Beats Pill XL

Beats Pill XL

When it comes to audio brands, Beats and Monster get plenty of flak for products that are too bassy and overpriced.

But if you think about it, the Beats brand was conceived by hip-hop musician Dr Dre and, as far as I know, richness of bass is closely linked with hip-hop.

And nothing has changed with the Beats Pill XL, the supersized version of its smaller Beats Pill portable speaker. The bass is still as strong and works for the majority of pop music.

Vocal clarity has improved over previous Beats headsets, although the speaker is unable to handle some jazz tracks as it prefers to highlight music over vocals, drowning out the singer in the process.

At the highest volume, this emphasis of music over vocals is even more apparent. But if you are going to throw a beach party, this is the speaker that will get the party started.

Shaped like a giant pill, the front half of the unit houses two woofers and two tweeters. The rear has a hollowed-out structure, which allows for a grip to be included and this means users can carry this 1.5kg speaker anywhere.

This dimpled rear also means that when placed on a flat surface, the front speakers are facing upwards and outwards and are able to project to fill a room.

Control buttons are located along the rear grip and one end has the Power and Volume buttons. Pressing the Power button once displays a row of five lights that show the amount of power the battery still retains.

On the other side of the grip is a rubber latch which reveals the audio in and out port, USB slot to charge external devices, as well as a micro-USB slot meant for updating the speaker's firmware.

Compared to the oversized Jabra Solemate Max, the Pill XL may be lighter but it is also longer.

For about the same price, it also lacks the dust- and water-resistant features that outdoor types might appreciate, especially for such an expensive speaker.


Price: $490

Additional features: NFC, USB charging, micro-USB port, audio port


Features: 4/5

Performance: 4/5

Value: 3/5

Overall: 4/5

This article was first published on July 16, 2014. Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to for more stories.