This latest Houseparty - we're up to version III - has a wobbly, pop-out iPod tray, a remote control, a line-in so you can connect other audio sources, and a single USB out port, so you can sync the iPod with your Mac while docked.

Gear4 is a huge presence in the low-end iPod accessory market, producing cheap kit that anyone can afford. We nearly always take issue with the build quality of its products, but at the same time recognise there is a place for them on the shelves.

Dubious build quality

The sound quality on this model is thin, especially on the bass end, but if you just want some noise in the background to keep you company then it's fine. The remote is quite flimsy but works, and the speaker grille is surprisingly tough. There is no battery option.

We prefer (slightly) more expensive models from Altec Lansing over Gear4 all day long. The jump up in sound quality, features and build quality is undeniable, and the price premium is worth it.