The world's hip-hoppingest GP has lent his name to another Monster audio product -- the Beats by Dr Dre Beatbox. It's a rather massive speaker dock for the iPod and that promises to deliver the same floorboard-loosening bass as other Beats products. But, like everything else that carries the shiny red 'B' logo, the Beatbox comes at a premium price. Is it worth around £350?
The Beatbox doesn't look bad at all. It's not as ostentatious as the rest of the Beats line -- there are no chrome highlights or bright colours on show here. Instead, Monster's opted for a demure matte black across the speaker's body. The 'B' logo is visible beneath a fabric coating across the front of the Beatbox.
Your iPod or iPhone docks on the left side of the Beatbox. We like this unusual, asymmetric look. Over on the right, there's a rubbery little volume dial, and, in the middle, there's a whopping great hole, which, if you stick your mitt inside, lets you carry the Beatbox around.
Measuring 572 by 254 by 222mm and weighing 8kg, the Beatbox is portable but not massively so. You won't want to lug it around from room to room too often. Happily, there's only one cable to plug in, so setting the Beatbox up is really easy.
Playing it safe
Overall, we're in two minds about the design. It seems a little... safe. On the one hand, it's a good thing, bearing in mind that this dock will have to fit in with your other household furnishings. On the other hand, we really miss the in-your-face bling of the rest of the Beats line. Admittedly, that bling makes approximately half of the population throw up in their mouths -- the lame half that doesn't appreciate the subtle art of covering stuff in chrome. We just wish the Beatbox looked slightly crazier.
There are no music controls on the surface on the Beatbox itself, which means you'll have to faff about with the iPod or iPhone's touchscreen to change the choons. That's aggravating. While there are playback controls on the supplied remote, it's rather small, and you're only one house party away from losing it forever.
Plastic adaptors are included for a range of iDevices, but there isn't one that fits the iPhone 4. Our iPhone 4 worked fine without an adaptor, but it's an odd omission. For a list of all compatible devices, check this listing on the Apple Store website.
The Beatbox comes up rather empty-handed on the features front. There's a solitary line-in socket around the back, and space to plug in an upcoming wireless dongle called the Monster Streamcast Wireless System. Monster hasn't specified the price, availability or features of that forthcoming add-on, however.
Perhaps we've just been spoiled by speakers like the amazing Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air, which uses Apple's AirPlay technology, or the , but it seems that wireless playback is becoming a feature on more and more docks. The Beatbox doesn't offer wireless playback at the moment, so bear that in mind.