When the iPhone 4 antenna issue became an issue, Apple's answer was to give away a free case, which included their bumper. If you want something that looks a lot nicer, then check out this Gear4 The Band.
Supplied by: MyMemory
If you have a new 3rd generation iPod Nano, then you should check out these two cases from Gear4. The video review below covers the JumpSuit Shield and the IceBox Pro, both available from Gear4.
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?
When I get sent a product to review, I normally like to test it for a really good length of time, but when Gear4 sent me their HouseParty 24/7 to check out, I had to break that rule, read on to find out why.
The HouseParty 24/7 is available in black or white and is a compact speaker dock system, with lots of added functionality. When I say compact, it is by no means tiny, but the design has really been well thought out. About the size of a double height regular clock radio, the 24/7 boasts two nice speakers in the front and a downwards firing bass unit. The front on the unit also has a nice blue LED display for the time, mode you are in, alarms, and frequency of the radio station you are listening to. The top of the unit houses the well laid out buttons and the dock for your iPod. I guess that brief description really gives the game away about what the 24/7 actually offers. To recap, you get an iPod speaker system, clock, alarm clock and an AM/FM radio.
Supplied with the unit are six different size dock adapters. These allow the unit to accommodate every iPod that sports a dock connector, including the 4th, 5th & 6th generation full size iPod, the Mini, Photo, and Nano. Gear4 also supply a slimline remote to control the unit, the iPod and alarms etc. The remote is nothing to shout about, but it does get the job done. You also get external FM and AM aerials, which improve the radio reception a great deal. Whilst on the subject of the radio, reception is really good and easy to tune and store presets.
Sound quality is not of great importance for an alarm clock, but is if you plan to use the 24/7 for regular listening too. I am happy to say that this little unit really does deliver nice quality sound. The 2.1 speaker system creates a nice warm sound, with some real oomph in the bass department. Well done Gear4, this unit really does sound good for both radio and iPod playback.
Unlike some other speaker units, I really like the way this one interacts with my iPod. Whilst testing with my 5th Gen, it charges the unit whilst in use (or switched on). When the 24/7 is turned off, the power is not sent to the dock connector, so the iPod (and its screen) switches off. Other speaker units I have tested keep charging the iPod even whilst switched off, so the iPod screen remains on (not ideal). Thankfully, the 24/7 addresses this matter.
In summary, the HouseParty 24/7 offers great music reproduction. It allows you to wake up to the radio or your iPod, all from the one unit. Both the build and sound quality are brilliant, and well worth the asking price. This review was brought to you so quickly because the HouseParty 24/7 simply is soooooo good.
There are literally hundreds of different speaker solutions available for the iPod, so when making YOUR choice, the product needs to offer something that little bit extra. Here, I take a look at the HouseParty III from Gear4.
Before you even get this speaker come dock out the box, the feature list reads very well indeed. You get 30 watts of music power, a retractable iPod dock that slides in and out of the unit, a mysterious hidden display and the bonus feature of an FM radio.
Unpacking the unit is a pretty good experience. It feels a little bit on the cheap side, but everything is well made, the design is nice too, with curves in all the right places. There are dock adapters supplied for the 4th and 5th generation iPods, the Mini and both generations of Nano. These slot into the dock, which actually slides in and out of the centre of the base. This is a nice feature, meaning that when you do not have your iPod connected, the unit looks very neat.
Turning the unit on reveals the (hidden) red LED display. Another nice touch, whereby the front of the unit is all made to look like speaker grill, and when turned on the LED display shines through. The buttons on the top are also nice, a firm click for the power, volume and mode, instead of being left wondering if you have actually pushed the button in (as on some fancy touch sensitive units). I really prefer the buttons on the HouseParty III. You are also not restricted to listening to just your iPod, the unit has an FM radio built-in. This worked very well in my tests and is certainly a welcome addition. Of note, you can also plug in your iPod USB cable, so if you are using this product near your computer, you can sync it to your iTunes library. You also get a little remote control, which is very handy for controlling the unit from afar.
This is the only part of the HouseParty III that lets it down. Don't get me wrong, it is not awful, but compared to other similarly priced offerings, it sounds a little muddy and muffled. It also lacks bass, there just seems to be nothing there. It is perfectly acceptable though, just not outstanding.
However, for the money, plus the combination of dock, speakers, and FM Radio, the HouseParty III still offers good value for money. Great for a kitchen or bedroom, but not for your main listening device.