Rating: ★★★★½

Pros:

  • Awesomely loud
  • Built-in handle for carrying
  • Includes remote and built-in iPod Dock
  • GSM shielding prevents cell phone interference

Cons:

  • Expensive; $300+
  • A bit bright tonally at high volumes
  • Heavy and big
  • No battery or Bluetooth option

If 5 years ago someone would have told me that a rap artist turned producer would be behind one of the most successful line of headphones I would have laughed in their face. But the reckoning has arrived and in the form of not only $150+ earbuds and headphones, but a $450 iPod dock stereo system.

The Beatbox by Dr. Dre from Monster – they demand that you refer to the device this way – is a no frills, loud as balls iPod dock.

There’s a handle built into the form factor, a 30-pin dock, aux input, volume knob and power switch. On the back is a rubber flap that conceals a wireless port for a soon to arrive wire free streaming system called “Monster Streamcast”. They’ve also tossed in a pocket friendly, credit card sized remote.

The Beatbox houses 4 speakers; 2 tweeters and two drivers

The body of the Beatbox is plastic, which houses a metal grill, two 5.25-inch long throw bass drivers and two 2-inch concave high frequency drivers. A small red LED light hidden behind the grill indicates when the device is powered up.

It’s probably the largest iPod Dock I’ve had the luxury of playing with, as it measures 10″ x 22.5″ x 8.75″ (HxWxD) and weighs about 12 lbs, enough to warrant a “lift with care warning”. All that size and weight results in probably one of the most sonically capable docks I’ve tested. It had no problem handling any genre of music I threw at it, though tonally it was bright at times. I threw the proverbial audio curve ball at the beatbox, which is to crank it to full volume and listen for garbled output. To no surprise it was distortion free indicating that there is more than enough ampage outfitted in the Beatbox.

The Beatbox’s wireless module port (not used, yet), power input and AUX input

The Beatbox, I’m sad and disappointed to say, doesn’t have a Bluetooth option for wirelessly streaming your tunes. Also, it isn’t iPad compatible as the dock can only fit an iPhone or iPod Touch, and  lacks a  video output option, which would have been a useful since the Beatbox could very well pair nicely with a small LCD TV or monitor. However, it is shielded from GSM interference since during my testing I never experienced that buzzing noise that most speakers will pick up when a call arrives on the iPhone over Edge connectivity.

The build quality of the Beatbox is all around solid.  It survived a birthday party over the weekend, and while no one threw it from a roof top, I get the impression it could last and blast its way through just about any apocalyptic like environment.

Since the Beatbox’s arrival, the price has dropped significantly. As of my last check on Amazon it was about $309, which is more than $100 off the original price when it launched late last year. Is this an indicator of its sales volume? Probably not, since most of the Beats products have dropped in price, despite boasting significant sales numbers, or at least that’s what I’ve been told.

Beatbox power button and iPod/iPhone 30-pin dock

Nonetheless, $300+ is a hefty price to pay for a barebones iPod dock that serves one purpose: to play back music. Fortunately, it serves its duties with no qualms, no missteps and sounds so awesomely loud you’ll forget how much you paid for it.

You can purchase the Beatbox by Dr. Dre From Monster at Amazon for $309.










Christen Costa

 
Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."