without needing to be told and that is the biggest compliment you can pay a UI. There’s live monitoring of input levels to make sure everything is coming through properly as well as the ability to control onboard recording where you’ll get up to 7 hours of storage.
AnkerWork has smashed it. The M650 wireless microphone is a joy to use and delivers plenty of value. It’s loaded with clever design touches, most of which solve the headaches caused by shortcomings in rival options.
Yes, the vocals can be a little thin at times but that’s easily balanced out in post production or in situations where you need a little more punch you can also plug in an external option and take advantage of the M650’s wireless strength.
If you’re a creator on the go looking for natural vocals for videos, the AnkerWork M650 is one to look out for.