Rating for Beats Pill
The Beats Pill is a good looking portable bluetooth speaker that delivers performance better than the middle of the road, although it is tad bit expensive. Of course, Beats is all about the cool factor and in many ways the performance takes a backseat to the brand. In this instance that's okay, because the Pill is a feature rich speaker that delivers enough bang for you to subconsciously ignore the hefty price you paid.
- Strong feature set
- Slick design and good build quality
- Audio input and output
- Less than advertised battery life
- Sound distortion at high volume
In a flooded market you typically need something to stand out, and when Beats exploded on the scene back in 2008 that’s what the company did. In an ultra competitive field the brand has become known for its slick aesthetics and quality, how does the latest portable Stereo speaker from the company stack up? Well, the Beats Pill is everything you have come to expect from Beats products, both the good and the bad.
What’s Inside the Box?
While saying the Beats Pill comes with a carry case with a carabiner, 1.5mm audio cable, and a USB 2.0 charge/data cable doesn’t sound very showbiz, this being Beats you can expect a dollop of sexy too. That carry case for example is an ultra-sleek shell that looks like an oversized sunglasses case with the Beats logo emblazoned across the top. The company even makes cables look good, with the black and red branded USB cable being a highlight. There is also an AC power adapter packaged alongside the speaker of course.
In many ways, the Jambox Jawbone changed the style game for the portable speaker market, and while the Beats Pill cannot quite match up to that speaker, this pill manages to exude plenty of cool in its own right. This is a pill speaker in the true sense as opposed to Jawbone´s more squared design, but nevertheless it is one of the better pill portables we have seen recently. Available in white, red, or black, the Beats looks good without ever being too flashy. There is a central console where the volume and control buttons are found while both arms of the pill are perforated to reveal the speaker underneath. To finish off what is a pleasing if unspectacular look is a bold Beats logo in the center.
The Beats Pill feels suitably weighty in hand at 10.9 ounces, but there is not enough girth to make this something that will become tiresome when carrying around. The unit is 1.8-inches in circumference and 7.5-inches long, making the speaker highly portable.
As we have come to expect from Beats, build quality is very good on the Beats Pill, which admittedly is nothing short of a requirement from one of the most expensive units in this class. Luckily the Pill feels sturdy and premium, and the fact the bottom is made of rubber not only adds to the good looks but also helps in the event of inevitable drops.
The Beats Pill is one of the most feature rich portable speakers, which is a good thing considering its high end price tag. We have found plenty of rival speakers that offer some of the features we are about to lay out for you in this review, but very few offer all of them. That makes the Pill one of the most functional speakers on the market.
The Beats Pill also has audio input and output, which essentially means it is possible to use the output to connect to another external speaker source, such as a home theater system. It is rare that portable speakers have this dual audio capability, so the Pill´s potential as a player for music over larger systems should not be overlooked.
It is also possible to control the Beats Pill from whatever device you are streaming music from, allowing you to skip tracks, pause, play, and so on without needing to be near the speaker.
The Beats Pill is not the most complete sounding portable speaker, but it does deliver a level of quality that puts it just about above average. That means there is nothing particularly wrong here and in fact the experience is very good, however you can find better performing speakers elsewhere. Beats´ modest 30ft range on the spec sheet is bettered in our opinion as we found that the Pill filled a large room relatively well and this unit certainly is loud for its size. The bass is solid, while at high volume the device maintained a level of quality without much loss of clarity.
Sound detailing is also respectable, with tone levels remaining distinct and bass clear with minimum distortion when the Pill is cranked up to full volume. As mentioned though, this is not the perfect portable speaker you have been waiting for as there are some things to consider. Both its low and high ends are scratchy, with the low end being particularly flat, so if your hunting for dynamic range this will probably not meet your criteria. The Beats Pill suffers a problem that many small portables contend with, and that´s how it deals with stereo sound. This is a stereo system, but like other small units the speakers are too close together to really offer distinct separation. Beats put a digital processor inside to try and deal with it, and while it does an admirable job the speaker still won´t appeal to those chasing a distinct stereo feel.
It is pleasing to see a speaker phone included with the Beats Pill, after-all this is a device you are likely to be using with your handset. If you receive a call while listening to music via your smartphone and Beats Pill you can press the “B” button to take the call, with the speaker automatically muting the music volume. The unit also boasts NFC connectivity which will work on Android devices equipped with Near Field Connectivity, although those using iOS will be left out as Apple is not interested in NFC. Sure, using NFC lets you connect with one touch, but actually in the real world it is not that much quicker than the normal connection method via Bluetooth or cable, so while it is a welcome option it is not a necessary one.
Beats advertises a respectable 7 hour battery life for the Pill, which is around about the industry standard for portable Bluetooth speakers. However, based on our internal testing, the actual battery life is actually closer to 4 – 5 hours, depending on how loud you play the speakers.
The Beats Pill is a slick and extremely portable speaker, delivering plenty of the things we have come to expect from Beats Electronics. That means you can expect sleek design, premium build quality, and rich features and performance, although unfortunately you also get a high price. Indeed, the price will be the trade off for many people, but in terms of being a bluetooth wireless speaker the Pill is one of the better ones available today.