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Hands-on Gear Review
Beats Pill+ ReviewPrice: $230 List
Pros: Great sound quality
Cons: Expensive, relatively heavy
Bottom line: A good choice for audiophiles, but not quite as good as our Editors’ Choice winner
Inputs: 3.5 mm auxiliary input, USB, 1.5m Lightning input
Reported Weight: 28.8 oz
Manufacturer: Beats by Dre
The Beats Pill+ was a solid all around performer in our testing, but couldn't quite match the sound quality of the Bose models we tested. Still, the Pill+ boasts top notch sound quality and great volume. It isn't quite as portable as some of the other speakers we tested, but as long as you don't mind carrying a little weight and possibly using a carrying case it is travel friendly. If you're looking for a portable speaker with exceptional sound quality the Bose SoundLink Mini II would be our first choice, but the Beats Pill+ is a close runner up.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers of 2018
Our Analysis and Hands-on 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 Beats Pill+ (shown in blue in the graph below) was one of the best overall performers in our testing.
Below we discuss how the Pill+ performed in all of the individual tests that make up our overall score.
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 mid range sounds great, but things like stand up bass and high pitched snares 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 towards the middle of a metric 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 travelling 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+ lists for $230, which is $30 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 Revole, so in comparison the Pill+ is a somewhat mediocre value.
The Beats Pill+ is 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.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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