Beats by Dre Pill portable Bluetooth speaker officially drops, we take one per the Dr. and go ears-on (video)
It’s official. Aside from letting loose its first set of headphones post-Monster for the Executive types, Beats Electronics has set its sights on nabbing the portable Bluetooth audio crown from Jawbone’s Jambox. You’ll recall this hitting the FCC a bit ago, but today the Dr. is officially ready to offer you it’s remedy for on-the-go wireless audio with its $200 Pill, an NFC-equipped portable Bluetooth 2.1 speaker. Coming in your choice red, black or white, the cylindrical system is loaded with a quartet of 1-inch drivers, and supports codecs including Apt-X and AAC. An internal battery is said to provide about seven hours of listening at around 75-percent volume (80 decibels), and the unit can be charged via its Micro-USB input. Notably, an auto-off feature turns the unit off after 30 minutes if no audio is streamed to it. As you’d expect, the Pill features a front-facing on-board mic for use as a speakerphone, physical volume buttons and power button, as well as a 3.5mm input if you’d like to play sans Bluetooth. We’re also pleased to notice that the diminutive system also features a 3.5 output if you’d like to send the audio out to another audio ware. The Pill comes with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, a USB to Micro-USB cable for charging with an included wall adapter and, lastly, a carrying shell case that can be hooked to a bag.
We’ve been able to spend about an hour with the system, and we’ve frankly come away very impressed. The unit feels very sturdy, with a stiff metal grille and soft-touch coating around the rest of its exterior. It feels very comfortable to hold in a hand, and will easily fit in a jacket pocket. Actually, one of our only initial complaints is that the included carrying shell doesn’t leave any room for the included cables. All of the buttons have a soft, slightly clicky tactility, which also aids to its premium feel. Using it initially alongside one of Beats’ on-hand Jamboxes in a wired A/B comparison, the Jambox came out sounding like a distorted, rumbling mess up against the pill — we even had a rep bring out a second unit confirm that it wasn’t a dud. If that wasn’t enough, the Pill also managed to get much louder, staying fairly clean (in comparison), and without rumbling on the table as the Jambox did very slightly. As a triple-check measure, we later came up with a similar outcome with our in-house unit of Logitech’s $99 UE mobile boombox — a speaker we find comparable in sound, if slightly better, than the Jambox.
Just in time for Halloween, Jarre’s new Aeroskull dock embodies 70 watts of total power in a human-like cranium, complete with a pair of speaker-packing shades. Jarre is showing off the colorful chrome tune machine in black, white, blue, green, orange, pink, purple and yellow finishes, with a matching IR bone remote to boot. With a tinted lens appearance, the permanently affixed sunglasses actually contain two 15-watt speakers, with a 40-watt subwoofer occupying the skull’s rear. The lofty £349 (about $565) sticker price will net you some of the latest technologies, including Bluetooth audio support and a standard 3.5mm audio input, but Apple’s new Lightning port is notably absent, with a good-as-dead Dock Connector mounted up top, instead. With 70 watts of power and Jarre’s backing, this seemingly bizarre rig may actually offer decent performance. You’ll need to wait until its October ship date to see for yourself, but if a skeletal sound system is on your list of must-haves, you can rest in peace knowing that you have but weeks to live (with your current spirited setup).
The Beats by Dr. Dre badge has usually been attached to headphones and the occasional laptop or smartphone. We’ve never really seen it attached to dedicated speakers, however, and that’s where both an FCC filing and a sighting at UK retailer HMV’s online store raise a few eyebrows. The House that Dre Built appears on the edge of launching the Beats Pill, a Bluetooth wireless speaker with four drivers and a shape that more than explains the medicinal name. While we don’t know just how much of that signature Beats thump we’ll get, we do know from the FCC that the Pill can serve as a speakerphone, carries an aux-in jack and will last for a typical 8.5 hours on its USB-rechargeable lithium-ion battery. There’s also signs of a red version of Beats’ Mixr headphones coming at the same time. HMV has publicly scoured its pages of any trace of a ship date or price for the Pill, but cached copies point to a £170 ($276) price and a release around September 28th — not necessarily trustworthy figures, but they may be in the ballpark. Our only question is whether or not we’ll get a dose of the Pill in the US.
CRE8 Design has designed a new style of portable speaker unit, thats been designed to be used with Apple’s Smart Cover or similar case designs, utilising the triangular space created when the Smart Cover is folded back.
The speaker has been designed to magnetically attach itself to the iPads Smart Cover and then rolls up within it. When not is use the speaker are pushed back into the triangular body.
