Mikey's review: PodGear Pocket Party

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Meet Tech Digest’s ace new reviewer – Mikey Moran – who from now on will be delivering his opinions on new products on a weekly basis.

We’d thought we’d start him off with something easy – so here’s his take on the £25 PodGear Pocket Party iPod speakery thing.

What’s small, but pleasingly chunky and promises some kind of party in your pocket? Yes, of course Ron Jeremy – but also the PodGear Pocket Party. The Pocket Party follows the same kind of ‘packet of polos’ form factor as the original iTrip and perches atop your iPod (or mini) in much the same way. Whereas the iTrip contented itself with forwarding your music to the nearest FM receiver the Pocket Party addresses itself to the rather more difficult challenge of sending the sound straight to your ears. In common with all mini-speaker sets the unit fares better with some kinds of material than others; excellent on speech, acceptable on jazz, not so stellar on dub.

The PgPP (which is what all the kids will be calling it) sports a minijack which fits into your iPod’s headphone output, and a small Apple proprietary ‘blade’ connector to interface with the remote socket (although what it’s doing in there is anybody’s guess, because there doesn’t appear to be any data other than audio passing between the two devices). It’s difficult to see why PodGear didn’t dispense with the blade altogether and thereby broaden the product’s appeal to include not only iPod owners but also those curmudgeonly refuseniks with Creative and Sony boxes.

Part of the reason behind the unit’s chunkiness is that it’s carrying its own power supply in the form of one AA-sized battery. That’s ideal, because it won’t be sapping the longevity of your already hard-pressed iPod power pack. There’s a small slider switch on the reverse of the PgPP to switch it off on those rare occasions when no party is required in your pocket but there isn’t an LED to indicate whether it’s on or not: The only clue whether it’s active being the quiet but insistent sound of Goldfrapp – or REO Speedwagon if you prefer – emanating from the tiny speakers.

One of the benefits of global warming is that we’re all going to be having a lot more picnics and barbeques and whereas the word ‘party’ is a trifle optimistic we can certainly see most iPod owners having one of these nestling between the scotch eggs and the Frascati, especially if the street price dips below the slightly-offputting £25 rrp. All in all, a winner.

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