OnBeat Air review
An updated version of the OnBeat speaker dock, JBL’s OnBeat Air adds AirPlay technology and a significant price hike. The move, although welcome, might be seen as overkill. Many are likely to use the unit for what it was designed for – docking an iOS device – rather than streaming music from iTunes.
The OnBeat Air has a rotating arm for horizontal and vertical viewing, although you can’t rotate an iPad for horizontal viewing. The unit is powered by two 7.5 watt speaker drivers. The build feels solid, and the dock is sturdy and compact. Equally small is the supplied remote control, which feels cheap and brittle in comparison to the main unit.
Does this neat dock and speaker need AirPlay?
The OnBeat Air sounds fine played at lower volume levels, and would make a perfect companion for late night, chilled-out listening. Turn it up, though, and the dock is disappointing – the bass sounding muddy and distorted, and beats crunchy rather than crisp. A poor choice for those who love to pump up the volume.