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Friday, February 3, 2017

Gear4 Stream 1 portable speaker

Gear4 Stream 1 portable speaker features and specs


We will take a look at one top seller in the modest realm of portable speakers – the Gear4 Stream 1 speaker that is currently selling at around $124. This speaker is fairly affordable and has plenty of wireless features, but overall unremarkable sound quality and limited bass power.


Features
·        Wi-Fi
·        Multiroom capability
·        Direct Wi-Fi connection
·        8-hour battery
·        Carry handle
·        3.5mm aux input
·        Bluetooth
·        Tidal and Spotify support

Design

The Gear4 Stream 1 is a pillar-style spherical speaker. It’s quite big, which may come as a bit of a surprise, for a Bluetooth speaker especially. It’s too large to fit in hand luggage but it’s ok size-wise for a home speaker. The size makes it not very ‘portable’ but at least it’s not too heavy and has a handle to carry around.

The fabric that covers almost the entire cylinder looks like tough but it’s actually just a soft, cushioned layer. It feels nice, but isn’t rugged. There’s a similar budget-style to the buttons up top. They’re arranged in a circle of embossed rubber. Overall, the feel is a bit cheap.


However, the priority here is not fancy design but lots of features. It offers Bluetooth streaming as well as Wi-Fi which is not really expected at this price.

The software of the speaker is not the best achievement as well – it’s unrefined and does not integrate with many services. Still, you can use features such as speaker pairing and online radio stations. It’s also possible to use Spotify over Wi-Fi, but to do so you use the Spotify app rather than Gear4’s one.

The Gear4 Stream 1 also has a 3.5mm jack on the rear if you would like to use a wired source, not streaming.

Sound Quality

The bass of the Gear4 Stream1 is less powerful than what some speakers a third of its size can offer. The emphasis falls on the upper mids and treble. It’s not that the Gear4 Stream 1 cannot produce the frequency, it’s simply that the bass comes through a much lower amplitude and the effect is a rather thin sound.

The upper mids of the speaker are a bit course which makes song vocals sound harsh until you get used to it. Overall, Gear4 doesn’t seem to have put quite enough effort into ensuring the Stream 1 makes the best use of its size. This isn’t down to the use of a tiny driver, though, because this speaker can go quite loud without cracking at higher volumes. Instead, the sound is top-heavy. This is unusual for a wireless speaker, which tend to aim for greater impact with bass.

This isn’t a bad speaker, but the initial promise of its packed feature list doesn’t quite deliver as hoped. There are inevitably better options on the market for the same value which can deliver a fuller sound than the Gear4 which is weak on this front despite its unusually large size.

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