CNET First Look
JBL OnBeat XtremeWhile it's on the expensive side, JBL's OnBeat Xtreme is one of the best sounding iPhone/iPad docks we've heard--and it has built-in Bluetooth and speakerphone capabilities.
Hi, I'm David Carnoy, executive editor for CNET.com and what I've got here is JBL's OnBeat Xtreme. A high end iPad, iPhone speaker dock that also has built in Bluetooth capabilities. What's cool about it is that you can dock your iPad or iPhone and rotate it into portrait or landscape mode for video watching. From a design standpoint it is a little bit funky. I liked it well enough but it's got one of those designs that you're going to either love or find a little off footing. Regardless of how it strikes you, I can see that it seems very well built. Weighs in at a solid 8.9 lbs and the buttons, speaker grills, chrome accents and nicely designed RF remote pointed this being a luxury product. In that sense it shares some similarities to Bowers & Wilkins' Zeppelin products though obviously not the same shape. If you're looking for a speaker that offers compatibility with Apple's Airplay wireless streaming feature, this isn't it, but it's got just about everything else you'd want in a speaker dock system, most notably Bluetooth and speakerphone capabilities. This would make for a nice quote unquote, executive system in a home office or den and you could also stick it underneath a TV, on a shelf of course and make it into a TV speaker using the line input. It's also worth mentioning that there's a USB port around back that allows you to sync a docked iPod, iPhone or iPad with iTunes on your computer. There's a cable included but it's not that long. So you will have to have the computer near the speaker. One note about the speakerphone, when a call comes in, your music will pause and then resume when you hang up the call. However, to use the speakerphone capability is you do have to be in Bluetooth mode rather than have your iPhone docked. Aside from the solid built quality and impressive feature set, the OnBeat Xtreme's other big selling point is that it really does sound good for its size. Stereo separation is always a problem in speaker docks where the drivers are only separated by a few inches but the system does play very loud and delivers good, clean, well balanced sound with tight bass. Overall the sound was up there with some of the better speaker dock systems we've reviewed and in some cases those products cost more than this one. In the end, really the only downside here is the $500 price point and if you can get over that fact you are getting a high quality impressive sounding speaker dock that also features Bluetooth wireless streaming and speakerphone capabilities and oh yeah you can use it to dock and charge your iPad which is an important feature for a lot of people. I'm David Carnoy and that's the JBL OnBeat Xtreme. Thanks for watching.