Beats Pill

Score

Sections

Pros

  • NFC Bluetooth pairing
  • Clear conference calls

Cons

  • Music reproduction is weak and lacks bass
  • Exorbitantly expensive
  • Limited battery life

Key Features

  • Review Price: £169.99
  • 4x 1in 3W drivers
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Call conferencing
  • Up to eight hours battery life

Introduction


As we leap head first into 2013 it is impossible to reflect on 2012 without admitting the huge effect Beats By Dre

has had on the audio sector. It is hard to walk down the street, use

public transport or follow a footballer’s tweets without regularly

seeing a pair and the company has finally got consumers thinking more

carefully about what they feed their ears. It is somewhat ironic then

that we have yet to be entirely convinced by the sound quality of any of

this fashion brand’s products.

Beats Pill 2

Beats Pill – Design

The

New Year gives us another chance to re-evaluate, however, as Beats is

expanding beyond earphones and headphones with its first Bluetooth

portable speaker due for release in mid January. It is dubbed the Beats

Pill and only the most cursory of glances is required to explain the

naming. Dr Dre designers have conjured up a long 190mm cylindrical form

factor with a 45mm diameter which weighs in at just 310g and houses no

less than four 1in drivers.

Despite Dre’s fashion sensibilities

it is hard to describe the Pill as a good looking product. It certainly

isn’t ugly, with a metal front grill and matt rubberised base and back

testament to excellent build materials, but it doesn’t quicken the

pulse. Adding some street cred is the dominant central Beats logo which

initiates Bluetooth pairing when held down for 3 seconds and turns red

when the speaker is in use. The Pill also packs NFC so you can pair an

NFC equipped smartphone just by tapping it on the speaker, which is a

nice touch (pun very much intended).
Beats Pill 3
On

the top of the Pill are ‘ ‘ and ‘-‘ labelled volume buttons and at the

rear is a power button, Bluetooth indicator, micro USB charge port and

3.5mm auxiliary input and output jacks. Somewhat lost in the design is

the subtle mic pinhole just below the main Beats branding. This allows

the Pill to double up as a conferencing device for taking calls, an

increasingly popular and potentially useful element of functionality for

wireless speakers.

Beats Pill – Audio Performance

So

what does it sound like? According to the marketing blurb the Pill

“produces powerful sound [making it] easy to enjoy soaring highs and

deep, booming bass in every room of the house” as well as on the move.
Beats Pill 6
This

is big talk and comes from a brand famous for the bombastic signatures

of its headphones and earphones. To this end the Pill packs in no less

than four 1in drivers. These offer a combined 12W of output (4 x 3W) and

while watts mean little it does suggest it should give established

models like the 5W

Jawbone Jambox something to think about as well as running the class

leading 15W

Pasce Minirig close..