It took me a while to find a piece of equipment that I was happy to play my ipod through, that was untill I discovered Gear4 products, i've since bought another as a present due to the products great features.
We all like to have a party, and now theres a cost effective and very portable (needs mains supplt to operate) way to inflict your music choices onto others! Whether its cheesy pop or heavy rock this could be the system for you!
Firstly its worth noting that the speaker system is very simple and classic looking with the front of the system consiting of the speaker grill (the grey area in the photo) and the basic touch controls that are required. The system comes with a neat little remote control that comes in handy if you want to quickly skip a song or pause a selection but choosing a song or artist should really be done on the ipod controls as the ipods screen is quite small and you need to stand next to it.
The system has a 30 watt output which means that the sound will go suprisingly loud without distortion, loud enough for a houseparty (hence the name!) which is a great feature for a speaker system of this price. I mention the price as it falls between the lower end of the market where sound quality is often poor and comprimised for design and the upper end that crosses the £100 barrier that can become an expensive solution.
The features that you reciveve for your purchase price (currently approx £60 on amazon) are extensive. Not only is the model a speaker system but also a fully intergrated ipod dock which charges your ipod from the mains as you play your tunes. Included in the price is a vairety of adapters for different generation ipods meaning that if you change your ipod, or have a friend over you will have no problems connectiong. An extra bonus of the system is that it has bluetooth connectivity, meaning that you can connect your mobile phone or other portable devices and play music from them through the speaker.
The only disadvantage that I can think of is that the touch controls on the system itself have some sensitivity issues. At first press they don't seem to change too quickly but then after an instant they modify by quite an amount, due to this I have found it generally best to use the handy remote control.
I believe that the combination of the price, design and ultimatley the sound quality makes the Gear4 houseparty blu the best ipod solution in its price range.
So get dancing!
Gear4 have a nice range of iPod related products now, but with the HouseParty Blu they certainly seem to have upped the design ante. This sleek unit has a nice grill to the front, with some backlit touch sensitive controls. Yes, this is an iPod speaker system, with the mandatory dock, but it goes one step further by adding bluetooth.
OK, so the iPod does not have bluetooth as standard, although this can be added afterwards. Where the 'Blu' scores is that you can hook up any A2DP Bluetooth device, like your mobile phone and stream your tunes to it. In practice this work brilliantly. I am not a big mobile phone user, as I use my iPod all the time, but for the purposes of this review some of my fave tunes were transferred to my mobile. The quality was pretty darn good, not as good as docking my iPod, but certainly detailed and very usable.
The volume of this unit is pretty astounding too, with 30W of output it certainly goes loud and keeps the distortion in check too. There is also a line-in, so you can connect other audio devices to the HouseParty Blu. The supplied remote control is pretty much functional, as with most devices of this type, there is no need for an expensive remote.
On the iPod front, you can use the 'Blu' with any dock connecting iPod, as far back as the Mini. Docking adapters, which snap neatly into place, are supplied in the box.
Overall, this is a very nice package. It goes very loud, has a nice quality sound reproduction, and a very pleasing design. Add to this the flexibility of easily connecting a Bluetooth mobile phone, and you have a product that offers that little bit extra over the competition. Well done Gear4.
Note: I am the original author of this review on www.geekanoids.co.uk