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Gear4 HouseParty 3: It's here, it's Gear(4), get used to it

A loud speaker system for teenagers or a handy companion to your wake-up routine, Gear4's HouseParty 3 is an affordably loud iPod speaker system

Gear4's new HouseParty 3 is an iPod-ready speaker system that's proud to be loud. For a system that on first glance appears decidedly shy and retiring, this curvy little number packs a surprising 30W of amplification. It's also got an FM radio and an auxiliary input socket for non-iPod MP3 players or mobile phones.

Crave gets to see lots of iPod speaker systems; some are quite stylish, some are rather dull. We're pleased to say the HouseParty 3 falls into the former of the two categories. It's got a glossy white finish with smooth rounded corners. It also gets deeper towards the base of the unit so it's nice and stable.

We especially like how the iPod docking station pops out at the front. If you're just listening to the radio or if you've not yet fallen into the conformist heaven of owning an iPod, the docking bay can be easily pushed back into the main system and hidden from view.

Due to the speaker's capcity for loudness but its inability to handle bass at high volumes, we think this is an ideal little setup for a teenager, or anyone who just wants some music to be playing as they get dressed in the morning. It's clearly not for audiophiles, but it's relatively inexpensive at £59 and looks pretty cute too. Just don't lose the teensy remote control, since there aren't any navigation controls on the system itself. -NL