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Beats Pill+ Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 25, 2021 at 08:59 am
Beats Pill+ Picture
5.9
Music
5.6
Videos/Movies
7.1
Podcasts
2.5
Voice Assistant
6.6
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
Yes
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The Beats Pill+ is a small, portable Bluetooth speaker. It has a sturdy build, though it doesn't have an advertised rating for dust or water resistance. Its sound profile is boomy, and the overemphasized treble range may make higher frequencies sound bright or piercing. However, it can play stereo content without downmixing it into mono. Unfortunately, it's not compatible with voice assistants.

Our Verdict

5.9 Music

The Beats Pill+ is middling for music. Its boomy sound profile can make vocals and lead instruments muddy, while the overemphasized treble makes higher frequencies sound bright or piercing. It also struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, which is disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. Unfortunately, there's no EQ to let you tweak its sound profile. Thankfully, this speaker can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, so you feel immersed in your music.

Pros
  • Able to play stereo content.
Cons
  • No EQ.
  • Lacks low-bass.
5.6 Videos/Movies

The Beats Pill+ is sub-par for watching videos and movies. It has an overemphasized treble range, so dialogue may sound sharp or piercing. It also lacks low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed movie scenes. Fortunately, its Bluetooth latency is low with iOS and Android devices, making it suitable for watching videos. However, some apps compensate differently for latency, so user experience may vary.

Pros
  • Low latency over Bluetooth.
Cons
  • No EQ.
  • Lacks low-bass.
7.1 Podcasts

The Beats Pill+ is decent for playing podcasts. You can pair up to two devices at a time, which is useful if you want to switch your audio source frequently between your phone and laptop. It's also quite portable, and its battery lasts just under eight hours. Unfortunately, its boomy sound profile can muddy vocals and dialogue, while the overemphasized treble can make sibilants sound bright or sharp.

Pros
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • No EQ.
2.5 Voice Assistant

This speaker doesn't have voice assistant support.

6.6 Outdoors

The Beats Pill+ is reasonable for outdoor use. Its sound profile is fairly boomy, which may please fans of bass-heavy music like EDM or hip-hop. Although its battery lasts just under eight hours, that's still long enough to use it outside for most of the day. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud, and it doesn't have an advertised rating for water or dust resistance, which we don't currently test for.

Pros
  • Able to play stereo content.
  • Small and portable design.
Cons
  • Doesn't have an advertised rating for water or dust resistance.
  • 5.9 Music
  • 5.6 Videos/Movies
  • 7.1 Podcasts
  • 2.5 Voice Assistant
  • 6.6 Outdoors
  1. Updated Feb 25, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Feb 23, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Beats Pill+ is a small speaker with a pill-shaped design. It's meant to be placed horizontally, and there's a speaker on both the front and back sides, each covered by a metal grille. It's wrapped in a rubber coating and it comes in three different color variants. The company logo on top lights up when the speaker's in use.

9.2
Design
Portability
Volume
56 inยณ (910 cmยณ)
Weight
1.5 lbs (0.7 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This speaker is incredibly portable. It's small and lightweight, so you can easily carry it with one hand. Since it's battery-powered, you can use it outside without worrying about plugging it into an outlet.

6.4
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
No

The Beats Pill Plus has a passable build quality. It feels solid, with metal grilles on each side of the speaker. Most of the speaker is wrapped in a rubber coating, which can scratch easily over time. Fortunately, the rubber doesn't attract fingerprints easily. There's also a rear covering for the speaker's ports. It doesn't have an advertised rating for water, impact, or dust resistance, and we don't currently test for this. If you want a speaker that you can use outside more comfortably, consider the Bose SoundLink Color II, which is rated IPX4 for water resistance.

7.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
Yes (Physical)
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The Beats Pill+ has very good controls. Located on top of the speaker, the buttons are clicky and easy to press. There are separate volume adjustment buttons and a power button, which you can short-press to see the five-light battery level. When the battery level dips below 10%, the fuel gauge light blinks red. You can press the multipurpose 'b' button once to play/pause your audio, twice to skip forward a track, and three times to go back to the previous track. The 'b' button also lets you answer/end calls. The speaker chimes when powering on/off or when pairing to a device over Bluetooth. Unfortunately, there's no audio or visual indicator for the volume.

