JBL OnBeat Xtreme review

Awards 2012 Product of the Year - Speaker Docks. A fun-looking, fun-sounding dock that’s worth every penny Tested at £500

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Our Verdict

Awards 2012 Product of the Year - Speaker Docks. A fun-looking, fun-sounding dock that’s worth every penny of its asking price

For

  • Sounds great
  • lovely design and build
  • feature packed
  • wireless works well

Against

  • Midrange can become hard at high volumes
  • flimsy device clamps

If you’re forking out £500 for an iPod dock, you expect a certain standard of build, finish and features. JBL does the job nicely here with its Bluetooth-enabled OnBeat Xtreme dock.

Sporting twin mid/bass drivers and tweeters in a quirky ‘crossed-arms’ enclosure, it’s an eye-catching affair – and thankfully it doesn’t feel plasticky or cheap. That goes for the well laid-out remote control, too.

Decent low-end clout and detail
Docking our iPod Touch into the supplied (sadly rather fiddly and flimsy) rotating clamp, we got the ball rolling with a blast of Chan Chan by the Buena Vista Social Club.

There’s certainly no shortage of low-frequency heft here – impressive, given the OnBeat’s relatively small drivers.

The detail present in the sweet midrange and treble is rarely swamped by this, though; if anything the midrange could do with a little tempering at higher volumes.

Individual instruments are given plenty of breathing space, although vocals sometimes sound a little damped when the going gets really complicated.

Bluetooth streaming is easy
Dynamics are handled with no alarms, though, and there’s plenty of scope to go loud should you fancy a little neighbour-baiting.

Uncouple your source and pair it with the OnBeat via Bluetooth (a quick, painless task) and results are decent given the constraints of the technology. There’s a little hiss and a slight drop in clarity, but it’s certainly nothing worth complaining about too much.

You can even make and receive phone-calls via the dock’s built-in microphone. Sound quality here is fine, and voices are picked up well for the person on the other end.

This is a great-looking, well-thought-out and versatile unit that would serve more than adequately as a replacement for any ageing micro system. It should certainly worry the likes of NAD and B&W, too…

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