Review: Angry Birds Speaker

By Mike Wheeler

Angry Birds exploded on the national psyche just over two-and-a-half years ago in the form of an addictive handheld game for your smartphone, so it’s not surprising that there are now peripherals out there trying to cash on the phenomenon.

Gear4 is a consumer electronics outfit that hails from the United Kingdom, and they have the license to bring Angry Bird speakers into the country. It’s easy to be a cynic and dismiss such a device as nothing more than a gimmick, but does it put out the right sound?

Out the box, the build is solid without being too heavy. I like that it’s sturdy, because it can probably take a knock or two without damaging the componentry (this observation doesn’t give punters carte blanche to use it as a football), which isn’t a bad thing when you consider the market it is aimed at.

Set up if easy. It’s features an on-off switch, volume control, bass control, power cord slot, plus an auxiliary-in switch so you can connect your MP3 player, smartphone or tablet of choice – in this case an iPod Touch. It also comes with a plastic device that holds your MP3 player in place.

So what is it like? It definitely punches out the sound, and makes nice, clear noise. I played The Church’s Electric Lash, The Police’s Wrapped Around Your Finger, Bruce Springsteen’s Gotta Get That Feeling and Nelly’s Just a Dream. These songs were a good cross section of singing styles and instruments used. It would be fair to say that at full noise, some of the tunes did suffer a little distortion – especially the horn-heavy Springsteen number. And when you amped up the bass the small subwoofer out the back certainly got put under pressure to perform.

The two speakers are at the side of the device, so you get an almost mini surround-sound effect, but on a much smaller scale.

Overall, this is what it is. Outside of the obvious  gimmick value, it would be ideal for around the barbecue or pool, or taken to the beach, although it does need a power supply.

Pros: Kids will love it; puts out above-average sounds; portable
Cons: Some might expect better sound quality; pricey

4.3 Shacks Out of 5

Standalone: $149
With Speaker Dock: $199

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