Design
In The Box

  • Beats Pill Plus speaker
  • Lightning to USB-A charging cable
  • AC power adapter
  • 3x 'b' stickers
  • Quick Start Guide

Sound
5.8
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.72
Std. Err.
4.26 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
89.8 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
16.7 kHz

The Beats Pill+ has sub-par frequency response accuracy. Its sound profile is boomy overall, with an overemphasized treble range that can make higher frequencies sound bright and piercing. Its mid-range isn't very well balanced, either, so vocals and lead instruments may not be reproduced clearly. Although it struggles to produce low-bass, the extra boom in the high-bass may please fans of bass-heavy music like hip-hop or EDM. Unfortunately, there's no EQ to let you tweak its sound.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.1
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
5.35 dB
Stereo
Yes

The Beats Pill speaker has a satisfactory soundstage performance. It can play stereo content, but its directivity isn't great. As a result, its soundstage is perceived as narrow, rather than open and spacious.

6.1
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
85.8 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.26 dB

The Beats Pill Plus has acceptable dynamics. It doesn't get very loud, and there are some compression artifacts present at max volume, so it may not be suitable for playing in large or crowded rooms.

Active Features
7.2
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
7.8 hrs
Charge Time
2.7 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
Lightning

This speaker has a decent battery performance. While it's advertised to last for twelve hours, in our tests it lasted just under eight hours. That said, battery life can vary depending on usage, so user experience may vary. Fortunately, it has a power-saving feature, turning off after some time without audio playing. This speaker is charged using a lightning cable, and it takes a bit less than three hours to charge from an empty battery.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Siri
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No
Far-Field Performance
No Assistant
Ambient Noise Performance
No Assistant

This speaker doesn't have voice assistant support.

6.6
Active Features
App
App Name
Beats Pill+
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The Beats Pill+ app is okay. It's compatible with iOS and Android devices and lets you pair two speakers to form a stereo pair. You can also connect multiple Beats Pill+ speakers to play the same audio across a larger space. Unfortunately, it lacks an EQ, so you can't customize the speaker's sound profile.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
Yes
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

This speaker has an AUX port, which you can use to connect your smartphone to the speaker to play audio. There's also a USB-A port, which lets you charge other devices using the speaker's battery.

8.7
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
Unspecified
Bluetooth iOS Latency
52 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
147 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

This speaker has amazing Bluetooth connectivity. You can pair up to two devices at the same time, which is useful if you want to switch your audio source quickly between your laptop and smartphone. Its latency over Bluetooth with iOS and Android devices is low enough to be suitable for watching videos, although some apps compensate for latency differently. Its Bluetooth range is outstanding, so the speaker can still receive audio input even if it's far from the paired device.

0
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
No Wi-Fi
Apple AirPlay
No
AirPlay Latency
N/A
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

This speaker isn't Wi-Fi compatible.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Beats Pill Plus comes in three color variants: 'Black', 'White', and 'Red'. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see the label for the model we tested here. We expect all variants to perform similarly in tests.

If you come across a variant not listed here, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Beats Pill Plus is a portable Bluetooth speaker. Its sound profile is fairly boomy, and its treble is overemphasized, so higher frequencies might sound bright. Fortunately, It can play stereo content without downmixing it into mono. Although it feels solidly built, it doesn't have an advertised IP rating for dust or water resistance. Unfortunately, it's not compatible with voice assistants.

See also our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best cheap speakers, and the best Bluetooth speakers for bass.

JBL FLIP 5

The JBL FLIP 5 is a better speaker than the Beats Pill+. The JBL is a better-built speaker with an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. It also has a more balanced sound profile. However, the Beats can play stereo content, and its latency over Bluetooth with iOS devices is lower, making it more suitable for watching videos. That being said, some apps compensate differently for latency.

JBL Charge 4

The Beats Pill+ is a slightly better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Beats can play stereo content, unlike the JBL. However, the JBL is a better-built speaker with longer battery life, lasting over thirteen hours on a single charge. It also has slightly less compression than the Beats at max volume.

JBL Charge 5

The JBL Charge 5 is a better speaker than the Beats Pill+ overall. The JBL offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than that of the Beats. It's better-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can depend on your usage, and your experience may differ. That said, the Beats can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which is more immersive. 

JBL Xtreme 2

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a better speaker than the Beats Pill+. The JBL has voice assistant support, although it relies on your smartphone's voice assistant. It's also a better-built speaker with an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Thanks to its better-balanced sound profile, vocals and lead instruments are reproduced more clearly. However, the Beats has a punchier high-bass, which may please some fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM.

Bose SoundLink Revolve

The Bose SoundLink Revolve is a better speaker than the Beats Pill+. The Bose has voice assistant support, and though it relies on the voice assistant from your smartphone, it can understand you even if you're far away. The Bose also has a more balanced sound profile, making it better-suited to playing most audio content. However, the Beats can play stereo content without downmixing it into mono.

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