A versatile sound system that lacks adapters and cables. (November 2nd, 2007)
Product Manufacturer: GEAR4, a Disruptive Technology Channels brand
Price: $102.66 US, £49.99 UK
- iPod syncing and charging thru Dock. Remote control with batteries included. Folds to about size of trade paperback book. User Manual in 10 languages.
- No U.S. AC adapter. 3.5 mm audio cable sold separately. USB cable sold separately. Comparatively expensive. No pockets or compartments in neoprene slip case.
iPods are used everywhere, but they are cumbersome to use with generic speaker systems. Gear 4 solves this problem with the StreetParty Size 0, a super slim and compact portable speaker system for Apple's ubiquitous iPods.
Small Size Fits AllThe aptly named StreetParty Size 0 measures only 22cm (8.7") wide and 12.5cm (4.9") tall, with a profile just 16mm (.63"), and weighing just 300g (.66lbs) sans batteries. It is about the size of a closed trade paperback book and can be transported anywhere easily. In fact, Gear4 includes a neoprene slipcase that helps protect the StreetParty 0 from scratches, even when carried in backpacks and book bags. Open, its footprint is about half the width of that same trade paperback book.
The StreetParty 0 is also highly compatible. The stand smartly unfolds and acts as an adjustable dock that fits all iPods with a Dock Connector, dating from the first Mini to today's iPod Touch. The StreetParty 0 is surprisingly stable, even with the relatively large and heavy iPod Photo in the dock. The StreetParty 0 will also sync and charge docked iPods when connected by USB to a Macintosh computer (USB cable sold separately).
The StreetParty 0, doesn't neglect other audio sources, including hundreds of other MP3 players. Although the StreetParty 0 plays best with iPods, it also plays audio from sources with a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack (3.5mm audio cable also not included). Surprisingly, no one has noted that the original iPod shuffle, which lacks the same connector as other iPods, can be played through the StreetParty 0 in this manner.
Enjoy Your Music From AfarThe easy to use StreetParty 0 includes a 10-language manual, but each language only takes up two pages. All you have to do to use the system is attach the AC adapter or insert four AA batteries (not included), open the stand, insert an iPod, and turn on the power. Volume controls, conveniently located on the dock beside the iPod, are not likely to be missed. There are no other controls on the StreetParty 0.
Unfortunately, no U.S. AC adapter is included or available for the system from Gear4, as of this writing. The two AC adapters included with the review unit are for the U.K., where Gear4 is based, and Europe. U.S. consumers will need to locate a universal 6V AC adapter if they wish to use AC power with the StreetParty 0. Although the StreetParty 0 lasts approximately 8 hours from each set of new batteries, batteries are an expensive way to use this device when not traveling.
Good Sound QualityEven powered by batteries, the StreetParty 0 sound quality is better than expected. The system's paired tweeters and low-resonance drivers provide a fuller audio experience than a 700 MHz iBook, rivaling a 17" PowerBook G4, with greater volume than either. When batteries run low, however, sound quality diminishes, becoming indistinct and fuzzy. Users know when batteries run low, because the blue power light on the front begins to flicker and pulse.
Remote IncludedA surprising bonus to the StreetParty 0 is the particularly useful remote control. About the size of a 3rd generation iPod Nano, the remote not only adjusts volume, but also mutes the system, navigates through the iPod playlists and menus, and allows you to set the iPod to shuffle or repeat. These latter features are only accessible via this remote control. The remote control uses an included battery like those used in car stereo remotes.
Lots of Features Yes Misses the MarkThe StreetParty 0, unfortunately, misses the mark. The system comparatively expensive, and the lack of an U.S. compatible AC adapter is inexcusable, especially since the review unit was shipped to me in the U.S. Users also need to purchase additional cables to use the StreetParty 0 as a dock with a computer, or with an audio source other than an iPod.
The neoprene slipcase also lacks pockets or pouches to help keep the AC adapters or iPod together with the system for convenient mobility. Surprisingly, this problem persists with many mobile iPod accessories. Only the large portable Altec Lansing IM9 includes any means to keep the accessory with the iPod for regular use on the go. The IM9 includes a backpack to aid portability.
Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor