Beats’ new Pill+ Bluetooth speaker shows Apple influence

“Well over a year after having been bought by Apple, Beats’ headphones and speakers still look and sound much the same,” Stephen Pulvirent writes for Bloomberg.

MacDailyNews Take: i.e., plasticky and muddy.

“The new Pill+ [$230, due in November] is a Bluetooth speaker that holds on to the core Beats identity while clearly showing some influence from Cupertino,” Pulvirent writes. “The Pill+ is a major improvement over the Pill 2.0, which was last updated in late 2013. It’s a little larger (a little more than 8 inches long and about 2.5 inches tall and deep), but it still has the familiar long, rounded shape and it has four internal speakers.”

“The Pill+ also gets 12 hours of battery life on a three-hour charge, nearly double the Pill 2.0’s 7 hours,” Pulvirent writes. “The build quality is extremely solid and the perforated grill extends all the way around the Pill+, even though the back is actually closed to give the speakers solid grounding. All the buttons are right on top and the ‘b’ branded button is multi-use to minimize clutter on top.”

The Apple Lightning port lets the Pill+ charge faster, getting 12 hours of power in just three hours.
The Apple Lightning port lets the Pill+ charge faster, getting 12 hours of power in just three hours.
“The sound is what really shocked me, though. Beats’ headphones are most often criticized for being bass-heavy, but this emphasis wasn’t present at all with the Pill+ during my short test. The low notes were light and clean, with none of the muddiness often found in small speakers. If anything, it was the highs that were a little sharp,” Pulvirent writes. “The only overt nod to Beats’ new parent company is a tiny connector hidden under a flap: a Lightning port. Now you can charge the Pill+ with the same Lightning connecter you use for your iOS devices instead of using the micro-USB more common with Android phones.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple is now working on the sound quality (de-bassing the things in favor of a more balanced approach), that’s very good news for Beats.


  1. I have never heard anything good about Beat’s headphones or speakers. This is still an acquisition I don’t understand. Certainly Apple could have secured the licensing and deals they needed to make Apple Music happen without the need of this lackluster company.

  2. Sound is in the ear(s) of the beholder., to be critical of Beats products on hearsay is just wrong.. Some people probably love them. others probably not so much..

    And merely walking into Best Buy or some other store that has a display, without being able to actually listen to them with your music on your devices is also lame, because those demo stations in loud stores is hardly an optimal place to determine whether a set of Beats headphones or speakers sound any good.

  3. Not so keen on Beats, but still enjoying my SoundSticks umpteen years after adding them to my desktop. Only complaint remains the open bass port, which confines the sub to the nether world underneath. Even so, I still have to (carefully) hoover out dead critters every now and then.

  4. Please tell me the Pill+ doesn’t only use Bluetooth, which is incapable of streaming quality audio bandwidth.

    Meanwhile: It sounds like Apple has done some tweeking to the audio quality/EQ of the speakers. I hope so! I’m an ‘East Coast’ audiophile.

  5. So bored with the anti-Beats drumbeat on this site. Beats has many products, some better than others. Their wireless BT buds are frequently the best reviewed around. I have a pair of the Mixr headphones, which have a flat response, and they have been fantastic. I don’t like any headphones with noise reduction because that impacts the sound. Their first Studios were muddy in the low end but they’ve improved them. Yes, expensive, but people say the same about Apple. If you’re gonna bitch about them then specify a particular product; so much of the hand-wringing here sounds like people who want to dump on what they see as an “urban” brand.

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