OnBeat Xtreme good for iOS devices -- and great for the iPad
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OnBeat Xtreme good for iOS devices -- and great for the iPad

Harman's JBL OnBeat Xtreme (http://macte.ch/kJVIc) is one of the more innovative speaker docks/charging stations I've run across. Of course, for US$500 it should be.

It's an iPhone, iPod, and iPad compatible gadget that accommodates various iOS devices thanks to a rotating central dock and adapters. The OnBeat Xtreme includes two adapter clips: one for the iPhone/iPod touch and iPod classic, and one for the iPad. (iPod nano models don't need an adapter). If you're an iPad user, you'll appreciate the fact that the Harman product supports the Apple tablet in landscape orientation.

If you're a fan of wireless connectivity, you'll love the fact that the OnBeat Xtreme can handle -- and handle well -- Bluetooth wireless music streaming. Not only is it compatible with iOS devices, but it works -- via Bluetooth -- with Macs and other devices. Audio can be transmitted to the loudspeaker system from practically any gadget with the appropriate module. What if you have a Bluetooth-free device? Just connect it via 3.5 mm wire audio jack.

What's more, with an optional composite cable, you can use the Harman device to send video to your TV. The OnBeat Xtreme also comes with an USB cable, an RF remote and an AC power cord. The remote lets you change tracks, system settings and more, from up to 30 feet in any direction.

If that's not enough, the OnBeat Xtreme has a microphone for speakerphone calling with an iPhone. The device continues Harman's penchant for making cool-looking product. It has an eye-catching "weave" design with a sophisticated chrome and black base.

Said base boasts JBL's Ridge drivers as tweeters plus Hercules woofers. With 30 watts of amplification, the computer-optimized DSP equalization delivers substantial frequency response (20Hz – 20kHz) and minimal distortion, even when you crank up the volume.

In other words, the audio sounds good with solid bass and an overall smooth and warm sound. All this is packed into a compact (9 x 9.4 x 17.5 inches), relatively light weight (8.9 pounds) design so the OnBeat Xtreme is quite portable.

A free OnBeat Xtreme app can be downloaded for free at the Apple App Store. It allows you to control playlists and EQ settings, in addition to having an alarm or a sleep timer.

Is the OnBeat Xtreme worth the price tag? If you want a device that can not only play audio (wired or wirelessly) and charge an iOS device, but also let you hold hands-free conversations using Apple’s FaceTime or Skype on an iPad, as well as do things like watch Netflix on an iPad with good audio quality, then yes.

And it looks good while doing it.

Rating: 10 out of 10

-- Dennis Sellers


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