We’ve never been great fans of Beats goods in the past. The only Beats product that we’ve ever given a high recommendation to was last year’s Pill+ XL, which was voluntarily recalled due to an overheating battery issue. The brand new Beats Pill+ ($230) offers some promise for a fresh start – it’s the first new Beats speaker since Apple bought the firm last year. Pill+ is the follow-up to Pill 2.0, which was released last year. This new Pill has a 12-hour battery life on a 3-hour charge, and the speaker’s 1A USB connector can charge an iPhone. The Beats Pill+ is available in white or black and includes a Beats-branded Lightning cable, a wall adaptor, and a carrying pouch.
Pill+’s overall design isn’t dissimilar to those of its predecessors — after all, it’s still a Pill. On the top, however, there is now a power button, volume controls, an LED battery gauge, and a multifunction “b” button. Playback and speakerphone functions are controlled by the last button. Despite its multiple roles, the button performs admirably, allowing you to pause or skip tunes with a series of presses. A port cover may be opened on the rear of the speaker to reveal the charge-out port, Lightning port, and audio-in port (despite the fact that there is a partial speaker grille on the back of Pill+, it’s supposed to be used facing forward). It’s a lovely, simple design that combines the Pill appearance with a touch of Apple.
Pill+ is approximately 8.25” x 2.625” x 2.5”. It is 1.66 pounds in weight. It’s a little bigger than UE’s new UE Boom 2 speaker, which serves as a suitable benchmark for Pill+. Pill+ is encased in hard rubber, which serves as both a base and a protective barrier around the controls.
When it comes to sound, Pill+ is a good performer, but it isn’t in the high echelon within its price range. For the most part, it does well over the sound spectrum, and the bass is also quite good. The top volume of Pill+ isn’t the loudest, but it’s loud enough for a room. With this speaker, we prefer to listen in the mid-to-high volume range. The performance of the speakerphone was satisfactory.
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In comparison to the Pill+’s smaller listening range, UE’s UE Boom 2 — which costs $30 less — can get louder and offers 360-degree sound. While the UE Boom 2 favors vocals, Pill+ has a more balanced mix, which may be desirable on some songs — but on others, key nuances appear to be pushed a little too far into the background when compared to the UE Boom 2. The UE Boom 2 has a somewhat different sound profile than the UE Boom 1, but we prefer it overall.
Without absolute premium sound, one could anticipate waterproofing at this price, which isn’t present. Pill+ may combine with another Pill+ to double the volume or provide stereo separation in addition to recharging your iPhone’s battery. Two buddies can also take turns as DJs and control the music together. All of these capabilities are available through the Pill+ app, which is currently unavailable on the App Store.
The case of Pill+ is intriguing. The feature set is adequate, but not exceptional, especially considering that similar speakers include waterproofing. Similarly, the sound on Pill+ can be characterized. It’s good, but it’s not quite up to par with the best of the best. Pill+, on the other hand, is better than we’ve come to anticipate from Beats over the years, suggesting that the Beats brand is on the rise. It’s up to you how much of that you want to attribute to Apple at this time. Although the Pill+ would be more enticing if it were priced at the same $200 as the previous Pill 2.0, we still suggest the speaker.