Gear4’s marketing people obviously spotted an opportunity here, releasing this Union Jack edition of its popular Gear 4 StreetParty III speakers just in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. At just £39.99 the Union Jack obviously isn’t top-of-the-range but – as the name implies – it’ll do the trick if you want to have a few drinks outdoors during the summer. See also: Group test: what's the best speaker set?

There’s a dock connector for the iPod and iPhone, which folds flat into the main speaker panel. That cuts the thickness of the panel down to just 29mm, so it’s certainly easy to carry around with you when you’re travelling. Visit: Google Nexus Q review: first look

Sound quality was better than we’d expected from such an inexpensive speaker, with a clean, clear sound that carries plenty of detail. It’s not loud enough to get everyone dancing, but it’s fine if you just want a bit of background music while you and the neighbours gossip over a few beers in the garden.

The one real weakness is the bass output. The Union Jack copes well enough with straightforward pop tunes, but put on a bass-heavy track like Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head and you can hear the lightweight plastic casing straining at the seams.

The Union Jack runs off mains but doesn’t include a rechargeable battery, so you’ll need to provide four AA batteries if you want to use it outdoors, and you should get up to eight hours out of it at full volume. There’s no remote control or carry case either, although that’s forgivable given the Union Jack’s low price.

Gear4 StreetParty III Union Jack: Specs

  • Colour and finish: Red/white/blue
  • Power supply: Mains or battery
  • Size: 170 x 260 x 122mm
  • Weight: 717g
  • Colour and finish: Red/white/blue
  • Power supply: Mains or battery
  • Size: 170 x 260 x 122mm
  • Weight: 717g

OUR VERDICT

The Street Party III Union Jack is very light and portable, and produces a decent sound given its low price. However, the lack of power means that it’s more for background music than really kicking off a party.

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