Beats Pill + Review
THE VERDICT
The Beats Pill+ has a good combo of features. Its sound quality is good, but not great which makes it hard to justify the $200+ price tag.

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Design7.5
Features7.5
Value6.5
Sound Quality7.5
The Good
  • The Beats Pill Plus has solid construction
  • Good sound quality
  • Plays louder than the competition
The Bad
  • The Plus may have too high a price tag for some
  • Some of the competition cost less, but sounds just as good
7.3Overall Score

Love them or hate them, Beats’ portable speakers definitely have a distinct sound. When Beats launched their Pill speakers a few years ago they immediately sky-rocketed in popularity. Their small size and aggressive sound made them a smash hit. One of their latest speakers, the Pill+, sounds even better than the Pill, but still keeps its small size.

Beats Pill Plus Review

The Beats Pill Plus is a tad bigger than the Pill. The oblong shaped Plus weighs in at about 1.5 lbs. When holding it in your hand it feels rugged and sturdy. While it’s not waterproof, the Pill+ is splash proof which means you don’t have to handle it with kid gloves. When Apple purchased Beats, it was inevitable that they would leave their imprint on future Beats products. With the Plus we’re starting to see that. The included lightning port on the Plus hints that Beats audio devices will probably favor Apple products in the future (Sorry Android). Along with the lightning connector, USB and 3.5 mm ports are also supplied hidden beneath a rubber flap.

Beats Pill+ Review
Take a look topside and you’ll see the circular power button with 4 LED lights nestled next to it. The LEDs serve as a visual indication of how much charge you have remaining. Typically you can expect to get about 12 hours of use on a single charge depending on the volume level. Completely re-filling the gas tank will take about 3 hours.

 

The centrally located Beats Logo on top of the speaker is somewhat understated. It’s not until you press the power button that it glows with life. The logo isn’t just for branding purposes. It also serves multiple functions. Pressing it allows you to play, pause and skip tracks. If you want to use the speaker phone function, tapping the logo once also allows you to take phone calls. To the right of the Beats logo are your typical volume up/down buttons

 

The perforated metal grill on the front hides its dual woofers and tweeters. The Beats Pill+ uses an active two-way design which allows the tweeters and woofers to reproduce frequencies that each is ideally suited for.

 

The Pill Plus is a special speaker. So special that it has its own app on the Apple and Google Play stores. The app lets you do a couple of cool things. If you have two Plus speakers you can have them play the same music or you can set them up as a stereo pair. If two users are connected to the Plus they can each send music to the speaker via the DJ feature inside the app.

 

Sound Quality

When you start up the Pill Plus, its Beats pedigree is immediately evident however, its not nearly as aggressive as past Beats speakers. The Pill+ pumps out more bass than the Pill, but less than the Pill XL.

 

Vocals sounded warm and natural thru the Pill. The Plus’ treble was detailed and crisp without being sharp. The little speaker also broadcasts a surprisingly wide sound stage and overall can get pretty loud. That being said, the Pill+ does have a bit of a sweet spot. You’ll get the best sound if you’re directly in front of the Plus. Move too far to the right or left and the audio begins to sound more recessed. However, pair two of these up in a stereo configuration and I wouldn’t be surprised if you could fill a medium-sized room with sound.

 

If you like to play your music loud, cranking the volume past 80% does reveal some limitations of the speaker. Its bass response trails off if you push the volume too high. My guess is that the Plus incorporates some sort of digital compression designed to limit distortion at high volumes. This results in noticeably softer bass. It’s not the end of the world, but definitely something you’ll want to consider.

 

Verdict

Overall, the sound quality of the Beats Pill+ is solid. The little speaker can get loud and for the most part it maintains its composure. Its mid-range and treble response is solid and the Plus has more bass than you’d expect. At high volumes you can expect the bass to trail-off a little bit, but for a speaker of this size you expect some trade-offs. The real obstacle with the Pill+ is the price. With an MSRP of $229 it’s a little pricey and you can probably find something with similar quality at a lower price.

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