Despite all the product rivalry at CES, a little romance was inevitable — and not just in the Engadget trailer. WOWee, purveyor of the ONE portable speaker, has paired up with MicroVision and its dashing PicoP laser projectortechnology (shown above) to create a “marriage of sight and sound.” It looks like the two companies will start out by simply bundling their respective wares, which will be available together in 120 countries from this quarter, rather than rushing to announce a hybrid device straight away. A wise decision, no doubt.
LG wasn’t very forthcoming with details when it announced its new AirPlay speaker dock back in November, so here at CES 2012 we decided we’d stop by LG’s booth to dig deeper and see it for ourselves. It looks like a foot square black Rubik’s cube, with glossy and matte exterior squares alternating around the outside, along with two mesh speaker grilles on the front corners. Up top is a dock that fits any iDevice and the power button, while a Smart Square screen resides on the front that’ll have touch controls when the dock ships in Q2 or Q3 of this year. A 3.5mm input jack and a USB port are on the back, and we’re pretty sure that the dongle plugged there is where the AirPlay chip currently resides, though it’ll be baked in before it gets to market. It was hard to evaluate the thing’s sound on the show floor, but with an 8-inch subwoofer inside, the low end came through loud and clear and overall it sounded good. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you how much it’ll cost when it becomes available, but we can give you the gallery of pics below. Enjoy.
What’s got Bluetooth, big solar panels and an e-ink display? Not a heck of a lot of gadgets prior to today’s introduction of the Rukus portable sound system from Eton. The solar-power speaker system can stream music wirelessly from your Bluetooth devices, bumping it in style through two full-range speaker drivers. The system is powered by a solar panel (though you can also power it the old fashioned wired way, when the sun’s nowhere in sight), but don’t worry about reading the screen in the sunshine — the Rukus has an e-ink display, which also helps the thing conserve a fair amount of power. Eton also says that the player is “virtually indestructible,” a claim we’re sure some folks will want to put to the test when it drops in Q2 for $150.
$99? For a portable speaker? Yup, that was our reaction too — especially when the Mini Boombox’s larger sibling boasts four times as many drivers (eight instead of two) and costs just $50 extra. But then we gave this more suitcase-friendly version a whirl and discovered that it’s actually loud and balanced enough to do some justice to your tunes while you’re on the move. In fact, it could well make a smarter purchase than those $30 speakers you keep buying in airports and then deliberately losing. It’s available now, works with any Bluetooth-equipped smartphone or tablet and incorporates a mic for handling calls — plus its rechargeable battery is claimed to last up to ten hours. Ears-on video and a quick round of ‘name that tune’ right after the break.
We have featured a number of different speaker docks for the iPhone and iPod here at Geeky Gadgets, the guys over at Speakal have announced their latest fun iPhone dock, the Speakal iHog.
The iHog is the follow up to the iPig which was launched a few years ago, and it will work with your iPhone and iPod touch and comes with a 20 watt sub-woofer.
The Speakal iHog also comes with a built in rechargeable battery which is reported to last up to 10 hours, it is available now from Speakal for $119.99.
Harman Kardon has unveiled a new addition to its line of iPhone/iPod speaker docks this week with the launch of their new MS 150. The new high end MS 150 speaker dock incorporates a slot-loaded CD player and an FM radio tuner and will retail for a suggested $689. Ouch!
So if your pockets are deep enough you can listen to 30-watt bass-reflex speakers which are fitted in the new MS 150, providing a frequency response of 65Hz-20kHz at +/-3dB and a 75dB signal-to-noise ratio. Together with a subwoofer output, allowing you to connect a powered subwoofer.
Harman Kardon have also included S-Video outputs for displaying photos and videos on a connected display, analog audio inputs, digital audio input, MP3, WMA-CD playback and six presents for the RDS FM tuner. Together with IR remote, alarm, sleep timer and dimmer to reduce the brightness of the three-line dot-matrix display.
Source: The Loop
Altec Lansing is showing off a handful of updates to its line of audio accessories this week at IFA in Berlin. At top of the list is the newly revealed inAir 5000, a hefty tabletop AirPlay speaker that the company is firmly positioning to take on Bowers & Wilkins’ Zeppelin line (which also recently got its own AirPlay version). Like that system, the inAir certainly offers a unique take on aesthetics, with a teardrop design. The company opted not to install an Apple dock on the 110 watt system, given that compatible devices can stream audio wirelessly to the thing via AirPlay.
The iMT630 Classic is, not surprisingly, a more traditional speaker dock. It’s portable and light and features a docking shelf on the front that can be flipped out with the push of a button. Open up the stand on the back, and you’ll find a spot for storing the speaker’s remote. The remote itself is also magnetic, so you can stick it to the Classic’s front grill (someone at the company has clearly lost a lot of remotes in their day). No word yet on pricing and availability for either speaker system.
