Friday, 26 November 2010

GEAR4 HouseParty 4 - Product Review

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I bought this Gear4 HouseParty 4 after much searching and comparison of similarly priced iPod Speaker Docks. Whilst eventually I would like to purchase a Bose Sounddock, at the moment I just need something to replace my CD player which has had it after many, many years. The criteria for my purchase was the best sound quality possible, whilst costing around £50 - £60. Which I felt was a reasonable price for a decent Speaker Dock. 

I ordered this based on the number of high reviews here on Amazon, although I was a bit dubious about the speakers capabilities having never owned a speaker dock before and not having the ability to test one before buying. I took the plunge anyway and when the unit arrived I was amazed! 

It's smaller than I was expecting, very simple clean design, will easily fit anywhere in a room and has a very slim credit card style remote control. Took me a few minutes to setup and even though the instruction manual was a few pages long, you don't really need to read it, this unit is really simple to use. I'm using this with an iPhone 3G and all I had to do was dock the iPhone, it'll ask if I want to turn on Airplane Mode so as to reduce interference from the phone and that's it away you go. If a song is already playing on your iPod/iPhone it'll keep playing when you insert it into the dock. If like me you're using an iPhone, as soon as you remove it from the Speaker Dock it'll automatically turn off Airplane Mode which is a nice touch, saves you keep going into the settings on the phone. 

The sound quality of this unit is really quite good, better than I was expecting, bearing in mind that this is replacing my main CD unit. Initially there was some trepidation when I first played something through the speakers, it was obviously something I wasn't expecting when comparing to my CD player speakers. After playing various different types of music through the speakers, it became apparent that this unit will just take anything thrown at it! Low volume, high volume, anywhere in between and I get zero distortion. The sound produced is almost as good as my CD player speakers, good bass without being overly bassy. I was a bit worried about the quality of the sound, but my fears have been in vain it seems. 

The unit comes with a built in FM radio which comes in handy. You also get a credit card style remote control which is very handy and seems to work quite well. It cycles through all the menus on my iPhone without problems, allows you to select songs easily enough. You can also shuffle and repeat songs, etc from the remote. The one thing that I didn't see the point of was the 7 EQ options. Turning any of these on and you'll wonder what's happened, to me they're a bit pointless and most users will probably use the unit with the EQ settings off. A minor quibble, but maybe something that needs work for the next model. 

Overall, if you're on a budget and looking for a good quality iPod Speaker dock that gives good sound, easy to use, looks the part and works well with both the iPod and iPhone, then I can highly recommend this unit. Ultimately, if you can go in store somewhere and test one then I'd always advise before buying as different people prefer different units and everyone has a different ear when it comes to sound. I can't fault this unit for it's price and am very pleased with it, 5 stars!

Now less than £40.00. Buy it now. Click on the picture to check it out.

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