Beats Pill Review: Can Dr. Dre Deliver the Cure for the Common Bluetooth Speaker?

By Mario Aguilar on at

First, Jabra brought us the Solemate, a Bluetooth speaker that looks like a shoe. Now, Beats by Dre, purveyor of fashionista friendly headphones, has introduced us to the Pill. It looks—you guessed it—like a giant gelcap. And its Bluetooth sound sure could use a spoonful of sugar.

 

What Is It?

A £170 Bluetooth speaker with four one-inch drivers and NFC pairing.

 

Who's It For?

Somebody who's looking for a better-than-average Bluetooth speaker and has money to burn.

 

Design

Beats Pill Review: Can Dr. Dre Deliver the Cure for the Common Bluetooth Speaker? The Pill is a speaker tube with a see-through metal grill that shows off the its four drivers. A big iconic "B" lights up red smack in the center. It fits in your hand like a bulky Red Bull can, and weighs significantly less than a pound.

 

Using It

The pill connects via Bluetooth just like every other Bluetooth device does. NFC Bluetooth pairing only works on NFC-equipped phones, because duh.

 

The Best Part

For such a tiny speaker, the Beats Pill gets very loud with admirable clarity. We blasted some crazy dancey synth tunes to high heaven and heard a mostly full range of tones.

 

Tragic Flaw

Beats by Dre headphones are famous for that banging bass. You won't find that here. In fact, low-end organ and bass lines on songs by Flying Lotus and A Tribe Called quest were a distorted mess, decidedly worse than you'd find in other comparable Bluetooth speakers.

 

This Is Weird...

The speaker registered the NFC data from our Ice Cream Sandwich Samsung Galaxy S III, but it didn't pair seamlessly as we were promised.

 

 

Test Notes
  • Tested in the office against a few of our favourite Bluetooth speakers including the Jabra Solemate, Monster Clarity HD Micro, and the Soundfreaq Sound Kick.
  • The speaker had no problem pairing with a 2011 MacBook Pro or an iPhone 4s.
  • After to checking to see that the Bluetooth pairing worked, we listened to music using the included 3.5mm adapter cable to hear the speaker at its best.
  • In addition to hip hop and electronic music, we tested the Pill with David Bowie to listen for the staging of the speaker. It does a nice job.
  • This thing really is impressively tiny for what it is—by far, smaller and lighter than any other Bluetooth speaker we've ever truly liked.
  • The Pill is loud. Super loud.
Should You Buy It?

Beats Pill Review: Can Dr. Dre Deliver the Cure for the Common Bluetooth Speaker? In a lot of ways, the Pill is a very appealing package: attractive, portable, and easy to use. When dealing with most music, The Pill sounds spectacular, and it's louder than most other speakers its size. But for a lot of people—and more importantly for a lot of Beats fans—that bunk low-end performance is going to be a deal-breaker. Besides its compact size, we can't think of any reason to buy it over the Sondfreaq Sound Kick that won our Bluetooth speaker battlemodo. The cheaper speaker still sounds better!

 

Beats Pill
• Price: £170
• Drivers: 4, 1-inch drivers
• Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1, NFC,
• Weight: 298 grams
Gizrank:3.5