The company also showcased its Bliss Headphones, which are “designed for a Woman’s ear.” What does that mean, exactly? Mostly that their earbuds are smaller, fitting more comfortably in smaller ear canals. Altec Lansing assures us, however, that they’re still capable of offering great sound, in spite of their size. And yes, they come in pink.
Logitech has this week unveiled a new addition to its range with the launch of its Tablet Speaker. Created to provide you with a portable battery powered speaker system for those time when you need a little more volume from your tablet, while watching films or listening to music.
The new tablet speaker has been designed to clip over the edge of your tablet and raises the tablet into a convenient typing angle. Rather than using a Bluetooth connection which would reduce the speaker and your tablets battery life, Logitech have opted for a wired connection using a 3.5mm headphone connector that simply plugs in to your tablet headphone socket.
The Logitech Bluetooth tablet speaker is capable of providing up to 8 hours of playback on a single charge and can be re-charged when necessary via a USB connection.
The Logitech Tablet speaker is now available to pre-order (shipping in September) and comes complete with its own carrying case for €40 or $58
We can swear we feel hints of fall creeping in already, but Logitech just announced a product we would have loved to see at the start of beach season: a speaker bar that clips onto the back of any tablet, effectively turning it into the boombox it wasn’t built to be. We know, we know, that barrel of a speaker looks a tad silly next to the likes of the iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1, but we’re digging how it doubles as a stand, propping up the slate if, perchance, you’re also down for watching a movie. In our brief hands-on, the speaker felt lighter than it looks in those photos down there, and delivered decently loud sound, too. Like we said, we can see this making for a festive old time at the beach or a picnic, though when we asked a Logitech rep about durability he said we might want to shield the speaker from sand. Because this is a wired product (it charges via USB and lasts up to eight hours on a charge), it commands less than the wireless speaker for iPad that Logitech’s already shilling. Specifically, we’re told it’ll cost $49.99, though as of this writing it hasn’t popped up in the company’s online store, which means those of you unashamed of your Justin Bieber collection will have to just sit tight.
The PC and Xbox-friendly, surround sound Z6A, meanwhile, rocks eight amplified speakers (including two subwoofers) and is juiced by a 5.1 channel amp that promises to bathe your head with booming bass. The USB-powered device may leave you tethered to your console, but at least it will house your ears in an oversized mesh cushion, which may make those late-night gaming marathons a little more bearable. The PX3 will retail for about $150, with the Z6A set at around $100, and both headsets will be on display at E3 next week in Los Angeles, so we’ll be sure to give you our feedback once we get our paws on them. For now, you can sate your appetite with the full PR and an image of the Z6A — both of which are waiting for you after the break.
What’s that, an alien egg? Nope. Memory foam iPillow? No, silly, it’s a Zeppelin, a Zeppelin Air more specifically. Bowers & Wilkins brought us the first iPod-centric Zeppelin in the middle of the great iPod dock flood of ’07. A few years later they downsized and brought us a mini version. The logical extension after the advent of AirPlay is here: a Zeppelin that does its thang without wires. We’ve been beaming music to it for a few weeks now — wanna find out how our relationship has been? Click through, captain.
USB speakers aren’t exactly headline-grabbing gadgets these days, but the fact remains that most laptops could still use a little help on the audio end. If you’re in need of a quick fix for your weak-sounding machine, then Altec Lansing’s $49.95 Orbit USB Stereo (iML247) might be worth your consideration. As the name says for itself, both power and audio input are managed through one USB cord, meaning no batteries are required here. Better yet, when not in use, you can simply fold up the legs, stuff the cables into the hollow ends, and then twist the speakers together to form one smooth tube for storage. Of course, note that this Orbit won’t work with devices sporting the common 3.5mm headphone jack, and obviously don’t expect cinematic sound quality from these tiny canisters — hey, there’s always a trade-off.
It’s a familiar face, sure, but there’s a key ingredient thrown here that’s been lacking on JBL’s prior iDevice docks: AirPlay. We’re still waiting (and waiting) to see if Apple’s going to expand its licensing program to allow third-party vendors the ability to toss in AirPlay video streaming, but for now, JBL’s taking advantage of what’s out there. The On Air Wireless AirPlay speaker dock — which is shipping today to Best Buy and Apple Stores after being teased a few weeks ago — is now good and official, enabling consumers to wirelessly stream their iTunes library from Macs, PCs, iPhones, iPods or iPads right to the dock. Aside from a rather unorthodox design (which should go a long way to dispersing jams in a 360-degree fashion), you’ll also find a color LCD, digital FM radio, an inbuilt alarm clock, DSP technology and a proprietary adapter that enables it to be worn as headgear at your next rave. We’re guessing that final bit makes the $349.99 price tag entirely more palatable.