Gear4 HouseParty Portable review

Feature-packed wireless speaker let down by disappointing sound Tested at £130

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Feature-packed wireless speaker let down by disappointing sound


  • +

    Includes iPod dock

  • +

    aptX Bluetooth

  • +

    Android and iOS app


  • -

    Sounds bright

  • -

    Lacks weight and detail

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Gear4 was one of the first brands in the world to launch a range of iPod accessories, so it knows a thing or two about docks and, more recently, wireless speakers.

The Gear 4 HouseParty Portable is a combination of the two: it’s a Bluetooth speaker with an iPod dock stuffed in for good measure (the old 30-pin Apple connector, not the new Lightning connection).

It’s got aptX Bluetooth, which means superior wireless sound with a compatible device (the Samsung Galaxy S3, for example).

There’s a smart Android and iOS app (and a remote), which shows you extra info such as battery life (it’s good for up to 16 hours using the internal battery), and a USB input for charging your portable.

Sadly, the sound quality doesn’t quite hold its end up. Bright and lacking in weight and detail, the extra volume and scale that the bigger dimensions deliver are scant consolation.

That’s a shame, as it’s feature-packed for the money.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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