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86 Engadget Score
An all-around great product that's among the best in its category. You'll almost certainly be happy.
86

An all-around great product that's among the best in its category. You'll almost certainly be happy.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

Beats Pill XL bests Jawbone's Big Jambox thanks to its clear, well-rounded sound quality.

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Pros
  • Stellar sound quality
  • Great battery life
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Simple controls
Cons
  • Relatively uninspired design
  • Difficult multi-unit pairing
  • Heavy
86 Engadget Score
An all-around great product that's among the best in its category. You'll almost certainly be happy.
86

An all-around great product that's among the best in its category. You'll almost certainly be happy.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

86
 

User Reviews

90
sero94
This review is referencing The Infinity One, JBL Charge 2, Bose Soundlink Mini,...read more
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Score Breakdown

 
90
Average user Score
 
90
sero94
12.26.14
This review is referencing The Infinity One, JBL Charge 2, Bose Soundlink Mini, Bose Sound link 3, Jawbone Big Jambox and Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio, and of course my decision on why the Beats Pill XL should be on your list as well. I listened to all of these models and dozens more in stores and with personal music and not just hitting the demo button. Firstly the Bose SLM and JBL C2 for size were pretty nice at low volume but once turned up they choke out and simply wouldn't cut it for even a smaller room. At low volumes each are pretty good, my wife heard a strong hiss or constant noise from the JC2 and for that we could not keep it. The Bose SLM couldn't get turned up much before it began to bottom out and sound terrible and comparable to a old pair of plug in portable speakers from the 90s. These smaller speakers can't and won't fill a room with sound, it will simply be noise and for the price points of these thats not acceptable. I narrowed down to a few of the bigger speakers as they delivered much better all around balanced tone at all levels without taking up a ton more real estate. The ever so popular BoseSL3 was quickly ruled out and I boxed it back up and sent it off back to Bose sadly after so many great reviews and praises. i just could not justify the price for what it delivered and the fullness of sound of volume was not there. At low to moderate volume, its not too bad but turn it up and you'd wish you didn't. It clipped, had no bass and when compared to the SL1, SL2, a few side by side comparison sound tests via youtube the SL2 sounded a little better to our ears. The SL3 for being a improved model it seems like a step back. Not sure what bose was thinking on this supposed update. So that ends the talk of the SL3. Now on to the HK Onyx Studio which is a really nice speaker and at 179 price point makes it really stand out next to the others of that size. Thats where the frills end, as its size is bigger yet its battery is very disappointing. Rated at around 5 hours or so its the weakest of the pack if you plan on using on the go. It should be double that for as big as it is. While its design is very modern, it resembles the shape of a dinner plate on a stand from a department store, and the stretched cloth speaker grill doesn't look like it is meant to take much if any abuse. It is more of a at home speaker than a home or on the go. The overall sounds from it were good but my requirements are much more than just the sound itself. It had to share room on my nightstand at times with a iPad mini, and a iPhone as well as my glasses and a bottle of water. That HK was just too big for its footprint to sit out of the way and play nice. So next was the Jawbone Big Jambox. It is up to a rated 17 hours via firmware update. Now while the Big Jambox gets nice and loud it does not sound as clean and seems almost smothered at lower volumes. It doesn't come alive till you reach mid to higher end. The higher end is a bit more compressed and definitely more distortion. It seems to pump out more mid and highs with no depth or fullness to sound that allot of others have a low to mid volume. Its more of a dialogue producer than music maker. Its battery and ability to add custom sounds is about all it had to peak my interest. It just didn't sound that great for that it was priced at. So that being said at the cost of some useable sound you get a few more hours on the go. Now what i also wanted was room filling sound, Which by the sites and sales pitches of all these speaker brands is what all of them are supposed to do. Also at times you don't want to necessarily hear where the music is coming from either. While in the big open stores I tested a few of these it wasn't so pronounced, once I got this BPXL home is where it shined. While the others let me down this speaker handled each task nicely as to what i expected. The biggest letdown was the bose SL3 which from the reviews it should easily crush all others but it left me wanting more. Its sound wasn't this flat natural tone everyone claimed but a bass heavy no mids or highs until cranked, and in doing so you lost the bass... So frustrating as it should of been able to keep somewhat of that fullness under stress. The BPXL however was full of rich sound and all volume levels. Not much compression or distortion at full volume and in some rooms it just filled the whole room with great sound, without directly hearing its location. Not many speakers can do that. Another issue, rather big issue was the Bose SL3 that not many reviews take notice was it was horribly directional, if you weren't right in front of it, It cursed you with muddy muffled sound. and take the speaker away from a wall or object for its passive radiators to load off of and it sounded unbalanced and bottomed out, it sounded just plain unacceptable for a speaker of this price point.. I tired to like, but no matter the type of music i tried it only sounded acceptable at lower volumes. If i wanted to listen to music all the time at a low volume id of gotten a SLM or a smaller speaker. The BPXL had very big shoes to fill as Ive never really cared for the Beats brand puerly by what i experienced in the past from their pill, and headphones. I am though, very happy to have this speaker in our home as this fills the room as intended with great music at all levels, not just at full volume or low which sadly most of these are only capable of. It is well made, looks very nice on a desk, kitchen counter, or nightstand which are the main places around the house i intended to use it. Its rated at about 15 hours and Ive seen close to that while using it a higher volumes. Your taste and requirements may vary and while there are a many reviews that I'm seeing place this next to a discontinued 1000+ Bose or alternative higher priced speakers that have to be plugged in and not considered portable is not realistic. Its not the same application. I almost considered one of these things, but then i took a moment and thought about what my needs in a bt speaker were. Not be strapped to a wall outlet, be able to freely take it on the go and forget about cords for the day(s). Have the freedom to place it almost anywhere, and not worry about lugging it around. To be able to just throw it in a backpack. This review could of easily been summed up in a few paragraphs but to those that do heavy research and simply have more of a need for a real comparison of other competing models there was no other way to break it down. Its a shame so many stores and people claim this is a sub par speaker just like the headphones when its simply the opposite and it does that it was made for. The Beats Pill XL is simply great portable bluetooth speaker that gets loud stays clean and fills a room with the songs you love.