A few months back I reviewed the
I'm telling you this up front because, well, the OnBeat Air is basically the same product as the OnBeat, with identical sound quality, but with one key added feature: support for wireless AirPlay streaming from any of Apple's compatible devices, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and even any Mac or Windows PC running iTunes.
While this product isn't nearly as good as the much larger
Like its bigger and better-performing brother, the OnBeat Xtreme, this model has one of those designs that you're either going to love or find a little off-putting. The front looks a little like the top of a woman's formal dress and the chrome around the dock makes a heart shape.
While the OnBeat Air seems fairly well built, it does feel pretty light, and can be picked up easily enough, which some will view as a good thing. It's just not a luxurious, high-end product like the OnBeat Xtreme, but it does cost much less at around $200, so you can't expect it to be.
The OnBeat Air features a 30-pin Apple dock that, as usual, recharges docked devices. As noted above, the dock rotates so you can put your iPhone, iPod, or iPod Touch in portrait or landscape mode for movie-watching, but a docked iPad needs to stay locked in the vertical position. JBL throws in adapters for iPads and iPhones that make your specific device sit more securely in the dock.
The dock works with the original iPad, the iPad 2, and the
It should also go without saying that the speaker looks very different depending on what, if anything, is docked in it. I preferred the look when the iPad was docked; an iPhone or iPod Touch looked comparatively out of place.
The OnBeat Air doesn't have Bluetooth for wireless streaming like the OnBeat Xtreme, but it does offer AirPlay support and a few extras in the features department. , in case you don't know, is available through iTunes on both Mac and Windows computers and works for nearly all audio applications on iOS devices.
Before I dig into the AirPlay feature a bit more, let me highlight some of the other extras. For starters, there's a composite video output so you can run video from your docked iPad, iPhone, or iPod, to your TV using an optional cable. Alas, that video connection is composite, which means the video quality will not be terribly good (think VCR-quality at best).