Geek Girl review: Beats by Dr. Dre Pill

June 26th, 2013 | by Zen Soo
Geek Girl review: Beats by Dr. Dre Pill
Audio-visual
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Beats by Dr. Dre Pill

The Pill is the latest Beats speaker to join the array of portable Bluetooth speakers on the market. With a hefty price tag of $310, is this stylish speaker worth the bucks you’re thinking of shelling out? This resident Geek Girl gets her hands on a unit to find out.

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Does the Pill measure up?

Appearance

Not surprisingly, the Pill comes in the shape of, well, a pill capsule. Weighing in at about 310 grams, which is slightly heavier than the Jawbone Jambox. the four drivers in the speaker are clearly visible with the Beats signature “b” button smack in the middle.

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The four drivers of the speaker are clearly visible and the “b” button glows red when powered up.

The Pill fits nicely in my hand and scores many brownie points for its stylish appearance. While the unit I had was black, the Pill also comes in red and white.

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The Pill fits nicely in the hand.

Features

The famous “b” button glows red when powered up and connected to another device. Above the “b” button are two ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons for volume control, and the back of the speaker holds the micro-USB port, power button and the audio input and output jacks.

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The back of the Pill, which houses the power button, micro-USB port and input and output jacks.

The Pill also doubles up as a speakerphone, complete with built-in mic. Should a call come through while you have music playing, just hit the “b” button to take the call and the music will automatically pause.

The NFC capability of the speaker also allows you to simply tap a compatible smartphone or tablet and get them paired up. Folks with such devices will find it slightly more convenient, though Bluetooth works pretty well anyway.

Performance

For its small size, the Pill is loud. Very loud. At its highest volume, it can fill up an average-sized room, and chances are the speaker would be perfect for cranking up the music at a house party. In large spaces or even outdoors, it would be difficult for the Pill to make itself heard.

At mid-range volume, the Pill produces decent sound that is clear and crisp, especially with acoustic tracks like Ed Sheeran’s The A Team. Electronic house tracks also sound relatively decent at mid-range volume without too much distortion.

However, pushing the volume too far up would result in distortion, especially on bass-heavy tracks. Despite the Beats credential, bass is  not the Pill’s strong suit. Given the small size of the Pill, this less-than-dynamic range is likely inevitable.

The battery on the Pill lasted me slightly more than six hours when playing on medium volume – not disappointingly short, and yet not impressively long either. Chances are you might get more juice out of the battery if you’re playing music at a lower volume.

Bluetooth connection with my HTC One X was fairly stable, with the connection dropping only very occasionally.

Verdict

The Beats Pill is generally a well-designed Bluetooth speaker, and its ultra-portability is definitely a big plus. Beats also throws in a stylish carrying case to sweeten the deal. Portable speakers allow you to throw on some music at a gathering, and with the clarity and decent sound the Pill provides, it’s sure to impress.

Its price does seem a bit much to ask for a portable speaker, though. Yet, if you have the cash to spare, you should definitely take the Pill into consideration.

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