Editors' note (June 3, 2015): Apple and Beats have list of best Bluetooth speakers has plenty of great alternatives in the meantime.due to an overheating problem. Our
First, an apology. We're a little tardy in reviewing the Beats Pill XL, the bigger brother to the standard Beats Pill Bluetooth speaker. Part of the reason for that may have been that I was underwhelmed by the, which was decent enough but cost too much ($200) when it was released a while back.
Thankfully, the Beats Pill XL, which lists for $300 but retails for about $270 (£260 UK, AU$400) online in a variety of color options, is a far better-sounding speaker.
While it obviously isn't as compact as its little brother, it weighs a manageable 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg) and has a built in handle that makes it easy to carry around. It's really a nice design feature. I also liked the pause/play button in the middle of the speaker. It looks like a harmless Beats logo, but in fact, it does something.
You get volume controls on the speaker, though no controls for skipping tracks forward or back. You'll have to do that from your Bluetooth-enabled phone or tablet. And yes, even though Beats is now owned by Apple, this speaker works with Android and Windows devices.
Additional features include NFC tap-to-pair technology for phones that support it, a USB charging port and speakerphone capabilities (the speakerphone works pretty well but isn't business-grade). There's an audio input, plus an audio output that allows you to daisy-chain additional speakers.
Unlike the standard Pill, the XL, which appears to use Bluetooth 2.1, doesn't support the AptX codec, but in my book that isn't a big deal.
If you can afford two of these guys, you can sync two Pill XLs together and augment the sound or turn one into a left speaker and the other into a right speaker for stereo sound. (I didn't test this because I only had one Pill XL, but I've done it with two standard Pills and they paired without a hitch).
Battery life is rated at 15 hours, which is good, and the speaker will automatically turn off after 10 minutes of no signal detection to conserve power.