Beats Pill Review

Sections

Pros

  • NFC Bluetooth pairing
  • Clear conference calls

Cons

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

Key Specifications

  • 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..

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