Beats Pill review: Better Than Bose 550?

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Lately I’ve reviewed several compact, lightweight Bluetooth speakers and the set of Jawbone Jambox opponents just keeps growing. Among the higher-profile entries in the field may be the $199 Beats by Dr. Dre Pill, which, obviously, appears like a pill — the capsule kind, anyway.

While it wasn’t with out a few glitches, its striking design, strong sound because of its size, plus some extra features, such as for example tap-to-pair NFC (for smartphones just like the Samsung Galaxy S3 that support near-field communication), an audio tracks output, and Apt-X technology, help set it apart, though it really is overpriced.

Design


Overall, I came across the 10.9-ounce Pill, which will come in three colors (black, red, white) to be among the better-designed mini lightweight Bluetooth speakers out there. It’s slightly bigger and heavier compared to the Jambox and I liked its cylindrical condition — it fits nicely at hand. The merchandise ships with an excellent travel case and the Pill stows away in your luggage or backpack easily enough. It’s just a little bulky for notebook computer bags, though it’ll fit fine as long as you are not toting around an excessive amount of stuff just how I typically do.

Not surprisingly, underneath of the machine is rubberized to keep it from active when you crank the quantity and turn up a bass-heavy track. In my own tests, it stayed in a single place even at higher volumes.

Features


As noted, the Pill includes a handful of extra features. Just like the Jambox and the Jabra Solemate, it includes a built-in speakerphone. If a call will come in as long as you’re streaming music to the speaker, you can hit the “B” button on leading of the speaker to take the decision and the music will pause.

These tap-to-pair NFC feature, that i tried with a Samsung Galaxy S3, sounds much better than it really is since it only saves you a couple of seconds of setup time, if that.

For the Apt-X technology, it’s likely to enhance audio tracks fidelity, but Personally, i had trouble telling the difference in sound quality when I streamed from the Apt-X-enabled Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 4S, which does not have Apt-X.

The ultimate feature worth highlighting may be the Pill’s connectivity. It charges via USB and has both an music input and an music output. Many of these little lightweight speakers have an input allowing you to connect non-Bluetooth devices, so no biggie there. However the sound output is sort of interesting. It enables you to hook up the speaker to AV receiver or amp and stream audio tracks wirelessly from your own computer or mobile device to the Pill, which in turn outputs sound to your house sound system. Basically, the Pill works extremely well as a pass-through Bluetooth receiver. I’m uncertain how many persons will work with this feature since that is first and foremost a mobile speaker. Nonetheless it may appeal for some folks.

Performance


From a sound standpoint, the Pill is comparatively quite decent. It plays very loud because of its size — it could fill a tiny room with sound — and will be offering relatively detailed sound (notice the consumption of the term “relatively”) with respectable bass weighed against other tiny speakers in its class. You can augment that bass a lttle bit by moving the speaker nearer to a wall or stick it in a corner which means you get some reflection.

I compared it with both Jawbone Jambox and the Jabra Solemate and it offered slightly better sound than both. It had been clearer and had tighter bass compared to the Solemate and played louder compared to the Jambox with less distortion at higher volumes. Speakerphone performance was also good.

Even though praise, the Pill has its limitations. By that After all it just does not have the dynamic selection of larger speakers, so that it will roll off the reduced end (read: flatten it out) and such as a large amount of these small speakers it’s strongest in the midrange, so that it comes out sounding best with lighter fare and acoustical material.

I should also explain that while that is designated as a stereo speaker, because the drivers are so close together you get little to no stereo separation, although speaker’s onboard digital processing does its better to cause you to think the speaker sounds more open and spacious. I acquired the very best sound by sitting 2-3 3 feet from it and it serves as a correctly capable notebook or desktop speaker. I also thought it sounded good with movies; I paired it with an iPad Mini and a Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Battery life was decent, not great. I acquired around 6 hours at modest volume levels. That can be done better at lower volumes or worse in the event that you really crank the speaker.

The main one performance strike I came across against the speaker was that it occasionally cut from me when I was using it with the iPhone 4S. While I acquired the casual Bluetooth hiccup using it with several Android devices, it completely disconnected on me several times with the iPhone 4S and the bond was generally unstable. I reset my phone and it got just a little better, but I still ran into problems. I believe this is because of a glitch in iOS 6 where Apple upgraded its Bluetooth profile to the most recent version and perhaps created a Bluetooth bug as they say (manufacturers could be forced to upgrade their firmware). Hopefully, this matter will be addressed with a firmware upgrade, or simply an iOS upgrade.

Conclusion


The Pill includes a lot choosing, but also some drawbacks. The Pill comes with an impressive design, sounds a lttle bit much better than certain competing products, includes a strong feature set, and its own accompanying travel case is nice. However, I did so face some hiccups during playback with my iPhone 4S. That’s may be an Apple’s software issue (it worked fine with a Samsung Galaxy S3), so I’m not prepared to blame Beats. Nonetheless it was still just a little disconcerting.

Ultimately, my bigger gripe is that it is overpriced at $199.99. Because the Pill came out, a lot of new mini Bluetooth speakers have to enter the market, and such products as the JBL FLip at half the purchase price are far better deals. Also, the $199 UE Boom is an excellent product, with drastically better sound, a water-resistant design, and better battery life.

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