Beats Pill+ Review
Pros: Great sound quality
Cons: Expensive, relatively heavy
Manufacturer: Beats by Dre
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|Pros||Great sound quality||Good sound quality, waterproof, long battery life||Great audio quality, wireless charging, compact size, integrates with Sonos home systems||Super-portable, waterproof, great battery life||Portable, great battery life, inexpensive|
|Cons||Expensive, relatively heavy||Not the strongest sounding bass||Poor battery life||Sound quality diminishes significantly at higher volumes||Sub-par sound quality|
|Bottom Line||A good choice for audiophiles, but not quite as good as our Editors' Choice winner||An affordable balance for those that want good sound quality and portability but don't want to pay a premium price for the absolute best||This speaker delivers lush sounds in a compact size, is exceptionally portable, charges on a wireless pad, and integrates with other Sonos speakers seamlessly||This mega-portable, waterproof, and durable speaker is perfectly at home on hikes, bike rides, out on the lake, or in the shower||A much less expensive, but still enjoyable, portable speaker option for those sticking to a tight budget|
|Rating Categories||Beats Pill+||JBL Flip 5||Sonos Roam||JBL Clip 4||Anker Soundcore 3|
|Sound Quality (40%)|
|Battery Life (15%)|
|Specs||Beats Pill+||JBL Flip 5||Sonos Roam||JBL Clip 4||Anker Soundcore 3|
|Dimensions (in x in x in)||2.5" x 8.3" x 2.7"||3.64" x 3.6" x 8.5"||6.61" x 2.44" x 2.36"||1.8" x 3.4" x 5.3"||6.9" x 2.4" x 2.2"|
|Inputs and Charging Ports||3.5 mm auxiliary input, USB, 1.5m Lightning input||Micro USB port||USB-C port, wireless Qi charging||USB-C port||USB-C port|
|Reported Weight (ounces)||28.8 oz||19.04 oz||15.20 oz||8.48 oz||13.12 oz|
|Measured Weight||27 oz||19 oz||15.2 oz||8.13 oz||17.8 oz|
|Wireless Range (feet)||35||Not Listed||Not Listed||Not Listed||66|
|Reported Battery Life (hours)||12||12||10||10||24|
|Measured Battery Life (hours)||13||27||10.25||27||16.75|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Beats has been gaining a lot of attention lately for its mobile music products, and the Pill+ Bluetooth speaker makes it clear why. It was one of the best sounding speakers in our testing, has sleek looks, and has plenty of juice to power an all-night party.
The Pill+ earned a 9 out of 10 in our sound quality testing, this put it just one point shy of the top score of 10, and well distanced from the low score of 3. It has deep rich bass and crisp treble. However, it just lacks some of the depth of the top scoring Bose SoundLink Revolve. Where the music from the SoundLink feels exceptionally well rounded with crystal clear clarity from the deepest to the highest notes, the Pill+ loses some clarity at the extremes. The midrange sounds great, but things like stand up basses and high pitched snare drums can get just a bit muddled. The Pill+ still sounds great, but the SoundLink is a clear step up.
The Beats Pill+ scored a 5 out of 10 in our portability testing. This put it in the middle of the pack where scores ranged from 2 to 10. The Pill+ weighs 27 ounces or about 1.7 pounds. This isn't terribly heavy, but you'll most likely notice it when you're carrying it around. The rounded edges make it fairly easy to slide into a backpack, but it is slightly larger than most of the speakers we tested, so it will take up a bit more room. The speaker itself feels fairly durable, but does have some bare metal sections that could be susceptible to scratching, so you'll probably want to use the included carrying sleeve if you're going to be traveling with it. The Pill+ does not have any sort of waterproof rating.
The Pill+ can produce a fair amount of sound and scored a 7 out of 10 in our volume testing, which saw scores ranging from 4 to 9. At its maximum volume, the music starts to sound a bit thin and shrill. When we brought it back down to a volume where the music was sounding good again our entire testing apartment was filled with sound. The music could still easily be heard over a large group of friends talking but may get drowned out a bit if you were looking to throw a large, noisy party.
The Pill+ lasted 13 hours in our testing, which was slightly better than the manufacturer's specification. 13 hours is most likely plenty of juice unless you're taking the Pill+ on an extended camping trip where you'll be away from an outlet for multiple days. In the grand scheme of our testing 13 hours was towards the middle of the pack, thus the Pill+ earned a score of 5 out of 10 in this metric.
The Pill+ is the only speaker we tested that has a built-in USB port that can be used to charge a phone, so it effectively doubles as a portable battery pack. The Piil+ also charges via Apple's lightning cable, which is convenient if you already have an iPhone.
The Beats Pill+ is a bit more than its main competitor, the Bose SoundLink Revolve. However, street prices have fluctuated, so it is likely you'd be able to buy these speakers at approximately the same price. The Pill+ is a great speaker, but if we had to choose one we would go with the SoundLink Revolve, so in comparison, the Pill+ is a somewhat mediocre value.
The Beats Pill+ is a great choice if you're looking for a portable speaker that can produce high-quality audio. However, the Bose SoundLink Revolve fills that niche a bit better.
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