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Launched in 2012 before Beats was acquired by Apple, the original Beats Pill shook up the portable Bluetooth speaker category with fun colors and well-regarded sound quality. The speaker got an upgrade in 2015 with the launch of the Pill+ under Apple's ownership, but over time it appeared to become an afterthought for Beats compared to headphones and earphones, and the Pill+ was eventually discontinued in early 2022.


After several months of teasing, Beats is officially announcing the return of the Beats Pill today with a host of upgrades and a lower price point of $149.99. The new Pill features a completely redesigned speaker system consisting of a single tweeter and a single racetrack woofer, a removable lanyard, USB-C and Bluetooth connectivity, 24 hours of battery life, and IP67 water and sweat resistance.

Available in Matte Black, Champagne Gold, and Statement Red color options, the new Beats Pill features a soft-touch silicone housing with a metal speaker grille and a Beats "b" logo, with several subtle physical buttons along the top for on-device controls. The new removable lanyard slips easily around the wrist to help secure it while being carried or even to let the speaker dangle from, although it can't be tightened up for additional security.

beats-pill-1.jpg

Compared to the previous Pill+, the reengineered single racetrack woofer in the Beats Pill uses stronger neodymium magnets to drive 28% more motor force, allowing the woofer to displace 90% more air volume, while radial ribbing around the edges minimizes low-end distortion. The new Pill also moves from dual tweeters to a redesigned single tweeter in its own housing for extra stability and to similarly reduce distortion. Both speakers are aligned to give the Pill a 20º inclined tilt, which provides better sound projection with less reflected sound.

If you have two Beats Pill speakers, you can pair them up in either Amplify Mode, which gives you bigger overall sound for larger spaces, or Stereo Mode, which separates the sound output into left and right channels sent to the different speakers.

beats-pill-2.jpg

The Beats Pill can serve as a speakerphone for your connected devices, with a noise-learning algorithm that suppresses ambient sound to target the user's voice, and full duplex support helps ensure your conversations are intelligible to both sides. Voice assistant support for connected devices is also include, so you can activate Siri or Google Assistant with the press of a button.

USB-C comes to the Beats Pill for the first time, allowing for lossless audio over a wired connection, easy recharging, and the ability to charge other devices from the Pill's internal battery. The Pill itself has up to 24 hours of battery life, and a 10-minute Fast Fuel delivers up to two hours of playback. A black USB-C to USB-C cable is included in the box.

beats-pill-3.jpg

The new Pill has four buttons along the top edge, a Power button, a Center button, and Volume Up/Down buttons. Each of the buttons serves multiple purposes, so you can control a fair amount of features without needing to dig into your iPhone. A press of the Power button turns the speaker on or off, while a brief tap lights up an adjacent LED for battery status, a double tap activates Siri, and a triple tap reverses the charging direction when connected via USB-C. Pressing and holding the Power button while plugging the Pill in via USB-C activates wired audio input.

The Center button is for your usual media controls, with a single press playing or pausing your audio, a double press skipping forward, and a triple press skipping backward. The Center button is also used in combination with the Volume Up/Down buttons to configure the paired speaker modes. Holding the Center buttons on two speakers activates Amplify Mode, and holding Center and Volume Up on one of them then activates Stereo Mode with that speaker becoming the left channel. The same combination returns to Amplify Mode or holding Center and Volume Down can be used to break the speaker group entirely.

A proprietary chip platform from Beats offers seamless access across both Apple and Android platforms, with one-touch pairing, automatic setup across all devices connected to an iCloud or Google account, and support for Find My and Find My Device tracking based on the speaker's last connected location.

beats-pill-4.jpg

The new Pill does have some heft, weighing in at 24 ounces (~680 grams), although that is 10% lighter than the Pill+. It measures a little over 8.5 inches (~22 cm) long by 2.8 inches (~7 cm) deep and high, just fractionally larger than the Pill+. It's certainly portable and you can easily toss it in a bag, but you're not going to want to carry it in your hand wherever you go.

The revamped Beats Pill is priced at $149.99 and is available to order today in all three colors, with shipping beginning this Thursday, June 27.

Article Link: Beats Pill Bluetooth Speaker Makes a Comeback With Improved Sound, Water Resistance, and a Lower Price Tag
 

Fuzzball84

macrumors 68020
Apr 19, 2015
2,443
5,648
Wasn’t really several months of teasing… it was more like several months of nonsense then getting certain celebrities to carry the device in public. Celebrities that most people, on this forum anyhow, weren’t impressed with. I’d wait for reviews instead of an endorsement from a celebrity with unknown expertise in portable audio. Let’s see what the reviewers have to say.
 

machpost

macrumors 6502
Jan 28, 2010
423
509
Washington, DC
Decent price if the quality is there. But I find Bluetooth to be super annoying for speakers. Whenever you walk out of the room, you have to decide whether to leave your phone or take the speaker with you, so the audio doesn't cut out.
My thoughts exactly! Sonos makes a really nice portable speaker with AirPlay 2, so I don't know why Apple doesn't do it too. I use an Airplay speaker on my balcony and it's so nice to be able to roam around the house without the audio dropping out. I suspect the sound quality is better as well.
 

