The PocketParty goes down as one of those products that looks great on paper, but doesnâ€™t quite live up to its promise. The concept of a plug-in set of stereo speakers for your iPod is a solid one, since it allows you to share your music library with the people around you, but thereâ€™s more to a good product than a solid concept.
PodGear has definitely got the design of the PocketParty right â€“ finished, unsurprisingly, in white, the PocketParty looks pretty good when plugged into the headphone socket. The left and right ends of the device are taken up by the speakers, while the rear is dominated by the battery door. The PocketParty uses a single AA battery, which is supplied with it, thus not draining the iPod battery during use. There is also a small on/off switch present.
If I have one issue with the design, itâ€™s that the battery flap comes off completely, rather than being hinged. Removable parts on any device presents the opportunity for lost bits â€“ never a good thing.
But the real problem with the PocketParty is the sound quality, which is, unfortunately, very poor. Even with the iPod set to full volume the PocketParty canâ€™t really produce sound loud enough for more than one person. In fact, I played the same track on the PocketParty and on my Sony Ericsson K700i mobile phone, and the latter was louder and clearer!
Using the PocketParty in the TrustedReviews office didnâ€™t impress anyone, and even Benny who sits one desk away from me, could hardly hear the music when played at top volume. There was even some distortion present when playing certain tracks, which was amazing considering the almost total lack of bass.
Despite the poor performance, I still feel that the PocketParty is a great concept, but PodGear needs rethink its hardware. If it could squeeze some larger speakers into the PocketParty, PodGear might have a winner on its hands, but as it stands, itâ€™s a definite let down.
Maybe if you hurt your ear and couldnâ€™t wear headphones for a while, the PocketParty might be worth a look, but as a way of sharing your music with others, itâ€™s just not up to the job.