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.
Many thanks to Simms International Accessories for sponsoring the MacBook Pro used to create this review… Crumpler bags remain bold, fresh and super ergonomic, utilising durable high tech materials and offering the kind of unique features you won’t even know you need till you’ve tried them. And did I mention the ‘colourful’ names?