• JBL OnBeat Xtreme
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
Sounds great
lovely design and build
feature packed
wireless works well
Midrange can become hard at high volumes
flimsy device clamps
Reviewed on

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 detailDocking 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.

More after the break

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

Bluetooth streaming is easyDynamics 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…

MORE: Best Bluetooth speakers


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