Tago

macrumors member
May 21, 2024
74
58
Not sure why they use Beats and quality in the same sentece. I would at least exclude sound and build quality from the topic before even thinking of "quality".

A few of mine, very close family that is, have absolute pitch. I blessfully avoided that, but my ears are pretty good separating decent sounding stuff from not so decent sounding stuff. Take a guess, wild if you like- where do anything Beats belong?
 

waltermitty

macrumors member
Apr 25, 2010
69
14
The last exceptional Bluetooth speaker was the Bose Soundlink III. Sad it was discontinued and Bose replaced it with that lantern looking design. It truly stands out compared to everything else. The Marshall Kilburn is a good modern alternative.
 
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pksv

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2024
227
483
Like I said in a different thread: is it THAT hard to include the previous/back button? It's annoying that they're saving cents for another button at the cost of a worse user experience.

That's the minimum, but for the best phoneless experience it really should have:
vol up, vol down, previous, next, play/pause, shuffle, repeat song buttons.
 
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pksv

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2024
227
483
I bought a JBL flip 2 at garage sale the other day for $5. While not USB C, I just don’t see the value in these expensive BT speakers. They’ve become a commodity.
Absolutely, and there's nothing special or unique about this speaker.
On the other hand, look at the Brane X Smart Speaker. That's something unique and new, pushing the envelope.

Take a guess, wild if you like- where do anything Beats belong?
That brand should be called Bass, not Beats.
 
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Dylan33x

macrumors regular
May 21, 2021
183
203
Like I said in a different thread: is it THAT hard to include the previous/back button? It's annoying that they're saving cents for another button at the cost of a worse user experience.

That's the minimum, but for the best phoneless experience it really should have:
vol up, vol down, previous, next, play/pause, shuffle, repeat song buttons.
If I’m not mistaken you just press the center button twice to go forward and three times to go back.
 

Dylan33x

macrumors regular
May 21, 2021
183
203
JBL won that battle. Apple needs to redesign Beats and improve it to make it competitive. Right now it's dead weight.
The flip does sound really good.

What’s worse is the edge that beats has is being a lifestyle brand with a tuning focus on hiphop, yet if this is anything like the studio pros, they’re moving away from that to a more even sound.
 

kalafalas

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2008
650
1,933
California
I was all about ready to buy this until I read they moved from stereo to mono. Between that and the removal of the 3.5 guess I’m sticking with my og pill for a while longer, it still sounds great.
 
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zorinlynx

macrumors G3
May 31, 2007
8,264
18,138
Florida, USA
I was all about ready to buy this until I read they moved from stereo to mono. Between that and the removal of the 3.5 guess I’m sticking with my og pill for a while longer, it still sounds great.
Mono is fine on such a small device, and is likely to sound better too.

I'm going to pick up one of these to replace my JBL Charge (the original one from 2011) which died. Hopefully it impresses me! (Otherwise I'll return it of course.)
 

alchemistmuffin

macrumors 6502a
Dec 28, 2007
761
801
Two things:

1: how long did MacRumors had the review unit? It seems like this was planned out with all the teasing and stuff.

2:
The revamped Beats Pill is priced at $149.99 and is available to order today in all three colors, with shipping beginning this Thursday, June 27.
$149.99 AND NO WIFI?!?!?!

Seriously?!?!?!?! At that price point, I expect WiFi support and built in Siri support like HomePod mini so it can be used as HomeKit hub. At that price point, it’s cheaper to buy a HomePod mini and portable battery with AC plugs so it can be used on the go as regular Bluetooth speaker and at home as wireless smart speaker.

The lack of WiFi is a major letdown IMO.
 
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javisan

macrumors 6502a
Dec 4, 2006
533
729
I was looking forward to this and excited about it until I saw that it does not support Airplay 2. This is inexcusable, and it's now a hard pass for me.
 
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bookcase

macrumors 6502
Sep 11, 2014
416
702
Boston, MA
I have a Bose Soundlink Flex, so I'm not in the market. But if it got a good discount, I'd be tempted to pick up the Pill just for the one-touch pairing.
 

mdatwood

macrumors 6502a
Mar 14, 2010
933
937
East Coast, USA
I bought a JBL flip 2 at garage sale the other day for $5. While not USB C, I just don’t see the value in these expensive BT speakers. They’ve become a commodity.
Agreed. They're commodity items, and the environment I use them in (beach/boat around water and sand) means I don't want anything too expensive. Anker Soundcores are $30, usbc, waterproof and sound fine.
 
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vanillaboy

macrumors newbie
Jun 17, 2005
27
30
My thoughts exactly! Sonos makes a really nice portable speaker with AirPlay 2, so I don't know why Apple doesn't do it too. I use an Airplay speaker on my balcony and it's so nice to be able to roam around the house without the audio dropping out. I suspect the sound quality is better as well.
you are absolutely correct. How in the world can Apple develop a portable speaker without Airplay 2 support? Yes the Sonos is $30 more. and isn't nice to look at bus, come on Apple.
 
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pksv

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2024
227
483
If I’m not mistaken you just press the center button twice to go forward and three times to go back.
And then you accidentally play/pause music or skip because you were not fast enough with pressing it...
It's cutting corners just to save a few cents.
 
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